Pope Urban II and the First Crusade

by Enza Ferreri

Pope Urban II
Pope Urban II

Urban II, the 159th Pope of the Catholic Church, was one of the great Popes in history, and was beatified in 1881 by Pope Leo XIII.

The most famous son of Châtillon-sur-Marne, in Champagne, France, he was Pope from 1088 until his death in 1099.

We have to thank Pope Blessed Urban II for many things, including the internal reforms he made and his declarations against simony, the Medieval practice of selling church offices; but especially we have to be grateful to him for having saved Europe from subjugation to Islamic forces.

Since the time of Islam’s prophet Muhammad and after his death, Muslim armies had kept conquering lands, starting from the Arabian Peninsula and then spreading to the whole Middle East and North Africa, offering the local populations, largely Christians and Jews, the triple “choice” of a) converting to Islam, b) accepting their inferior status, to be fully humiliated (become “dhimmi”) and to pay a special non-Muslim tax (“Jizya”) that many could not afford, or 3) being killed, as the Koran orders:

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (Qur’an (9:29))

Historical facts say that Islam, including Muhammad, launched their own Crusades against Christianity long before the European Crusades”.

Muslim forces were poised to conquer Europe as well. In 732 in France, moving north, Muslim armies “led by Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi proceeded to sack Aquitaine. Charles Martel mobilized his army to meet the threat. The victory at Tours marked the end of the Muslim invasions in northwestern Europe and preserved Christianity in the region.”

Adolf Hitler, who was an admirer of Islam, said: “Had Charles Martel not been victorious at Poitiers -already, you see, the world had already fallen into the hands of the Jews, so gutless a thing Christianity! -then we should in all probability have been converted to Mohammedanism [Islam], that cult which glorifies the heroism and which opens up the seventh Heaven to the bold warrior alone. Then the Germanic races would have conquered the world. Christianity alone prevented them from doing so” (Adolf Hitler’s Monologe im Führerhauptquartier (Monologue with Headquarters of the Führer). Hamburg: Albrecht Knaus, 1980).

In addition, Muslim invasions and atrocities against Christians were increasing in the decades before the First Crusade was declared in 1095.

Belatedly, the defence to protect all of Europe and Christianity from the centuries-long attack of Islam was started by Urban II when he launched the First Crusade.

In 1095 Pope Urban II, from whom the Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos had requested military aid, held a council in Clermont, France. At the council, addressing a large crowd, he asked Western armies to help Byzantium against the invasion of the Seljuq Turks, who had taken nearly all of Asia Minor from him. The Pope also “urged all to go to the aid of the Greeks and to recover Palestine from the rule of the Muslims. The acts of the council have not been preserved, but we have five accounts of the speech of Urban which were written by men who were present and heard him”.
This is one of those accounts:

Freshly quickened by the divine correction, you must apply the strength of your righteousness to another matter which concerns you as well as God. For your brethren who live in the east are in urgent need of your help, and you must hasten to give them the aid which has often been promised them. For, as the most of you have heard, the Turks and Arabs [Muslims] have attacked them and have conquered the territory of Romania [the Greek empire] as far west as the shore of the Mediterranean and the Hellespont, which is called the Arm of St. George. They have occupied more and more of the lands of those Christians, and have overcome them in seven battles. They have killed and captured many, and have destroyed the churches and devastated the empire. If you permit them to continue thus for awhile with impurity, the faithful of God will be much more widely attacked by them. On this account I, or rather the Lord, beseech you as Christ’s heralds to publish this everywhere and to persuade all people of whatever rank, foot-soldiers and knights, poor and rich, to carry aid promptly to those Christians and to destroy that vile race from the lands of our friends.

There have been many attempts to distort well-known historical facts by Western apologists of Islam like Karen Armstrong, although Muslims themselves acknowledge that the Crusades were purely defensive. And, as Wikislam says: “Indeed, authoritative Muslim historians writing centuries before the Crusades, such as Ahmad Ibn Yahya al-Baladhuri (d. 892) and Muhammad ibn Jarir at-Tabari (838-923), make it clear that Islam was spread by the sword“.

The way Wikipedia treats the subject offers another example of the attempts to exculpate Muslim imperialism and supremacism:

At the Council of Clermont held in November of the same year, Urban II’s sermon proved highly effective, as he summoned the attending nobility and the people to wrest the Holy Land and the eastern churches generally from the control of the Seljuk Turks.

“Wrest the Holy Land and the eastern churches generally from the control of the Seljuk Turks” makes it sound like a tug-of-war, a video game. It tries to divert readers’ attention from the oppression, suffering, torture and massacre of the Christian populations who – in analogy with what happens to Christians persecuted and killed for no other reason than their faith in Muslim-majority countries today – were at the mercy of Muslim armies and Muslim tyrants.

Another leftist apologist is to be found in The New Statesman: “In March 1095 Urban II received an ambassador from the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos (1081-1118) asking for help against Muslim Turks, who had taken over most of formerly Byzantine Anatolia.” So, since the article (very short, lest delving into too many facts may spoil its pro-Islamic narrative) is totally negative about Pope Urban II whom it calls “Dr. Death”, we have to assume that the Muslim Turks shoud have been left alone to continue their subjugation of Christians. What if it happened now? Um, sorry, I forgot, it does.

The Crusades were a delayed and limited response to the bloody Islamic jihad that had already invaded many Christian lands and subjugated numerous Christian populations, and that was stopped only when it was about to conquer Europe as well.


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