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* THEME MUSIC 'Ahead on Compass...' it is Islam today For the Western world, religious fanaticism that is associated with and the whole idea of holy war. the other way round But 900 years ago it was completely who were the holy warriors. and it was the Christian Crusaders Hello. Thank you for your company for a program that looks at relations today, between the West and the Muslim world of the Crusades 900 years ago. by going back to the time correspondent Rageh Omaar It's presented by acclaimed war

in a bold series and it's the fourth episode we've been screening on Compass turbulent history that examines Christianity's and its impact on the modern world.

of the Crusades Rageh Omaar argues that the brutality of many Muslims still resonates in the hearts many believe it's happening again. and that in the Middle East, A race absolutely alien to God "An accursed race. has invaded the land of Christians." recorded by eyewitnesses These were words to describe Muslims. that Pope Urban II used wars in the history of Christianity, They launched one of the bloodiest the Crusades.'

of Islam over the holy places. Their task was to end the rule are a chapter of Christian history 'In the west, the Crusades today. that has little impact on our lives But what few people realise,

Islamist suicide bombers is that today's fighting the crusaders.' believe they are still urgently need to understand 'I believe that people in the West to people in the Middle East. why the crusades still matter Reporting from this region, how people see the politics of today I was repeatedly struck through the prism of the crusades. in history, a thousand years ago, What is it about this period between East and West, that so defines the divisions greatest religions, and between two of the world's Islam and Christianity. In September 2001, Muslim world was changed forever. the west's relationship with the the US government launched In the wake of 9/11, against a new kind of threat. what it called a new kind of war from the American president, But one seemingly casual reference history was about to repeat itself.' led many Muslims to believe that and we understand, This is a new kind of evil and the American people this crusade, are beginning to understand, it's gonna take a while. this war on terrorism,

it is time for us to win But I can assure the American people

of the 21st century decisively. the first war 'I was in the Middle East at the time the instantaneous disbelief and remember of that one word, crusade. caused by his use it sounded like George Bush For many of my fellow Muslims, holy wars of over 900 years ago. was relaunching Christianity's to terror groups like al-Qaeda.' It was a gift be remembered by history Bush, you thought you would as the president who waged against the Muslims. a series of successful crusades you will go down in history, Instead, who embroiled his nation not only as the president conflicts in the Islamic world, in a series of unwinnable and bloody set the United States off on its... but as the president who understand 'What President Bush didn't really means. is what the word crusade in the late 11th century, The concept first emerged and the Middle East were divided a time when Europe between two rival faiths, Islam and Christianity. was the holy city of Jerusalem. Central to both religions

resurrection The site of Jesus Christ's ascent into heaven. and the prophet Mohammed's for over 400 years, Muslims had ruled the holy city called for the conquest of Jerusalem when in 1095, Pope Urban The II in the name of Christ.' after having defiled them "They destroy the altars, with their uncleanness. and the blood of the circumcision, They circumcise the Christians they either spread upon the altars, of the baptismal font." or pour into the vases throughout Europe 'Urban's speech resonated of Christian holy war. and lead to a new form by the Knights Templar, This church was built founded during the crusades. an order of holy warriors to turn the other cheek, As Jesus Christ taught his followers could condone violence in any form. I've always wondered how the church the 5th-century theologian The answer lies with of just war.' St Augustine and his Christian theory having a right intent, He takes the idea of the individual for sadism, for greed... that you don't fight wars for fun,

..and the purpose must be either They're defensive, essentially? of rights. defensive or the restitution

there would be no war. In a perfect world, the sinful world, there is war In the actual world, certain reasons can be justified. and certain wars, fought for fighting itself holy or legitimate, But, this does not make the actual it remained sinful. 'But by the late 11th century, a new form of holy war, the Church had developed a war that could be free from sin.' from just war. 'Holy war is different that is commanded by God, Holy war is a religious act were initially holy wars.' and the crusades the hopes of an oppressed people The peace of a troubled world and now depend on you. for the sanctity of human life, These tyrannical states do not care in destroying it. the terrorists delight that when you read the whole idea The extraordinary thing for me is

it's absolutely the same things of just war in Christian thought, the words of Western politicians that I've read when looking at and even humanitarian intervention. talk about pre-emptive war It's very similar, isn't it? It's more than similar, it's actually identical. Except, without religion, one of the legacies of the crusade is to put just-war theory at the heart of international relations and it's interesting that the rhetoric of Tony Blair for the Iraq war was solely based on just-war theory,

which is why lawyers trawled all over it and said it was rubbish. Whereas George Bush, his rhetoric was much more akin to a holy war - war on terror and absolutist duty. 'In the West, the word crusade is used to describe a noble and just cause. But if Western politicians were more aware of historical events in this French town, I doubt they'd ever use the word again.

In November 1095, the Pope was on a preaching tour of Europe. Hundreds of Christians gathered here to listen to what he had to say.' I'm in the midst of the Christmas fair, right in the heart of the town of Clermont Ferrand, in the middle of France. The people are enjoying themselves,

and they're probably completely oblivious to the fact that the man depicted in the statue behind me, Pope Urban, made a radical speech which would launch the holy war, in the name of Christianity against Islam. And it is a war whose effects we are still living with to this day. At Clermont, the Pope commanded the knights of Europe to capture what he believed were rightfully Christian cities and kill any Muslim that stood in their way. "Holy men do not possess those cities, nay, base and bastard Turks hold sway over our brothers." Did Urban intend this as specifically a war against Muslims for Christianity? I think definitely so, yes. That was Urban's original intention that there was a Muslim threat posed to the outskirts of Christendom and he wanted people to go and counter that threat. He talked about attacks on pilgrims who were trying to reach the Holy Sepulchre. For example, some of them had their heels cut open or others were used for target practice for arrows and these kinds of things. These were the things that he was deliberately talking about in his speech to get people angry enough to go and crusade. "Take the road to the Holy Sepulchre, rescue that land from a dreadful race and rule over it yourselves." People don't really understand how damaging and violent it truly was. It was a holy war. The fanaticism that we would associate with fundamentalists today could very well be applied to the crusaders on the first crusade, who responded to Urban's message in a very literal sense. 'Following Urban's speech, tens of thousands of Christians signed up to what became known as the first crusade. They set off to the Holy Land from every corner of Europe. Knights and peasants side by side, many bringing their entire families.

