President Barack Obama’s controversial comments equating the recent atrocities by the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists with those of medieval Christians sparked an uproar among the nation’s Christians. But according to ABC News, historians are also taking aim at Obama’s statement: “During the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”
University of St. Louis Historian Thomas Madden says Obama’s comments reveal an ignorance of history.
“I don’t think the president knows very much about the Crusades,” Madden told ABC News. “He seems to be casting them as an example of the distortion of Christianity and trying to compare that to what he sees as a distortion of Islam in the actions of ISIS.
“The initial goal of the Crusades was to give back lands to Christians that had been conquered, due to Muslim conquests,” Madden added.
ABC News reports that while no reliable estimate of deaths during the Crusades exists, “the massacre of over 2,700 Muslim prisoners by Richard the Lionheart” is well-documented.
University of London Historian Thomas Asbridge also told ABC News that the suggestion of any causal link between the Islamic State terrorists and the medieval Crusades is “grounded in the manipulation and misrepresentation of historical evidence.”