Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Correcting four myths about the history of the Crusades

Crusader

Crusader

Here is an interesting article from First Principles Journal.

Intro:

The verdict seems unanimous. From presidential speeches to role-playing games, the crusades are depicted as a deplorably violent episode in which thuggish Westerners trundled off, unprovoked, to murder and pillage peace-loving, sophisticated Muslims, laying down patterns of outrageous oppression that would be repeated throughout subsequent history. In many corners of the Western world today, this view is too commonplace and apparently obvious even to be challenged.

But unanimity is not a guarantee of accuracy. What everyone “knows” about the crusades may not, in fact, be true. From the many popular notions about the crusades, let us pick four and see if they bear close examination.

The four myths:

  • Myth #1: The crusades represented an unprovoked attack by Western Christians on the Muslim world.
  • Myth #2: Western Christians went on crusade because their greed led them to plunder Muslims in order to get rich.
  • Myth #3: Crusaders were a cynical lot who did not really believe their own religious propaganda; rather, they had ulterior, materialistic motives.
  • Myth #4: The crusades taught Muslims to hate and attack Christians.

Here’s the most obvious thing you should know. The Crusades were defensive actions:

In a.d. 632, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, North Africa, Spain, France, Italy, and the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica were all Christian territories. Inside the boundaries of the Roman Empire, which was still fully functional in the eastern Mediterranean, orthodox Christianity was the official, and overwhelmingly majority, religion. Outside those boundaries were other large Christian communities—not necessarily orthodox and Catholic, but still Christian. Most of the Christian population of Persia, for example, was Nestorian. Certainly there were many Christian communities in Arabia.

By a.d. 732, a century later, Christians had lost Egypt, Palestine, Syria, North Africa, Spain, most of Asia Minor, and southern France. Italy and her associated islands were under threat, and the islands would come under Muslim rule in the next century. The Christian communities of Arabia were entirely destroyed in or shortly after 633, when Jews and Christians alike were expelled from the peninsula.6 Those in Persia were under severe pressure. Two-thirds of the formerly Roman Christian world was now ruled by Muslims.

What had happened? Most people actually know the answer, if pressed—though for some reason they do not usually connect the answer with the crusades. The answer is the rise of Islam. Every one of the listed regions was taken, within the space of a hundred years, from Christian control by violence, in the course of military campaigns deliberately designed to expand Muslim territory at the expense of Islam’s neighbors. Nor did this conclude Islam’s program of conquest. The attacks continued, punctuated from time to time by Christian attempts to push back. Charlemagne blocked the Muslim advance in far western Europe in about a.d. 800, but Islamic forces simply shifted their focus and began to island-hop across from North Africa toward Italy and the French coast, attacking the Italian mainland by 837. A confused struggle for control of southern and central Italy continued for the rest of the ninth century and into the tenth. In the hundred years between 850 and 950, Benedictine monks were driven out of ancient monasteries, the Papal States were overrun, and Muslim pirate bases were established along the coast of northern Italy and southern France, from which attacks on the deep inland were launched. Desperate to protect victimized Christians, popes became involved in the tenth and early eleventh centuries in directing the defense of the territory around them.

If you asked me what are the two best books on the Crusades, I would answer God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades by Baylor professor Rodney Stark and The Concise History of the Crusades by Professor Thomas F. Madden. If you get this question a lot from atheists, then I recommend you pick these up. Anything by Rodney Stark is useful for Christians, in fact.

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Obama says that 99.9% of Muslims worldwide reject radical Islam, is he right?

That video is from The Weekly Standard, here’s the text:

President Obama told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that 99.9 percent of Muslims reject radical Islam. He made the comments in response to a question about the White House avoiding using the phrase “Islamic terrorists.”

“You know, I think that the way to understand this is there is an element growing out of Muslim communities in certain parts of the world that have perverted the religion, have embraced a nihilistic, violent, almost medieval interpretation of Islam, and they’re doing damage in a lot of countries around the world,” said Obama.

“But it is absolutely true that I reject a notion that somehow that creates a religious war because the overwhelming majority of Muslims reject that interpretation of Islam. They don’t even recognize it as being Islam, and I think that for us to be successful in fighting this scourge, it’s very important for us to align ourselves with the 99.9 percent of Muslims who are looking for the same thing we’re looking for–order, peace, prosperity.”

