Militant Islam vs. Western civilization

Folks, The Toronto Star has published an interesting and probably more accurate account of events surrounding the Crusades. An excerpt:

The No. 1 religious theme of 2005 — and presumably for 2006 and years beyond — is the face-off between militant Islam and Western civilization, with its scriptural Jewish and Christian heritage.

That confrontation overshadowed Roman Catholicism’s changeover from Pope John Paul II to Pope Benedict XVI and Protestants’ severe dispute about homosexuality and the Bible.

Stepping back from the daily headlines about terrorism, the question arises: What underlies this lethal global tension? Ohio University historian David Curp has an answer that turns explanations inside out.

“It is commonplace to claim that the Crusades scarred the imagination of the Muslim world for centuries,” he wrote recently in Crisis, a Catholic magazine.
Islamists and Arab nationalists regularly cite the medieval warfare between Christians and Muslims as a source for today’s anti-Western views across the Middle East.

“This is simply incorrect,” Curp asserted, noting that Princeton University’s Bernard Lewis said Muslims actually had little interest in Western Christendom for centuries following the Crusades (apart from those directly involved in invading Christian territory).

Curp’s key claim: “Radical Islam’s protest against the West is not fuelled primarily by aggrieved victimhood; it is nourished by an even stronger memory of how Islam’s final victory over Christendom remained for so long a real possibility.”

That era ended in 1683, when Muslims held vast terrain in eastern Europe and 140,000 Turkish troops nearly conquered Vienna, posing a significant threat for the West. But the Muslim invaders were defeated.

You can read the complete article, here.

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