The New York Times’ Alan Riding recently opined that:
“…[The C]rusades were waged, [by] European monarchs, lords, knights and their armies of devout followers to fight - and settle - in an area stretching between what is today Syria and Egypt. The Muslims responded with their own sporadic jihads until finally, by 1291, the Christians had been driven out.”
...[on] Ridley Scott’s new film portrayal of the Crusades, Kingdom of Heaven:
“…Mr. Scott and his screenwriter, William Monahan, have tried to be balanced. Muslims are portrayed as bent on coexistence until Christian extremists ruin everything.”
Little wonder then that the jihadist organization CAIR, waxed enthusiastic about the film following an advanced screening. Unfortunately, such ahistorical claptrap has become standard fare for journalistic and even pseudo-scholarly “summary assessments” of The Crusades, with perhaps the most egregious example of the latter being this reductio ad absurdum commentary by John Esposito, the doyen of academic apologists for Islam:
Five centuries of peaceful coexistence elapsed before political events and an imperial-papal power play led to centuries-long series of so-called holy wars [emphasis added] that pitted Christendom against Islam and left an enduring legacy of misunderstanding and distrust.
Click title for a very long, but comprehensive treatment of how Islam treated Christians, Jews and it's own apostates from Spain to the Middle and Near East. It's example after example of slaughter, enslavement and oppression - and nicely footnoted at the end. Here is the conclusion:
It is ahistorical and frankly absurd to separate the Crusades from the anti-Christian jihad wars that antedated and precipitated them. Four and one-half centuries of devastating jihad conquests (i.e., 632-1095 C.E.), and the cruel imposition of dhimmitude on the vanquished, primarily Christian populations, finally engendered a sustained, organized and violent response when Christendom perceived its very survival to be imperiled. Jacques Ellul has characterized the origins and effects of this transformation:
…the Crusade is an imitation of the jihad. Thus the Crusade includes a guarantee of salvation. The one who dies in holy war (i.e., jihad) goes straight to Paradise, and the same applies to the one who takes part in a Crusade. This is no coincidence; it is an exact equivalent. The Crusades, which were once admired as an expression of absolute faith, and which are now the subject of accusations against the Church and Christianity, are of Muslim, not Christian origin…The nonviolence of Jesus Christ changes into a war in conflict with that waged by the foe. Like that war, this is now a holy war.
The devastating Islamic institution of jihad must be acknowledged, renounced, dismantled, and relegated forever to the dustbin of history, by Muslims themselves. As Professor Walid Phares, in a frank, astute commentary entitled “Jihad is Jihad”, noted:
In the Christian world, modern Christians outlawed crusading; they did not rewrite history to legitimize themselves. Those who believe that the jihad holy war is a sin today must have the courage to de-legitimize it and outlaw it as well.