There was nothing wrong, in principle, with the Crusades. They were an appropriate (if belated and badly managed) response to the conquest of the Holy Land by Islam. Did marauding 11th century armies inevitably commit outrages? They certainly did. In fact, that still happens today. But the most unfortunate thing about the Crusades is that they failed.
I have been hanging on to this video by Dr. Bill Warner of the Center for the Study of Political Islam for a while now, waiting for the Crusades to come back into the news. Which hasn’t happened. So here it is. Dr. Warner’s point, which he makes persuasively, is that the Crusades were a mere blip compared to the centuries-long, and nearly successful, assault on Christendom by Islamic armies bent on conquest.
It is frankly ludicrous for contemporary Muslims to whine about the Crusades. …
Keep Dr. Warner’s video in mind next time someone tells you that the source of Islamic rage lies in the Crusades.
Father Mitch Pacwa — a frequent pilgrim guide to the Holy Land and an expert on the Middle East — explains how Muslims are converting to Christianity in record numbers.
“We are in a time of the first ever mass conversions of Muslims,” Pacwa told The National Catholic Register in a phone interview. “God is doing a mighty work among them.”
Pacwa said he began hearing talk of conversions to Christianity around 2005 on Al Jazeera Television, the Arabic news satellite TV channel with 80 bureaus around the world.
“They were reporting on the mass conversions of Muslims—as many as 6-8 million—in sub-Saharan, Africa, and they have repeated the warning every year,” he said. “I’ve confirmed it with Africans I know who have told me again and again about conversions in places like Nigeria, Uganda, Mali … that’s why Boko Haram has become so active. They are actually quite scared and trying to terrorize. But the very act of terrorizing people has ended up with people becoming more disgusted with Islam.”
The violence of Islamic terrorists has made for bad PR, according to Pacwa. For instance, he recalled hearing someone on African TV say: “Al-Qaida attacks Americans by blowing up our embassies but we Africans are the ones that die in the attacks.” He suspects that Islam is at the beginning of a collapse, likening increased terrorism to the supernova stage where stars burn brightest just before they burn out.
Pacwa gave recent examples of heinousness retribution for rejecting Islam. “Not long ago I read about a boy who was a slave that snuck out to pray on Good Friday and was crucified for it,” he said. “I also heard about two Filipino maids that were caught with the New Testament and beheaded.”
Americans caught practicing Christianity in Muslim countries are usually expelled but according to Pacwa, it’s much different for citizens. “Fridays after the noon prayers is the day they cut off hands and heads from thieves, adulterers—women only—and people who commit blasphemy, and that would include converting to Christianity.”
Yet, despite such risks, Pacwa said that mass conversions are happening even in very fundamentalist countries. There is rapidly growing number of conversions especially on the edges of the Muslim world in the western and southern parts of Africa, he said. “Africa is now growing predominantly Christian despite crackdowns,” Pacwa said.
Some of the noteworthy countries he mentioned include Iran, reported to have 3 million Christians, and Indonesia with reports of 2 million a year converting.
“In Mongolia, the president opened the country to Christians and there’s even an archbishop,” Pacwa said. “They built a Catholic school there too. If I was younger, I would have gone.” He said that the desire for a Western education was the impetus to open up the country to the Catholic Church.
Mongolia now has around 1,000 Catholics and three churches. “It has gone from a mission in 1991-2003 to a prefect apostolic which means they have a bishop, although it is not yet formally a diocese,” Pacwa said. “They have had their first native Mongolian ordained a priest and there are three Mongolian seminarians.”
There are even conversions happening in many strict Muslim countries, according to Pacwa. He did not want to go on record with particulars for fear of increased retribution. Mass conversions are also being reported among refugees that are filling up the Christian churches left empty by Europeans. Many wonder if those are authentic conversions or just a response to improving their chances for amnesty, but time will tell.
Signs of this conversion are showing up in the U.S. too, Pacwa said. “I was about to celebrate Mass at a Maronite church in San Diego and I said hi to a man who introduced himself as Achmad. I asked if he was a Christian. He said: ‘Yes, I was recently baptized.’ He said he from Morocco. Christians do not have the name Ahmad—that’s a form of Mohammad.”
Most people are not terrorists and never want to be associated with that kind of evil. It only makes sense that many people who were born into Islam are converting to a religion that doesn’t have nearly as bad of a rap sheet these days.