What they do not tell you when blame the West for jihadist attacks
The appeal to the Crusades is very frequent among jihadists to justify their crimes. Some Westerners have also aimed at legitimizing Islamist terrorism.
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If we rely on this manipulation of history, it seems that the early Muslims were a group of pacifists who had no choice but to take action against the attacks of bellicose Christians. Nothing further from the historical truth. I propose to briefly review some of the Islamic offensives suffered by the territories inhabited by Christians before the beginning of the First Crusade in 1096.
First of all, it should be noted that after initiating his public preaching in 613, the Prophet Muhammad and his followers began to be persecuted by the polytheistic pagan Quraysh people, who then dominated the city of Mecca. Muhammad’s followers found refuge in the Christian kingdom of Aksum (more or less corresponding to present-day Eritrea), one of the first countries that had officially embraced Christianity in the fourth century. In 623 Muhammad began his military offensives. The attacks on the Christians soon arrived:
- In 629 the Mohammedans launched their first attack against the Christian territories of Byzantium, giving rise to the Battle of Mu’tah, which ended with the victory of the Christian forces.
- In 632, a few months before his death, Muhammad attacked the Gasanid Christians, an Arab vassal kingdom of the Byzantine Empire. In August of 636 this kingdom was finally defeated and invaded by the Muslim forces after the Battle of Yarmouk.
- In September 635 the Muslim Arab general Khalid ibn al-Walid took the city of Damascus, whose population was Christian majority. The city had already been attacked by Islamic armies in April 634. A Byzantine counter-offensive attempted to recover the Syrian capital, but a new Muslim victory in August 636 left it in Islamic hands.
- In November of 636 caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab sieged Jerusalem, then under Christian Byzantine rule. At the beginning of April of 637 the city was taken by the Muslims, after the signing of an agreement that allowed to remain the Christians of the city in exchange of the payment of a tribute.
- Between 638 and 639 the Islamic forces invaded Byzantine Armenia. Armenia had been, in 301, the first country to officially convert to Christianity.
- Between 639 and 642 the Muslims invaded Byzantine Egypt, of Christian majority. The capture of Alexandria in December 642 was followed by the burning of many churches, including the Church of St. Mark, which then housed the remains of this Apostle.
- In 640 Muslim Arabs attacked and looted the Christian city of Duin, in Persian Armenia. In a second attack in 642, the Muslims finally took the city: 12,000 of its inhabitants were killed and 35,000 were enslaved.
- In 645 Persian Armenia fell definitively into Muslim power. It was a territory mostly populated by Christians.
- In 651 Muslim Arabs attacked the Christian kingdom of Makuria, located in southern Egypt today. The invasion was rejected and the Christian kingdom signed a peace treaty that forced him to pay a tribute to the Muslims.
- In 668 the first Umayyad Muslim caliph, Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan, started an offensive against the Byzantine Christian Empire, occupying the city of Chalcedon and attacking the capital, Constantinople, in 669.
- Between 674 and 678, the Muslims began their first siege of Constantinople, the Christian capital of the Byzantine Empire. They breached the powerful walls that protected the city in the Bosphorus Strait, but the site ended in a Christian victory.
- In 698 Islamic forces took the Byzantine city of Carthage, under Christian rule. The invaders razed the city and massacred its inhabitants.
- In the year 711 the Umayyad Caliphate began the invasion of the Iberian Peninsula, managing to subdue all its Christian kingdoms in nine years. Then began a Christian resistance that would last seven centuries to achieve the expulsion of the invaders.
- Between 717 and 718 the Umayyad Caliphate launched a new siege against Constantinople, suffering a new defeat. The harsh resistance of the Byzantine Christians prevented, for the moment, a Muslim invasion of Eastern Europe.
- In 732 an Umayyad army attacked and sacked the Aquitaine city of Bordeaux, perpetrating a brutal slaughter of Christians. The Islamic invasion of the rest of France and central Europe was stopped by the Frankish king Charles Martel, grandfather of Charlemagne, at the Battle of Poitiers in October of that year, which ended in Muslim defeat.
- In 830 Rome suffered an Islamic attack. The old basilicas of St Peter and St Paul were sacked, and the city and the monastery of Subiaco were destroyed.
- In 846 a new Islamic offensive attacked and sacked Rome. They again plundered the old basilicas of St Peter and St Paul.
- In 977 the Muslim leader Almanzor began a continuous series of attacks against the Christian kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula, campaigns that continued until his death in 1002. In 997, in his most famous campaign, he attacked Santiago de Compostela, burning the church dedicated to the Apostle Santiago and stealing their bells, forcing Christian prisoners to transport them to Cordoba for use as lamps in their mosque. The campaigns of Almanzor were characterized by their terrible slaughters of Christians, turning into slaves to those to which it did not assassinate.
- In 1009 the caliph Huséin al-Hakim Bi-Amrillah destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, within the framework of an Islamic persecution against the Christians of the Holy Land.
- In 1076 the Seljuq Turks, fundamentalist Muslims, took Jerusalem and subjected to a severe persecution to the Christian pilgrims that came to Holy Land, torturing them and killing them.
Following the Seljuq persecution of the Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem, and in the face of the serious threat posed by this Islamic fundamentalist branch, in 1095 the Byzantine Emperor Alejo I sought help from Pope Urban II, who the following year convened the First Crusade with The purpose of liberating the Holy Land. By a simple review of the dates we can observe that 467 years of Muslim attacks against the Christians had passed, a time similar to that between the end of the reign of the Emperor Charles V of Spain and the current date. And there are still some who insist on blaming the West for the crimes of jihadism …