Catholic Myth #4: The Crusades Were Unprovoked Attacks Against Peaceful Muslims

Catholic Church CrusadesJust because something is repeated over and over again does not make it true.  The same is true here with the Crusades. In reality, the Crusades were wars of self-defense against the Muslims.  Here are the real facts:

Every historian knows that Muhammad was kicked out of Mecca for preaching his new religion.  After raising an army in Medina, he returned and sacked Mecca razing it to the ground.  Thereafter, his new army garnered much military strength and went on to conquer the entire surrounding area.  By the time Muhammad died, his armies had conquered the whole area of land we know today as the “Fertile Crescent.”

After Muhammad’s death, Islam spread even more rapidly.  In just 100 years (657 A.D. – 757 A.D.), the conquering armies of Islam decimated everything in their path from Afghanistan to North Africa.  They then invaded Europe and seized many islands.  They were going for full world conquest.  In a short span of time, Islam conquered the Persian Empire, the Roman Empire, and two-thirds of the Byzantine Empire, the last major empire on earth.  Over a thousand years of war without batting an eye.  One can begin to see why the Crusades were called.

During all of this time, while some Catholic kings may have defended their countries, the Catholic Church herself never retaliated at all but just prayed for peace and hoped the Muslim aggression would stop.  However, around the year 1094 A.D, due to the devastation of the Byzantine Empire, Commodore Alexius the 1st called on the pope and the Catholic Church for help in complete desperation.  The pope prayed about it for a long time and eventually decided to “come to the aid of our brothers in the East.”  THAT was the reason the Crusades were started.  An answer to the Emperor’s plea.

Occasionally, thousands of innocent and unarmed Christians were massacred by Muslims while processing on pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  In addition, more than half of all Christian lands had been seized by Islamic armies.  So, the Church also sought to take back the Holy Land in order to create a safe passage for innocent pilgrims processing there.  They also wanted to protect Christians around the world.  For all of these reasons, the Crusades were called.

Unlike Islam, the Catholic Church had been a mostly peaceful religion and had done more good for the world than anyone else.  I’m not saying that Christians were perfect or that abuses didn’t happen during the Crusades because they did, but they were started as wars of self-defense and as a response to the request of Emperor Alexius I.  The Crusades had nothing to do with an “aggressive, power hungry church” who killed peaceful people of other religions or anyone who disagreed with the Catholic religion.  That is huge myth which in not historical, not tenable, and not true.

About Bryan Mercier

Bryan Mercier is a professional Catholic speaker, retreat leader, author, YouTuber, and Catholic apologist. He has spoken to adults and teens for 20 years the last fifteen years on a wide variety of topics; ranging from catechetics and faith formation, to morality, spirituality, and apologetics. He has spoken at youth and adult retreats, workshops, seminars, Catholic schools, parish missions, local, regional and national conferences. He has spoken in front of crowds ranging from thirty to three-thousand and has and has been aired on TV and radio in different states, including Relevant Radio, Ave Maria Radio, EWTN, and more.
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7 Responses to Catholic Myth #4: The Crusades Were Unprovoked Attacks Against Peaceful Muslims

  1. Barbara Floyd says:

    Bryan, I loved your show on EWTN, Life on The Rock. I watched it again this morning. Your enthusiasm and excitement is infectious. My son, who just turned 30, has studied much about other religions and information, that or attack the Catholic religion. I’ve tried to help him by explaining that Satan had a long time to infiltrate minds and weave doubts etc., to cast doubts so that many would not believe or accept the truth For example, “Most religions have a trinity of sorts long before Jesus was born.” Then he can list the various”persons”. He is less focused on that lately, but still cannot accept the real presence in the Eucharist. I have shared miracles etc. but I am Mom and that dosen’t go too far. Do you have any suggestions? I thank you for what you do for the spread of God’s love and redemption.

  2. Hello Barbara, Thank you for your reply. I’m glad you enjoyed my EWTN episode. 🙂 I would recommend subscribing to my Youtube channel because I will have a video or two coming out soon on the true presence of the Eucharist. I think that will help to explain it all. My Youtbe is “Bryan Mercier.”
    God bless!

