Countless Christians had been killed, imprisoned, and reduced to the status of dhimmitude for centuries under Islamic tyranny. This is why the Crusades gathered momentum and strong support. The popular term is ‘dhimmitude’, which is described as a permanent status of subjection of non-Muslims by Muslims.
The truthful story is that the Crusades were primarily concerned with freeing the Holy Lands from Muslim oppression and protecting the Christian pilgrims who traveled there. The current anti-Christian approach is to portray the Crusades as a blot on the history of Christianity. The Crusades were the Christians standing up against tyranny and oppression.
Muslims claim the Crusades were an unprovoked holy war, but this is not correct. This claim is Muslim ‘anti-Christian’ propaganda supported by a Jewish influenced propaganda machine. A myth has been created that the Crusades were an ‘unprovoked’ attack by a bunch of barbarous Europeans against an innocent Islamic world. The Crusades were a very belated response to four and a half centuries of Muslim aggression. Muslims had subjugated two-thirds of the previous Christian world. Christianity, both as a faith and as a culture, had to defend itself or be crushed by Islam. We can shortly expect the same as history will repeat itself. The Crusades began as a response to Muslim conquerors placing Christians under captivity. The Christians had been treated in a barbaric manner by the invading Muslim armies in Spain and France between the years of 711 and 1492. The Crusaders also sought to restore Jerusalem’s holy sites to Christian control.
The first attack was by the Muslims against the heartland and birthplace of Christianity, Jerusalem, in 638. Note that Jerusalem was considered the ‘heartland’ – the ‘centre’ of Christianity. It is now just considered a place where Muslims and Jews squabble over ‘rights’ in a nation that the Jewish class as ‘Jewish’. The Israelis need to realize that the land had been Christian for many years, and it had been Muslim. We currently think that Europe or ‘The West’ goes as far as Greece and that after that, we leave ‘The West’ and enter ‘Muslim’ nations and the ‘Middle East’. Thus ‘The West’ is best classified as those nations that are nominally Christian, whilst I define them as nations that follow ‘the philosophy of Jesus” But Christian territories extended down to Jerusalem in days gone bye. So travelers were passing through the friendly territories of Christian nations all the way to Jerusalem. Just as I travel through Europe on holidays each year, there is a commonalty of philosophy and trust between the people. I do not get ill-treated when I travel though Muslim countries, but there is the common reminder that we are operating under different systems. We discuss the differences.
The attacks against Christian territory and people continued for greater than four centuries before the retaliatory first crusade was launched. During this four hundred years between the fall of Jerusalem to the Muslims in 638 and the start of the First Crusade in 1095, the lands of Christendom had been struggling constantly for its survival in the knowledge that failure meant enslavement and barbaric treatment. The First Crusade was a first successful effort to repossess the stolen lands including the city of Christ’s passion.
Jerusalem was conquered by violent force of arms by invading Muslim forces in the year 638 after a year long siege. It did not get taken by gentle persuasion and enlightened preaching. The cry was closer to: “Become Muslim – or we chop your head off.” Christianity tends to spread by appreciation of the comprehension of the teaching of the ‘Philosophy of Jesus’. Islam had expanded by the sword — “Convert or die.”
Under the new subordination, the payment of taxes, which for peasants, often amounted to half of the value of their produce, became an economic burden and also a mark of social inferiority. (Lapidus (2014) A History of Islamic Societies. P53).
A major objection to Christianity runs along the lines that the Crusades are a blight on Christianity. Those wishing to criticize and undermine Christianity cite the Crusades. The popularized argument is that the Crusades demonstrate that Christianity is an ‘evil and bloodthirsty religion’ that gains lands by the swift use of the sword. You must gain insight into the Crusades so that you can counter the argument. Your line is: “The Crusades were a very belated Western response to four centuries of Muslim aggression and oppression.”
Let us dig deeper into the history. There were seven major Crusades. The first Crusade began in 1095 when Pope Urban II called for action. The citizenry marshaled and in 1099, after a bloody battle, they took Jerusalem. This can be considered a ‘successful’ Crusade. Others were not always so! The final crusade ended nearly two hundred years later, in 1291.
Muhammad died in 632. In the following years, warlords operating under Islam and the Koran, expanded out of their local regions to ‘take over’ surrounding territories. This Islamic expansion continued. Egypt, Palestine, Syria, and Persia had all fallen to the Islamic expansionists. By the time of the battle of Tours in 732, Islamists controlled territories that reached from Spain to Persia. Here is the map for AD600:
The people of these conquered regions have been held under Islamic rule since the eighth century. Those not wishing to submit to Islam are forced to accept discrimination. They then face forced conversion, slavery or death. The popular term ‘dhimmitude’ gained traction among Serbian ultra-nationalists during the Balkan wars in the 1990s and is popular among self-proclaimed counter-jihadi authors.
The Crusades occurred during it cruel and bloody times. The Christians response to their cruel treatment was to ‘sort the matter out’. Release from cruel oppression is not going to occur by asking the oppressor “Please be kind to us!” The solution was to take back the ‘holy lands’ and establish a Christian strength — which means a Christian army.
