(Part 8 of a multi-part series on The Moral Triumph of Western Civilization.)
While the European continent was finally beginning to settle down in the 11th century, nothing was settled in the Islamic world. Muslim expansion was militant and continuous. Muslim Arabs waged war against the coastal areas of France and Italy and occupied Sicily.
Jerusalem was originally captured by caliph Umar from the Christians in the 7th century who weren’t significantly impacted for a few centuries. But by the 11th century the zealous Fatimid caliph, Hakim, was persecuting Christians and “despoiled” the Holy Sepulcher (the church built by Emperor Constantine’s mother in 330 A.D.). The Holy Sepulcher commemorated the hill of crucifixion and Christ’s burial tomb. Hakim had the 700 year-old church destroyed right down to the bedrock.
By the late 11th century, Byzantine Emperor Alexius I, who had been threatened by the (Muslim) Seljuk Turks appealed to the West (Rome) for help. In 1095 Pope Urban II exhorted the church council at Clermont, France to go to Jerusalem to take back the tomb of Christ from Islamic control.