The Truth about The Crusades: Part 4
The State of Islam Today
For over 400 years, Muslims conquered nation after nation, empire after empire, in their efforts to conquer the world for Allah. After more than four centuries without any retaliation from the Catholic Church, the pope finally responded with the Crusades as a last resort. The Crusades were wars of self-defense that sought to keep the conquering Muslim armies at bay and to protect Christians around the world. Despite this, Islam continued to grow in power and military strength through the 17th century.
As a consequence, the world joined forces to fight back against the invading Islamic armies. Then, two decisive battles took place that would forever alter the course of history. The first was the colossal naval battle of Leponto in 1571 where the entire Muslim fleet was completely wiped out. Then another massive and epic battle took place in 1863 where the Islamic land armies would also meet their final demise.
Since these crushing defeats, the religion of Islam has never been a real military force. Their military reign had mostly come to an end. Since this time, many Muslims adapted to a more normal life and blended into society. This would go doubly after World War II when the Allied armies defeated Nazi Germany and their Arab allies. After this, the Arabs were reduced to practically nothing.
This brings us to the modern day where Islam is a very split religion There are many peaceful Muslims in the world today who do good and who struggle to fight against sin in their lives. They strive to make themselves better people, and this is a very good thing. On the other hand, there are a great umber of Muslims who continue to practice what Islam has always been about; Jihaad or Holy War. They still seek to fight against the infidel for Allah. Moreover, they quote the Qu’ran, their Hadiths [traditions], and their history in evidence of their cause.
Many would label these kinds on Muslims “extremists” or part of “Radical Islam,” meaning that they hijacked the true, peaceful Islamic faith and made it into something it’s not. However, as we have seen in this series, Islam was a religion of war for over 1200 years. Thus, these “extremist” Muslims are not actually extreme, but rather they embody more of what Islam represents and has always been about. “Peaceful Islam” is new. Before the 1800 no one would have labeled Islam as peaceful.
Personally, I like peaceful Muslims, and my wish is that they would all be peaceful; however, we cannot claim that the “real” Islam is peaceful while the violent Islam is a radical extreme. It might be politically correct, but, it’s not true, at least not based on history.
So, where are we today? From a Catholic point of view, Pope John Paul II sought to dialogue with Muslims. He sought reconciliation and dialogue. Additionally, the Council of Vatican II called all Catholics to forgive and forget the past as well. The Council beckons us to view Muslims in love and to seek to dialogue with them, and if possible, to share the Lord Jesus Christ with them. Why? Because many, many Muslims convert to the Christian faith, and a big reason given is the love and forgiveness that Christians show (as opposed to the “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” mentality). In fact, Pope John Paul II lived this by example when he forgave the Muslim who shot four times, attempting to assassinate him. We must follow his example and that of Christ. That doesn’t mean we excuse the things done in the name if Islam, but we combat it with truth and love!
Let us work for reconciliation and dialogue. And as Catholics, let’s stop being so quick to throw our religion under the bus or being so quick to believes the lies without knowing the facts first. Let’s give our Church the benefit of the doubt until proven guilty, not the other way around.
Let us know our faith, love our faith, share our faith, and to live out our awesome faith in a way that is passionate and shines our Lord’s light for the whole world to see!
You may want to check out the related blog post: Is Religion the Cause of all War?
Also, check out the earlier posts on The Truth About the Crusades if you haven’t.