Brad Miner notes that Islamist rage about the Crusades is a Muslim fantasy that actually comes from Christian liberals.
Sixteen years after the attacks of September 11, it’s probably the case that the “excuse” of the Crusades as a motivating factor behind the violence of al-Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups has somewhat diminished in plausibility.
Of course, the Islamofascists may well aver that events of more than 900 years ago still burn in Muslim consciousness, but that doesn’t make it so. Osama bin Laden made reference to the Crusades as, no doubt, has Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi of ISIS. But the truth is they abhor the West because their understanding of Islam demands hatred of and war against the infidel: then, now, always. This is the only “root cause” that matters.
In any case, most of us will never have occasion to debate a terrorist on the matter. Indeed, we’re much more likely to go toe-to-toe with a jihadi liberal about the Crusades and their impact, which is what makes Thomas F. Madden’s new primer invaluable.
The Crusades Controversy: Setting the Record Straight is a 50-page broadside against the serial stupidities and half-truths of those who believe, in Professor Madden’s words, that the Crusades were “the epitome of self-righteousness and intolerance, a black stain on the history of the Catholic Church in particular and Western civilization in general.”
In fact, they were “a response to more than four centuries of conquests in which Muslim armies had already captured two-thirds of the old Christian world.” The armies that marched and sailed from Western Europe into the Byzantine Empire and on to the Holy Land came in response to pleas from Christians in the East to save them from the weaponized religion of Mohammed.
Those Christian warriors summoned by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095 were not a rabble of “lacklands and ne’er-do-wells” spoiling for a fight wherever they could find one. They were a cross section of European society that included many of the wealthiest, most powerful men in Europe, not a few of whom lost fortunes – and their lives – in the struggle to liberate the original homeland of Christianity, which had been established not by the sword, but through peaceful conversions half a millennium before the birth of Islam.
Brad Miner is senior editor of The Catholic Thing, senior fellow of the Faith & Reason Institute, and a board member of Aid to the Church In Need USA. He is a former Literary Editor of National Review. His new book, Sons of St. Patrick, written with George J. Marlin, is now on sale. The Compleat Gentleman, is available on audio and as an iPhone app.