The Fall of Byzantium: conquest and destruction of the Christian East

I am tired of hearing that the crusades were western aggression against a peaceful Muslim population when that is flat out WRONG.  The article, “Exclusive – ‘Tyranny of Clichés’ Excerpt: The Truth About the Crusades” does a nice job repudiating this particular cliché.

The Crusades were a DEFENSIVE war against Muslim aggression and sadly for the Christians, they mostly lost, and all the Christian world in the East fell under Islamic control.  Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt and much of North Africa were Christian long before they were invaded and conquered by Muslim armies.

Until fairly recently, historically speaking, Muslims used to brag about being the winners of the Crusades, not the victims of it. That is if they talked about them at all. “The Crusades could more accurately be described as a limited, belated and, in the last analysis, ineffectual re­sponse to the jihad—a failed attempt to recover by a Christian holy war what had been lost to a Muslim holy war,” writes Bernard Lewis, the greatest living historian of Islam in the English language (and perhaps any language).5 Historian Thomas Madden puts it more directly, “Now put this down in your notebook, because it will be on the test: The cru­sades were in every way a defensive war. They were the West’s belated response to the Muslim conquest of fully two-thirds of the Christian world.”6

Lost in much of this discussion is that Christianity is not a Western faith imposed on the Middle East by the West. It was a faith born in the East that spread to the West. The Holy Lands were Christian for centu­ries before Muhammed was even born. The Crusades were launched not as a war of conquest but as a war to save Christians from Muslim perse­cution and conquest. Atrocities in the name of Christ were undoubtedly committed, as were atrocities in the name of Islam. One need not condone all of that. Indeed, one can single out Christianity for its hypocrisy, since the crusaders at times violated their ideals of love, forgiveness, and char­ity, while Islam was under no such restraint.–  [emphasis mine]

Hopefully people will begin to actually READ the well written work of historians like Bernard Lewis and Thomas Madden, as well as the wonderful series by Dr. Warren Carroll, and learn for themselves the truth about the crusades being a defensive move against an aggressive enemy.  Another wonderful book is Lars Brownworth’s Lost To The West, The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization which is actually quite readable and might be a good choice for adults and teens alike.

There is little excuse for the general ignorance of history especially the history of how Islamic armies conquered the Eastern Christian civilization that stretched from Greece around the Mediterranean Sea including much of North Africa and which predated the birth of Mohamed by many years.

Dear Lord, please help us to know the truth and use that information to guide our decisions so that peace will be possible. Give our leaders wisdom and the nerve to make the decisions that will preserve the freedoms You have given us and ensure their preservation in law. Thank You for the work of historians who are more interested in what actually happened than in pushing some agenda. Please protect and bless them. Amen.

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