The Crusades: A direct response to Muslim aggression and conquest.

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.

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.

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The Crusades 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.

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.

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Why Is Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral In Al Qaeda’s Crosshairs?


While one doesn’t expect radical Islam to be familiar with Marian Apparitions or Catholic eschatology, it does appear that elements of radical Islam takes this all very seriously. Now some may say doesn’t Islam give great reverence to the Blessed Mother? Yes this is true. However, we have to look at the theology of the radical. In addition to being an Apostate faith, Christianity was in their eyes a failed religion. The rhetoric of Al Qaeda increasingly reflected a radicalized Muslim world. While the academics loved to reminisce about Islam’s cerebral side, the radicalized Islamic world quoted form the more militant parts of the Koran. They loved to remind the unbelievers of how Islam spread the faith with the sword farther in one century than Christianity had with kindness and love for seven centuries.

Dr Yossef Bodansky provides us with an interesting glimpse into this mindset. Dr Bodansky refers to a January 7, 1994 speech given by former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani. The former Iranian president stated that Christ’s message had failed, because Jesus had been incapable of bringing man to God, so God had to send Muhammad to get the job done. In other words, the Islamic Conquest of the Middle East, North African and southern Europe was necessary, only because Christianity had failed.

This is an interesting statement because although Rafsanjnai is a Shiite and Al Qaeda is Sunni, the message is the same; Christianity failed and conquest was needed to bring man to God. However, even in their defense of the Islamic Conquest, these two radical wings of Islam are forced to admit that Christianity was alive and well in the Middle East and North Africa centuries before the arrival of Islam. One of the familiar themes on any Al Qaeda tape is the plea to remove the infidel from Islamic lands.

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Things the “libs” will never tell you about Muslim conquest and the Crusades

First, the historical facts: a long “train of abuses”, to borrow Jefferson’s phrase, preceded the launching of the First Crusade in 1096. Since its very inception, Islam had waged an unremitting war against Christianity.

It conquered and subjugated centuries-old Christian societies in the Middle East and North Africa. After sweeping through France, the Muslim advance was finally checked by Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732.

Following this, Muslim aggression against Christians continued in southern Italy, with the conquest of Sicily in 827. Resistance to these repeated acts of aggression was not characterized as a “crusade”, but simply necessary self-defense.

Over the next centuries, the Seljuq Turks, who converted to Islam, waged war against the Eastern Christian Byzantine Empire.

At the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, the Turks wiped out the Byzantine army, leaving Emperor Alexius Commenus helpless before a relentless and determined foe. Not long after this, he sent envoys to Pope Urban II pleading for military aid.

The Council of Clermont was called by the pope in 1095, in which he addressed the clergy, knights, and commoners who had assembled. To the knights especially his words were both reproving and encouraging:

You, the oppressers of children, plunderers of widows; you, guilty of homicide, of sacrilege, robbers of another’s rights; you who await the pay of thieves for the shedding of Christian blood — as vultures smell fetid corpses, so do you sense battles from afar and rush to them eagerly. Verily, this is the worst way, for it is utterly removed from God! if, forsooth, you wish to be mindful of your souls, either lay down the girdle of such knighthood, or advance boldly, as knights of Christ, and rush as quickly as you can to the defence of the Eastern Church. For she it is from whom the joys of your whole salvation have come forth, who poured into your mouths the milk of divine wisdom, who set before you the holy teachings of the Gospels.

What was at stake was nothing less than the preservation of Christianity, and the civilization which had, even if imperfectly, sought to embody its teachings in the world. This was also evidenced by the increasingly hostility to Christians still living in the Levant (the Holy Land), as well as those who went on pilgrimage; in 1009, the Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah ordered the Church of the Holy Sepulcher – in an act the Catholic Encyclopedia rightly calls a “fit of madness” – razed to the ground.

This was followed by an even broader campaign against Christianity throughout the Levant, culminating in the destruction of thousands of Christian churches.

Read more by Joe Hargrave at The American Catholic