Now, let’s take a look at apostasy and blasphemy laws in Muslim countries, with some help from the left-leaning Pew Research.

They write:

In 10 of 20 countries where there are adequate samples for analysis, at least half of Muslims who favor making sharia the law of the land also favor stoning unfaithful spouses.

Some of the highest support for stoning is found in South Asia and the Middle East-North Africa region. In Pakistan (89%) and Afghanistan (85%), more than eight-in-ten Muslims who want Islamic law as their country’s official law say adulterers should be stoned, while nearly as many say the same in the Palestinian territories (84%) and Egypt (81%). A majority also support stoning as a penalty for the unfaithful in Jordan (67%), Iraq (58%). However, support is significantly lower in Lebanon (46%) and Tunisia (44%), where less than half of those who support sharia as the official law of the land believe that adulterers should be stoned.

In Southeast Asia, six-in-ten Muslims in Malaysia consider stoning an appropriate penalty for adultery. About half hold this view in Thailand (51%) and Indonesia (48%).

Muslims in Central Asia as well as Southern and Eastern Europe are generally less likely to support stoning adulterers. Among those who favor Islamic law as the official law of the land, only in Tajikistan do about half (51%) support this form of punishment. Elsewhere in the two regions, fewer than four-in-ten favor this type of punishment, including roughly a quarter or fewer across the countries surveyed in Southern and Eastern Europe.

And:

Compared with attitudes toward applying sharia in the domestic or criminal spheres, Muslims in the countries surveyed are significantly less supportive of the death penalty for converts. Nevertheless, in six of the 20 countries where there are adequate samples for analysis, at least half of those who favor making Islamic law the official law also support executing apostates.

Taking the life of those who abandon Islam is most widely supported in Egypt (86%) and Jordan (82%). Roughly two-thirds who want sharia to be the law of the land also back this penalty in the Palestinian territories (66%). In the other countries surveyed in the Middle East-North Africa region, fewer than half take this view.

In the South Asian countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan, strong majorities of those who favor making Islamic law the official law of the land also approve of executing apostates (79% and 76%, respectively). However, in Bangladesh far fewer (44%) share this view.

A majority of Malaysian Muslims (62%) who want to see sharia as their country’s official law also support taking the lives of those who convert to other faiths. But fewer take this position in neighboring Thailand (27%) and Indonesia (18%).

In Central Asia as well as Southern and Eastern Europe, only in Tajikistan (22%) do more than a fifth of Muslims who want sharia as the official law of the land also condone the execution of apostates. Support for killing converts to other faiths falls below one-in-ten in Albania (8%) and Kazakhstan (4%).

Now there is one little problem with this Pew Research data that causes them to understate the real numbers who favor adultery-stonings and apostasy-killings.

Andrew McCarthy explains in National Review:

But what is striking is that the depressing state of affairs is manifest despite Pew’s best efforts to make things seem better than they are. Principally, the survey is about Muslim views about sharia, Islam’s legal system and framework for society. It is intimated that Pew’s study is exhaustive, involving interviews with 38,000 Muslims across 39 countries. But, as my friend Andy Bostom pointed out to me this morning, guess which countries are not included in the survey? That would be Saudi Arabia, Iran and Sudan — perhaps the three most sharia compliant countries in the world, home cumulatively to nearly 150 million Muslims.

[…]In point of fact, sharia is the law of Saudi Arabia and Iran. These countries profess themselves as reflections of the true Islam (Saudi Arabia from the Sunni perspective, Iran from the Shiite) in which no law but sharia is necessary and no departures from sharia are permissible. Sudan (a Sunni Muslim country) is already close to the Saudis and Iranians in this regard and is sure to be more so when it finally adopts a new constitution (which it has been threatening to do for several years).

Iran has about 87 million people, Sudan has about 42 million people, and Saudi Arabia has about 31 million people. These are strict Islamic countries and they were left out of the survey.

