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The First Christian Holy Wars
by Richard L. Rubenstein (March 2011)
The Crusades are never very far from Muslim memory, as was evident on February 23, 1998 when the London-based, Palestinian newspaper, Al Quds Al-Arabi, published the full text of a“Declaration of the World Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and the Crusaders.” The document was signed by al-Qaeda’s leaders, Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, as well as by an Islamist leader from Egypt, Pakistan, and Bangladesh respectively. The most spectacular outcome to date of that jihad has been the destruction of New York’s World Trade Center and the assault on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Contemporary Islamists often identify the United States as “the Crusaders” rather than by its proper name. Similarly, the memory of Saladin’s defeat of the real Crusaders in 1187 assures most Muslims that their jihad against the State of Israel will soon succeed. By contrast, the West has a far weaker memory of the Crusades in spite of their contemporary historical relevance. It is for that reason that this writer has written the essay that follows. more>>>