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OK, I can't help it. @DineshDSouza is usually getting up in modern historians territory, be it garbage about Nazis, the Holocaust, or the Democratic Party... but he also talks about the #crusades, which is my wheelhouse. So I can't not, right?
Here’s the video—it’s from him talking at the “Young America’s Foundation,” I think at Liberty University? A couple years ago.
So the core of his argument is, I think, two fold—one, that Islam is bad: “The militaristic politicizes Islam that was there are the beginning—remember that Islam was a terrifying sight to behold from about the 7th century to about the 10th century” and then also that the...
crusades were a defensive war: “And finally, belatedly, the sleepy Christians wake up and say, What the heck, and begin to mobilize some French knights, storm Jerusalem, retake… so the Crusades are a belated, clumsy, ineffective effort to defend against Islamic irredentism...
and conquest.” Just... wow.
He only cites one source in this terribly constructed argument, and that source is Edward Gibbon. From the 18th century. “Had the Crusades not happened, had the Christians not mounted a counterattack, he goes, in our time, writing in the 18th c., the teachings of Mohammed...
would be the curriculum in Oxford and Cambridge, in other words the Muslims would have taken all of Europe, there was nothing to stop them, if they had not, in fact, been stopped.”

So this is nonsense on a whole host of issues.
I mean, @DineshDSouza says that other views are liberal nonsense, that "Oh, the Crusades were horrible! Why'd we do the Crusades? It was our fault. Oh really? Well that whole region we call the Middle East used to be Christian." So again, Crusade apologetics. Muslims rule Spain
for 700 years (yes, and it's amazing), make it to the gates of Vienna (sure, in 1683 but hey, time is fluid). All of this to promote the well trod concept that the #crusades were actually a defensive war.
Honestly, given @DineshDSouza 's loose relationship with chronology and his readily apparent inability to comprehend change over time, of COURSE he thinks this is a defensive war.
Nothing screams "defensive war" like waiting over 450 years to make a move to conquer a city last held by the Byzantine Empire who practice a different branch of Christianity than you do and are politically, religiously, linguistically, and culturally distinct from you. Sure.
Again, this is @DineshDSouza 's MO: he didn't study history, he doesn't really examine the issues he writes about, and he has no capacity to look at actual causes-and-effect or deal with complicated contextualization. That would require actually learning about your subject.
Was Islam a "terrifying sight to behold?" Sure. Byzantines lose most of their Middle Eastern and North African holdings. We get the Apocalypse of the Pseudo-Methodius written by Syriac monks as a result.
But the Byzantines lose their holdings not just as a result of military incompetence and war fatigue--a long conversation--but because a series of theocratic emperors impose Chalcedonian Christianity on a long series of local non-Chalcedonian churches and persecute them for their
literally un-Orthodox beliefs, to the point where cities across the Levant, Egypt and North Africa and more than willing to trade in the Christian Roman Empire, which persecutes them, for the Rashidun Caliphate, which does not.
I'd explain Islamic views on the People of the Book and tolerance for the Abrahamic faiths, but honestly this is basic stuff--@DineshDSouza either is too incapable to use Google or he ignores it because he's selling right-wing Islamaphobic garbage. I'm certain it's the latter.
Those local Christians do just fine for themselves under Islam. Those communities are STILL THERE WHEN THE CRUSADERS ARRIVE. 450 YEARS LATER. SO MAYBE IT'S NOT ABOUT THE CHRISTIANS IN THE MIDDLE EAST DINESH.
Instead, the "storming Jerusalem" part--which conveniently leaves out the massacre in the taking of Jerusalem where the #crusade kills literally 1/10th of the population of the city, Christian, Muslim and Jewish--is an offensive campaign launched by the Popes based on religious
motivations--a big degree of apocalypticism (read @JCRHistorian 's new book, it's FANTASTIC) and probably some notions of reform/pilgrimage/power for the Papacy as well.
It is violent. It is unnecessary. It is viewed by Muslims later as part of a three-pronged assault on Islam by the Franks--there, Sicily and Spain--and certainly not as a belated defense.
Are there Muslim raids on Christian kingdoms? Yes. Pirate raids, land raids, the works.

Are there Christian raids on Muslim kingdoms? Yes. Pirate raids, land raids, the works.

