The European Crusades against Muslims
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 20th of the Islamic month of Moharram in 942 AH, the Spanish Christians led by King Charles V seized the Islamic city of Tunis on the North African coast from the Ottoman Turks and perpetrated a heinous massacre of at least 30,000 Muslims. The stench of the corpses was such that Spanish king soon left Tunis by placing Molay Hassan as a client ruler. The Spanish also took thousands of women and children as slaves, and set on fire tens of thousands of books and rare manuscripts.
On December 12, 1098 AD, during the First Crusade, the Christian invaders from Europe not just massacred over 20,000 Muslim men, women, and children of the Syrian city of Ma'arrat an-Numan after deceiving them to surrender peacefully, but resorted to cannibalism by eating the bodies of their victims. These barbaric events were chronicled by Fulcher of Chartres, who wrote: "I shudder to tell that many of our people (European Christians), harassed by the madness of excessive hunger, cut pieces from the buttocks of the Saracens (Muslims) already dead there, which they cooked, but when it was not yet roasted enough by the fire, they devoured it with savage mouth.
On December 25, 1137 AD, Salah od-Din Ayyoubi, who liberated the Islamic city of Bayt ol-Moqaddas from the European Crusader invaders by ending the 88-year illegal existence of the usurper Kingdom of Jerusalem in Palestine, was born in Tikrit in Iraq into a Kurdish family. After serving the Turkic Zangi dynasty of Syria, along with his uncle Shirkouh, he saw service in Egypt, which he seized from the Fatemid Ismaili Shi'ite Dynasty and subsequently spread his rule over Syria and the Hijaz. He died in Damascus at the age of 57 and is buried behind the Omayyad Mosque.
On December 24, 1144 AD, the capital of the County of Edessa was captured by Imad od-Din Zangi, the Atabeg of Mosul and Aleppo, thus ending the first illegal state set up in what is now southern Turkey by Europe’s Crusader invaders of the Muslim lands.
On October 25, 1147 AD, Seljuq Turks, under Rukn od-Din Mas’oud completely annihilated a strong 20,000 invading force of German crusaders led by Conrad III at the Battle of Dorylaeum in what is now southwestern Turkey.
On December 4, 1110 AD, with the arrival of a 60-ship fleet led by King Sigurd of Norway, the European Crusader invaders who had earlier occupied the holy Islamic city of Bayt al-Moqaddas, brutally sacked the city of Sidon in what is now Lebanon, After a 47-day siege to take the city from the control of the Ismaili Shi’ite Muslim Fatemid Dynasty of Egypt, the Christians massacred the people and looted their property. The attack was led by Baldwin the self-styled king of the usurper Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, and was assisted by the Venetian fleet, to prevent the Fatemid navy from sending reinforcements. It is worth recalling that Bayt al-Moqaddas and Palestine were seized by the Crusaders from the Fatemids of Egypt, whose Islamic army made up of Arabs, Iranians, Turks, and Berbers lost mainly because of arrogance and underestimation of the power and intentions of the European invaders.
On October 30, 1270 AD, the Eighth Crusade and siege of Tunis, mounted by invaders from Europe, ended by an agreement between Charles I of Sicily, (brother of King Louis IX of France, who died months earlier on invading this Muslim land) and the Sultan of Tunis, Mohammad I al-Mustansir. The Crusader plan was to use this North African Muslim city as a base to attack Palestine, but their plans failed, because of the strength of the Mamluk army of Sultan Baibars of Egypt that had liberated most of the cities of Palestine and Syria from the occupation of European Crusaders. Baibars had already assembled a separate army for aiding Tunis against the Christian invaders, but disbanded it on learning of the retreated of the disease-inflicted Crusaders.
The Muslim city of Sofia
On January 4, 1878 AD, the Muslim city of Sofia was seized by the Russians from the Ottomans and turned into the capital of the newly established principality of Bulgaria, after ethnic cleansing on a large scale that saw expulsion of thousands of Muslims and destruction of mosques. In 1382, Sofia was liberated by the Ottomans and around 1393 it became the seat of the newly established Sanjak of Sofia.
In the next century the city became the capital of the Ottoman Province of Rumelia and for more than four centuries was a thriving city. In the 16th century, Sofia's urban layout and appearance began to exhibit a clear Islamic style, with many mosques, madrasahs, libraries, caravanserais, fountains and hamams (bathhouses). During that time the town had a population of around 7,000. Today nothing exists of the rich Islamic heritage, and only a very small number of Bulgarian Muslims survive in their homeland, after being forced to renounce their Islamic identity and religion over the past century.
Muslims in Romania
65 solar years ago, on this day in 1947 AD, with the collapse of monarchy, Romania became a republic. Romania, which for several centuries was part of the Ottoman Turkish Empire, had been set up as an independent kingdom in 1862 by Russia, France and other European powers, intent upon weakening the Muslims. From 1913 to 1920 the area covered by Romania doubled, such that following the termination of second Balkans War, parts of Hungary were given to it in return for alliance with France and Britain. During World War II, Romania suffered heavy losses and lost the majority of its annexed territories. In 1947, the last King, Michael, was ousted and a socialist republic set up by the Soviet Union. In 1989, communist rule collapsed in Romania. Today there are less than 100,000 Muslims in Romania, which over the past century-and-a-half has systematically depopulated their once large numbers.