Thursday 27th November
Looking back with the benefit of hindsight, and from the relative (dis) comfort of 2114, it is easy to see what we now call “The Fourth Crusade”, but at the time it was as if the world, or at least the Judeo-Christian world had sleepwalked into it. It possibly started with the First Gulf War, where a local tyrant Saddam Hussein, who the West had formerly backed against Iran, was slapped down when he tried to re-integrate the oil-rich protectorate of Kuwait into Greater Iraq. The Muslim world was slow to react, but after the wholesale and careless invasion and oil-theft of Iraq in 2003 thousands flocked to reclaim these ancient lands for Islam.
The Crusade was in full swing with Syria, Lebanon and Iraq being bombed indiscriminately, and in many countries in the West Muslims reduced to second-class citizenship. In Britain and America the veil was banned and Mosques were regularly burned with no Police intervention. In 2017 Israel made the fatal error of bombing Tehran, seen at the time as a pre-emptive strike, but secretly backed by America. This brought in Russia who had agreed to defend Iran.
There was a stand-off for two years, when most of the emergency anti-Islamic laws were enacted; forbidding Friday worship and banning Halal meat from Supermarkets. Even then there might have been a chance for compromise, for some sort of negotiated peace but stupidity ruled the day. The real turning point came in 2022 when Chelsea Clinton pursued the ill-fated policy of trying to retake the Crimea from Russia. President Putin, though no real friend of Islam, decided that enough was enough and gave the West ten days to back down or he would unleash a Nuclear bomb, target unknown.
There was panic in the West, and a hastily convened gathering of the rump of the EU, Britain and America and as we all know NATO crumpled. Iran was given special status as the sixth member of the UN security-council and an agreed timetable of reduction of forces was negotiated.
Most of the anti-Islamic laws have been revoked but in Britain the veil is still frowned upon even though almost half the population considers itself Muslim. Israel has at last been forced to co-exist with her neighbours and has had to rollback its borders to 1967 or thereabouts; petty arguments continue.
There are rumours, especially in the Mid-West of the States that a Fifth Crusade will one day be needed but nobody in the newly enlarged EU (now including Russia and it’s satellites states) has the stomach for it anymore. The last crusade, the fourth, brought the World to the brink of another World War and we may have finally learned to tolerate those whose religion we disagree with rather than try to defeat them.