Christopher Columbus’ Forgotten Crusade Against Jihad

COLUMNS

Christopher Columbus’s Forgotten Crusade Against Jihad

BY RAYMOND IBRAHIM OCT 14, 2021 2:20 PM ET Share Tweet

Another Columbus Day has come and gone. Although it was “celebrated” with the usual denunciations and outraged wokeism concerning the Italian explorer’s alleged “genocide” against the natives, one influential voice came to Columbus’s defense: On October 11, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a proclamation, an excerpt of which follows:null

Columbus stands a singular figure in Western Civilization, who exemplified courage, risk-taking, and heroism in the face of enormous odds; as a visionary who saw the possibilities of exploration beyond Europe; and as a founding father who laid the foundation for what would one day become the United States of America, which would commemorate Columbus by naming its federal district after him.

While all this is true, Columbus stands for and is a reminder of something else that is now little known if not completely forgotten: He was, first and foremost, a crusader—an avowed enemy of the jihad; his expeditions were, first and foremost, about circumventing and ultimately retaliating against the Islamic sultanates surrounding and terrorizing Europe—not just finding spices.

When he was born, the then more than 800-year-old war with Islam—or rather defense against jihad—was at an all-time high. In 1453, when Columbus was 2-years-old, the Turks finally sacked Constantinople, an atrocity-laden event that rocked Christendom to its core.

Over the following years, the Muslims continued making inroads deep into the Balkans, leaving much death and destruction in their wake, with millions of Slavs enslaved. (Yes, the two words are etymologically connected, and for this very reason.)

In 1480, when he was 29, the Turks even managed to invade Columbus’s native Italy, where, in the city of Otranto, they ritually beheaded 800 Christians—and sawed their archbishop in half—for refusing to embrace Islam.

It was in this context that Spain’s monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella—themselves avowed crusaders, especially the queen, who concluded the centuries-long Reconquista of Spain by liberating Granada of Islam in 1492—took Columbus into their service.

They funded his ambitious voyage in an effort to launch, in the words of historian Louis Bertrand, “a final and definite Crusade against Islam by way of the Indies.” (It, of course, went awry and culminated in the incidental founding of the New World.)

Many Europeans were convinced that if only they could reach the peoples east of Islam—who if not Christian were at least “not as yet infected by the Mahometan plague,” to quote Pope Nicholas V (d.1455)—together they could crush Islam between them. (The plan was centuries old and connected to the legend of Prester John, a supposedly great Christian monarch reigning in the East who would one day march westward and avenge Christendom by destroying Islam.)

All this comes out clearly in Columbus’s own letters: In one he refers to Ferdinand and Isabella as “enemies of the wretched sect of Mohammet” who are “resolve[d] to send me to the regions of the Indies, to see [how the people thereof can help in the war effort].” In another written to the monarchs after he reached the New World, Columbus offers to raise an army “for the war and conquest of Jerusalem.”

Nor were Spain and Columbus the first to implement this strategy; once Portugal was cleared of Islam in 1249, its military orders launched into Muslim Africa. “The great and overriding motivation behind [Prince] Henry the Navigator’s [b. 1394] explosive energy and expansive intellect,” writes historian George Grant, “was the simple desire to take the cross—to carry the crusading sword over to Africa and thus to open a new chapter in Christendom’s holy war against Islam.” He launched all those discovery voyages because “he sought to know if there were in those parts any Christian princes,” who “would aid him against the enemies of the faith,” wrote a contemporary.

Does all this make Columbus and by extension Ferdinand and Isabella—not to mention the whole of Christendom—“Islamophobes,” as those few modern critics who mention the Islamic backdrop of Columbus’s voyage often accuse?

The answer is yes—but not in the way that word is used today. While the Greek word phobos has always meant “fear,” its usage today implies “irrational fear.” However, considering that for nearly a thousand years before Columbus, Islam had repeatedly attacked Christendom to the point of swallowing up three-quarters of its original territory, including for centuries Spain; that Islam’s latest iteration, in the guise of the Ottoman Turks, was during Columbus’s era devastating the Balkans and Mediterranean; and that, even centuries after Columbus, Islam was still terrorizing the West—marching onto Vienna with 200,000 jihadis in 1683 and provoking America into its first war as a nation—the very suggestion that historic Christian fears of Islam were “irrational” is itself the height of irrationalism.

Related: Where Have You Gone, Columbus Day?

Note: The above account on Columbus was excerpted from and is documented in the author’s, Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West.

Raymond Ibrahim, an expert in Islamic history and doctrine, is author of Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West (2018); Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013); and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). He has appeared on C-SPAN, Al-Jazeera, CNN, NPR, and PBS, and been published by the New York Times SyndicateLos Angeles TimesWashington PostFinancial TimesWeekly StandardChronicle of Higher Education, and Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst. Formerly an Arabic linguist at the Library of Congress, Ibrahim has guest lectured at many universities, including the U.S. Army War College, briefed governmental agencies such as U.S. Strategic Command, and testified before Congress. He has been a visiting fellow/scholar at a variety of Institutes—from the Hoover Institution to the National Intelligence University—and is currently a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Friedman Rosen Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and a Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute. His full biography is available here.  Follow Raymond at Twitter and Facebook.

