Friday, November 20, 2015

Why the Crusades failed

A brief study of the failure of the 12th Century Christian crusade against the Islamic Jihad sheds light on the crisis of today and points us in the direction of what can be done. Before examining this question, it should be noted that much of the world has accepted the Islamic view of the Crusades, a view that holds that they were a Christian war of aggression against Muslim lands. The historic truth is that the Crusades represented the first time the Christian nations pushed back against the Islamic Jihad which had thundered out of Arabia centuries earlier, a Jihad that had totally consumed long-standing Christian societies in Syria, Egypt, North Africa and Spain. Islamic forces were still on the march when, in 1095, Pope Urban II called for what was essentially a counter-Jihad. Urban responded to reports of Christians being slaughtered as they made pilgrimages to the Holy Land.

The Christian Crusade failed in the first year after the establishment by the Knights Templar of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Once the Knights Templar forces had established themselves in Jerusalem, they sent for their wives and children who arrived from France to settle down. Soon after they arrived, the wives and children went on an excursion to the banks of the Jordan River to picnic, to play, and to pray. On their way back to Jerusalem they were ambushed and slaughtered by a gang of Saracens, what Medieval Christians called the Arabs.

The Christian government in Jerusalem responded to the atrocity by building fortifications and walls. They cowered in fortified cities and they only ventured out under heavy guard. European Christians responded by refusing to settle in such a dangerous place. The result, which became more apparent in the following decades, was that the Christian Kingdom turned into an occupation as opposed to a flourishing, organic, sustainable society. Thus the Christian Crusaders sealed their own fate. They were doomed to the defeat that inevitably overtook them one they retreated.

Thus the Saracen Jihad was able to defeat the Medieval Christian Crusade not through the force of arms, or through the power of persuasion, and not because they represented a better or more progressive form of society, but rather through the use of terror.

The parallel between the cause of the failure of the Crusades and the threat we live under today, as we fear going to New York City on Thanksgiving, is obvious. The Crusader leaders failed to take stock of the crisis then in the same way that our leadership today not only ignores the crisis but actually, and quite bizarrely, refuses to protect our nation by sealing our borders to terrorists. Instead, we are twisting ourselves into pretzels as we argue over how many Arabs to let in.

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