  3. Started by Jesus in 33 A.D. at Pentecost.

  4. Sam Swift says:

    Brian, first of all, when Muhammad (SAW) took Mecca, it wasn’t razed down and sacked. The only thing even close to what you are saying is the fact that they destroyed the idols the Quraish worshiped, and this was to prove that the objects were not gods. Second, he the battle of Mecca was relatively peaceful, Muhammad (SAW) ordered his men only to attack if attacked, and almost all the surrendering Quraish were immediately free to go and live their lives, the only ones who were sentenced to death were a couple of people who sparked the war, disrupted peace, and had committed of murder. And some of those people were even spared. Third, at the time of Muhammad’s (SAW) death, the Muslims did not control the Fertile crescent, but only the Arabian Peninsula, and it was not a big war, the only war was the Muslim-Quraish ones, everyone else accepted the religion, and those who didn’t were allowed to live their lives. Fourth, the Muslims started out with only small attacks against a war torn, economic disaster of a Persian empire that was destabilized by the Catholic Byzantine empire. They launched these attacks because the Persians were in control of some Arab territories. Another reason they invaded was because the Persian and Roman empire were both repressive and were putting heavy taxes on the population, so caliph Abu Bakr agreed to release them from those tributes and they might have ended up accepting Islam (which they did). After the Muslim raids ended when Khalid ibn Walid was sent to Syria, the Persians started launching numerous raids into Muslim lands, and that is when Abu Bakr finally ordered a full invasion, which greatly benefited the Persian people. Fifth, the Muslims were not just rampaging around Asia, the reason they went all the way to Afghanistan was because that was part of the Persian empire. Also, the how do you sit there and say the Muslims forcefully converted all the Afghans to Islam when the Muslims never even successfully occupied Afghanistan? at least not until the Afghans willingly accepted it themselves. And for you to say that the Muslims decimated everything in their path clearly shows you have not looked into this. The Muslim rule of the former Persian empire was not for EXTREME urbanisation and progress. And the invasion of North Africa and the Levant was actually due to Christian aggression. The Byzantines murdered one of Muhammad’s ambassadors, which caused the forces to confront each other. This confrontation didn’t have to start a war, until the Muslim army received intel that Byzantine forces were concentrating in massive numbers in north Arabia and were preparing for an invasion of Arabia. Now, although this intel proved to be partially false, it shows that Muslims didn;t attack out of pure aggression, and the Byzantines still had been engaging in conflicts in Arab client states. Sixth, you cannot just make up history, how could the Muslims have conquered the whole Roman Empire if the Roman Empire ceased to exist nearly 300 years before the birth of Muhammad (SAW)? Also even if the Roman Empire had existed at the time, the Muslims would have had only a small amount of territory that belonged to the Roman Empire at it’s greatest extent. And the reason the Byzantines lost alot, was not because Islam brutally attacked them, it’s because Islam won a war that both sides were equally responsible for starting. Seventh, you can’t say the Byzantines and the Christians did not bat an eye, the Christians did take action, but it was just ineffective because most people had accepted Islam and the Muslim army was much stronger. They didn’t “turn the other cheek”, they were just not as strong as the Muslim army. Eighth, although the church itself may have not done anything, the empires, which were Christian, did. They would execute people who were suspected of being Muslim and drive the ones who got to live out of the land. And the church might have done something during this time if their hands were not full of all the internal conflicts the church was suffering at the time. They couldn’t unify themselves and bickered instead. Ninth, Pope Urban the second, did not reluctantly send a small invasion to help his brothers and peacefully spread peace, but instead rallied everyone up to all march into the land and ordered the Christians to “destroy this vile race”, in which he was obviously referring to Muslims. So basically, you are trying to make a Hitler-ish guy look like a peaceful little angel. Tenth, once again, you are creating history, before I tell you why you saying Muslims occasionally massacred Christians, I just wanted to let you know that the Jews being massacred by Christians, sought refuge from the Muslims, and were granted refuge. And the Muslim rules of Jerusalem was known for its tolerance of other religions, even in times of internal conflict the Christians were left unmolested. Eleventh, when you say “Christian lands”, don’t you really mean stolen Jewish lands? Even if some of the regions were Christian, it’s not Christian lands when people accept Islam, that actually makes it Muslim lands. Obviously, it was not truly a crusade of protecting Christians, but a crusade of Christian supremacy. And finally, a whopping twelfth, the Christian religion did of course spread peacefully in its early day, but to try and defend the crusades, an apparent “self defense war”, in which it is confirmed that after the Crusaders pillaged, raped, and sacked their way to Jerusalem, they slaughtered every Muslim and Jew they could, they massacred innocents seeking shelter in the Dome of the Rock. The crusades is a period of Christian arrogance and atrocity versus the rightly guided Jews and Muslims defending the land that is their home. Muslims fought shoulder to shoulder with the Jews, and the Crusaders pillaged, decimated, and destroyed everything in their path. The crusades were a genocide. The scar of division the Catholic crusader tainted this world with, was still not enough, because one side, evil, corruption, bloodlust, and the other side, determination, a people who will defend themselves, and the aid of almighty God (SWT).

  5. Anonymous says:

    Errors: I meant to say ‘it was NOTED for extreme urbanisation and progress.
    I also meant to say Byzantine empire instead of Roman empire in regard to the Byzantine Persian wars.

  6. Sam Swift says:

    Bryan, since you still have not responded, I want you to man up and accept Islam. I proved your whole entire argument wrong. Do not be immature, do not pretend like you have not seen this, I am peacefully asking you to accept Islam. In Islam it is absolutely prohibited to spread by force. So brother, do not be a stubborn child, and come and see the light. Inshallah you will make the right decision.

  7. Sam Swift says:

    Brother it was the right decision for me, I have never made a wiser and better choice in my life than when I accepted Islam. It is the most logical religion. The Bible never mentions that Jesus (SAW) was the last prophet, Muhammad (SAW) is. So please, make the right choice, the wise choice. Wallahi your life will change for the better. Your way of life, Wallah will change for the better. If you want to keep throwing petty, uneducated insults at my religion, go ahead. But if you want to learn from mistakes such as this article, and make a great choice, I highly recommend Islam for you.

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