Vatican Changes View On "Barbaric" Crusades
Finally a form of historical revision this historian can support (h/t LGF and Dhimmi Watch):
THE Vatican has begun moves to rehabilitate the Crusaders by sponsoring a conference at the weekend that portrays the Crusades as wars fought with the “noble aim” of regaining the Holy Land for Christianity.Kingdom of Heaven was atrocious history (and a bad movie to boot), and despite my high esteem, respect, and admiration of the late pontiff, the idea that an "apology" for the Crusades would either ameliorate the flames of Islamic jihad or be an appropriate act of contrition for what was essentially a Christian attempt to reconquer previously-held Christian territories after centuries of Islamic occupation fell a little flat. Not only would the first objective of rapprochement with Bin Laden types fail, but the idea that the West, or Christianity in particular, should apologize for events that transpired over seven centuries ago, while in the intervening time have to stave off Islamic armies encroaching on Europe time and again (the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Lepanto 1571, and Vienna 1683) also feels inappropriate and an example of caving in to "multiculturalism" and "sensitivity" over "guilt" felt by Europeans. In this worldview, Europeans are always wrong, Islam always the victim, and racism and Islamophobia the symptoms of this unequal relationship.
The Crusades are seen by many Muslims as acts of violence that have underpinned Western aggression towards the Arab world ever since. Followers of Osama bin Laden claim to be taking part in a latter-day “jihad against the Jews and Crusaders”.
The late Pope John Paul II sought to achieve Muslim- Christian reconciliation by asking “pardon” for the Crusades during the 2000 Millennium celebrations. But John Paul’s apologies for the past “errors of the Church” — including the Inquisition and anti-Semitism — irritated some Vatican conservatives. According to Vatican insiders, the dissenters included Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. . .
. . .At the conference, held at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University, Roberto De Mattei, an Italian historian, recalled that the Crusades were “a response to the Muslim invasion of Christian lands and the Muslim devastation of the Holy Places”.
“The debate has been reopened,” La Stampa said. Professor De Mattei noted that the desecration of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem by Muslim forces in 1009 had helped to provoke the First Crusade at the end of the 11th century, called by Pope Urban II.
He said that the Crusaders were “martyrs” who had “sacrificed their lives for the faith”. He was backed by Jonathan Riley-Smith, Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Cambridge University, who said that those who sought forgiveness for the Crusades “do not know their history”. Professor Riley-Smith has attacked Sir Ridley Scott’s recent film Kingdom of Heaven, starring Orlando Bloom, as “utter nonsense”.
The rapid expansion of Islam (630's to 750's) and the displacement and subsequent dhimmitude of local Christian populations can be easily seen in the following two maps:
By 600 AD, Christianity had expanded and reached its greatest extent prior to the expansion of Islam during and after Mohammed's "revelations" around 610 AD.
By 750, a rather committed and brutal expansion--prompted by religious zeal and the promises of riches, helped to expand Islam's reach over the course of approximately one century.
Only the defeat at the Battle of Tours in 732 halted Muslim aggression beyond the Iberian peninsula, and a waning Byzantine Empire managed to hold off the expansion into Asia Minor and south-eastern Europe for a few more centuries. Even this cursory glance hardly elicits a notion that the Crusades were unprovoked and unprecedented acts of aggression against a poor or victimized Islam. If anything, this period marked the "zenith" of medieval Islamic culture and aside from the initial gains of the first Crusade, all subsequent crusades could be viewed at best as draws, and at worst, unmitigated disasters. For all the Muslim "anger" over the Crusades, the areas in and around modern Israel that comprised the Crusader states lasted barely a century. Hardly the basis for the so-called "victimization" that motivates modern jihadists.