Islam had risen as if out of nowhere and rapidly became a threat to all of Christian Europe — a Christian Europe that was unprepared for the type of violent onslaught and cruelty practiced by the Muslems. The cities of Antioch, Alexandria, and Carthage had been the centers of Christian thought and theological for many centuries before being subjected to the tyrany Muslim armies.
Paul Johnson writes that the terrorist attacks of September 11th can be considers to be a mere extension of the long lasting struggle between the Islamic East and the Christian West. HJohnson writes, Christian West. Johnson writes,
The Crusades, far from being an outrageous prototype of Western imperialism, as is taught in most of our schools, were a mere episode in a struggle that has lasted 1,400 years, and were one of the few occasions when Christians took the offensive to regain the ‘occupied territories’ of the Holy Land.”Paul Johnson, National Review, http://www.nationalreview.com/15oct01/johnson101501.shtml.
Paul states that the Crusades were not an “outrageous prototype of Western imperialism, as is taught in most of our schools.” The suggestion is that our schools are ‘anti-Christian’ in their teaching. Christianity had not at that time developed the concept of a holy war. Religion by violent expansion was a new phenomenon invented by the Muslims. In the fifth century, Augustine described what what might be considered a ‘just war‘ but the use of war was not to be used for the purpose religious conversion or to destroy contrary religious thinking. War was not a tool of the Church. Christianity had spread by ‘evangelistic’ methods — ‘the good word’. To counter the Islamist’s barbarity towards Christians, the Popes and Crusaders considered themselves to be ‘warriors for Christ’. Modern history books put to our children typically emphasize the atrocities by Crusaders and propagandize ‘tolerance’ of the Muslims. More realistically, both Muslims and Christians committed considerable slaughter. Within both Muslims and Christian entities, there were battles and political struggles. Internal division was a problem on both sides. Treachery and sinfulness existed on both sides of this conflict. You will have to decide for yourself whether battle was the appropriate reply to Muslim tyranny and dhimmitude. Although Jesus is popularly portrayed as a man of ‘peace’, he was constantly rebuking people along the lines of: “You are doing things wrong!” and described the Pharasees
Jesus frequently criticized the Pharisees for their hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and evil behaviour. (Luke 11:37-52) The Pharisees were plotting to kill him. The Pharisees had corrupted the law. They disregarding ethical considerations and were devoid of mercy. Life for the common man had became a form of slavery to the legalistic approach of the Pharasitic authorities. Jesus used violence to throw the money manipulators from their centre of operation, the temple. Jesus clearly did not walk into the temple and say: “Excuse me, but you should not really be doing this. Would you kindly mind moving on.” He used for to correct the situation.
Jesus openly condemned the Pharisees for making an appearance of righteousness in their public persona, whilst on the inside, they manifest wickedness and greed. Jesus proclaimed:
Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?”Matt 23:31-33
This is a little more elaborate than the modern: “Go to hell!” Jesus was not all nice and sweet. He was a radical and a revolutionary. It was one of his tenets to ‘stand up against wrongdoing’ and ‘stand up against the money manipulators and those wishing to degrade your lifestyle and take your opportunity of a decent living away. Here is even more of his verbal lashing:
They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”Matthew 15:14
Although Jesus may be furious about the behavior of some of the Crusaders, he would have also been furious at the behavior of the Muslims, as he would be furious at the the current “blind leaders of the blind”. Notice, that you the reader are described as ‘blind’, intonating that you are blind to the ‘truth’, mostly due to ‘false and misleading media propaganda’. I can call the television: ‘Satan’s Pulpit’.
At the time of Mohammed, there were none of the modern countries as we know them. Mohammed , himself, conquered Mecca and Arabia. After his death, the following four Caliphs and the successor Kings conquered the entire Middle East, Northern Africa, Persia, and Spain. As modern day countries go, that included the territories of Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, Turkey, Qatar, Bahrain, Afghanistan, parts of Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, southern Italy, Portugal, and Spain. That took a century or so. How long will it take to take Europe, as the native Europeans do little more than demonstrate a little bit of Facebook bravado and are easily silenced with snappy accusations of “Islamophobia”, as if it is a fault of the native European for being unhappy about unhappy about the fall of Europe.
What we have to fear is something similar to ‘The Pact of Umar’, which stipulated that Muslims must “do battle to guard” the dhimmis and “put no burden on them greater than they can bear”. ‘Them being non-Muslims. This policy was often disregarded, but remained “a steadfast cornerstone of Islamic policy”. [Cohen, Mark (2008). Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages.] The Christian attitude is different as expressed under the concept of Christmas where one never says: “Are you Christian?” If so: “Merry Christmas!” If not: “Get stuffed!” The Christmas greeting is “Goodwill to all mankind.” as an example of how we should act throughout the year. It is true that the governing bodies of nation and church become corrupted by non-Christians and fail to follow the concept of “Goodwill to all mankind.”
Multiculturalism is an oxymoron and the dominant culture (religion) will dominate the discourse. Expect Europe to fall to the Muslims aided by the Jews, if we don’t ‘get our act together’.