Following the conquest of Constantinople by Sultan Mehmet II in 1453, Venice tried to safeguard its commercial and maritime interests using diplomacy to contain the expansion of the Ottoman Empire. The delegation included Gentile Bellini, one of the leading Venetian painters as a cultural ambassador to soothe the conquerer. Although Islam forbids representation of the human figure, Gentile Bellini was charged to draw a portrait of the Sultan. To illustrate his artistic skills Bellini showed the Sultan a painting of the beheading of Saint John the Baptist. The painting impressed favorably Mehmet. Still, he pointed out that the neck of the severed head protruded too much. Bellini was not convinced. So Mehmet ordered on the spot to behead one of his attending slaves (Moslems cannot be slaves) to prove he was right.
Beheading is a part of the Islamic culture. The way ISIS, alias ISIL, alias Da’esh, alias Hamas, alias Taliban, alias Jahbat El Nusra, alias Hezbollah, alias Al Qaida, alias World Jihad,. . . deals with human life of Infidels follows the dictate of the Prophet. The rule applies to non Moslems, but also to Moslems that do not obey the fundamentalistic interpretation of the Sharia. President Obama in his 25 September 2014 address to the UN general assembly denied the fight against ISIS was a “clash of civilization” and exhorted Islam “You come from a great tradition that stands for education, not ignorance; innovation, not destruction; the dignity of life, not murder.” Swedish new prime minister, Stefan Lofven in his inaugural address to Parliament on 3 October 2014 declared Sweden would recognize the Palestinian State in complete disregard of the thread that this unilateral recognition entails for Israel, the only democratic and human rights abiding nation in the Middle East. Do we witness again the “Munich syndrome”, that is the inability of the Free World to oppose tyranny before it is too late?