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6 BL I CKSTE IN

the Jews from the land although the area continued to have a large Jewish population many of whom converted to the new religion founded by Jesus. It offered hope at a time when hope was absent from their lives. During the seventh century AD, a third great prophet was born in this area. His name was Muhammad. His message was so appealing to the local population that within 50 years his religion had spread all over the Middle East. The Jewish message never spread at all, but then they didn’t want it to spread. The Christian message took many centuries. The Muslim message took 50 years. Historically, there was every reason in the world to expect the ultimate victory of Islam over Europe. In the beginning it was the Arabs who were making the social and military advances. The early Abbasids (around 780—) were actually famous because the era was one of unrivaled intellectual activity – science, history, literature, technology including the life of the Prophet himself. Such a progressive leadership soon vanished in the fratricidal conflict between the Sunni’s and the Shia. Off and on, the Muslims dominated the area for over a thousand years with many interruptions, such as the Crusades in the 12th century. In 1099, the Crusaders captured Jerusalem and Jaffa where these latter day followers of Jesus initiated a slaughter of both

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