Stop Ignoring Islams Role For The Rise Of The Crusades

I happened upon this in The Straight Dope:

"...Throughout the Crusades, which began in 1095 when Pope Urban II called upon Christians to wrest the Holy Land from Muslim control, one side might reasonably have been described as civilized, tolerant, and progressive, while the other was by and large a bunch of backward, ignorant, bloodthirsty fanatics. Hint: It wasn't the Muslims who, upon capturing Jerusalem in 1099, gleefully slaughtered everyone there."

Yeh. I got a problem with this part in what otherwise was a response I agreed with for the large part.

Why? Mostly because it gives the impression Christianity undertook The Crusades for the heck of it and it enjoyed spilling some blood; Songs of Roland notwithstanding.

One problem though - perhaps unwittingly - spelled out in the sentence itself: wrest the Holy Land from Muslim control.

That part is key to me.

The Crusades were as much a reaction to Islamic expansion and desire to conquer European lands as much as any reason or explanation put forth.

Between the 7th and 15th centuries and until the fall of The Ottoman empire in the early 20th century, Islam was on the march and Europe - being poorer - was defending itself and used The Crusades to launch its own offensive to merely recapture lost Christian lands - which by the way were permanently lost in some cases. Ask yourself this. Why did so many Europeans pull back away from the shores during this period? Retrenching back to the hills and into castles as a means of protection.

So yeah. I'm not on board with the 'we went and attacked the peaceful Muslims'.

To assert this is to deny the fact Islam was ascending and it wanted to exploit and expand.

Next they'll try and tell me Islams role in slavery was more humane by us dirty Christians, right?

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