The crusades that were carried out in medieval times left long lasting effects that are still being felt today in both the Christian and Muslim world. Crusades played a significant part in defining the kind of relations that exist between the West and Islam at the present time. This paper will examine how the crusades influenced the current state of Islamic insurgency.
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The Islamic World
The situation in the Islamic world at present pits two cultures against each other, the American culture and Arab Islamic culture. Western culture sees crusades as historical events that influenced European development. The crusades were viewed as a means of spreading the Christianity faith to areas where it had not spread.
Muslims viewed negatively the crusades as “an unprovoked invasion into their land by the West to grab land, take gold and forced an infidel Christian religion on them” (Guiyun 1). The first crusade was the main trigger of the never ending war of culture between Western Christians and Islam and is recorded to have started as early as 7th century.
It is the same war that is going on today between Muslims and Americans. It has been recorded that the west and the east have continuously clashed with the reasons for the clashing changing over time but the bottom line remains the same. This has led to different cultural perspectives that each culture accepts to be historically universal (Guiyun 1).
Muslims went through painful times during the crusades and therefore, they have retained these painful memories. They will therefore do anything to prevent any sign of Western influence in their land. Many of the Muslims see American involvement in their affairs as a new form of crusade.
The events that have happened over time indicate that the effects of the crusades never ended. For instance, a man who tried to kill the Pope in the 1980’s referred to him as the leader of the crusades. When Saddam invaded Kuwait, he termed it as a war against new crusaders. Many Islamic wars have since been waged against Western regimes with the same message, to prevent crusaders from taking over their land (Woon Cha 110).
Americans on the other hand believe that the people in the Middle East need to be protected from the Islamic extremists. They justified the war on Afghanistan as offering protection to the Afghan people. The War in Iraq was aimed at freeing the Iraqis from mistreatment of the dictatorial authorities.
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America thinks that it is its duty to find peace in the Middle East. The problem remains that neither of these two cultures thinks that they are wrong. Each side has a justification for its activities; no side wants to be dominated by the other. Just as it was in the medieval times, every side will try to counter the other sides influence (Cline Austin 4).
As we have seen, the crusades have had a long lasting influence in the world relationships. The Western Christian powers in their efforts to conquer and reclaim the Holy land triggered conflicts with the Muslim world that saw it as an invasion of their land. Wars ensued and with it came bitter memories that can not be wiped away.
That is why the conflicts still continue between the Christian West and the Islamic east. Islamic insurgencies are as a consequence of the crusades.
Cline, Austin. Perspectives and Religion in the Crusades. Atheism, n.d.
Guiyun, Wu. Middle East: The roots of conflict. Atimes, 2002.
Woon, Cha-Myoung. The crusades, their influence and their relevance for today. Upetd, 2006.