Issue 49 [@50:05]: Serge Trifkovic – The Crusades 1095 – 1270 AD. The crusades are not understood in Muslim world today very differently than they are understood by the western academia and in the discourse of the western elite class. Both talk of Crusades as aggressive war of conquest by Western Europe against the peaceful innocent Muslims. One may ask however what were those Muslims doing in the holy land in the first place. Well happened that Muhammad and his successors waged a series of wars of conquest and one such onslaught in the fourth decade of the seventh century, the holy land, Palestine, Israel was conquered by Muslims and so when Seljuk Turks started interfering with the activities of the Christian pilgrims to go to the holy land, to go to Jerusalem, and when their physical safety was no longer guaranteed, the Western Christians acted only as re-conquerors of land that has been once theirs, they also acted quite rightly one must say the protectors of their holy places [map – Route of the First Crusade 1096-1099 AD]. Now the defensive war in the case of the Muslims is even a war of conquest. Because they are obligated to spread Islam. The land which had once been Muslim, particularly must be re-conquered and Jihad is the rightful name of that war of re-conquest. So they could never accept the Crusader states in Antioch and Jerusalem, because they were Dar-ul-Harb reinstated in Dar-ul-Islam. And this is the contemporary aspect of Palestinian-Israeli conflict of which many Westerners are not fully aware. Exactly the same psychology that prompted Saladin and others to fight the Crusaders is now motivating Hamas. In both cases it is not only the matter of nationalistic desire to expel the European and Jewish settlers, it is also the Quranic obligation of all good Muslims that the land once ruled by Muslims will be reverted to their rule.
Rebuttal 49: Any student of history will declare the above statements by Trifkovic as pack of formulations and distortions. It needs a breakdown as follows:
Issue 49a: Serge Trifkovic – The Crusades 1095 – 1270 AD. The crusades are not understood in Muslim world today very differently than they are understood by the western academia and in the discourse of the western elite class. Both talk of Crusades as aggressive war of conquest by Western Europe against the peaceful innocent Muslims…
Rebuttal 49a: Trifkovic is taking this documentary a notch further in its concoctions of – what history should have been, rather than what it is. In the issues before, others were inventing history, now this gentleman is bent upon redefining morality for the whole world. Go no farther than the highest Christian-European office that was the root cause of crusades to begin with, the Pope. This is what Pope Paul II had to say about the crusades:
Saving one of his most audacious initiatives for the twilight of his papacy, John Paul II yesterday attempted to purify the soul of the Roman Catholic church by making a sweeping apology for 2,000 years of violence, persecution and blunders…The Pope did not identify guilty individuals or name the crusades, the Inquisition or the Holocaust, but the references were clear…Pope Urban II, anxious to assert Rome’s authority in the east, sent a military expedition in 1095 to reconquer the holy land. The crusaders ravaged the countries they passed through and massacred the Muslim, Jewish and even Christian population of Jerusalem after capturing it in 1099. After 200 years of conflict Muslim armies drove them out for good, but the crusaders’ symbol of the red cross remains provocative. [Pope says sorry for sins of church - Sweeping apology for attacks on Jews, women and minorities defies theologians' warnings – Rory Carroll in Rome, The Guardian, Monday 13 March 2000 06.37 EST]
The Pope’s “Day of Pardon” mass was designed, in the Vatican’s words, to ask forgiveness for the past and present sins of the Church. Pope John Paul wants Catholics to reexamine their consciences in the new millennium. His homily did not single out specific periods or groups in history but a plea to forgive the use of violence in the service of truth was a subtle reference to the brutal excesses of the Crusades and the Inquisition…
RABBI MARVIN HIER, Simon Wiesenthal Center, comments: I think it was an extraordinary event, something that none of his predecessors have ever done before — in the heart of St. Peter’s Basilica to stand up and say that we take responsibility for the sins committed by Christians. It’s true that it refers mainly to events that occurred during the Crusades, for example, during the Inquisition, when people were forced against their will to adopt another religion…
REV. THOMAS REESE, editor of America magazine, a national Catholic weekly, comments: Well, there was a lot of reluctance within the Vatican to talk about past sins at all. But this pope has a real sense of history, a sense… I mean, he’s the one who apologized for how the Church treated Galileo. He’s done it about how the Church treated the Jews. He’s mentioned the Muslims…
[Panel Discussion: A Papal Apology, Online News Hour, PBS, March 13, 2000]
Clearly, the office which sanctioned and perpetrated Crusades to begin with is apologizing for the wrongs it committed, but in this case, Trifkovic obviously is more loyal than the king. History did not turn out the way he wanted and possibly hopes to rectify it by ‘back to the future’ in another crusade.
