The Crusades and Religious Supremacists
Millions of Muslims are now convinced that the Western World is engaged in a war against Islam. This is false, an illusion fostered by propaganda. But this malicious propaganda reaches deep into resentments that go back to the Christian Crusades.
by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor
The Arabs conquered the Israel-Palestine Holy Land during 633-637. The Seljuk Turks took over the area during 1070-1080. The Crusaders from Europe then invaded in 1099. They conquered Jerusalem and massacred both Jews and Muslims.
During that time, there were repeated conquests of the Holy Land. Saladin of Damascus, a Kurd, took most of the Holy Land in 1187. The Kharezmians, connected to the armies to Genghis Khan, invaded in 1244 and slaughtered the population of Jerusalem. The sultans of Egypt defeated the Mongols in 1260 and the ruled over the Holy Land. The Crusader Kingdom came to an end in 1291, and the Mongols invaded again in 1299. The Ottoman Turks conquered the Holy Land in 1516, and after their defeat in World War I, the British established the mandate of Palestine.
The Crusades started when Pope Urban II convened the Council of Clermont in France in 1095. The Pope exclaimed that the Turks were advancing into Christendom and Christians were being attacked. Churches were being defiled. The Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem had been turned into a mosque. Christian Pilgrims were being harassed and prevented from access to the Holy Land.
The Pope called for a Crusade to the Holy Land. Deus vult! (God wills it) became the battle cry of the Crusaders. But the Church soon lost control of the movement.
Count Emicho assembled a large Crusader army along the middle Rhine in Germany. He plundered and killed Jews in towns along the way. Besides the lust for loot, some Crusaders thought that if they were going all the way to the Holy Land to kill infidels, why not also kill the non-Christians who were right there in Europe? Thus began the Crusader attacks on innocents. Crusaders plundered and killed many Christians along with Muslims and Jews on the way to the Holy Land.
A historical account by E. L. Skip Knox of Boise State University relates that after the conquest of Jerusalem by the first Crusade, there was an "orgy of killing. The Crusaders went on a rampage, killing everyone they met. They went into houses and dragged out the inhabitants to kill them. They stole everything they found."
"Muslim refugees had taken refuge in the Dome of the Rock, the mosque of al-Aqsa... A group of Crusaders broke in and slaughtered everyone inside. Similarly, the Jews of the city fled to their synagogue, only to have the Crusaders set it on fire, killing everyone. The chroniclers tell of streets running with blood... All the Jews of Jerusalem were dead. All the Muslims were dead."
According to the New Advent (Catholic Encyclopedia), the wars waged by the Spaniards against the Moors were also a "crusade" from the eleventh to the sixteenth century.
The Crusaders thus waged "Holy Wars" against both Jews and Muslims. Many Christians today would say that there was nothing holy or Christian about the slaughter of innocents during the Crusades, just as the Inquisition was not truly Christian in doctrine but rather a perversion of true Christian doctrine. So it is confused and misleading to label it "Christian." Likewise, many Muslims say the terrorist attack of America on September 11 is not truly in the doctrine of Islam. Thus, calling the attackers "Muslim" or "Islamic" would also be misleading.
The Crusaders used Christianity as a pretext, but their religion was really Supremacism. A Supremacist believes his religion, particularly his version and interpretation, is supreme over all others. Being a believer puts one in a special position, allowing him to impose his will on others, even to kill innocents in order to further his supreme cause. The Supremacist thinks that any wrongs suffered by his group or any flaws of the inferiors entitle the Supremacists to attack and destroy members of the other groups, howsoever innocent individuals may be.
Supremacists of all religions have this common belief system, and the particular religion they espouse is really only incidental. Their core belief is that they are the true religion, that they are supreme over others, and are entitled to impose their will on all others, and that the slightest wrongs committed by others are sufficient for the Supremacists to destroy the inferiors.
Maybe we should stop labeling terrorists "Christian" or "Jewish" or "Hindu" or "Muslim" and call them Supremacists. The Crusaders did not just believe in Christianity but also in Supremacism, just as the Supremacists of other religions do. Such attackers are Supremacist Terrorists, whatever their faith and religion otherwise happens to be.
-- Fred Foldvary
Copyright 2001 by Fred E. Foldvary. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system, without giving full credit to Fred Foldvary and The Progress Report.
What are your views? Share your opinion with your fellow readers at The Progress Report:
Page One Page Two Archive Discussion Room Letters What's Geoism?