How Muslims helped Ireland during the great famine

Saw this on Facebook, interesting piece of history:

160 years ago, during the Great Famine in Ireland, the Ottoman Empire sent £1,000 sterling (about $1,052,000 today) and 3 shiploads of food to Drogheda, Ireland.

Ireland was ridden with famine and disease between 1845 and 1849. Also known as the Great Hunger, this famine had lasting effects: at least one million people died due to famine-related diseases and more than one million Irish fled, mainly to the United States, England, Canada, and Australia.

The Islamic State (Ottoman) ruler at that time Sultan Khaleefah Abdul-Majid declared his intention to send £10,000 sterling to Irish farmers but Queen Victoria requested that the Sultan send only £1,000 sterling, because she had sent only £2,000 sterling herself. The Sultan sent the £1,000 sterling but also secretly sent 3 ships full of food. The British administration tried to block the ships, but the food arrived secretly at Drogheda harbour.

This generous charity from a Muslim ruler to a Christian nation is also important, particularly in our time when Muslims are often unfairly accused of human rights violations. Likewise, the appreciative plaque and overall reaction of the Irish society in return for this charity deserves to be applauded. We hope that the Turkish-Irish friendship sets a model for peace among different nations.

In commemoration of the Ottoman aid, Drogheda added the Ottoman crescent and star to its coat of arms. Their football club’s emblem retains this design til this day.

Part of the reason this story may be a myth is because your last statement is provably false

*In commemoration of the Ottoman aid, Drogheda added the Ottoman crescent and star to its coat of arms. Their football club’s emblem retains this design til this day.
The emblem existed **several hundred years before the famine **and was said to have been taken from the royal seal of King John who gave the town its charter.

The club crest focuses on the star and crescent element of the town arms of Drogheda, and are the royal seal of King John, who gave the town its charter. The crest is similar to that of Portsmouth in England, given by King Richard I of England. His own crest was the source of the star and crescent symbols, which he had taken from the Byzantine Emperor’s standard of Governor Isaac Komnenos after capturing Cyprus.

The story of the ships and silver donation may be true, but there certainly isn’t sufficient evidence to be certain of that.

But it was on Facebook!

Turkey says it’s so – see this article on the Turkish govt website.

In remembrance of the aid, a plaque was unveiled on 2 May 1995 on the building which served as the City Hall of the period, on the occasion of celebrating the 800th Anniversary of the historical Town of Drogheda and in commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Great Famine.

This Wikipedia article states the same as the claim above, and it is cited; I guess it depends on whether you find these cites trustworthy.

A number of Irish newspaper sites also claim this, but seems to me sometimes papers will recycle felgercarb from the internet under “Did you know…?” or “Would you believe…?” columns.

This is very hard to believe as accurate - one can see why Turkey would promote the legend. However, no evidence was produced. Dates, locations, secondary figures, and amounts keep changing in different versions of the story. Besides this, the Turkish government isn’t unknown for self-promotion. They still deny the Armenian genocide, even teaching in public schools that such an event never occurred.

If it is on Facebook, it must be true!

Portsmouth coat of arms

Portsmouth football club emblem

Drogheda coat of arms

Drogheda football club emblem

And some history…

The two seals of Richard the Lionheart contain emblems that have a special connection to the Crusades. The first seal contains two crescent moons, each surmounted by a star-shaped object. The crescent moon referred to King Richard’s vocation as a crusader. It was the ancient symbol of Byzantium, connected with its presiding goddess, who had saved the city from a night assault by Philip of Macedonia by making the moon shine with unexpected brilliance. A popular theory holds that the badge on Richard’s seal represents the Star of Bethlehem in ascendancy over the half-moon of the infidel is false, as the crescent was not yet the symbol of the Turks. The medieval writer , Geoffrey de Vinsauf, commenting on King Richard’s appearance at Cyprus noted “He was clothed in a vest of rose-coloured stuff ornamented with rows of crescents of solid silver, like orbs of the sun shining in thick profusion.” On Richard’s second seal the sun accompanies the moon and this leads some commentators to surmise that the celestial body above the crescent moon on the first seal also represents the sun.
If the sun was a badge of Richard I , the “sunburst” badge of Edward III and the “sun in splendor” of Richard II may have been a revival of what they knew to have been a royal emblem. Kings John and Henry III also used the star and crescent moon badge; they used the cross for policy reasons but never fulfilled their crusader vows. It also appears on the seal of John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, an ally of Henry III. It also forms the Coat of Arms of Portsmouth, which received its first charter from Richard I, and appears in the shield of Dartmouth as this was the port that the crusading ships set sail from. Seized from the Christians by the Turks in the 15th century the star and crescent badge has been the Muslim emblem ever since. When it appeared on the medal presented by the Sultan in 1801 to English officers who had taken part in the Egyptian campaign, the descendants of the crusaders received a Christian emblem at the hands of the Infidel. In 1927 Turkey devised a Coat of Arms to replace those of the Sultanate. The star and crescent were retained and set upon a red shield above the white wolf of the Turks standing on a lance. The wolf totem recalls dark ages when the Turks were wandering in a tribal state in Central Asia. Legend tells that a white wolf appeared to guide the people across precipitous mountains to the more fertile lands to the West. The Coat of Arms are intended to point to Turkey’s westward conquest, and the resurrection of her old national spirit.

Even if true, what a generous Sultan of a defunct empire did 150 plus years ago has next to no bearing on what a bunch of murderous jihadis are doing today.

Muslims - “great bunch of lads”


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