Issue 49b: Serge Trifkovic – …One may ask however what were those Muslims doing in the holy land in the first place…
Rebuttal 49b: The answer to this is in the history that itself asks as to what were blond haired and blued eyed Franks doing in the Middle East in the first place by establishing Crusader States [see map]?
As to “what were those Muslims doing in the holy land in the first place,” Muhammad Ali in his book Early Caliphate p. 67 writes:
A necessity of war
There is yet another consideration that can rightly be in justification of justification of subjugating Persia and Syria. When one nation makes an unprovoked attack on another, it at once becomes the latter’s duty not merely to repulse the attack, but also to carry the fight to the finish till one of the combatants should surrender. The Persians, as already shown, struck the first blow. They violated the independence of Arabia by encroaching upon its soil. They made common cause with the rebels and sent troops for the destruction of the power of Islam. Likewise, towards the north, the Romans stirred up Christian tribes against Islam. Consequently, when hostilities formally started and troops met on the battlefield, no canons of warfare bound the Arabs to restrict their operations only to their own territory and content themselves with merely expelling the enemy. Had they been guilty of this blunder, the enemy would certainly have reappeared soon after in greater force. It would have been sheer stupidity to have stopped at that. In all civilized warfare, when once the dye is cast, it is open to either party to continue the fight to a finish. Either one of the contending parties must surrender or it must thoroughly be crushed. Such are the rules of the game and if the Muslims played that game to an issue where lay the harm? In prosecuting war till Persia and Syria were completely broken down, Muslims had behind them all the sanction of civilized warfare, ancient as well as modern.
If one turns the pages of history, it is starkly clear that it were the European Christians which made the land and city of Prophets anything but “holy.” They raped, massacred, pillaged and burnt city upon city till the holiest of cities, Jerusalem was put to sword after Siege of Jerusalem (1099) in the First Crusade. Their victims:
Muslims – Many Muslims sought shelter in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock, and the Temple Mount area generally. According to the Gesta Francorum, speaking only of the Temple Mount area, “…[our men] were killing and slaying even to the Temple of Solomon, where the slaughter was so great that our men waded in blood up to their ankles…” According to Raymond of Aguilers, also writing solely of the Temple Mount area, ” in the Temple and porch of Solomon men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins.” However, this imagery should not be taken literally; it was taken directly from biblical passage Apocalypse 14:20. Writing about the Temple Mount area alone Fulcher of Chartres, who was not an eyewitness to the Jerusalem siege because he had stayed with Baldwin in Edessa at the time, says: “In this temple 10,000 were killed. Indeed, if you had been there you would have seen our feet coloured to our ankles with the blood of the slain. But what more shall I relate? None of them were left alive; neither women nor children were spared”. [Massacre, Wikipedia]
Jews – The chronicle of Ibn al-Qalanisi states the Jewish defenders sought refuge in their synagogue, but the “Franks burned it over their heads”, killing everyone inside. One account alleges that the Crusaders circled the flaming building while singing “Christ, We Adore Thee!, Thee are our light, our direction, our love”. [Massacre, Wikipedia]
Compare the above Christian desecration of the Jerusalem, its institutions, its people, its soul and its spirit, with the preservation of the same after Muslim siege of Jerusalem in 637 and 1187:
Umar – In early April 637, Umar arrived in Palestine and went first to Jabiya, where he was received by Abu Ubaidah, Khalid and Yazid, who had traveled with an escort to receive him. Amr was left as commander of the besieging Muslim army.
