Who Are The Infidels?<br />“God wills it!”<br />“God is Great!”<br />These are words that the Christians and Muslims of th...
The christians attack on the muslims were justified
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The christians attack on the muslims were justified

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The christians attack on the muslims were justified

  1. 1. Who Are The Infidels?<br />“God wills it!”<br />“God is Great!”<br />These are words that the Christians and Muslims of the Middle Ages called out when they went into battle with each other during the Crusades. When the Byzantine Emperor asked for help against the Muslim Turks in 1093, Pope Urban II seemed to have the perfect reason to begin what he called a Holy War. By winning, the Church could get control of the Holy Land and also reunite with the Church of Constantinople. Muslims had been in Jerusalem since the 7th century. The Crusades were a time when violence and conquest were encouraged in the name of religion. Each group believed that God was on their side, because their attacks were against the infidels. Both Christians and Muslims found strong justifications for their faith in being the true believers and rulers of Jerusalem.<br />At first, it was necessary to convince people to go on a crusade. Most people in central Europe had probably never even seen a Muslim unless they had gone on a Christian pilgrimage to Jerusalem. But Pope Urban told people that the Turks were doing bad things to the Holy Places there (Riley-Smith, page 27). “This horrible race of infidels destroys altars, after having defiled them with their uncleanness.” (Williams, page 26) This was very upsetting to Christians who believed that anything to do with places where Jesus Christ had been was especially holy. All sorts of people wanted to go off and rescue the Holy Land. Pope Urban II told them “If you wish to be mindful of your souls, advance boldly, as knights of Christ, and rush as quickly as you can to the defense of the Eastern Church…drive out the Turks…deem it a beautiful thing to die for Christ in that city in which He died for us” (Levy, page 8). Ordinary men and even women and children were not the best people to go into battle—knights and nobles were encouraged to go on crusades. Nobles often fought with each other about land and power. The Pope told them to stop fighting with each other over land at home, but to go out to the Holy Land. “Let hatred depart you; let your quarrels end. Enter upon the road to the Holy Sepulcher; wrest that land from a wicked race, and subject it to yourselves” (Williams, page 28). A place in heaven and the forgiveness of sins were the religious rewards, land and treasures were the earthly rewards. Jerusalem and other parts of the Holy Land were seized from the Muslims. “This is the day the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it,” said Raymond of Aguilers on the day Jerusalem fell in 1099 (Williams, page 86). The Crusaders slaughtered 70,000 men, women and children, both Muslim and Jewish. Fulcher of Chartres commented “Oh time of times most memorable! Oh deed before all other deeds! They desired that this place, so long contaminated by the superstition of the pagan inhabitants should be cleansed of their contagion.” (Williams, page 87) This violence set the stage for the Muslims to try and get back Jerusalem and later the Christian settlements there.<br />Despite that Muslims had actually conquered the Byzantine Christian lands in the 7th century (Williams, 117), Muslims felt the Holy Land belonged to them. They were humiliated by people who were taking their land and killing their people. “Strive against the disbelievers…slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out…” (Quran (9:73, 2:191). More and more crusaders came into the Holy Land. Muslim cities were captured by the Christians and people ran away from their homes. More battles were fought and some were won by Christians and some by Muslims. When leaders like Saladin led their Muslim soldiers, they felt strengthened. “This is the moment to cast off laziness, to summon from far and near those men who have blood in their veins; but we are confident, thanks to Allah—Alhamdulilah—in the help that will come from Hin in sincerity of purpose and deepest devotion. Insha’allah the disbelievers shall perish and the Faithful shall have a sure deliverance.” (Salahuddin Ayyubi; Abu Samma, Kitab Ar-Rawadatain).<br />In my opinion, I don’t think that either the Christians or the Muslims were justified—especially because they were fighting over land that actually had belonged to the Jews even earlier. Still, both sides had valid arguments and the right to fight for their religion but this right did not include the right to bring down the other’s religion. That said, when violence from both sides took away innocence. “It was impossible to look upon the vast numbers of the slain without horror…” This quote is from William of Tyre, a Christian bishop who was referring to Jerusalem in 1099 (Ancient World History, page 386). But the same could have been said about those killed by Muslims. Murder in the name of religion is a bad thing. But both sides said “to kill an infidel is not murder, it is the path to heaven” (Kingdom of Heaven).<br />

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