I usually don’t post anything political, but my social media newsfeed has been cluttered with inaccurate historical information.
First of all, I could not be more condemning of ISIS. I can’t even call them horrible humans because I don’t consider them human. Somewhere in their extremism they have lost their humanity. I have so little regard for this group, that I won’t say more. They do not deserve my attention.
Now, on to history. Whether or not you like President Obama, he is correct about the Crusades. Pope Urban II in a speech full of propaganda urged the knights of Europe to take Jerusalem. He promised them entrance into Heaven if they killed “infidels.” As the Crusaders marched toward their target, they took many cities along the way. They were known to not take prisoner and to kill all inhabitants of the conquered cities [yes, this includes children]. They did not stop at killing Muslims either. This was also an opportunity to kill Jews too. In one of the worst battles, as they were running low on food supplies, they turned to cannibalism, eating the flesh of those they killed. But don’t take my word for it; do some research. I am posting a link to an article by a professor at the University of Tennessee.
To compare the Muslim conquest prior to the Crusades to the Crusades is comparing apples and oranges. As Islam spread, the Muslims did not kill entire cities. In fact, in some areas they shared places of worship with the Christians; that is, the same buildings were used as both cathedral and mosque. It would be more accurate to compare the Muslim conquest to the expansion of the Spanish or British empires. I’m sure that the indigenous people of the Americas felt the same as those in Spain when the Muslims invaded.
I am so proud to be an American because I like to think of us as a nation of people who want the greater good, who value freedom for everyone, not just ourselves. It is so upsetting to me to see people whom I know to be intelligent, honorable people castigate Muslims in the same way that a hate group like ISIS denounces Westerners. There are a lot of wonderful people who practice Islam; just as there are wonderful Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists. The actions of a few do not equal the actions of all. I’m sure that those of us who are Christian, whether Catholic or Protestant, would not like to be linked with the behaviors of the Westboro Baptist Church or, for that matter, the attacks of the Irish Republican Army in the last century. Any apple can have bad seeds.
We cannot conquer hate with hate.