I had the opportunity recently of watching a documentary video done by the history channel called “Crusades crescent and the cross.”
It was a very interesting documentary actually, seeing that I often get scolded by Christians over the issue of the peaceful Christianity and the warring Islam, as many like to put it. Every religious conversation I have with a non-Muslim turns to the issue of violence and terrorism in Islam and how Muslims conquered and ruled by the sword. However, when I mention the Crusades, the Christian dissociates it with Christianity and claims that it was not a religious war. So in order to keep Christianity clean and peaceful, Christians claim that it was the works of non-practicing Christians. However this documentary reveals a lot of things.
First of all, the Catholic Church, under Pope Urban II, endorsed the crusades, so there can be no saying that Christianity had nothing to do with it. In 1095, when the first crusades were dispatched, people were promised by the church that those who took part in this Crusade all their sins would be forgiven and they would go directly to paradise. Now I thought Jesus had died for man's sins (according to the Christians), so why would going in to Jihad against the Muslims give that special status? After all, isn’t that the reason the non-Muslims reprimands the Muslims - Jihad in the way of Allah" Kill the non-Muslims in battle and attain paradise? So I see that this was approved by the church; when it came to Killing Muslims there is no problem about it. Christians would have all their sins forgiven and attain paradise. Pope Urban offered those who pledged their souls a direct ticket to heaven.
The funny thing is that Emperor Alexius only asked for a few hundred mercenaries to come and help keep the Turks at bay. Instead, Pope Urban launched his own holy war on Islam, it would allow the Catholic Church to exert its authority on the rest of the Christians and it would keep the warring Christians factions, who were fighting brother against brother, at bay. So to keep them away, he launched a holy war against Islam. In his speech, he included lies and exaggerations of Muslim atrocities towards Christians in the Holy land. He demonized the Turks and made the Crusades out to be an apocalyptic war of the two faiths. It was claimed in his speech that the Holy Land was held by a people without God. When the call to jihad was made by the Church, whole families were sent to re-conquer the Holy land Jerusalem, which was then in the hands of the Muslims.
Fathers, mothers, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters - all the family left whatever they had and embarked on this Holy War to cleanse the Holy Land of the Muslims. They all took a cross or some took pieces of cloth and made a cross and put on themselves. All were practicing Christians; tens of thousands of men and women, even whole villages, took vows to go and fight the Muslims in this Jihad. The other agenda was that the land was very prosperous (like other lands ruled by Muslims at the time like Spain for example) while the rest of Europe was in the dark ages. Urban stated that the land of Jerusalem flowed with milk and honey so, in reality, out of greed and envy, the Christians had to rule it. The Arab world was wealthy and Jerusalem was a trading capital The commander; Duke Godfrey was a benefactor of the Catholic Church so himself he was a staunch Christian, so no one can say that these were people who were going against the words of Christianity who acted against the peaceful “turn the other cheek” and “thou shalt not kill” teachings of Christianity. Christianity at the time was not even under attack by the Muslims in the Holy land. Christians, Jews and Christians lived side by side in Jerusalem, and other lands, in peace. Godfrey was known to have been a very pious man and he brought quite a lot of monks with him on his Jihad. His brother Baldwin too, the count of Boulogne, was with him. He was once destined for the priesthood, so as we see they were all practicing, pious Christians.
The enactment of the senior Arch Bishop of that time, William of Tyre (who is supposed to narrate the story), tells his monks in the documentary how evil the Christians had become and going to such a war was a means for them to cleanse themselves of the sins and the documentary also shows how barbaric the Crusade Christians soldiers were.
“Onward Christian soldiers, going as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before” - I remember singing this line in a hymn in primary school when I was a child. What hypocrisy. We were, however, not told in those days the enemy that those peaceful Christians soldiers were going to attack were Muslims. We were told about Saracens but never told who the Saracens really were.
