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Heh, synchronicity; I was reading about the Crusades last night. Still don't know too much about the details, but I wonder if the events during the Crusades-- continual wars conducted on purpose between Christianity and Islam (as opposed to the unauthorized persecution of Jews)-- lead to a psychological split in modern times? I'm oversimplifying, but I'm late for work.
Jews were persecuted terribly during the Crusades, but Islam seemed to be the intended target. Could that have set up more of a "rival" image of Islam subconsciously?
There were several smaller Crusades, such as the one against the Cathars (who are an interesting, interesting group, and one of my reasons for reading up on all this history), but they amounted to (from what I've learned so far) some really nasty religious persecution. Don't ask me about the "Children's Crusade." Not to belittle what happened to the Cathars, but that Crusade looks like it was called a Crusade just because they could call it that.
I don't doubt there was animosity before the Crusades. If there wasn't, why would anyone care that Muslims ruled all these lands? My point was that the Crusades may have created a much more massive gulf between the two.
So here are these lands that Christianity wants, and they're ruled by Muslims. Again, I wonder if this didn't create a psychological barrier between the two religions. Not only was Islam not a part of Christianity, but it was an active occupier in the eyes of much of Europe.
I said that most of 0-1492 was not really covered; I did have the opportunity in high school to take an elective on Islam. Again, the Crusades weren't really covered, just the origins and beliefs of the religion, and comparisons to Christianity and Judaism. I did get to help the teacher organize a field trip to a local mosque in LA. When some of the men sitting outside found out some of us were Jewish, they actually seemed happy, smiling and telling us we had "so much in common."
Regarding general history of Christianity vs. Islam, some things to consider:
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