If he ever took leadership classes in college, President Obama’s performance in office clearly suggests he slept through them. But his recent statements concerning the Crusades suggest he slept through history and religion classes, as well.
The President’s comments at the National Prayer Breakfast demonstrate no historical understanding as to what the Crusades were all about.
His speech was disconcerting. He sought to equate Christian violence during the Crusades to that of Muslim extremists today:
…lest we get on our high horse…(we need recognize that Christians too hijacked religion) for their own murderous ends…this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.
Considering how the President goes out of his way to avoid linking violence and Islam, one wonders why he even mentioned the Crusades—conflicts where both sides zealously committed battlefield violence in the name of religion.
But mentioning the Crusades is an acknowledgement by Obama that an historic link between Islam and violence exists. The critical issue then is: When does Obama believe it terminated?
In equating Christian violence during the Crusades to Islamic extremists today, Obama conveniently ignored two historical facts.
First, the Crusades were triggered by Muslim aggression seeking forcefully to impose Islam upon a non-Muslim world. Indisputably, the Crusades represented a clash of civilizations as Muslim intolerance and Christian tolerance for all other religions collided.
Dr. Bill Warner of the Center for the Study of Political Islam takes a scientific approach to analyzing religions. He puts the clash of civilizations during the Crusades into proper perspective.
By Warner’s count, hundreds of Crusade battles were initiated by Muslim aggressors while mere dozens were Christian-initiated. Limiting his analysis only to battles in the name of jihad against classical civilizations such as Rome and Greece but not others undertaken in Asia, Afghanistan, India, etc., Warner tallied 548 such battles!
America’s responses to unprovoked attacks by Muslim pirates triggering the Barbary wars, by Japan triggering World War II, and by 9/11 Muslims triggering the “War on ‘Islamic’ Terrorism” were all justified as defensive actions. So too were the Crusades.
Second, Obama would be hard-pressed to identify, historically, a time when the violent Islamic mindset of the Crusades transitioned into a “peaceful religion” as he asserts today.
Since the Crusades, Islam has had no “aha moment,” either by word or deed, to suggest violent jihad, sanctioned by the Quran, was eliminated as a tool for imposing itself upon the rest of the world.
Interestingly, however, as Obama touts “peaceful” Islam,” disassociating it from all violence, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi sees things much differently.
Recognizing Islam’s violent undertone, Sisi experienced an “aha moment.” Noting Islam’s “wrong ideas” have been sacralized to the point making “the entire umma (Muslim community) a source of concern, danger, killing, and destruction for the whole world,” he criticizes religious leaders for failing to preach otherwise. Islam, he courageously declares, is in need of reform.
History supports Christianity’s evolution from a religion demanding followers’ blind faith to one nurturing independent thought and education. As such, the Christian quality of life promotes tolerance today.
Contrarily, Islam has failed similarly to evolve, banning any creative thought and limiting education to religious indoctrination. Accordingly, Islam retains for its followers the same violent Muslim mindset dominant during the Crusades.
The clash of civilizations of the Crusades continues today. Obama can deny it, but the realist cannot. The only path for clash avoidance is one Islam’s religious leaders must now follow to reform an ideology driven by its lust for world domination.
Failure to do so, coupled with Obama’s inability to grasp reality, leaves America on the losing end of an unending conflict.
Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (Ret.), is a retired Marine infantry officer who served in the Vietnam war, the U.S. invasion of Panama and the first Gulf war. He is the author of “Bare Feet, Iron Will–Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam’s Battlefields,” “Living the Juche Lie: North Korea’s Kim Dynasty” and “Doomsday: Iran–The Clock is Ticking.” He frequently writes on foreign policy and defense issues.