Since there is so much misunderstanding about the Crusades, as well as the history of the relationship between Europe and Islam in general, I have decided to write historical articles for my website on Italy, Italy Travels Guide.
Italy, being right in the middle of the Mediterranean, has a long history of relations with the Islamic world.
The widespread misunderstanding mentioned above was obviously not born out of chance, but is the result of clever manipulation of public opinion. Propaganda and apology of Islam disguised as history have managed to corrupt what many people think they know about these subjects; myths have been spread as Islamophiles have tried to rewrite history in their own image.
So, these truths and facts from past ages need to be told.
My first article is on Pope Urban II, who launched the First Crusade:
Urban II, the 159th Pope of the Catholic Church, was one of the great Popes in history, and was beatified in 1881 by Pope Leo XIII.This is half of the article, read the rest.
The most famous son of Châtillon-sur-Marne, in Champagne, France, he was Pope from 1088 until his death in 1099.
We have to thank Pope Blessed Urban II for many things, including the internal reforms he made and his declarations against simony, the Medieval practice of selling church offices; but especially we have to be grateful to him for having saved Europe from subjugation to Islamic forces.
Since the time of Islam's prophet Muhammad and after his death, Muslim armies had kept conquering lands, starting from the Arabian Peninsula and then spreading to the whole Middle East and North Africa, offering the local populations, largely Christians and Jews, the triple "choice" of a) converting to Islam, b) accepting their inferior status, to be fully humiliated (become "dhimmi") and to pay a special non-Muslim tax ("Jizya") that many could not afford, or 3) being killed, as the Koran orders:
Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (Qur'an (9:29))"Historical facts say that Islam, including Muhammad, launched their own Crusades against Christianity long before the European Crusades".
Muslim forces were poised to conquer Europe as well. In 732 in France, moving north, Muslim armies "led by Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi proceeded to sack Aquitaine. Charles Martel mobilized his army to meet the threat. The victory at Tours marked the end of the Muslim invasions in northwestern Europe and preserved Christianity in the region."
Adolf Hitler, who was an admirer of Islam, said: "Had Charles Martel not been victorious at Poitiers -already, you see, the world had already fallen into the hands of the Jews, so gutless a thing Christianity! -then we should in all probability have been converted to Mohammedanism [Islam], that cult which glorifies the heroism and which opens up the seventh Heaven to the bold warrior alone. Then the Germanic races would have conquered the world. Christianity alone prevented them from doing so" (Adolf Hitler's Monologe im Führerhauptquartier (Monologue with Headquarters of the Führer). Hamburg: Albrecht Knaus, 1980).
In addition, Muslim invasions and atrocities against Christians were increasing in the decades before the First Crusade was declared in 1095.