The Truth About the Crusades

Traitors against Western Civilization reflexively side with its historic enemy, Islam. Those who are ignorant or assume their audience to be ignorant of history will often evoke the Crusades as a great sin against the peaceful Muslim world. Last week Obama appalled decent people when he attempted to justify the Islamic State’s atrocities by denouncing Christianity. Naturally he mentioned the Crusades, as Bill Clinton did right after 9/11 for the same malign purpose.

In reality, the Crusaders were heroes who fought a defensive war against the same menace of expansionist Islam that is on horrific display today. Dr. Bill Warner provides some visual perspective:

First Principles debunks four myths anti-Western liars have propagated regarding the noble Crusades;

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Myth #1: The crusades represented an unprovoked attack by Western Christians on the Muslim world.

Myth #2: Western Christians went on crusade because their greed led them to plunder Muslims in order to get rich.

Myth #3: Crusaders were a cynical lot who did not really believe their own religious propaganda; rather, they had ulterior, materialistic motives.

Myth #4: The crusades taught Muslims to hate and attack Christians.

To learn what really happened, read God’s Battalions by Rodney Stark. If you don’t have time for a whole book, there is an excellent historical overview at Crisis Magazine. Highlights:

Christians in the eleventh century were not paranoid fanatics. Muslims really were gunning for them. While Muslims can be peaceful, Islam was born in war and grew the same way. From the time of Mohammed, the means of Muslim expansion was always the sword. Muslim thought divides the world into two spheres, the Abode of Islam and the Abode of War. Christianity — and for that matter any other non-Muslim religion — has no abode. Christians and Jews can be tolerated within a Muslim state under Muslim rule. But, in traditional Islam, Christian and Jewish states must be destroyed and their lands conquered. When Mohammed was waging war against Mecca in the seventh century, Christianity was the dominant religion of power and wealth. As the faith of the Roman Empire, it spanned the entire Mediterranean, including the Middle East, where it was born. The Christian world, therefore, was a prime target for the earliest caliphs, and it would remain so for Muslim leaders for the next thousand years.

And beyond, to the present day (e.g., al Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden, Iran’s Ali Khamenei, the Islamic State’s Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi).

With enormous energy, the warriors of Islam struck out against the Christians shortly after Mohammed’s death. They were extremely successful. Palestine, Syria, and Egypt — once the most heavily Christian areas in the world — quickly succumbed. By the eighth century, Muslim armies had conquered all of Christian North Africa and Spain. In the eleventh century, the Seljuk Turks conquered Asia Minor (modern Turkey), which had been Christian since the time of St. Paul. The old Roman Empire, known to modern historians as the Byzantine Empire, was reduced to little more than Greece. In desperation, the emperor in Constantinople sent word to the Christians of western Europe asking them to aid their brothers and sisters in the East.

That is what gave birth to the Crusades. They were not the brainchild of an ambitious pope or rapacious knights but a response to more than four centuries of conquests in which Muslims had already captured two-thirds of the old Christian world. At some point, Christianity as a faith and a culture had to defend itself or be subsumed by Islam. The Crusades were that defense.

We face a similar choice between self-defense and annihilation today. If this isn’t obvious already, it will be when Obama has finished facilitating Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.

On tips from Sean C, Troy, Stormfax, Bodhisattva, and Dan. Hat tips: Intellectual Froglegs, NRO, NRO. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.

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