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Emmet Scott, for instance, author of the new book Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited writes:
[I]n addition to some commentaries upon Aristotle, and a few scientific and technological concepts (which were not “Arab” inventions at all) Islam was to communicate to Europe a whole host of ideas and attitudes that were far from being enlightened. Most obviously, the concept of “holy war” [or jihad], which Europe adopted (admittedly somewhat reluctantly) in the eleventh century, was entirely an Islamic innovation (p. xx).
Earlier, historian Bernard Lewis wrote,
Even the Christian crusade, often compared with the Muslim jihad, was itself a delayed and limited response to the jihad and in part also an imitation…. [F]orgiveness for sins to those who fought in defence of the holy Church of God and the Christian religion and polity, and eternal life for those fighting the infidel: these ideas … clearly reflect the Muslim notion of jihad, and are precursors of the Western Christian Crusade.
For all that, Islamic ideologies did not pervert the foundations of Christianity. Lewis continues:
But unlike the jihad, it [the Crusade] was concerned primarily with the defense or reconquest of threatened or lost Christian territory.… The Muslim jihad, in contrast, was perceived as unlimited, as a religious obligation that would continue until all the world had either adopted the Muslim faith or submitted to Muslim rule.… The object of jihad is to bring the whole world under Islamic law.
The point here is that the earliest manifestations of the sort of terrorism initiated by Breivik are Islamic in origin. For instance, the medieval Hashashin—the archetypal terrorists who gave us the word “assassin”—were a Muslim sect that pioneered the use of fear, murder, and terror for political gain as early as the 11th century.
Even so, the media has inclined to focus on Breivik’s fascination with Christian historical groups like the Knights Templar—without bothering to explain exactly how a military order devoted to protecting Christian pilgrims inspired Breivik to murder innocent Norwegian children. As one historian put it, the original Knights Templar, a “very devout people,” would be “horrified” to be associated with Breivik.
Even more ironic, the Knights and Crusaders in general were frequently on the receiving end of the aforementioned Hashashin’s terror campaign; that is, far from being inspirations for terrorism, the Knights Templar bore the brunt of one of the earliest manifestations of Islamic terrorism. Even CNN’s Fareed Zakaria correctly opined that in Breivik’s distorted worldview, “the Knights Templar resembles nothing so much as al Qaeda.”
In short, whereas Breivik’s goals may have been anti-Islamic in nature, his actions, those things which we are rightly judged by—in this case, terror, murder, and planned beheadings—were jihadist in essence.
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