Looking at the Kingdom of Heaven,
Andrew G. Bostom explains that Ridley Scott and his screenwriter, who
have tried to be balanced. Muslims are portrayed as bent on coexistence until Christian extremists ruin everything
are clearly straying away from the facts:
The Crusades as an historical phenomenon were a reaction to events resulting from over 450 years of previous jihad campaigns. At the close of the 11th century, particularly after the crushing Byzantine defeat by the Seljuk Turks at Manzikert in 1071, Christendom, including Europe, was under existential threat by a confluence of Muslim advances. To the West, the Almoravid Berber Muslim tribes drove into Spain and pushed northward, pillaging and massacring the Christian populations they encountered. In the East, following their victory at Manzikert, the Seljuks put Armenia to fire and sword, and within a decade they had conquered three-fourths of Asia Minor.
Al-Andalus represented the land of jihad par excellence. Every year (or multiple times within a year as “seasonal” razzias [ghazwa]) raiding expeditions were sent to ravage the Christian Spanish kingdoms to the north, the Basque regions, or France and the Rhone valley, bringing back booty and slaves. Andalusian corsairs attacked and invaded along the Sicilian and Italian coasts, even as far as the Aegean Islands, looting and burning as they went. Many thousands of non-Muslim captives were deported to slavery in Andalusia, where the caliph kept a militia of tens of thousand of Christian slaves, brought from all parts of Christian Europe (the Saqaliba), and a harem filled with captured Christian women.
Mr. Bostom’s article, documented with footnotes, continues tomorrow.
Update, May 5, Part 2: “It is ahistorical and frankly absurd to separate the Crusades from the anti-Christian jihad wars that antedated and precipitated them.”