A Short History of the Islam and Christian Conflict
The Barbary Pirates were the last force of international Islamic aggression against the Christian West until the 20th Century. They persisted in their naval depredations against all Christian shipping in the Mediterranean and the eastern Atlantic and coastal raids against Spain, Italy, France and Portugal in particular. However, nowhere was really safe: they raided as far afield as South America, Iceland and England; the primary purpose of their raids being to kidnap Christians to be sold into slavery. This went on for over a century after Jan III Sobieski’s great victory at the Battle of Vienna in 1683. Their incessant slave raiding in the Mediterranean and Atlantic caused the establishment of charities whose only purpose was purchasing the freedom of enslaved Europeans. European powers struck back repeatedly, launching naval expeditions against the Barbary Corsair bases at Tunis, Algiers and Moroccan ports. However, at the same time they also encouraged Barbary raids against hostile European powers. Even the newly independent United States of America was drawn into two wars against the Barbary Pirates, the first launched by President Thomas Jefferson in 1801 that lasted until 1805. The second was in 1815 after the conclusion of the War of 1812 and finally ended all Barbary aggression against U.S. shipping. With the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 the European powers themselves finally also forced the Barbary States (two were Ottoman provinces: Algiers and Tunis, but Morocco was independent) to end their depredations and release their European slaves.
Many people are unaware of it, but Islam was the force that initiated the concept of Black African Slavery, which they had been practicing for centuries. In fact, in Arabic the word for slave and Black is the same: adb / abid (sing. and plur.). Islamic slave traders had been operating along the African coast for some time and they brought to the attention of European navigators that they could purchase slaves in West Africa.
Left out of this history due to scope and space are the Islamic Jihads waged against their eastern neighbors in pagan India and Afghanistan. In fact, the last pagan tribe in Afghanistan, the Kafiris (who were the subject of a short story by Rudyard Kipling called The Man Who Would Be King, which was made into a great movie by that name in 1975 starring Sean Connery as Daniel Dravot and Michael Caine as Peachy Carnehan), was finally forced to convert to Islam only in the 1890’s. The modern states of Pakistan and Bangladesh are the result of the Islamic Jihads against Hindu India. They were the settlement that Gandhi reached on the issue of the Islamic population of India after their independence from the U. K. that had resulted from the Islamic conquest of parts of India.
Muslims often call Islam a religion of peace. However, the facts of history do not bear that claim out, even in part. From the very beginning Islam caused its followers to become a force of aggression against everything around them, even their own. After Muhammad died in 632 A.D. a number of Arabic tribes declared that since their oaths were to Muhammad they no longer owed any allegiance to Islam or the Khalifa Abu Bakr. Khalifa Abu Bakr demonstrated swiftly that submission to Islam was not voluntary and commenced the Ridda Wars (Wars of the Apostasy) against all who had disavowed their allegiance and submission to Islam. This included Arabic Christians, who while not forced to convert to Islam were forced to submit to the Caliphate. The Ridda Wars caused a brief delay in Islamic aggression against the Christian West; for Muhammad, had ordered an invasion of the Eastern Roman Empire and preparations were under way when he died in 632 A.D.. It did not cause a long delay, for in 633 A.D. the Armies of Islam opened their Jihad and struck the Eastern Roman Empire like a bolt out of the blue.
Comparatively, it took Christendom over a thousand years to conceive of employing warfare for the expansion of religion. The Christian Church was completely pacifistic in its views until the Ninth and Tenth Centuries A.D., when continuing Islamic aggression caused them to start considering a need for self-defense. They were pushed into that line of thinking by Islam’s jihad against them which eventually caused them to start responding to the continuing threat of invasion by counterattacking. The Crusades were, in fact, a long delayed and half-hearted counterattack against Islamic aggression with the finite objective of recovering the Holy Land from Islam, which had taken it by force of arms. However, over time, with the idea of Crusade firmly established, the Church of Rome began to use it in an expansionist manner as well, although never to the same extent and incessancy as Islam had practiced Jihad. Many of the crusades launched against the pagan Prussians and Baltic tribes were spurred by the massacre of Christian missionaries operating in the areas by local tribal leaders. Others resulted from the threat represented to the supremacy of the Church of Rome by Protestant movements like the Cathars and Huguenots.
