After President Obama’s remarks comparing ISIS militants to medieval Christian crusaders ignited a firestorm of criticism on Thursday, ABC News wanted to know: how accurate is that comparison?
“Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” the president told an audience at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday.
Meanwhile, historians have been quick to discourage a link between ISIS and the Crusaders, who fought to reclaim holy lands in the Middle East nearly 900 years ago.
“I don’t think the president knows very much about the crusades,” Thomas Madden, a historian at the University of St. Louis, told ABC News.
“He seems to be casting them as an example of a distortion of Christianity and trying to compare that to what he sees as a distortion of Islam in the actions of ISIS,” Madden said. “The initial goal of the Crusades was to give back lands to Christians that been conquered, due to Muslim conquests.”