Upon Umar’s arrival in Jerusalem, a pact known as The Umariyya Covenant was drawn up. It surrendered the city and gave guarantees of civil and religious liberty to Christians in exchange for jizya. It was signed by caliph Umar on behalf of the Muslims, and witnessed by Khalid, Amr, Abdur Rahman bin Awf and Muawiyah. In late April 637, Jerusalem was officially surrendered to the caliph. For the first time, after almost 500 years of oppressive Roman rule, Jews were once again allowed to live and worship inside Jerusalem.
It has been recorded in the annals of Muslim chronicles, that at the time of the Zuhr prayers, Sophronius invited Umar to pray in the rebuilt Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Umar declined, fearing that accepting the invitation might endanger the church’s status as a Christian temple, and that Muslims might break the treaty and turn the temple into a mosque. After staying for ten days in Jerusalem, the caliph returned to Medina. [Surrender, Wikipedia]
Saladin – (On October 2, 1187) Balian handed over the keys to the Tower of David, the citadel, on October 2. It was announced that every inhabitant had about a month to pay their ransom, if they could (the length of time was perhaps 30 to 50 days, depending on the source). Saladin was generous and freed some of those who were forced into slavery; his brother Saphadin did the same, and both Balian and Heraclius freed many others with their own money. They offered themselves as hostages for the remaining citizens (at least several thousand) whose ransoms had not been paid, but Saladin refused.
Saladin allowed for an orderly march away from Jerusalem. The ransomed inhabitants marched away in three columns; the Templars and Hospitallers led the first two, with Balian and the Patriarch leading the third. Balian was permitted to join his wife and family in Tripoli. Heraclius was allowed to evacuate a number of church treasures and reliquaries, which scandalised the Muslim chronicler Imad ad-Din al-Isfahani – although he had already contributed to the ransoms.
Saladin permitted Christian pilgrimages to Jerusalem, and allowed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to remain in Christian hands. [Surrender, Wikipedia]
Issue 49c: Serge Trifkovic – …Well happened that Muhammad and his successors waged a series of wars of conquest and one such onslaught in the fourth decade of the seventh century, the holy land, Palestine, Israel was conquered by Muslims and so when Seljuk Turks started interfering with the activities of the Christian pilgrims to go to the holy land, to go to Jerusalem, and when their physical safety was no longer guaranteed, the Western Christians acted only as re-conquerors of land that has been once theirs, they also acted quite rightly one must say the protectors of their holy places [map – Route of the First Crusade 1096-1099 AD]…
Rebuttal 49c: Serge Trifkovic’s view of the world is to blame the victim. He never accepted the self-defense of Muhammad and or the one’s who came after him. In his logic of morality, even if a Muslim fights in a defensive war, there should be NO overcoming of the aggressor. He blames Seljuk Turks for interfering with Christian pilgrims as the basis of crusades. He takes the same line by which the U.S. congress was duped for first Iraq war when a Kuwaiti woman, unknown to the world that she was the daughter of Kuwaiti ambassador, falsely and tearfully testified for witnessing Iraqi soldiers taking the babies out the incubators in the hospitals and let the children die [see video]. This resulted in setting the tone for U.S. invasion of Iraq. Whereas, fact of the matter is that crusades were started as a diversion by the Roman Church that emanated from Investiture Controversy coupled with defeat of Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert after which most of the central and eastern Turkey was lost to Seljuk Turks:
I) A sure sign of Byzantine desperation was the appeal of Alexios I to his enemy, the Pope [Gegory VII], for aid. But Gregory was occupied with the Investiture Controversy and could not call on the German emperor, so a crusade never took shape. For Gregory’s more moderate successor, Pope Urban II, a crusade would serve to reunite Christendom, bolster the Papacy, and perhaps bring the East under his control. The disaffected Germans and the Normans were not to be counted on, but the heart and backbone of a crusade could be found in Urban’s own homeland among the northern French. [Wikipedia]
II) The immediate cause of the First Crusade was the Byzantine emperor Alexios I’s appeal to Pope Urban II for mercenaries to help him resist Muslim advances into territory of the Byzantine Empire. In 1071, at the Battle of Manzikert, the Byzantine Empire was defeated, which led to the loss of all of Asia Minor (modern Turkey) save the coastlands. Although attempts at reconciliation after the East–West Schism between the Catholic Church in western Europe and the Eastern Orthodox Church had failed, Alexius I hoped for a positive response from Urban II.
