900 years ago, back in the days when most of Europe was lost in the
Dark Ages, the then-deranged Muslim ruler of Jerusalem decided to tear
down the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. He was quickly deposed, and the
Church hastily rebuilt at Muslim expense. The Muslims apologised.
was too late. Within a few months, reports of similar attacks on
Christian pilgrims and symbols in Palestine had spread across Europe.
Pope Urban II seemed powerless to respond. He was more concerned with
corruption within the Vatican (much of it his own doing), and with the
presence of other allegedly false competing claimants to the Pontiff’s
The Pope’s “solution” to the internal crisis was to seek
a diversion. He declared the first Crusade. Historians agree that in
leading this battle, the then-Pontiff was less interested in defending
the honour of Christ or Jerusalem than in shoring up his own power and
diverting attention away from crises within the Church.
900 years later, the tables have turned. This time it is mainly Muslim
leaders who are embroiled in corruption and scandal. The generals,
emirs, kings and presidents-for-life that rule most Muslim-majority
states (usually with the help of their Western patrons) have failed to
effectively deal with the poverty, illiteracy and other economic and
social ills too numerous to list here.
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Today these rulers are
also seeking a diversion. One obscure neo-Conservative Danish newspaper
appears to have provided it. What they have also proven is that perhaps
Muslims are in the midst of their own Dark Age.
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