TRENDING

Delusion

Image may contain: text that says 'DELUSION'

I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spoke, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

In the title verse the LORD is speaking of this time, now when mass delusion and its resulting fear have taken hold of all the world. The latter part of His statement tells of His rejected warning: advising that the mental state of all, including His people, was such that they had become ignorant of the magnitude of the evil already manipulating and controlling all humanity.

He begins the chapter, Isaiah 66, by declaring Himself separate from and sovereign over these events. He says He will look to those who are poor and of a contrite spirit, who tremble at His word. This is contrasted against those that are blessing idols and who delight in their abominations, of whom He then speaks in the title verse.

Isaiah 26
1 In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.
2 Open you the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in.
3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you.
4 Trust you in the LORD forever: for in the LORD Jehovah is everlasting strength:
5 For he brings down them that dwell on high; the lofty city, he lays it low; he lays it low, even to the ground; he brings it even to the dust.
6 The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy.
7 The way of the just is uprightness: you, most upright, do weigh the path of the just.
8 Yea, in the way of your judgments, O LORD, have we waited for you; the desire of our soul is to your name, and to the remembrance of you.
9 With my soul have I desired you in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek you early: for when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
10 Let favor be shown to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD.
11 LORD, when your hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of your enemies shall devour them.
12 LORD, you will ordain peace for us: for you also have wrought all our works in us.
13 O LORD our God, other lords beside you have had dominion over us: but by you only will we make mention of your name.
14 They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore have you visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.
15 You have increased the nation, O LORD, you have increased the nation: you are glorified: you had removed it far unto all the ends of the earth.
16 LORD, in trouble have they visited you, they poured out a prayer when your chastening was upon them.
17 Like as a woman with child, that draws near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and cries out in her pangs; so have we been in your sight, O LORD.
18 We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind [instead of new birth they brought forth gas]; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen [into the birth canal].
19 Your dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, you that dwell in dust: for your dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
20 Come, my people, enter into your chambers, and shut your doors about you: hide yourselves as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be over-past.
21 For, behold, the LORD comes out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.

Regarding Israel

Below is proven by Archaeology all over Israel:
1. Israel became a nation in 1312 BCE, two thousand years before the rise of Islam.
2. Arab refugees in Israel began identifying themselves as part of a Palestinian people in 1967, two decades after the establishment of the modern State of Israel.
3. Since the Jewish conquest in 1272 BCE, the Jews have had dominion over the land for one thousand years with a continuous presence in the land for the past 3,300 years.
4. The only Arab dominion since the conquest in 635 CE lasted no more than 22 years.
5. For over 3,300 years, Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. Even when the Jordanians occupied Jerusalem, they never sought to make it their capital, and Arab leaders did not come to visit.
6. Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in Tanach, the Jewish Holy Scriptures. Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the Koran.
7. King David founded the city of Jerusalem. Mohammed never came to Jerusalem.
8. Jews pray facing Jerusalem. Muslims pray with their backs toward Jerusalem.
9. In 1948 the Arab refugees were encouraged to leave Israel by Arab leaders promising to purge the land of Jews. Sixty-eight percent left without ever seeing an Israeli soldier.
10. The Jewish refugees were forced to flee from Arab lands due to Arab brutality, persecution, and slaughter.
11. The number of Arab refugees who left Israel in 1948 is estimated to be around 630,000. The number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands is estimated to be the same.
12. Arab refugees were intentionally not absorbed or integrated into the Arab lands to which they fled, despite the vast Arab territory. Out of the 100,000,000 refugees since World War II, theirs is the only refugee group in the world that has never been absorbed or integrated into their own people’s lands. Jewish refugees were completely absorbed into Israel, a country no larger than the state of New Jersey.
13. The Arabs are represented by eight separate nations, not including the Palestinians. There is only one Jewish nation. The Arab nations initiated all five wars and lost. Israel defended itself each time and won.

14. The PLO’s Charter still calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. Israel has given the Palestinians most of the West Bank land, autonomy under the Palestinian Authority, and has supplied them.
15. Under Jordanian rule, Jewish holy sites were desecrated and the Jews were denied access to places of worship. Under Israeli rule, all Muslim and Christian sites have been preserved and made accessible to people of all faiths.
16. The UN Record on Israel and the Arabs: of the 175 Security Council resolutions passed before 1990, 97 were directed against Israel.
17. Of the 690 General Assembly resolutions voted on before 1990, 429 were directed against Israel.
18. The UN was silent while 58 Jerusalem Synagogues were destroyed by the Jordanians.
19. The UN was silent while the Jordanians systematically desecrated the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.
20. The UN was silent while the Jordanians enforced an apartheid-like a policy of preventing Jews from visiting the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. – David Nolan”