The Crusades have never stopped
© Robert Anderson PhD

This article was first published in Dev-ZoneNew Zealand


When cartoons about Muhammad appeared recently in a Danish newspaper,* it ignited a global uproar from Muslims. Even though Ambassadors were recalled and flags were burned, the growing tension between the Muslim and the Christian worlds is not a recent phenomenon. Christians have a lengthy history of religious persecution of Islam. There were seven Crusades between 1095 and 1291, and it is a well-attested fact that they achieved little other than excessive bloodshed of innocent people. Now we have another episode of wars in the Middle East. The Downing Street Memo[i] established the Bush/Blair lies that another Crusade was imminent, the difference being that, as Dick Cheney put it, “It will be a war that will not end in our lifetime.”

So what has changed?
The recent illegal ‘Crusade’ by the Bush Administration is simply a repeat performance, albeit with more horrible weaponry such as that employing depleted uranium (DU). While not trying to defend the Holy Land against the Infidels, using the excuse of destroying mythical weapons of mass destruction, it was just as ineffectual. What is more to the point is that the US has left a legacy of suffering to the world of Islam and to every one else as well.[ii] Professing to be a Christian while bombing a country to radioactive rubble does not support religious affirmations. Bush’s windbaggery - the “Islam is Not the Enemy” speech before Congress - was just that,[iii] but it appears that in the Bush Administration the negation of truth is systemic. It did little to alleviate the dire distress of Muslim women giving birth to grossly deformed children, of children with multiple cancers.[iv] For the women, this is often intensified when husbands abandon them, blaming their wives from an interpretation of the Quran to rationalise their departure.[v] Twelve years of economic sanctions followed by a brutal, and without doubt, nuclear war, has left a deep and enduring scar on Islam. Leaving Muslim mothers and their children to face decades of cancer from the radioactive dust created by DU weapons is unconscionable. Mothers no longer ask, “Is it a boy or a girl?” They ask “Is it normal?”  

The early Crusades were failures. They made no permanent conquests of the Holy Land. So will follow Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran (the next target of US hostility). This current ‘Crusade’ has fostered a harsh and growing intolerance between Muslims and Christians. Whereas, before, there had been a measure of mutual respect now there is a growing gulf. While the issue of respect for Muslim feelings versus freedom of expression is debated in both Muslim and Western mainstream media, highly relevant aspects are carefully airbrushed from the debate. It is patently obvious that weapons of mass destruction did not exist in Iraq - but oil does.

Contemporary theologians who depict the Crusades as Christianity’s war against Islam are woefully wrong. Islam was on the march centuries before the Crusades began. Muslims had conquered the Christian lands of Egypt, Syria, North Africa and Spain by the time Pope Urban II had instigated the first Crusade. Once again, enmity is inevitably building as the West rapes Muslim lands for oil. Only last year, a Muslim cleric in Indonesia called upon his fellow believers “to fight ‘belligerent infidels’ who are Christians.” Reducing Iraq to radioactive rubble could explain his anger.

It is claimed that as Christians we believe all people are equal in dignity before God. This hypocrisy, particularly when measured against the actions of the US Administration and its military, would hardly inspire Muslim confidence. Muslims who do believe in this equality of dignity are losing ground within the Muslim community to the Islamic militants who see all that they stand for being crushed out of existence in the West’s barbaric attempts to gain control of the world’s diminishing oil supplies.

According to Bernard Lewis[vi] in his ‘License to Kill’ at no point do the basic texts of Islam enjoin terrorism and murder. The ‘Jihad’ is often mistranslated as “a holy war.” However, Lewis says it literally means “struggle.” While one of its meanings is a defensive war conducted within the limits of justice, in general it refers to the struggle to surrender to one’s primordial consciousness, a surrender to God. Let us hope that the latter interpretation prevails.

In addition to the post-1991 brutal sanctions against Iraq, there is little doubt that the 2003 war itself, an unjustifiable invasion, caused irreparable damage to Christian/Muslim good will. Sanctions, controlled principally by the US, persistently denied Iraq the importation of the most common and critical medicines and necessities. Most authorities agree, including the UN official Denis Halliday[vii] who supervised the sanctions until he resigned in disgust, that the sanctions led to the premature deaths of about half a million Iraqi children. Halliday launched a scathing attack on the policy of sanctions, branding them “a totally bankrupt concept.” On the other hand, US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, when questioned about this in a televised public interview, responded, “We think it was worth it.”

The world ‘Islam’ is related to the word ‘Salam’ that means peace. But a great deal of work will be required to restore the peace and mutual respect we began to share with Islam before the bloody quagmire of Iraq.
Robert Anderson BSc (Hons), PhD (4 February 1942 to 5 December 2008)
Robert Anderson was a Quaker, teacher, writer, Theosophist, and supporter of peace movements and disarmament.  He believed in the right of everyone to have freedom of speech and religion. He was a Trustee of Physicians and Scientists for Global Responsibility (formerly Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics) and spoke to many public meetings throughout New Zealand over more than a decade on genetic engineering and many other subjects. He was passionate about leaving this world a better place for the generations to come.

Bob authored The Final Pollution: Genetic Apocalypse, the Exploding the Myth ofseries which includes Genetic Engineering, Nanotechnology, Irradiated Foods and Electro Magnetic Radiation, and several other books on environmental, scientific, health and social justice issues. He wrote regularly for Organic NZ and other publications.


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  * Early in 2006.



[i] // revealed that President George W. Bush decided to overthrow invade Iraq in the summer of 2002.

[ii] "It Turns out Depleted Uranium Is Bad for NATO Troops in Kosovo; [What About Everyone Else?]"; by Felicity Arbuthnot; 26 October, 2000.

[iv] The Ultimate War Crime., Dr R.Anderson

[v] “The Doctor the DU and the Dying Children.


An Interview with Denis Halliday,