A few things in the Documentary made me laugh actually. Here we have the western world taking Islam to task over the head scarf and claiming Islam forces women to cover and so one; yet the wives, sisters and mothers of those “crusading Christians soldiers” were shown with their heads covered, as in hijab, which is what the Muslim women wear. What an irony that they were going to cleanse the holy land of Muslims whose women covered their heads, yet their own wives were in the veil. May be they should have done the cleansing form home first. An army came all the way from France through Eastern Europe heading for Jerusalem.Even the rich wife of Baldwin, the brother of Godfrey, God Hilda was draped in the Hijab, she died on their journey to the holy land.
The funny thing is that William Tyre mentions from Urban’s speech that the Muslims were a “Nation of followers of Unclean practices”. Hold on a minute did I hear this right. I had to rewind the CD and hear that a again.” For many years now, the Saracens, followers of UNCLEAN PRACTICES...” I almost fell of my chair laughing. Muslims, followers of unclean practices?
- Islam forbids the worship of other that the one true GOD, my GOD and your God. Unclean practice?
- Islam forbids the Consummation of intoxicants. Unclean Practice?
- Islam forbids sex outside of marriage, fornication and adultery. Unclean Practice?
- Islam forbid Gambling. Unclean Practice?
- Islam Forbids dealing in interest (approved by the Christian church). Unclean practice?
- Islam forbids the Killing of innocent women and Children (allowed in the Bible). Unclean practice?
- Islam punishes severely the Thief, Murderer, the rapist and adulterer. Unclean practice?
- Islam Ordains Charity and alms giving. Unclean practice?
- Islam promotes equal treatment of women Unclean practice?
- Islam forbids Corruption and injustice. Unclean practices?
Come on wake up and smell the coffee may be they are unclean practices for Christianity and the western world since they seem to promote the total opposite to what Islam does. Now, another thing that nearly knocked me off my chair was every time I discuss with non-Muslims about the Quran, I get reprimanded: “Why does your book say kill the infidels?”. That was the exact message sent by pope Urban. Muslims were called infidels.
There was no problem then, was there? But when the Quran calls non-Muslims as infidels, Islam is taken to task.
It is mentioned in the documentary that there was a hatred for anything that was other than western Christianity and Christians hankered to spill blood. Anything that was not Christian was considered by the fundamentalists as infidels. Due to the exaggeration and lies of pope Urban, the peaceful Christian soldiers “marching as to war” were not aware of one crucial thing. Under Islamic rule, people of other faiths were free to live in Muslim land in peace as long as they paid a tax and that made it incumbent on the Muslims to live in peace with them and protect them, even in Antioch in those days, which was ruled by the Turks; the Greeks and Armenian orthodox Christians inhabitants had total freedom to worship their faith. However, “onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before” indiscriminately massacred every infidel who they found in Western and Eastern Europe, on their route to Jerusalem, even the Jews and their own fellow Christians in the name of God, in the name of Christianity. They destroyed the homes and divided the looted money amongst themselves. Across Europe, thousands of Jews had been massacred in the name of the cross, I think this is what sparked Hitler off, he had Christian upbringing.
Sounds like Déjà vu, indiscriminate killings.” Iraq revisited”, history repeats itself with the new generation of crusaders marching as to war with the cross of Jesus going on before.
I very much enjoyed this two-hour documentary, Thanks to History channel for this very enlightening and educational program. So next time Islam gets accused of being violent, proof is at hand to show the truth. There seems to be many more documentaries made by PBS, the Geography Channel, the History Channel and the BBC, portraying the truth about history and Islam. Another very nice documentary that I recently saw was “When the Moors ruled in Europe”. This also portrays how Islamic rule in Europe was very prosperous and how Spain was very thriving while the Rest of Europe was in the dark ages. An important point to bear in mind is that after forcing most Muslims and Jews of Spain to convert to Christianity and massacring thousands, those who remained were expelled out of Spain by Isabella and Ferdinand. However the Muslims who were expelled were not Arabs or North African Muslims they were as Iberian as you can get. They were those born and bred in that land from their ancestors who converted to Islam. Their only crime was they were Muslim.
I advise those with an open mind to look for these documentaries and find the real truth. Enjoy!
Until the next time we meet again I greet you with the Greeting of the prophets “Peace be with you”