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Crusades

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

    Crusades

    Expeditions by Latin Christians, primarily in the late twelfth and thirteenth centuries, to reconquer the Christian Holy Lands of Syria-Palestine, which had been conquered by Muslims. Several Crusader states, lasting for two centuries, were established during this time. Campaigns were mostly aggressive and brutal, with cities pillaged and civilians massacred. Local quarrels among Muslims limited united efforts against the Crusaders. However, anti-Crusade sentiment was an important factor in the rise of the international Sunni movement. Muslim military heroes such as Salah al-Din ( Saladin ) recovered some territory, but Crusader rule did not fully end until 1291 . Though the Crusades placed the Christian Holy Lands exclusively under Christian control for a time and enriched several Frankish lords, they did little for Christianity in the region. The relative tolerance previously extended to Christians faded as Muslims suspected native Christians of collaboration with the crusaders. The Crusades also damaged inter-Christian relations. The fourth Crusade, which sacked Constantinople, introduced a period of Latin domination and solidified the separation of Eastern and Western Christianity. Since the Crusades, Muslim-Christian relations have often been characterized by aggression, intolerance, and misunderstanding, and the Crusades are frequently identified as a symbol of the conflictual relations.

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