Crusaders reborn - Dr A Q Khan - Monday, April 04, 2011

The history of the Crusades and the crusaders is almost 1,000 years old. The First Crusade – a campaign by the Christians to retake Jerusalem and surrounding areas from the Muslims – took place in 1096 and continued until 1099. This will be discussed later. Here I would just like to point out that the Crusades by Christians against Muslims had a centuries-old history and there is deep-rooted animosity behind them. Christians’ campaign started as soon as our Holy Prophet (PBUH) spread the message of Allah (the Quran). The Christians and the Jews immediately plotted, intrigued and fought against the Muslims. Once the Muslims became stronger and Islam was established in Arabia, Muslims started campaigns against the most powerful Christian dynasties. Within a few years they ruled Armenia, Azerbaijan, Syria, Spain, Egypt, Iraq, Iran and even some western parts of what is now Pakistan. No other religion had ever posed such a serious threat to Christianity.

This old animosity is manifesting itself once again, the latest attack being the brutal attacks on Libya with advanced missiles and aircraft, killing a large number of innocent civilians. Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin has called the Libyan war a medieval crusade. Both Russia and China, by abstaining from the UN resolution, tacitly allowed the Western countries to undertake this aggression. They should have learnt from the example of Iraq and clearly defined what action was to be allowed.

The first Crusade, in which all the European countries participated, was instigated by Pope Urban II. The crusaders conquered Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine and the coastal areas of Syria. The Second Crusade took place between 1147 and 1149. The Christian army was led by Germany’s emperor Conrad III and France’s Louis III. The aim was to stop Imamuddin Zangi from conquering Christian-occupied territories. Imamuddin died during this war and his famous son, Nuruddin Zangi, led the Muslim armies, and the Crusaders failed to make any gains. Nuruddin Zangi inflicted heavy casualties on his opponents.

The Third Crusade, from 1189 to 1192, was the biggest and most important campaign by the European Christians. It started as an attempt to stop the conquest of Jerusalem by Salahuddin Ayubi. The Christian armies were led by Richard the Lionheart, Philippe of France and Frederik Barbarosa of Germany. Barbarosa drowned in a river in Turkey and Richard and Philippe failed to achieve any victory. Salahuddin decisively defeated the crusaders at Hittin (to the west of Lake Tiberias), took Guy of Jerusalem as prisoner, executed Reginald of Karak and recaptured Jerusalem. During the Fourth Crusade, from 1202 to 1204, the crusaders started fighting amongst themselves, killing each other and occupying Constantinople. In the Fifth Crusade, from 1218 to 1221, the crusaders attacked Egypt, but were decisively beaten by Malik Kamil Ayubi. The Sixth Crusade, 1228 to 1229, was led by Frederik II of Germany. There was no actual war, Malik Kamil Ayubi agreeing to a compromise and allowing the crusaders to take possession of Jerusalem. However, Muslims didn’t accept this and reoccupied Jerusalem in 1244. The Seventh Crusade, from 1248 to 1249, and was led by Louis IX of France. The crusaders attacked Egypt, were defeated by Malik As-Saleh Ayubi and Louis was taken prisoner. After paying ransom he was allowed to leave. The Eighth Crusade, 1270 to 1271, was again under Louis IX and was another failure. This time he was joined by British king Edward. Instead of going to Jerusalem, the crusaders went to Tunis, where Louis died. With this, the first phase of the Crusades came to an end.

There was another Crusade known as the “Children’s Crusade.” Believing that adult soldiers were sinners, the crusaders recruited thousands of children, who were dispatched to Jerusalem in 1212. By the time they reached Marseille, they were looted, misused and even sold as slaves.

The second phase of the Crusades was started by the Europeans after the industrial development in the late 13th century. The British, French and Spanish went all out to conquer Islamic countries and brutally murdered millions of Muslims. Spain was liberated. Morocco, Tunis, Algeria, Senegal, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Chad, Nigeria, Niger, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, India, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaya were all colonised. All Central Asian Muslim states were subjugated by the Russians.

The current phase started in the last few decades when born-again Christians like Bush and Blair attacked Afghanistan and Iraq and destroyed them. At the moment, with Obama in charge, Libya is the “bad Muslim boy.” They will make a horrible example of Libya, as they did of Iraq and Saddam Hussein.

Let us look back at our own history and character. Wherever the Western countries succeeded, they did so because of traitors, collaborators and corruption. Starting from Morocco to Indonesia, one always finds collaborators responsible for the downfall of Islamic regimes. If any Muslim stood up to these invaders, he was eliminated. By manipulation and intrigues, stooges are brought to power and these countries are then ruled through them. At this time their goal is to fully control oil. Only Libya remained somewhat beyond their control, hence the current action to force it into toeing their line, just as Iraq and all the oil-producing Arab countries have been forced to do.

When the crusaders conquered Jerusalem in 1098, they massacred all the Muslims – 70,000 in total. Western historians have written extensively on this barbarity and have mentioned that the courtyard of the Holy Mosque where Muslims had taken refuge was covered in so much blood that the hooves of the horses were submerged. When Salahuddin reconquered Jerusalem in 1187, he spared all those who laid down their arms and surrendered. First he freed all the women, children, old men and the wounded and then allowed all Christians to be freed against ransom. Many of the soldiers had no money. For them, Salahuddin’s brother, Malik Adil, quietly paid so that they could to go back to their respective countries. All these details have been given by famous historian Karen Armstrong in her well-known book The Crusades.

Now coming to the crux of the matter, as mentioned earlier, these curses are of our own doing. We have totally ignored Divine edicts. Look at the rulers in Islamic countries; see their character, policies, friendship with the Western World and thir dependence on them, their submissive attitude towards all injustice and brutality by their patron and, above all, their patron’s attitude towards Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians and their biased policies towards anything that is Islamic. Still they continue to consider the West to be their friends and protectors. It is all inviting what the Almighty has warned us of – disgrace and destruction.


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