Salah ad-Deen al-Ayubi(Part-9)

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The meeting lasted for ten days and was attended by more than three hundred churchmen,44 as well as princes from different parts of Europe, envoys of the Byzantine Emperor and representatives of the Italian city-states. The pope was able to stir up the fervour of his audience and the cry reverberated through all sectors of society: "Deus vult (God wills it)!" Those present hastened to take the cross as a symbol.45 The Pope also pointed out what he called the 'Islamic danger' that was threatening Europe from the direction of Constantinople; he declared that the Christians in the East were suffering from Muslim oppression, and that churches and monasteries had been The meeting lasted for ten days and was attended by more than three hundred churchmen,44 as well as princes from different parts of Europe, envoys of the Byzantine Emperor and representatives of the Italian city-states. The pope was able to stir up the fervour of his audience and the cry reverberated through all sectors of society: "Deus vult (God wills it)!" Those present hastened to take the cross as a symbol.45 The Pope also pointed out what he called the 'Islamic danger' that was threatening Europe from the direction of Constantinople; he declared that the Christians in the East were suffering from Muslim oppression, and that churches and monasteries had been destroyed; he urged his listeners to take revenge on the Muslims.46 In fact, what the Pope said about the Eastern Christians being persecuted were false claims; such persecution is not in accordance with the spirit of Islam or the nature of its message and the care that it shows to Christians.47 One of the slogans of this war was that the Christian pilgrims had been subjected to persecution and aggression en route to Jerusalem just before the Crusades began. This was also a false claim.48 A prominent European historian says that isolated cases of persecution to which Christians were exposed in Muslim lands, especially in the Near East, cannot be taken as a valid reason for the Crusader movement under any circumstances, because Christians in general enjoyed a good share of religious and other freedoms under Muslim rule. Not only were they allowed to keep their old churches, they were also allowed to build new churches and monasteries, in the libraries of which they collected theological works of all sorts.49

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