So, what are we to make of Obama’s comments now? Are Democrats like Barack Obama, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton accurate enough in their beliefs about the world that we should have confidence in their foreign policy? If they really believe these obvious false assertions, and they are making decisions based on these delusions, then how much does that set back the causes of freedom and democracy in the world? It seems to me that the first rule of protecting the good and fighting against evil is to be able to identify which is which.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , ,

After synagogue attack, Obama urges both terrorists and Israelis to “be calm”

The Weekly Standard reports on Obama’s reaction to the latest terrorist attack against Jews in Israel:

After a Palestinian terror attack that killed [five] in Israel, President Barack Obama is calling for both sides to be calm. “Too many Israelis have died; too many Palestinians have died. At this difficult time I think it’s important for both Palestinians and Israelis to try to work together to lower tensions and reject violence,” said President Obama, according to the White House pool report.

The death toll is now 5, according to the Washington Post. How is it possible that the President would do the equivalent of urging a woman who has been raped and her rapist to not rape each other any more? Well, there are no more elections, so the faked support for our allies is really coming off. Hamas has not claimed responsibility, but Palestinians are celebrating the attack.

Obama wasn’t done, though. He had something brilliant to say about the recent beheading of an American by Islamic State.

Breitbart reports:

Returning from his trip to Asia, President Obama issued a statement reacting to the beheading of U.S. aid worker Peter Kassig by Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) terrorists.

Kassig, a convert to Islam, took the name Abdul-Rahman and was captured and held hostage by members of ISIS a year ago.

“ISIL’s actions represent no faith, least of all the Muslim faith which Abdul-Rahman adopted as his own,” Obama wrote.

The actions of “Islamic State” don’t represent the Islamic faith. David Wood begs to differ, and explains the 10 most essential verses for understanding ISIS / Islamic State.

Is Obama aware of these verses? Or are his comments just more “you can keep your doctor”, “you can keep your health plan” rhetoric?

Republicans react

Meanwhile, Indian-American governor Bobby Jindal had his own opinion of the terrorist attack on a synagogue.

He said:

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, a possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate, will soon release this statement responding to the terror attack in Jerusalem.

“Our hearts and prayers are with the victims and their families after this evil attack on a place of worship,” the statement reads.

“An attack on a synagogue shows that there are no bounds for terrorists. These are people depraved of any humanity in their hearts, and they must not only be stopped, they must be exterminated.

“Unfortunately, Israel is no stranger to these types of attacks. That’s why we must always stand with our close friend and ally, condemn the act of terror and defend their right to defend themselves.

That’s quite different than what Obama said, isn’t it? And that’s the difference between the two parties right there.

 

 

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , ,

Yazidi girls who managed to escape Islamic State tell their stories

In the radically leftist New York Times, of all places.

Excerpt:

The 15-year-old girl, crying and terrified, refused to release her grip on her sister’s hand. Days earlier, Islamic State fighters had torn the girls from their family, and now were trying to split them up and distribute them as spoils of war.

The jihadist who had selected the 15-year-old as his prize pressed a pistol to her head, promising to pull the trigger. But it was only when the man put a knife to her 19-year-old sister’s neck that she finally relented, taking her next step in a dark odyssey of abduction and abuse at the hands of the Islamic State.

The sisters were among several thousand girls and young women from the minority Yazidi religion who were seized by the Islamic State in northernIraq in early August.

The 15-year-old is also among a small number of kidnapping victims who have managed to escape, bringing with them stories of a coldly systemized industry of slavery.

Their accounts tell of girls and young women separated from their families, divvied up or traded among the Islamic State’s men, ordered to convert to Islam, subjected to forced marriages and repeatedly raped.

You might think that this would be a big concern to Sandra Fluke feminists here in the West, but it isn’t. They all voted Democrat so that our armed forces would pull out and when we are not present we create a vacuum where this sort of behavior becomes possible.

Anyway, back to the Yazidi girls. I was a bit curious to see whether the Quran and Hadith teach that this practice is OK.

Answering Muslims has a listing of verses, and yes – Muslims are allowed to rape captive girls. Moreover, they are allowed to rape women who are already married – as long as they kill the husbands first. You might think that would be seen as adultery, and a serious crime to those who believe the Ten Commandments, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem for Muslims – the Quran is all in favor of it. Just think about that for a minute. Think of the fear that a girl feels being kidnapped from her family and then raped, or seeing her husband murdered and then raped. This is the religion that Obama is so insistent is a religion of peace. And don’t expect the moral relativists on the secular left to condemn it, they’ve jettisoned God and so they have no ground to condemn other cultures. They believe in cultural relativism – different things are right in different times and places. Atheists may disagree with rape and sex slavery, like they disagree with varieties of ethnic food, but rape and sex slavery are not objectively wrong on atheism.

