- Dec 4, 2010
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As obvious as it is that Islam has it's share of barbarism, it is nonetheless completely dishonest to pretend that Christianity has been a net source of good in the world. And most especially, it is absurd to pretend as if the Crusaders were good people. One only needs examine a summary from the point of view of a religious minority who were the subject to both Crusaders and Muslims during this period:
With return of the Byzantines in 628, the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius promised to restore Jewish rights and received Jewish help in ousting the Persians with the aid of Jewish leader Benjamin of Tiberias. Heraclius later reneged on the agreement after reconquering Palestine by issuing an edict banning Judaism from the Byzantine Empire and thousands of Jewish refugees fled to Egypt, following Byzantine and Ghassanid perpetrated massacres across the Galilee and Jerusalem.
After the [Muslim] conquest, Jewish communities began to grow and flourish. Umar allowed and encouraged Jews to settle in Jerusalem. It was first time, after almost 500 years of oppressive Christian rule, that Jews were allowed to enter and worship freely in their holy city. Seventy Jewish families from Tiberias moved to Jerusalem in order to help strengthen the Jewish community there. But with the construction of the Dome of the Rock in 691 and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 705, the Muslims established the Temple Mount as an Islamic holy site. The dome enshrined the Foundation Stone, the holiest site for Jews. Before Omar Abd al-Aziz died in 720, he banned the Jews from worshipping on the Temple Mount.
In 1099, the Jews were among the rest of the population who tried in vain to defend Jerusalem against the Crusaders. When the city fell, a massacre of 6,000 Jews occurred when the synagogue they were seeking refuge in was set alight. Almost all perished... Under Crusader rule, Jews were not allowed to hold land and involved themselves in commerce in the coastal towns during times of quiescence. Most of them were artisans: glassblowers in Sidon, furriers and dyers in Jerusalem. At this time there were Jewish communities scattered all over the country, including Jerusalem, Tiberias, Ramleh, Ashkelon, Caesarea, and Gaza. In line with trail of bloodshed the Crusaders left in Europe on their way to liberate the Holyland, in Palestine, both Muslims and Jews were indiscriminately massacred or sold into slavery.
The Crusader rule over Palestine had taken its toll on the Jews. Relief came in 1187 when Ayyubid Sultan Saladin defeated the Crusaders in the Battle of Hattin, taking Jerusalem and most of Palestine. (A Crusader state centred round Acre survived in weakened form for another century.) In time,Saladin issued a proclamation inviting all Jews to return and settle in Jerusalem, and according to Judah al-Harizi, they did: "From the day the Arabs took Jerusalem, the Israelites inhabited it." Al-Harizi compared Saladins decree allowing Jews to re-establish themselves in Jerusalem to the one issued by the Persian Cyrus the Great over 1,600 years earlier.
History of the Jews and Judaism in the Land of Israel - Wikipedia the free encyclopedia