Christian Persecution Against Muslims

Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi

It is unfortunate that Islam is continously being purported to be a religion of violence by the missionaries, when the reality is very much the opposite. What the majority of Christians are probably unaware is of the persecution of their brethren against other religions, most particularly the Muslims, because it is Islam which has always been the closest challenger to the slaves of the Cross. There are many cases of Christian persecution against the Jews or adherents of primitive religions, such as the natives of Mexico and parts of Southern America, but we will be focusing on two past Christian persecution against Muslims; the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition.

1. Christian Persecution during the Crusades

In November of 1095, Pope Urban II initiated the first European attempt at colonizing the Muslim world – known in the West as the Crusades – by drawing this fateful picture:

For you must hasten to carry aid to your brethren dwelling in the East, who need your help, which they have often asked. For the Turks, a Persian people, have attacked them I exhort you with earnest prayer – not I, but God – that, as heralds of Christ, you urge men by frequent exhortation, men of all ranks, knights as well as foot soldiers, rich as well as poor, to hasten to exterminate this vile race from the lands of your brethren Christ commands it. And if those who set out thither should lose their lives on the way by land, or in crossing the sea, or in fighting the pagans, their sins shall be remitted. Oh what a disgrace, if a race so despised, base, and the instrument of demons, should so overcome a people endowed with faith in the all-powerful God, and resplendent with the name of Christ. Let those who have been accustomed to make private war against the faithful carry on to a successful issue a war against the infidels. Let those who for a long time have been robbers now become soldiers of Christ. Let those who fought against brothers and relatives now fight against these barbarians. Let them zealously undertake the journey under the guidance of the Lord.1

The Catholic Encyclopedia informs us the following about the Crusades:

The Crusades were expeditions undertaken, in fulfilment of a solemn vow, to deliver the Holy Places from Mohammedan tyranny.

The origin of the word may be traced to the cross made of cloth and worn as a badge on the outer garment of those who took part in these enterprises. Medieval writers use the terms crux (pro cruce transmarina, Charter of 1284, cited by Du Cange s.v. crux), croisement (Joinville), croiserie (Monstrelet), etc. Since the Middle Ages the meaning of the word crusade has been extended to include all wars undertaken in pursuance of a vow, and directed against infidels, i.e. against Mohammedans, pagans, heretics, or those under the ban of excommunication.

Many of the Christians who took part in the Crusades spoke of their great pride in wading in the blood of their enemies. This is evident in Daimbert’s comments in the Official Summary of the 1st Crusade, when he said

And, if you desire to know what was done about the enemy whom we found there, know that in the portico of Solomon and his Temple, our men rode in the blood of the Saracens up to the knees of the horses.2

When Jerusalem was conquered on the 15th of July 1099 by the Crusaders who were also known as the Christian Knights, more than 60,000 inhabitants, both Jewish and Muslim, were slaughtered in cold blood. In the words of one witness

…there [in front of Solomon’s temple] was such a carnage that our people were wading ankle-deep in the blood of our foes, and after that “happily and crying for joy” our people marched to our Saviour’s tomb, to honour it and to pay off our debt of gratitude.

The Archbishop of Tyre, who was also an eye-witness, wrote that:

It was impossible to look upon the vast numbers of the slain without horror; everywhere lay fragments of human bodies, and the very ground was covered with the blood of the slain. It was not alone the spectacle of headless bodies and mutilated limbs strewn in all directions that roused the horror of all who looked upon them. Still more dreadful was it to gaze upon the victors themselves, dripping with blood from head to foot, an ominous sight which brought terror to all who met them. It is reported that within the Temple enclosure alone about ten thousand infidels perished.3

Songs were even composed about the conditions of the battles during the Crusades.