I just want to contrast the Muslim view of women with the Christian view of women. In Christianity, men are commanded to be abstain from sex outside of marriage. No sexual intercourse outside of marriage is permitted. Men are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the church – i.e., to die for them if necessary as a way of loving them self-sacrificially.

Take a look Ephesians 5:22-33: [ESV]

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.

24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,

26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,

30 because we are members of his body.

31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

33 However,let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

In Christianity, the man has a self-sacrificial obligation to love the woman. He has to sacrifice his own needs and own interests in order to care for her and treat her as worthy and precious. It’s from these Christian convictions that chivalry emerged – a standard of conduct that aims to protect women and love them romantically. There is no chastity in Islam. There is no chivalry in Islam. There is rape in Islam. There is adultery in Islam. It’s not a moral religion, and it’s remarkable to me that anyone would stand in front of a teleprompter and claim that they are moral with a straight face. If you want to be a good person, and not frighten and abuse women, then don’t be a Muslim.

By the way, it’s interesting to look at the recent comments by the secular leftist President of the United States. After a terrorist attack against a Jewish synagogue, the President urged both sides to refrain from violence. That’s like telling a victim of rape and her rapist to refrain from future rapes. But that’s not all. President Moral Equivalence also recently said that the beheadings conducted by Islamic State “represent no faith, least of all the Muslim faith“. Least of all. That means that it is more likely that Christians and Jews would behead their enemies than it is that Muslims would. This is the level of amorality we are dealing with in Barack Obama. The man simply cannot do morality.

Filed under: News, , , ,

Obama calls Ottawa, Canada terrorist attack by a Muslim “senseless violence”

Well, at least he didn’t call it “workplace violence”, like he did the attack on Fort Hood by Major Nidal Hasan.

Story from the Washington Times.

Excerpt:

A gunman who reportedly was a recent convert to Islam launched an attack Wednesday in Ottawa, killing one soldier guarding a war memorial before barging into the capital city’s Parliament amid a hail of gunfire and spawning increased vigilance in Washington and Ottawa, where officials wondered how he managed to get into the government building armed.

The Canadian soldier, identified as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, was the second killed in three days in an attack by a young Muslim convert. A hit-and-run that left one soldier dead and another injured Monday has been deemed a terrorist attack by Canadian officials.

The Islamic State, which has seized large swaths of land in Iraq and Syria, has called on Muslims to launch attacks in Western countries that have joined the U.S.-led coalition to combat the terrorists. Canadian officials said there was no evidence that the gunman had ties to Islamic extremism, but the investigation was in the early stages.

“But let there be no misunderstanding: We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated,” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a TV address to his nation.

The shooting stopped because there was an armed man on the scene:

In Ottawa on Wednesday, members of Parliament said they owed their lives to Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, who fatally shot the gunman just outside the caucus rooms where lawmakers were barricading themselves.

More on the Islamic terrorist:

A Canadian official identified the dead gunman as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, and an Ottawa hospital said it was treating two other victims from both attacks.

[…]Mr. Harper, in his evening address, said the attacks will “lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts” to fight terrorists, work with allies and keep the country safe.

He said Monday’s attack was by an “ISIL-inspired terrorist,” and said of Wednesday’s shooting that, “in the days to come, we will learn about the terrorist and any accomplices he may have had.”

Zehaf-Bibeau, the gunman, had a lengthy criminal history involving convictions for drug trafficking in Montreal, robbery in Vancouver, assault and weapons offenses as well as other crimes.

He was born in Quebec as Michael Joseph Hall but recently converted to Islam, CBS reported.

Home-grown terrorism, from Canada’s most liberal and multicultural province.

I’m not surprised this happened in Canada – the Liberal Party was in power for years and years there, and encouraged mass immigration from the poorest countries so that people who came would vote for bigger government (the Liberal Party). They called this “multiculturalism”. The problem was that many of these poor immigrants are poor because they come from Islamic countries that don’t allow the basic freedoms and rights that are needed for a capitalist economy. When they came to Canada, they not only voted for the Liberal Party, they kept their Islamic beliefs. Nothing that they learned in the multicultural schools would have taught them that there was any need to adopt the values of the country that took them in and offered them generous social programs.

You can see more Mark Steyn from the Sun News Network.

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