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ASSIST News Service (ANS)
PO Box 2126, Garden Grove, CA 92842-2126 USA
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December 7, 2001

By Rev. Austin Miles
Special to ASSIST News Service

BRENTWOOD, NORTHERN CALIFORNIA (ANS) -- In what might be conceived as an attempt to justify the attack on America by Islamic Jihad forces, Armstrong Williams, in his column distributed by Tribune Media Services titled: Three Religions Hijacked (Antioch Press, 11/01 issue) stated:

On or about 1095, Pope Urban II organized a holy war against Islam. Driven by the goal of uniting the European Empire under one identity, one religion, one pope, Christian soldiers promptly spent the next 196 years butchering Muslims in distant lands.

He went on to write:

Since these soldiers were ostensibly defending Christian ideals, in rhetoric, though plainly not in truth, Pope Urban II reasoned that the crusades would be pleasing to God.

The only thing butchered in this event was Williams' account of its history. The Christian Crusades began only after over 458 years of horrific attacks on Christians, their monasteries and the Vatican itself by invading Muslims.

After Islamic forces attacked and conquered Jerusalem and took over its Holy sites, the Catholic Church responded with the Crusades.

Here is an authentic history of Islam and the Crusades: Muhammad received his 'vision' on Mount Hira in 610 AD. In 624 he married the 10- year old daughter of Abu Bekr, who was named, Aisha. The following year, 625, he began dictating what would become known as the Koran.

Within four years after organizing Islam, the (real) slaughters began. Muhammad's forces captured Mecca. Muhammad wrote letters to all of the world's rulers explaining the principals of the Moslem faith. Persia was invaded and conquered, causing its leaders to appeal to China for help against Islamic terrorism.

Muhammad's forces captured Gaza and in 637, they invaded and conquered Jerusalem. They next attacked Armenia (639), Tripoli (642), and Cyprus in 649.

Muslims, on a rampage, invaded and conquered city after city, threatening civilization itself, creating a living nightmare for their victims.

Not only did the Muslims conquer entire areas like Sicily (878), making Palermo their capital, they had begun systematic attacks on monasteries after they attacked and damaged the Vatican in 846. This prompted Pope Leo IV to build the Leonine wall around the Vatican to protect it from future attacks from Islamic warriors.

In 1009 the Mohammedans sacked the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. The attacks and need for defense did not let up. Christians everywhere were being killed.

The Catholic Church could no longer sit and allow itself to be destroyed by this Jihad. St. Gregory VII had planned to organize a crusade in answer to anguished appeals from the shaky Eastern Empire but the fight over lay investiture had prevented him from doing so. Now Pope Urban II had no other choice but to take action against Islamic attacks..

Under his direction, the Crusades began in 1096. The Christian Knights were correctly called, The Defenders of The Faith. The first order of business was to recover the Holy Sepulcher of Christ that had been seized by Islamic Jihad warriors.

Williams' misleading Islamic history might be understandable since propaganda had worked its way into history and public discussions would represent that the Catholic Church wanted world dominion and the Muslims were the victims. And this misinformation was possibly implanted in the mind of Williams who believed it to be a true account.

An example is an article titled, War: A Muslim Perspective, published in Christian History (10/05/01). Islamic historian, Hadia Dajani-Shakeel who is also co-editor of The Jihad and Its Times (Michigan, 1991), stated:

In 1095, Pope Urban II staged a massive military invasion of the Muslim East. That invasion and occupation caused the forced expulsion, conversion or enslavement of the Muslim majority.

Notice the total absence of the events leading up to that action. It was this deceptive view of history that Armstrong Williams propagated. While it would be understandable that Dajani-Shakeel had an agenda that would be furthered by passing off this revised history, Williams' agenda is not clear.

He not only misrepresented the Catholic role in the Crusades, but he went further by using the inflammatory word, "butchering" on the part of the Christian Crusaders who had no choice but to vigorously defend the church and Christianity. Self- defense is not butchery. Crashing airplanes into buildings killing thousands of innocent people and hacking Christians to death around the world is.

If Williams, like too many others, are trying to be diplomatic and make nice, then this is political correctness gone mad.

While Christians in such Muslim dominated countries as Indonesia, Malaysia, Sudan, Nigeria, as well as the Philippines, which is facing an Islamic terrorist group, are being slaughtered and beheaded in the market places as this is being written, as well as planned new attacks upon America, Armstrong Williams has given the enemy ammunition to carry on by proclaiming that it was all started by the Catholic Church that wanted to annihilate Muslims and dominate as a world religion. This would support the Islamic notion of defending the faith against infidels.

This war declared by the Muslims against the Catholic Church became a war against Christians in general and anyone else who was a non-Muslim.
To dissent and state an opinion is one thing, but to distort history and present so-called facts, which could stir up radicals to increase their rampages against innocent people by giving them a reason to do so, including their attacks on America itself, is not on.

First Amendment Rights and political correctness does not apply here.

This is not a blanket defense of the Catholic Church. They have been guilty of atrocities of their own. This is not one of them. The church exercised extraordinary restraint for over 458 years before finally organizing the Crusades and fighting back.
With a more careful look at accurate historical accounts, world events can be sorted out more effectively and better decisions can be implemented for the future.

Rev. Austin Miles is a chaplain and historian. He has lectured on Circus History at the prestigious New York Museum of Natural History, the Staten Island Museum and lecture halls throughout New England. He was also the historical narrator for the Royal Lipizzan Stallion Show in its tours throughout the U.S., Canada, Alaska, Mexico and Puerto Rico. He was a writer-researcher and technical consultant for the multi-award winning TV series, Ancient Secrets of The Bible and is listed in the Who's Who Historical Encyclopedia. He can be contacted by e-mail at

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