Count Roland gripped his sword dripping with gore he strikes his valiant blows, shivering shafts of spears and bucklers, too, cleaving through feet and fists, saddles and sides. To see him hack the limbs from Saracens, pile them upon the earth, corpse upon corpse, would call to mind a very valiant knight.4

These quotes are instructive in their presentation of Western Christian foundational attitudes toward Islam. In medieval Europe, the Popes began to use Islam as a proxy to convince backsliding Christians to return to the fold and to convince themselves that Christians were chaste, denouncing Islam as a sexually liberal and even licentious religion. Once the Europeans gained a foothold in West Asia, one of the areas of greatest concern was miscegenation. In the Crusader mind, even sex with one’s own wife was a carnal sin; sex with an infidel woman was punished by “castration for the Crusader and facial mutilation for the woman.” Muslim women were “viewed as defiled and wanton whores and seductresses.” This stigma is evident in Bishop Jacques de Vitry’s comments on the 5th Crusade, when he says that

Those amongst the Saracens are considered most religious who can make the most women pregnant they lie with their concubines and wives often in times of fast, because they suppose making love and desire are so meritorious, either to satisfy lust or to generate many sons to strengthen the defense of their religion.5

2. Christian Persecution during the Spanish Inquisition

It is well known in all Spain that pressure on Isabella led to the foundation in 1478 of the Spanish Inquisition, over which the Crown was given almost full control by the Pope. The Inquisition was founded to solve one specific problem: the religious and public status of “conversos”. Conversos accused of practicing the Jewish faith were its main line of business, but such cases tended to occur only at specific periods and often had political rather than religious overtones. Where neither Protestants nor Jews existed the Inquisition still intruded regularly into daily life, as the self-appointed guardian of orthodoxy and morality, with extensive powers to prosecute subversive or disrespectful words, thoughts and writings; sexual misbehaviour; bigamy; usury; superstitious practices; and other crimes large or small.

A later historian, the Jesuit Juan de Mariana, admitted that some aspects of the Inquisition “appeared very oppressive to Spaniards”. But because the tribunal was a tool of deep, seated prejudices, those who directed it were able to bring into being a terrifying social weapon that helped to mould the thinking of Spaniards for centuries. It was one of the most powerful forces in the everyday life of sixteenth and seventeenth century Spain.

The tribunal set itself a task which was more recognizably “racialist than religious: to purify peninsular Catholicism by eliminating from the Church and its clergy all descendants of Jewish or Moorish blood”. The task was carried out with an efficiency that has left a permanent mark on Spanish history. Even in modern times distrust of Jews and Arabs has played a significant role in Spanish politics. The early proceedings were undoubtedly bloody: a contemporary historian estimated that in Seville alone between 1480 and 1488 the tribunal had burnt over seven hundred people and punished several thousands.

In the year of 1492 the influential Tomas de Torquemada convinced Ferdinand and Isabella to expel all the surviving unconverted Jews. Perhaps 200,000 Jews, including some of the country’s best educated and most productive people, were sent packing to North Africa and various refuges in Europe.

The struggle against the Moors was always a unifying force, and the final push evoked harmonious cheers of thanks-giving from Spaniards, and from all of Christendom. In 1492, when the Reconquest captured the last Muslim city, Granada, Ferdinand and Isabella, ceremoniously accepted the keys to the Alhambra, the city’s wondrous palace. It was all very chivalrous, except that the religious freedom guaranteed to the Muslims was soon revoked and mass conversions were decreed.


To claim that Christians are on “a moral high ground” when preaching their religion and have been “abstaining from violence” as it is the fundamental teaching of their religion is very much further from the truth, as the evidence shows. One may object that we are concentrating only on the negative, not providing any background analysis, and are not making necessary distinctions between various brands of Christianity and between secular and religious tendencies in the Christian world. But this is precisely what the Christians do to Muslims. They mostly talk and ask about acts of violence taking place in the vast Muslim world without making any distinctions, or analyzing them properly, or balancing them with the positive aspects. The point in this paper is not to prove that Christianity’s teachings are based on murder and violence, as the missionaries would like to claim for Islam, but only to show that Christians have a much darker past of murder and persecutions against those who do not conform to their doctrines when compared to Muslims.

