Crusades, Jihadists and Conflict Resolution
By Hasan Yahya, Ph.D
(Reprinted by permission: From wfol.tv and the author of Crescentology, Theory C. of conflict Management and Cultural Normalization, 2008)
Everywhere, in the aftermath of 9/11 waves of shock, grief, fear, and anxiety reverberated not just through New York and Washington but throughout the United States . Due to the unpredictability and massive scale of the violence of terrorism, the trauma symptoms it causes travel well.
In his late book: The crusades: The Complete idiot’s Guide to the Crusades, Poul L. Williams wrote under the title: Ticket toParadise:
“Jerusalem,” the pope says, “implores you to come to its aid. Undertake this journey eagerly for the remission of sins, and be assured of imperishable glory in the kingdom of Heaven.” Yes, you heard it right. The pope is offering even the most grievous sins—to forgiveness of sins—to everyone who embarks on this crusade. The nobles who into battle against the Turks will be received in heaven to the acclaim of angels. They will receive glory, everlasting glory, in the court of the omnipotent Overlord who rules over all fiefdom”.
People added “It’s God’s will, and the pope agreed. After minutes the pope again hold up the cross the cries subside and the other great crowd becomes silent as the Holy Father says:
“Yes, indeed, Yes, it is the will of God. You today see the accomplishment of the word of our Savior, who promised to be in the midst of the faithful when assembled in His name. It is He who dictated to you the words I have heard these words be your war cry. Let them announce everywhere the presence of the God in his holy army.”
Of course the pope Urban II Don’t originate this notion of a holy war. In fact, the doctrine was developed bySt. Augustineat the time of the fall ofRoman Empire. (410 C.E).St. Augustinesaid that
“a defensive war is always just, as it is conducted to protect the people. An offensive war, he said, is just when it is waged against a state that refuses to make reparation for wrongs committed or fails to return seized property.”
Let me ask: Why Hamas was accused of terrorism while according to Augustine, Hamas has the right to wage war against Israel for two reasons. 1) it defends the people, and 2) take offensive just war against a state that refuses to make reparation for wrongs committed or fails to return seized property. On the same token, why Hizbullah was included in terrorist organizations list by those who deny their right to wage war against Israel, for the same two reasons raised by Augustine. According to Augustine, they have the right for defensive as well as offensive wars against Israel and those who stand supporting Israel in the last fifty years. Why they denied that right? A question deserves so much debate.
The Jihadists have also the right to defend their lands, and their religion. They claim that corrupted governments are accusing those who sought social justice call them terrorists too. The Jihadists war was to protect people who are not protected by their governments, to bring justice to people, Logically, they also have the right to wage offensive war because those who took too much property refuses to make reparation for wrongs committed in Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq and Kashmir etc., (for innocent civilians at least like the Jews after their collapse and extermination fromEurope). Who should pay for the sufferings of Palestinians, Lebanese, Kashmirians, while refugees have no right to go back to their homes and lands? Do they have God’s curse to be denied self determination as someone might say? Of course, if the Jihadists, who believe that three quarters of Muslims around the world support them (at least emotionally) succeed, then all Muslims will be supporting their cause. But unfortunately, they are not succeeded , and their actions are full of terror, and terrorist attacks and the opposition to their claims are mounting against them for such actions where the civilian pay . But what they will do, when national and religious dignity are lost? They do not have the power or the technology to win wars. What can they do? Stand still like most Muslims who abandon Heaven and follow Dunya (as they imagine). Muslims know very well that Jihadists have rights to rebel against injustices committed by tribal dynasties. Without Islam no one will sympathize with them. The obvious and clear deviations from Islamic teaching and legacy is wide open in all Muslim and Arab countries. I think, their attacks will come to an end ONLY when justice is made and mutual respect become the rule to deal with Jihadist issues. I think one day, Jihadists will prevail, not for their terrorist acts, but by their claims for justice, respect and dignity. History will tell. I guess.
