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Christianity vs. Islam in the 13th Century

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Christianity vs. Islam in the 13th Century

Both Roman Catholicism and Islam are similar in some ways. Both are major western religions. The way in which they function as a moral standard for the people who share the beliefs are very similar to each other. Many of their religious beliefs and practices are the same; they both believe in a single god. Both Islam and Catholicism share the beliefs that you must submit to only one god. This god sees and knows everything. He passes judgment. In these ways Islam is similar to Christianity.

Catholicism and Islam contrast more than they show similarity. Catholicism is more oriented towards everyone because it gives women and minorities the same rights as men, it allows them to actively participate. Whereas Islam is geared towards a more patriarchal society; women were considered the property of men. Another difference is that Christianity became popular during a time of social, political, and religious conflict. Islam arose during a relatively stagnant period in history. Christianity was a religion that appealed to everyone: Jews and gentiles; men and women; rich and poor.

Jesus claimed to be the messiah; he taught his ideas peacefully, he did not believe that anyone should be forced to believe him. During the crusades, however, many Christians would kill any Muslims they found, sometimes torture and even eat them. Ironically, Mohammed was visited by the angel Gabriel, he did not claim to be anything higher than anyone else. He was involved in raiding caravans and was quite forceful in promoting his views – he took the city of Mecca and did what he thought was right. When the Muslims were involved in the jihad, or holy war, they treated Christian prisoners very well, they would not kill women or children, as they were forbidden from doing so.

Mohammed believed that “Jews and Christians had deliberately distorted the original messages. Mohammed claimed that the Koran was the most perfect guide for worshipping Allah.” This is understood to mean that Muslims believe Jews and Christians to be less righteous than themselves.

The reason that Christians and Muslims do not get along is because of the all the differences that exist between them and the single parallelism that they both want the land near the Arabian Peninsula.

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If these groups did not both want control of the same area then they would be able to get along harmoniously with each other. Even today, 1500 years later, there is tension, terrorism, and hatred because people are fighting over this holy land.


Riley, Philip F., et al. The Global Experience: Readings in World History to 1500. vol. 1

3rd ed. New Jersey: Prentice, 1998.

McKay, john p., et al. A History of World Societies. 5th edition Boston. Houghton, 2000

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