The View From 1776

History Channel Distorts the Crusades

By presenting only part of the background leading to the first Crusade, the History Channel gives us another example of liberal media bias.

The History Channel’s new series about the Crusades begins with a depiction of Western Europe as a refuge of barbarians, contrasting it to the “civilized” opulence of the Muslim world.  The History Channel’s experts neglect to point out that Muslim “civilization” and opulence were the product of what Muslims had looted from India and cities of the Eastern Orthodox Church in Greece, Asia Minor, and the Middle East.  To this civilization the Muslims contributed very little themselves.

Some of the reasons for the first Crusade in 1095 -1099 AD, as advanced by the History Channel’s experts, certainly were true.  Western Europe in the 11th century was indeed a warlike and violent place with fortified cities often under siege and continual battles among rival barons.  A great deal of that violence, however, was defensive actions against invading Muslim hordes that terrorized Western Europe for centuries.

By overlooking Islam’s role and by suggesting that the first Crusade was little more than a ploy by the new Pope Gregory VII to establish his political and military influence over the unruly barons, the History Channel’s experts give a decidedly liberal-socialist, anti-Christian tinge to the presentation.  To the extent that Christian religious motivation is mentioned, it is described as sincere, but hard-to-comprehend irrationality that thankfully no longer besets modern secular societies.

Completely missing is the most important of all motivations: the fact that for 450 years all of Christendom had been subjected to continual conquest, slaughter, pillaging , and enslavement by the Muslim hordes who, as with today’s terrorists, preached that slaughtering Christians was a good way to enter their paradise (not to mention, an effective way to acquire loot).  Muslim Middle Eastern and Levantine territories had been taken by conquest from the Eastern Roman Empire, based in Byzantium (Roman Emperor Constantine’s Constantinople, present-day Muslim Istanbul).  The Muslims also had been busy in Western Europe, overrunning Spain and much of southern France, until they were halted by a Frankish army led by Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732 AD.

The only mention of this in the History Channel presentation, even tangentially, was to say that the Muslim Seljuk Turks had defeated Byzantine armies in the 11th century and were threatening the capitol city itself.  Ultimately, in 1453, they conquered it.

Beginning early in the 11th century, several decades before the First Crusade was mounted, Muslim Caliphs began persecuting Christians in the Middle East.  Then in 1071, the marauding Seljuk Turks captured Jerusalem, despoiled the Holy Sepulcher, and cut off all Christian access to the place where Jesus Christ was crucified, the primary pilgrimage destination for Christians.

No matter how liberals and Muslims try to spin it, Western Christians were not responsible for the Crusades.  The Crusades were a very long-delayed, and entirely appropriate, response to Muslim savagery.
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