Everywhere, in the aftermath of 9/11 waves of shock, grief, fear, and anxiety reverberated not just through New Yorkand Washingtonbut throughout the United States. Due to the unpredictability and massive scale of the violence of terrorism, the trauma symptoms it causes travel well.
Among majority of Arabs and Muslims, Unfortunately, 911 was privately applauded. For a simple reason, the slogans of freedom, economy and politics were attacked. That was unbelievable event in modern times. While doubt remains about inside helping hand, the success brought world attention, a proverb says in Arabic: (the mosquito can make the lion’s eye bloody.) Islam is a slogan, cannot be destroyed or demolished easily as a reaction for 911. Unless justice prevails. And Islam has to be respected. The millions of faithful, do not apprehend this wave against Islam from some intellectuals who had certain purposes to achieve in the western world. Some of them may be sincere to change wrongs committed against Muslims and Arabs in recent years. The new Muslim generations have to be given the benefits of doubt to be protecting human rights on mutual respect, when people loose their dignity, beware of their offspring.
What was amazing that after the pope speech. Something startling happened. Thousands of knights swear that they see the clouds part and an image of the Holy City appear in the sky. They fall to their knees in wonder, knowing the certain that God wills the Crusade. And the waves of Crusade began.
Was it true? Sins of nobles and knights will be forgiven? Who played the role of God in that time to grant such forgiveness? He was the pope Urban II. This is not strange, because Compared with Khumeini ofIranwho played the same role in 1980. as the pope, by making fatwa for martyrs young people in the fight with Saddam Hussein’sIraq.Paradisewas guaranteed according to Khumeini.
Returning to the book title: People are no idiots, of course. They know the Crusade was a war between Christians and Muslims for control of the Holy Land. However, these bloody conflicts raged over centuries, under changing circumstances, making the whole story difficult to follow.
You don’t have to don armor and cross deserts to relieve the Crusades! In The Complete Idiot’s Guide, which is a website, for the Crusades shows why these wars began? why they continued for so long? and how their impact on the world still resonates.? This Complete Idiot’s Guide as they announce show much of the dark ages and the Renaissance, and why the Pope Urban II would grant absolution to anyone who reclaimed the Holy Land for Christianity.
George W. Bush and the Crusades an article by Alan Woods Begins with this statement:
”On the eve of the war in Iraq, George W. Bush talked about a “crusade”. He was obviously quite pleased with himself for having thought of such a catchy phrase. But he was quickly silenced by his advisers, who pointed out to him that the word “crusade” has very unfortunate associations for the Moslem world. After that, the word was quietly dropped from his vocabulary.”
For most people – including the Bush Administration in the White House, “ were something one vaguely remembers from the movies, where they are presented in a glamorous and romantic light, as the highest expression of Christian chivalry. The reality was rather different.”
Dr. Wood’s book is interesting, he explained what were the crusade, the Crusades and the Jews, The Crusades in Jerusalem, the religious-military Orders, the Economic interests, then Saladin and Richard (The Lion Heart), plus many interesting historical facts. What is interesting is what he brought. Some comments of the crusaders about the Jews made in N. Cohn, book: The Pursuit of the Millennium, p. 70.) he brought this quote:
“We have set out to march a long way to fight the enemies of God in the East, and behold, before our very eyes are his worst foes, the Jews. They must be dealt with first.” And again: “You are the descendants of those who killed and hanged our God. Moreover [God] himself said: ‘The day will yet dawn when my children will come and avenge my blood.’ We are his children and it is our task to carry out his vengeance upon you, for you showed yourselves obstinate and blasphemous towards him … [God] has abandoned you and has turned his radiance towards us and has made us his own.” (p70)
Coming back to Hamas and Hizbullah and Kashmiris militants, and their legitimate causes (but not their practices against civilians). Every person with mind stands against terrorist acts against civilians (Jews or Christians or else), but in the same time their argument is logical as oppressed people in a world does not recognize their rights. In a world did not respect rights and appreciate power. When dignity is lost, every body may have to pay to regain such dignity in any way possible. The United States to regain its dignity loss in 911, strived and brought all its alliance friends to stand with her, (including some Arab states: Egypt, and Syria etc.,) in order to regain American dignity. If we blame America for its wars in the Middle East, Jihadists in Hamas and Hizbullah must be blamed for fighting for their dignity. Both are wrong by using the only method to regain dignity, undermining other solutions for conflicts which should be on the table to solve them, even in terms of retaining dignity to save civilians rights in the free world. The question remains: Who causes all the recent miss in the Middle East, the Jihadists, or the Western poppet, Democratic Israel in the Middle East? InvadingIraqwas an attempt to saveIsrael, which occupiedPalestine, that was the main cause I invite any one to find the causes, no one may miss them. Because in logic and reasoning, we learned, the true consequences followed mostly by the true causes.