And certainly, only God knows best!


  1. August C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eye Witnesses and Participants, (Gloucester, Massachusetts: Peter Smith, 1958) []
  2. Ibid, p. 275 []
  3. F. Turner, Beyond Geography (New York, 1980) []
  4. F. Turner, Beyond Geography (New York, 1980) []
  5. Norman Daniel, Heroes and Saracens: An Interpretation of the Chansons de Geste, (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1984) []


  1. ‘Muslims occupied non muslim lands,imposed taxes on pilgrims visiting their HOly Places’

    So I guess that is worse than Christians killing and persecuting people of other sects during that time period

    “you imposed high taxes on them simply because they were non_muslims”

    I did? maybe the ismaili
    s did but certainly not me

    “THe natural response to all these discriminations is a non-Muslim ” jihad”. That was exactly what the crusades were. Christian reaction to Muslim enchroachment of CHristians territories way back in 693 ad and as far away as Spain.”

    O, certainly, Ismailis were doing this for a while, all of a sudden when seljuks come, they wanna go on a ‘jihaad’, like a bunch of cowards they kill innocent people muslims, jews and even christians, most of them just going for material purposes and some thought they were after jews in the rhine.

    Spain? is that why a person withing Spain called for Islamic conquest of the dictatorship type of government run there, it becomes funnier taking into consideration, that they were allowed to keep their faith but when christians take over, nobody can keep their faith including Jews and Christians of otehr sects, yet when salaahuddin takes over jerusalem again, he doesn’t take revenge, he let them keep their faith after the massacre of innocent people, which is exactly what you are trying to justify! So, you tell me, who started it? WOuld Native American now be jsutified if they rose up and killed whites in America? Surprisingly, the states that were conwuered by Muslims were a bunch of kingdoms that did committ aggression and didn’t let people spread Islam…please don’t embarass yourself

  2. BTw, it’s quite interesting, how you cite such thigns in history such as the Golden Age and the Ottoman Empire when much of what you use today came as a result of that:

    Carly Fiorina, the CEO of Hewlett Packard, recently gave a speech defining the relevance of leadership in today’s world. Here is the quote from the final part of her speech.

    “I’ll end by telling a story.

    There was once a civilization that was the greatest in the world.

    It was able to create a continental super-state that stretched from ocean to ocean, and from northern climes to tropics and deserts. Within its dominion lived hundreds of millions of people, of different creeds and ethnic origins.

    One of its languages became the universal language of much of the world, the bridge between the peoples of a hundred lands. Its armies were made up of people of many nationalities, and its military protection allowed a degree of peace and prosperity that had never been known. The reach of this civilization’s commerce extended from Latin America to China, and everywhere in between.

    And this civilization was driven more than anything, by invention. Its architects designed buildings that defied gravity. Its mathematicians created the algebra and algorithms that would enable the building of computers, and the creation of encryption. Its doctors examined the human body, and found new cures for disease. Its astronomers looked into the heavens, named the stars, and paved the way for space travel and exploration.

    Its writers created thousands of stories. Stories of courage, romance and magic. Its poets wrote of love, when others before them were too steeped in fear to think of such things.

    When other nations were afraid of ideas, this civilization thrived on them, and kept them alive. When censors threatened to wipe out knowledge from past civilizations, this civilization kept the knowledge alive, and passed it on to others.

    While modern Western civilization shares many of these traits, the civilization I’m talking about was the Islamic world from the year 800 to 1600, which included the Ottoman Empire and the courts of Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, and enlightened rulers like Suleiman the Magnificent.

    Although we are often unaware of our indebtedness to this other civilization, its gifts are very much a part of our heritage. The technology industry would not exist without the contributions of Arab mathematicians. Sufi poet-philosophers like Rumi challenged our notions of self and truth. Leaders like Suleiman contributed to our notions of tolerance and civic leadership.