It is a fact that many Islamic rulers were tolerant and just toward non-Islamic subjects under their rule, including Suleiman I The Magnificent and Salah al-Din. That is not true of all, however: many Khalifas were brutal and oppressive to their non-Muslim subjects and Christian pilgrims. The same is true of Christian rulers: some were tolerant and humane, while others were intolerant and oppressive. The Crusades themselves were prone to sad out-bursts of anti-Jewish sentiments all over Europe in which Jews were sporadically murdered, brutally beaten or forced to convert. This resulted from a misguided religious fervor that viewed the Jews as heathens and thus caused them to be viewed to be as much an enemy as Muslims. King Richard I the Lionheart had to punish a number of people in London before departing for the Holy Land for going to too far (murder, assault, arson) in their anti-Jewish activities and had a number of them executed for their crimes (King Richard I was evidently anti-Jewish, but not severely: not to the extent of murder, arson or assault or even oppressing them. He was of the type that did not want to associate with them, but all the same wanted them to live in peace). This was not an uncommon type of event. Many Christian lords across Europe did their best to protect their Jewish populations, some more successfully than others, while others participated in the anti-Jewish pogroms. The same is true in Islamic states, where at times they were tolerant and at others intolerant. The history of the Jews since the Diaspora has not been an happy one.
During this whole affair at no point did the Christian West ever focus their efforts against Islam. Their initial objective was a limited goal of recapturing the Holy Land. However, after the 3rd Crusade the Church of Rome had realized such a limited objective would never stabilize the situation and they began to turn their efforts toward a more strategic objective in targeting Egypt instead, which the Kingdom of Jerusalem had been promoting for some time. This strategy had been endorsed by the most militarily capable Crusader of them all, Richard I The Lionheart (who even won the battle in which he was killed) before he departed the 3rd Crusade. The idea was that Egypt was the center of Islamic resources in the region; its fall would render Islamic forces impotent and secure the Crusader States. Even then the goal was not to even eliminate Islam, let alone the Middle East; just to hold the Holy Land, and Egypt was only a means to that end.
The Crusades failed because Europe never focused its efforts and united against their foreign threat. Instead, plagued by internal warfare and struggles many European states were more concerned by their neighboring enemies than the Islamic threat and behaved accordingly. Here and there, such as in the case of Henry III and Louis IX, European Monarchs declared truces for the greater cause, but never to a sufficient extent. Had the Papacy been able to unify Europe in purpose, establish at least a nominal peace, draw powerful contingents from all or most of the European Monarchs, draw money and supplies and then focus the effort they might have succeeded. However, such unity and focus was never achieved; the 1st and 5th Crusades being the closest they came, and neither was close enough. The forces in the Outremer were constantly outnumbered and under-manned, often completely so. That was why their fall was inevitable; it is amazing that they held on for as long as they did, really. The sporadic arrival of Crusades attempting to restore the situation after Islamic successes never arrived in sufficient strength to accomplish the tasks they had set out to attempt. Capetian King Louis IX’s 7th Crusade was a classic example of that, when he landed at Damietta with all of 15,000 men and found himself confronting an enemy with around 70,000 men on hand: he never had a chance.
However, what the Crusades did manage was to stall the Jihad for 195 years by carrying the fight into the Middle East and away from Europe. The maneuver seized the initiative by forcing Islam to fight to regain what they had lost. Despite the damage the crusaders did to the Eastern Roman Empire, particularly in the 4th Crusade, they also extended its tenuous survival. After the loss of Anatolia the Eastern Roman Empire was left with only the resources of Hellas, while under attack from the Seljuks from the east, the Bulgars and other Slavs from the north and the Normans from the west. Facing these threats alone they would not have lasted much longer. As the Normans began to join the Crusades their attacks against the Eastern Romans faded. The Crusaders also helped the Eastern Romans regain some parts of Anatolia. It should be noted that the Eastern Roman Empire fell only 162 years after the fall of Acre in 1291, and its last vestiges only 9 and 10 years after that. In fact, the Ottoman Turks were launching campaigns into Hellas and the Balkans starting only 63 years later: 1354. In a matter of mere decades the Eastern Roman Empire had lost most of Hellas to the Ottomans, save for only most of the Peleponnesos and part of the northern coast of the Propontis. The Crusades also both directly and indirectly assisted the Spanish in the Reconquista.
One observation that can be drawn from all of this is that when at war it is always best to carry the war to the enemy, rather than let them carry it to you. Once you lose or surrender the offensive to the enemy you have handed or lost to them the initiative and this will enable them to resume the offensive against you. If you stand on the defensive, you are doomed to defeat: the real reason the Confederate States of America did not survive was their failure to wage an offensive war against the United States, which allowed the U. S. all the time and opportunities they needed to finally find a general that R. E. Lee could not buffalo and gain final victory. An enemy that has not been defeated will remain dangerous indefinitely, and given enough time and opportunities will almost certainly manage to land a decisive blow at some point. It is not a question of “if”, but only of “when”.
