Saturday, December 01, 2007

Garrison Keillor and the Crusades

Keillor has the typical bien-pensant Westerner's view of these historical events, it seems. Robert Spencer demolishes his ignorance. A small example:

(Keillor)But Urban II had noticed that Europe was becoming an increasingly violent place, with low-level knights killing each other over their land rights, and he thought that he could bring peace to the Christian world by directing all that violence against an outside enemy. So he made up stories of how Turks in Jerusalem were torturing and killing Christians, and anyone who was willing to join the fight against them would go to heaven.

(Spencer)These stories were not made up. The persecution of Christians had been going on in the Holy Land for a long time. In 1004, the sixth Fatimid Caliph, al-Hakim (985-1021), ordered the destruction of churches, the burning of crosses, and the seizure of church property. He moved against the Jews with similar ferocity. Over the next ten years thirty thousand churches were destroyed, and untold numbers of Christians converted to Islam simply to save their lives. In 1009, al-Hakim gave his most spectacular anti-Christian order: he commanded that the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem be destroyed, along with several other churches (including the Church of the Resurrection). Al-Hakim commanded that the tomb inside be cut down to the bedrock. He ordered Christians to wear heavy crosses around their necks (and Jews heavy blocks of wood in the shape of a calf). He piled on other humiliating decrees, culminating in the order that they accept Islam or leave his dominions.



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