In “Crusade in a New Setting?” in Arab News (thanks to Sr. Soph), Hassan Tahsin paints a fantasy picture of an Islamic world more sinned against than sinning, and characterizes Israel’s self-defense against the global jihad as an aggressive, bloody Crusade. The ludicrousness of this in light of international jihad terrorism, and particularly the relentless jihad against Israel, does not diminish the fact that this sort of analysis is exactly what plays best not only in the Islamic world but among the American and Western Left.
Hassan Tahsin in this is mining a venerable tradition, as old as the Crusades themselves. In my book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), I show how Muslim reactions to the First Crusade treated it as a gratuitous act of aggression by the Christian West, and completely ignored (as does Tahsin) the 450 years of Islamic jihad aggression that preceded the Crusades. Wolfgang Bruno points out today that this is in line with the Islamic understanding that jihad is intrinsically an act of justice, not aggression; only infidels can be aggressors. That is absolutely true; it is also true that the stonewalling unanimity of Muslim spokesmen in maintaining that they are the victims, not the perpetrators, is immensely impressive as a propaganda tool — particularly in today’s culture of victimology, in which victims are accorded privileged status.
Arab and Muslim countries are being subjected to savage attacks, which are reminiscent of the brutalities of the Tartars of the Middle Ages or Crusaders before that. The only difference is that Israel takes the place of Tartars and Crusaders.
The Western threat is also looming over Syria and Iran whom the West blames for the present bloodshed in the region. The West also continues meddling in Iraq and Afghanistan apart from creating trouble in Darfur and threatening Sudan with sanctions. The Westerners are also upset because the Islamic Courts forces have succeeded in bringing back considerable amount of peace and security to Somalia.
The American-supported Israeli terror acts have, paradoxically, been unleashed in Palestine and Lebanon under the pretext of fighting international terror.
People in the Middle East still remember US President George Bush using the word “Crusade” in a speech following the 9/11 attacks alluding to the centuries-old unjust wars of the Christian kings against the people in the Arab and Muslim countries in the Middle East. Though the president retracted his words later explaining it as a mistake in translation, the later events make one wonder whether the present day attacks were not the forerunners of the approaching crusades under new names.
European colonialist kings with the prompting and blessings of the 11th century Christian religious leaders had set out to finishing off the uncivilized Muslims in the Middle East. The Crusades began in 1097 and the campaigns ended with the fall of Acre in 1291.