Is either side under full fledged assault at the time? Maybe the Byzantines.
But also definitely the many post-Umayyad caliphate kingdoms in Spain, and the Kalbid emirate in Sicily, and others.
And throughout all of that, as the Latins conquer and occupy and, yes, massacre their way through Islamic lands--Antioch, Jerusalem, Ma'arat-al-Numan where some of them literally eat the dead, Tripoli, and others--they discover that the Muslims have knowledge, goods, and tech
they desperately want. How about some sugar? Y'all like sugar? Fulcher of Chartres encounters it for the first time watching Muslim villagers cut down reeds by a stream and sucking the water out of them, which tastes sweet.
No offense to all of my Anglo-Saxonist friends 'cause I love you and did my MA in English working on it, but going from Bald's Leechbook to real medicine is massively helped by reading Arabic texts. We have manuscripts from Antioch in Arabic with Latin marginalia to help them
read and understand medical technology.

Oh hey, @DineshDSouza, that bullshit Gibbon quote about the teachings of Muhammed being the curriculum at Oxford and Cambridge?

Universities are built up because of the 12th century Renaissance and scholasticism.
Scholasticism is sparked by LATIN SCHOLARS GETTING TEXTS FROM ISLAMIC SPAIN, SICILY, AND THE CRUSADER STATES, TRANSLATING IT AND LEARNING FROM IT AND INCORPORATING IT INTO THEIR CURRICULUM.
Oxbridge, Paris, all these universities are built on a curriculum of translating works long-known, used, translated, deciphered, written about, polished and improved in the Islamic world.
This is a bullshit set of arguments but here is the worst part--the tactical mistake @DineshDSouza makes here is citing Gibbon, who is ancient and wrong and bad. Because one of the reasons #crusade historians should, in fact, take the fight back to the public is that there are
plenty of bad books on the Crusades right now that argue this same line of far right garbage. Some are even from real historians. Islamaphobia exists. It's real, and it's out there, and it permeates not only pop history but also academia.
This particular argument, though, that the crusades were defensive in origin is not only bad history but argues for bad current political activity--it is the kind of thing that leads to neo-Templars committing massacres in Norway, the kind of thing that leads to "Crusader"
militias in Kansas attempting to blow up a Somali-American mosque and apartment complex, that leads to the alt-right adopting crusader memes while advocating white nationalism violence against immigrants, that leads to Lt. Christopher Hasson citing Anders Brevik in his manifesto
and leads to actual body counts.

The Crusades were bad. Just because the people doing them at the time didn't think so, didn't make them good. You can't even pull a cultural relativism bullshit take on this--plenty of their contemporaries thought they were bad too.
Do not suggest #crusades were good. Learn some actual history before using it to make arguments. Stop being both a bad pseudo-scholar and a bad person. And @DineshDSouza ? Please, please, please leave the past alone--you are terrible at it.
...ok, and you know what, one more thing.

@DineshDSouza is busy trying to claim the Nazis get their ideas for the Holocaust from the Democrats, and @waitmanb has really ripped through that. But @DineshDSouza has also been busy praising the Crusades while ignoring the pogroms.
The First Crusade, that "belated defense" of Christianity? In Germany, it opens with a series of pogroms in the Rhineland in spring and summer 1096, with thousands of Jews killed, extorted, forced to convert, etc. Estimates range from 2,000 to 12,000, depending on who you ask.
Those crusaders doing the killing are not aberrations in an other-wise nobly Islamophobic endeavor. Jews are massacred in southern France by the most moderate of the crusade leaders and his forces. Jews are massacred in northern France. Extortion and forced conversions are
universal. We tend to focus on the German examples because it allows non-German scholars of an older generation to create weird, twisted, and exculpatory narratives of age-old German anti-semitism to avoid dealing with the inescapable anti-Semitism present throughout Europe and
America before WW2.

The last time #AmericaFirst was a political slogan was the isolationist America First movement before WW2, which died politically on September 11, 1941, right here in Des Moines, Iowa: cfr.org/blog/twe-remem…
It's a blatantly anti-Semitic speech by an American friend of the Nazi regime (thehistoryreader.com/modern-history…) in a line of vicious religious bigotry and white supremacy stretching back across millennia.
@DineshDSouza wants to rewrite the past so that all of the bad actions by anyone ever are the fault of his political opponents, and conveniently ignores everything that does not fit in that narrative--or, more commonly, falsifies, fabricates, and elides inconvenient details.
Stop giving him space to do this. And stop listening to violent hijacking of an already violent past in the name of provoking contemporary political violence.
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