Even though it may sound like it, I again state that this is not a call to wage a war against Islam in general. Not all of the followers of Islam completely follow Al Qur’an; many follow only those parts of it that do teach peace. In fact, many of those doing the evil it results in are actually good men, believing they are doing good. As mere mortals our capacity to render just judgment upon our fellow man is very finite and rarely achieved. This why in the Bible God tells us that vengeance is His. This is why Yeshua (Jesus) told us the Parable of the Weeds. There is no such thing as collective salvation, nor collective condemnation: all men must be judged as individuals. Man has an unfortunate tendency to view things collectively, thus blessing all of the one while condemning all of the other. In this process many guilty men escape punishment, while many innocent men are condemned. Bigotry is a common human failing, and many bigots never realize that they are bigots. On other occasions men judge with information that was insufficient to discern the truth and err from unknowing ignorance, most commonly because of the emotions that were involved in the process. Due to our frailties, we are incapable of achieving Justice.
This article was written to place before all who will trouble themselves to read it a brief, yet accurate and complete account of the long and yet unended struggle of Islam against the world. Even in this short account, it was quite a journey.
Primarily, this history is an antipropaganda work, for I have long grown weary of seeing the victims of the Jihad treated as the aggressors by anti-Christian sophists and propagandists because they did, finally and at long last, fight back. I myself for most of my life held Islam as a brother religion to Judaism and Christianity and regarded it with a favorable view. However, as my studies of history began to expand from the Classical Era (or, the 2nd Age of Civilization more accurately) and U. S. History to that long age between them the facts of history dimmed my view of Islam. I could not help but note that the period was long dominated by Islamic expansionism against anything that was not Islamic. So, here I have put before you that knowledge, and knowledge is all it is; it is a call to nothing but to know. Mayhaps someday I shall have the time and opportunity to write a full account of the history, but for now at least this short work will have to suffice. In writing this I have done my best to give an account of the decisive and most salient events of the 1,050 years from the beginning of the Jihad in 633 A.D. to the Battle of Vienna in in 1683 A.D., since that event marked the end of Islamic westward expansion. Thus, necessarily many smaller details have been left out that I would have liked to include, including maps.
But, now you know … the rest of the story.
Your Obedient Servant,
 This was the result of tribal civilization, not a function of race. This behavior was by no means limited to Black Africans: in the Classical Era, for example, German tribes used to sell captives taken in wars with other German tribes to the Romans across the Rhine and Danube. The tribes of West Africa did the same with their captives, except they sold them off to Arabs, Berbers, then Europeans, and later Americans. The only possible good in this trade (and it is very debatable if this truly was a good) was that had their captors been unable to sell their captives they would simply have killed all of them. Thus, the slave trade did, in fact, save many lives, even if it then put them in a condition that many – including me – would consider worse than death itself.
 Incidentally, back in the Late Classical Era Jews had sometimes led and often eagerly participated in the Roman persecutions of Christians by the pagan Roman Empire. In the Crusader Era the pendulum swung back the other way, just to a less bloody extent. While many unfortunate Jews were massacred, it never reached numbers comparable to the sporadic wholesale slaughters that occurred against Christians at the hands of the Roman Empire starting under the reign of the PRINCEPS NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVGVSTVS GERMANICVS (Born LVCIVS DOMITIVS AHENOBARBVS) in 64 A.D..
 Deuteronomy 32:35
 NIV Gospel of Mattithyahu (Matthew) Chapter 13:24 – 30
Part I: http://ovalpike.com/article/a-short-history-of-the-islam-christian-c…
Part II: http://ovalpike.com/article/a-short-history-of-the-islam-christian-c…
Part III: http://ovalpike.com/article/a-short-history-of-the-islam-christian-c…
Part IV: http://ovalpike.com/article/a-short-history-of-the-islam-christian-c…
Part V: http://ovalpike.com/article/a-short-history-of-the-islam-christian-c…
Part VI: http://ovalpike.com/article/a-short-history-of-the-islam-christian-c…
Part VII: ovalpike.com/article/a-short-history-of-the-islam-christian-c…
Part VIII: ovalpike.com/article/a-short-history-of-the-islam-christian-c…
Part IX: http://ovalpike.com/article/a-short-history-of-the-islam-christian-c…
Part X: http://ovalpike.com/article/a-short-history-of-the-islam-christian-conflict-part-x