Conflict Management in this case, should take religion as encouraging factor to solve disputes. For several reasons: 1) more than two thirds of the world population belong to a religion. Where according to data ten years ago, 29.2% of the religious constituency was Christian; 17.9% Muslim; 13% Hindu; 5.7% Buddhist/Shintoist; 0.7% Confucianism/Taoist. Together, all those religious organizations have a huge infrastructure with a communication network reaching to all corners of the world. They have a great responsibility and leadership is expected from them. 2) Religious organizations can rely on a set of soft power sources to influence the peace process. Scientists on conflict resolution developed a useful taxonomy for understanding the different bases of power. It asserts that six different sources of power exist for influencing another’s behavior: reward, coercion, expertise, legitimacy, reference, and information. (Raven and Rubin, 1983). Only rewards and coercion are used by the United States, rewards to governments, and coercion of these governments to abide with rules of War on terrorism instead of rewarding Jihadists by understanding their requests, and solving injustices historically made earlier, the United States is using power to give them illegitimacy and coercion.
I believe that religious organizations have a major impact on inter-communal and international conflicts including the Jihadists. During the Cold War, religious as well as ethnic and nationalist conflicts were relatively neglected in the study of international relations and peace research. After the defeat of the communist block, the escalation of nationalist and religious conflicts were observed. The religious dimension of conflicts, remains an under-researched field. There is no useful typology of religious conflicts; it is also observed, that no serious study of the impact of religious organizations on conflict behavior; no comparative research of peace-making and peace-building efforts of different religious organizations. Generalizing terrorism to Islam as a religion, (As atheists and others claim) will deteriorate the situation and block peaceful solutions.
In conclusion I would agree with Luc Reychler, in his article: Introduction: Towards a Religion of World Politics. that the world cannot survive in the same way with persisting problems without a new global ethic, and religions play a major role, as parties in violent conflicts, as passive bystanders and as active peace-makers and peace-builders. I think, representing two thirds of the world population, religions have a major responsibility in creating a constructive conflict culture. Scientist have to stop being passive bystanders and organize themselves to provide more effective peace services. Religions and religious organizations have an untapped and under-used integrative power potential. At least to understand which factors enhance or inhibit joint peace ventures between the Christian religions, but also between the prophetic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), the Indian religions (Hinduism and Buddhism) and the Chinese wisdom religions, is an urgent research challenge. Jihadists after all represent a large number of people who feels injustices made against their religion and nations intentionally or otherwise, They have to be sharing the blame as well as the solution for conflicts worldwide. Because terrorism and wars are devastating in their consequences on all. We have to bring here Bertrand Russell (the American-British philosopher) who provided certain methods to close the gap of hostility among cultures, namely, using education as a tool for reciprocal understanding, and mutual respect, and dignity, he wrote:
“I would have the schools in India teach the virtues of Muhammadans, and the schools in Pakistan teach virtues of Hindus, I would have Zionists taught the merits of Arabs, and the Arabs taught the merits of Jews. I would have the West taught that even Russians are human beings, and the Russians taught that not all Westerners are lackeys of capitalism.” Russell (1961:71