    And perhaps we can learn a lesson from his example: It was leadership based on meritocracy, not inheritance. It was leadership that harnessed the full capabilities of a very diverse population–that included Christianity, Islamic, and Jewish traditions.

    This kind of enlightened leadership — leadership that nurtured culture, sustainability, diversity and courage — led to 800 years of invention and prosperity.

    In dark and serious times like this, we must affirm our commitment to building societies and institutions that aspire to this kind of greatness. More than ever, we must focus on the importance of leadership– bold acts of leadership and decidedly personal acts of leadership.”

    For the full speech, please go to:

  3. About Early Caliphs:,30/

    About Crusades:,30/

    About Ottomans:,30/

    See 5th video down about Islamic Spain:

    About participating with Hitler:

    “Christians have been persecuting Muslims in those years”

    No, not Christians in particular, there wasn’t really a religious motive, more so political, but that’s far from the point, what’s wrong is wrong

    “Why should MUslims be focussed on the response to their military expeditions that were started by them”

    O you mean like the Crusades, that were a response to what Jerusalem welcoming the Caliph Omer (RAA) in open arms when he conquered it as a response to their aggression? No, the reality was, the pope was jsut mad because of some ismaili caliph hakim destroying some church, the seljuks rebuilding it didn’t help, and yet you use this to justify killing innocent people including jews and christians, by this logic, I guess modern day atrocities which occur by Muslims, are by all means justified. By th way, if you are gonna lie, tell a good one

  4. The Crusades are expeditions undertaken to deliver the Holy PLaces from Moslem tyranny. Why should MUslims be focussed on the response to their military expeditions that were started by them.We see a lot terrorism provoked by Muslims. Mulims always do not condemn these actions instead always ask ppl to look at the cause of these violent actions. Why can’t Muslims do the same. Why can’t they look at the root cause of the Crusades. It is a shame that Muslims ignore their military xpeditions that were made into NOrthern Africa annexing Christian states there first these expeditions were started way back in 693 ad.They even managed to capture Spain. Many muslims consider this as their “golden Age”. If islam does not support expansionism and colonialisation then why bother invading other lands.Muslims shy away when talking about the crusades causes, but talk gloriously about their empires such as Abbasiyah and Umayyad.Ottoman empires.
    tEHESE CONQUERING empires persecuting the idigenious Non-Muslim citizens by imposing jizyah, refusing them the permission to repair damaged temples and churches, not allowing them to high governmment posts altough it was their own territory.Why should Muslims control the lives of non-Muslims in countries that are not theirs!The westwas not the only destination of Muslim expansion, India was invaded by a small force of MUslims under Calipgh UThman Al AFFan.MOghul empire destroyed temples and built mosques on them.
    If these things were done unto them muslims would go on a jihad. According to Islamic beliefs jihad is a struggle against discrimination( at least wat you say). That’s is the reason why yo guys go on suicide bombings etc. Palestinians say the Israelis unfairly occupy their lands , so their response is jihad. Osama says infidels should leave all Islamic lands, in order to make them leave he is going on a jihad. Southern THai Muslims say Thai govt is trying to destroy their Islamic way of life , so their on a jihad, shooting unarmed Buddhists monks and school teachers.
    THe same thing took place those days, Muslims occupied non muslim lands,imposed taxes on pilgrims visiting their HOly Places( I almost forgot Osama says he is on Jihad simply because Infidels should leave Saudi because it is the HOME of the Islamic holy city),you imposed high taxes on them simply because they were non_muslims, converted their Churches to mosques.THe natural response to all these discriminations is a non-Muslim ” jihad”. That was exactly what the crusades were. Christian reaction to Muslim enchroachment of CHristians territories way back in 693 ad and as far away as Spain.

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