Racism is an evil of old that many human beings have tried to justify; I see it as a form of intolerance, an inability to love and appreciate another human being for who they are just because they are different. Human beings will always find something to divide them; for instance, in as much as people of a particular country may disregard foreigners, they may be divided amongst themselves on matters revolving around politics, social class, and religion. This paper is going to give insights with respect to how Pope Urban IIS 1095 call for holy war was racist.
Pope Urban IIS 1095 call for holy war was racist; an Overview
Both Asbridge (2016) and Chazan (2016) describe the Pope Urban IIs 1095 call for holy war which brought about the First Crusade in 1096 as a significant time in the record of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. Supposing we were to accept the popes school of thought that Muslims as a race are totally alien to God, then how come the popes action to call for a holy war against Muslims spur violence against the jews. This is a surefire of telling that racism begets racism and that it should never be encouraged (Chazan, 83). What is even ironic is the fact that the Europeans of that time turned to Jews first, and attacked them and attacked them even before attacking Muslims. The fact that such a thing happened is a surefire way of demonstrating that racism is the disregard of anything that is different from your way of life or belief.
The pope must have told all the Catholics under his parish that Catholicism was the only way; this led the locals to view anything that is non catholic as undeserving; the same goes for anyone who was not Catholic. With regard to the bigger picture, the war spurred by the pope was not about religion; it was about race. Most of the Muslims and Jews present in the Rhineland were from Turkey and Israel respectively (Asbridge, 55). The actions of the pope and his flock denoted a want of a purely European race in the Rhineland; anyone that was different was undeserving and needed to be ousted from the land.
Asbridge (2016) and Chazan (2016) both agree that the popes statements had both religious and political connotations. To call for a holy war at that time was indirectly veiling the intention of the Pope Urban II and his flock i.e. they all had an interest to be the ones left in Europe. All that turned against Muslims and Jews saw them as a hindrance to their success; the presence of these foreigners meant that some opportunities meant for then would be lost in the hands of a foreign people.
At the time of the holy war Christian Europe was yet to undergo a revolution and Catholicism was the dominant way of religion. A lot of politics had flooded the church and voluntary conversion was never considered; the Church of old (Catholic Church) wanted everyone to be converted either willingly or by force. The above mentioned war against the Jews and Muslims can be juxtaposed to the war against Protestants that ensured in the later 16th century when the reformation and the revolution kicked in. The actions against Muslims and Jews and the much killing that happened stemmed a lot of hatred between these two religions as well (Tatum, 37). Today some Muslims see Christians as unbefitting while some Christians see them in the same way; funny that both the Bible and the Quran do not encourage such hatred against people of a gentile nature.
Jews and Muslims Demonized
Muslims and Jews are demonized at this point in time because they followed a different doctrine and dogma that was not supportive of Catholicism. The language used by Pope Urban II and the rest of the Catholic divide to describe anything that was different is heresy. Jews and Muslims were regarded as heretics; a crime that was deserving of death according to the then rules of the church.
The perpetrators of racism will usually veil it with justifications and mild descriptions. As for the above mentioned case, Chazan and Asbridge talk of an example of racist propagandas that were spread in the time of old by church leaders. Historians have always pondered if such manner of racism would have abounded if Islam and Judaism was founded in Europe; very unlikely. To tag acts of racism as Holy War is a surefire way of telling the world that racists are fully aware of whatever it is that they are doing; they only try to always veil their unorthodox intentions with decent explanations. What happened in Europe is still manifest today in many parts of the world and in ways that are purely out of a religious context. Supposing if someone asked Pope Urban II of the time if what he was encouraging Catholics to do was in line with Gods plan for salvation; what would he have answered?; that is a story for another time and day.
Asbridge, Thomas. Holy War Proclaimed. In P. Sweeney, Race and Racism in the West, Second Edition. San Diego: Cognella, 2016, 89-104.
Chazan, Robert. Medieval Anti-Semitism. In P. Sweeney, Race and Racism in the West, Second Edition. San Diego: Cognella, 2016, 105-113.
Tatum, Beverley D. Defining Racism: Can We Talk? In P. Sweeney, Race and Racism in the West, Second Edition. San Diego: Cognella, 2016, 31-39.
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