Pope Urban II defined and launched the crusades at the Council of Clermont in 1095. He was a reformer worried about the evils which had hindered the spiritual success of the church and its clergy and the need for a revival of religiosity. He was moved by the urgent appeal for help from Byzantine Emperor Alexius I. Urban’s solution was announced on the last day of the council when the pope suddenly proclaimed the Crusade against the infidel Muslims. He called for Christian princes across Europe to launch a holy war in the Holy Land. He contrasted the sanctity of Jerusalem and the holy places with the plunder and desecration by the infidel Turks. He caused outrage by vividly describing attacks upon the Christian pilgrims. He also noted the military threat to the fellow Christians of Byzantium. He charged Christians to take up the holy cause, promising to all those who went remission of sins and to all who died in the expedition immediate entry into heaven.
Then Urban raised secular motives, talking of the feudal love of tournaments and warfare. He urged the barons to give up their fratricidal and unrighteous wars in the West for the holy war in the East. He also suggested material rewards, regarding feudal fiefdoms, land ownership, wealth, power, and prestige, all at the expense of the Arabs and Turks. He said they could be defeated very easily by the Christian forces. When he finished, his listeners shouted “Deus volt” (God wills it). This became the battle cry of the crusaders. Urban put the bishop of Le Puy in charge of encouraging prelates and priests to join the cause. Word spread rapidly that war against unbelief would be fused with the practice of pilgrimage to holy sites, and the pilgrims’ reward would be great on earth, as in heaven. Immediately thousands pledged themselves to go on the first crusade. Pope Urban’s speech ranks as one of the most influential speeches ever made: it launched the holy wars which occupied the minds and forces of western Europe for two hundred years.[Wikipedia]
Long after the Battle of Manzikert (August 26, 1071), Byzantines still were in possession of Constantinople and wide coastal areas of Turkey when in year 1095, at the Council of Clermont Pope Urban II called for the First Crusade [see time line]. Implying that all the pilgrim routes, both land and sea, from Europe to Jerusalem were under Byzantine control till at least the third crusade in 1192 [see map on right side of the page with its comment, and the map showing boundaries of Seljuks]. With this simple fact of history and geography it defies logic as to how can Trifkovic make the claim that – “so when Seljuk Turks started interfering with the activities of the Christian pilgrims to go to the holy land, to go to Jerusalem, and when their physical safety was no longer guaranteed.” Seljuks could not have had interfered with Christian pilgrims route, that Trifkovic wished and believes in that they did so. Even if it is assumed, no matter how false, that Seljuks interfered with Christian pilgrims, it was not possible for them to do so till the Third Crusade (1187–1192).
How can then Trifkovic account for the first and second crusades? If the crusades were to restore safety to European Christian pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem, then after the victory of Saladin at Hattin (July 4, 1187), why the (Christian) Byzantines who had common border with (Muslim) Seljuks, fearful of the crusaders themselves, made an alliance with Saladin? Why Richard returned from the gates of Jerusalem without attacking it in the Third Crusade that he was leading? Richard left the following year after negotiating a treaty with Saladin. The treaty allowed trade for merchants and unarmed Christian pilgrims to make pilgrimages to the Holy Land (Jerusalem), while it remained under Muslim control – this is merely reiteration of the fact that Christians were always safe in Jerusalem under Muslim control from before. Richard left Middle East with only Acre and Jaffa in Christian hands and none of the territory under Seljuks was secured, the same Seljuks that Trifkovic alleges were interfering with Christian pilgrims. How absurd.
At least historically and geographically, the causes for crusades are none but Christians themselves, their personal failures at home and on the battlefields and their power struggles in the papacy. Crusades were only a diversion from these intrigues of European Christendom.
With the above facts, the Kuwaiti ambassador’s daughter, the Pope Urban II and Trifkovic are eerily similar, they all start a war by feeding a false moral pretense. Even more familiar in recent times is this tactic of insinuation where information is not used to understand a scenario but the information fragments are manipulated to develop a plot, as a case in point, see this video of how facts were manipulated for the second Iraq war. Next time, Trifkovic try some other tactic.
Issue 49d: Serge Trikovic – …Now the defensive war in the case of the Muslims is even a war of conquest…
Rebuttal 49d: At least Trifkovic admits that Muslims faced defensive wars. Lets repeat Trifkovic’s logic. He states, “Now the defensive war in the case of the Muslims is even a war of conquest.” Mr. Trikfovic, what do you expect in a defensive war? If Muslims in a defensive bastion are attacked, should they keep themselves locked in their defensive trenches for ever? Okay, may be they repulsed one attack, then what? Should they hope against hopes that next attack will not materialize and that it will not be massive than the previous one? If attacks keep coming, then according to Trifkovic’s moral sense, Muslims should never attack back but keep a defensive posture till the end when they finally capitulate.
But, the human intelligence works the other way. Quite logically, once the aggression is repulsed, there is counter attack till the enemy is overcome. The winners against aggressors obviously are given the title of ‘conqueror’ that Trifkovic uses disparagingly for Muslims. When the enemy is defeated, then it is quite natural that the subdued peoples will be influenced by the behavior of the conquerors. This difference in behavior is starkly visible in the conquest of Crusaders and that of Saladin, though both are called ‘conquerors’. The former’s conquests are known in history for rape, pillage and mayhem whereas, the Saladin’s victory of Jerusalem is known for preservation of safety and dignity of the occupants. A question for Trifkovic – what do you expect the reaction of the locals to the conquerors, if given a choice, will they accept Christianity or Islam, Crusaders as a rulers or Saladin?
Issue 49e: Serge Trifkovic – …Because they [-Muslims] are obligated to spread Islam…
Rebuttal 49e: Yes, Muslims are obligated to spread Islam but not like Crusades and Inquisition, with sword in one hand and Bible in other. Yet, Islam is different from Christianity, and Bush’s Doctrine.
Before we comment any further, lets pause to read the view of the leader of the “free world” about his democratization of the world – “The defense of freedom requires the advance of freedom.” Essentially, the most powerful man in the world who apparently was democratically elected by the most advanced material society ever in the history of mankind, put his foot where his mouth was. He attacked Iraq to make it democratic, in the cause of advancement of freedom – “Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize is not America’s gift to the world, it is God’s gift to humanity.” It took countless lives and injuries on both sides with trillions in debt, and still Iraq is no more better than where it was under a tyrant before. Some would argue that it is even worse. The twice elected leader of a democracy tried not only to preach but shove democracy down the throat of others and made a laughing stock of himself and the nation he represented. Finally, he exited Iraq sheepishly after eating a humble pie. What this living example tells us that one cannot impose one’s view on others by force. Where did Bush’s Doctrine fail and how could it had been successful? The answer is in the principles of Jihad of Quran and not of the jaded interpretation of Jihad by this documentary, the producers of which on the one hand denounce “terrorism,” but fully support the pre-emptive wars as long they are on others, be they Iraqis or Palestinians. It is a well known adage – it takes a thief to catch a thief. Now, this wisdom has been upgraded by the events of recent past decade – it takes a terrorist to catch a terrorist.
The fundamental principle of Jihad is to argue and make a case with a moral force without any double standards of violence directed towards others. If arms have to be picked up, then they have to be in self defense only:
25:52. So do not obey the disbelievers, and strive against them a mighty striving with it [i.e. with Quran].
[Footnote – Muhammad Ali, ed. Zahid Aziz] This verse affords a clear proof of the significance of the word jihad, as used in the Quran. Every exertion to spread the Truth is, according to this verse, a jihad; in fact, it is called the jihad kabir (“mighty striving”) or the great jihad. Fighting in defence of religion received the name of jihad, because under the circumstances it became necessary for the Truth to live and prosper; if fighting had not been permitted, Truth would surely have been uprooted. The commentators all accept this significance of the word here. It should be noted that the greatest jihad which a Muslim can carry on is one by means of the Quran, to which the personal pronoun it at the end of the verse unquestionably refers, because such jihad must be carried on by every Muslim under all circumstances. [Muhammad Ali, ed. Zahid Aziz]
Issue 49f: Serge Trifkovic – …The land which had once been Muslim, particularly must be re-conquered and Jihad is the rightful name of that war of re-conquest. So they could never accept the Crusader states in Antioch and Jerusalem, because they were Dar-ul-Harb reinstated in Dar-ul-Islam…
Rebuttal 49f: Trifkovic, by his own word, just now eliminated the Zionist claim of right of Jews to return to Palestine, when he denies that right to the Muslim natives in history to expel the foreign Crusaders from their Crusader States along the eastern Mediterranean. Thank you. He thought that he will win in history, but he unknowingly lost in the present as well.
By denying this right to natives of Palestine in past and present, Trifkovic only exposes himself as a xenophobe that he is already known to be. He obviously tramples the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). He rubbishes its article 13 which states that “(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.” He also rejects article 15 i.e. “(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.”
He denies others the right to reclaim their native homeland, yet were not his own activities of ‘re-conquest’ of Bosnia by genocidal Serbs the same? Obviously, Trifkovic himself was determined to be a proscribed senior official to the Serbs by Canadian government and was the basis for his deportation from Vancouver airport on his arrival on 24 February 2011. Mr. Trifkovic suffers from the ailment of “double standards” one set of morality for himself and his cronies and another set of values for the victims of his scorn.
Dar-ul-Harb and Dar-ul-Islam were addressed in Issue 44 before.
Issue 49g: Trifkovic – …And this is the contemporary aspect of Palestinian-Israeli conflict of which many Westerners are not fully aware. Exactly the same psychology that prompted Saladin and others to fight the Crusaders is now motivating Hamas. In both cases it is not only the matter of nationalistic desire to expel the European and Jewish settlers…
Rebuttal 49g: This documentary has proven itself to be blind to history. It goes even further, it proves that it is blind even to the present. It cannot see Palestinian Refugee Camps for the past 60+ years in Jordan 10, Lebanon 12, Syria 13, West Bank 19, Gaza 10 etc.
Neither can this documentary see the millions of Palestinian Refugees in Jordan 1,983,733; Lebanon 425,640; Syria 472,109; West Bank 778,993; Gaza Strip 1,106,195 etc.
Quran has contempt for such moral blindness:
22:46. Why do they not travel in the land [– in this case the Refugee camps] so that they should have hearts that help them to understand and ears which can help them hear? As a matter of fact (when going astray) it is not the (physical) eyes that are blind but blind are the hearts which lie in the bosoms. [Nooruddin]
“European and Jewish settlers” are his own words. He admits by his own mouth that there are settlers and occupiers in Palestine. It is a morally depraved argument that the displaced have no rights but a settler has full rights of citizenship and a passport in Palestine. Wow!
Issue 49h: Trifkovic …it is also the Quranic obligation of all good Muslims that the land once ruled by Muslims will be reverted to their rule.
Rebuttal 49h: The learned expert, Trifkovic is as usual bellicose on rhetoric and short on facts. We will leave it to him to support his argument from Quran, for which there is none. But, whether Quran or no-Quran, the answer to Trifkovic is – Why Not! when the Muslims (and Christians) are the natives to that land to begin with, be it in Afghanistan, Iraq or Palestine.
The Early Caliphate – Muhammad Ali.
Investiture Controversy – Wikipedia
Battle of Manzikert – Wikipedia
Seljuk Sultanate of Rum – Wikipedia
Crusades – Wikipedia
Siege of Jerusalem (637) – Wikipedia
Siege of Jerusalem (1099) – Wikipedia
Siege of Jerusalem (1187) – Wikipedia
Bush Doctrine – Wikipedia
Palestinian Refugee Camps – Wikipedia
Palestinian Refugee – Wikipedia
Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Wikipedia
The Holy Quran – Nooruddin
The Holy Quran – Muhammad Ali, edited by Dr. Zahid Aziz