One of the first crusaders came from the town of Le Puy in southern France. His name was Raymond of Agiles, a priest who took services at the church of St Michael. He was typical of the Christian warrior class Urban was appealing to.' What was France like back then? What kind of society was it? France wasn't a country in any sense that we recognise it. It was a mosaic of petty lordships. Lordships which fought with one another constantly. But although it's a very violent society, it's a society which has a very profound belief in Christianity. 'For centuries, Western Christendom had been plagued by local wars in which Christians killed other Christians. In launching the first crusade, Urban convinced the knights of Europe to stop fighting each other and turn their attentions towards a common enemy.' Urban had a very powerful sense, I think, of the Muslim threat to Europe. And it was a threat, it was a very real threat. Therefore, his crusade can only be seen in terms of rolling back the tide of Islam, which he knew had swept across the Mediterranean, many centuries before. The message which he gives to the French aristocracy is salvation through slaughter. They were aware of their sins, they knew that when they faced their maker, they had many sins to make good for. Urban offers them salvation, a path to salvation, through slaughter. By doing what they did every day, as it were, killing, maiming, murdering, they could actually find eternal life. For us, in the 21st century, this is one of the places where we get most close to the crusades. Because the man who wrote the history of the crusades, was actually the priest who served this altar. 'In this very church...' In this very church. 'Raymond of Agiles was one of many chroniclers who left behind detailed eyewitness accounts of the crusade.' They were chronicling God's work, they were continuing, in a sense, the Bible. The Bible story is a history and they were telling another history of God's deeds on earth. 'Many of the chronicles bear witness to the religious fervour of these Western Christians. Behold, we journey a long way to seek the idolatrous shrine and take vengeance upon the Muslims.

Today, it's shocking to think that such language was once used by committed Christians. But this desire to drive infidels from the holy places is still with us today.' We shall continue to strike back hard. This year, next year, the year after that and so on, until the last crusader goes home. Whether waving a white flag or lying in a flag covered casket. 'For the Western world, it is Islam today that is associated with religious fanaticism and the whole idea of holy war. But 900 years ago, it was completely the other way round and it was the Christian crusaders who were the holy warriors, who were determined by war, whatever it took, to recapture Jerusalem from the Muslims. It would be what they did in Christianity's name that would leave an indelible mark on the Islamic world forever. We live in an era when Islamist terrorists carry out indiscriminate acts of violence around the world. Their main target is the West, whose governments Osama bin Laden refers to as crusaders. I think al-Qaeda describes Westerners as crusaders because of events 900 years ago, when a defining characteristic of Western Christianity was religious fanaticism. In 1096, the Crusaders began arriving at the first battleground in their holy war. They had travelled across Europe to take back Jerusalem and defend the Christian empire of Byzantium against the Muslims of Asia Minor. The crusaders expected the people of Constantinople to greet them with open arms. But when they arrived at the walls of the city, they struck terror into its Christian population.' In the summer of 1096, the first crusaders arrived at the walls of Constantinople and the emperor's daughter, Anna Comnena, was so amazed at the sight that she described them as looking like "Tributaries joining a river from all directions. They stream towards us in full force" it must have been a shocking sight, because this is not what the Emperor Alexius and the rest of the inhabitants of Constantinople were expecting. They were expecting a small disciplined force of mercenaries. Instead, what they got was a huge teeming mass of holy warriors from Western Europe, many of whom had brought their entire families. 'In the 11th century, Constantinople was the capital of a Christian empire that had once stretched from Greece to Egypt. The jewel in Byzantium's crown was the Hagia Sophia. It was then the biggest church in the Christian world.' This is one of the great buildings of the world and for a medieval crusader there's no comparable building in Western Christendom. Rather than seeing them as allies, the Byzantines thought the crusaders were a dangerous mob, intent on plundering their empire. They think holy war is just a cover story to take the riches of Constantinople. The fact you've got people in the crusading army who've attacked Byzantine territory before makes it all seem a bit more suspicious to them. 'What's more, Emperor Alexius found the idea of holy war profoundly un-Christian.' The idea of fighting for religion doesn't work for the Greeks. The holy war that takes place in their mindset, is monks fighting the devil in the cloister. To fight for a spiritual reward in the world doesn't work. 'This difference in attitude is an important one, because it shows how this new form of Christian holy war was invented by Western Christians. That's why today many Muslims associate crusading not with Christianity, but with the West and its so-called imperialist governments. Many people think that all Christianity was united behind the first crusades. That's what I thought, but the truth is very different. There was a lot of division and tension, particularly on this issue of holy war. Whilst Alexius was willing to help the crusaders when it served his purposes, when it came to the ultimate goal of the capture of Jerusalem, the crusaders were on their own. From Constantinople, the crusaders marched into Asia Minor and won two early victories against the Muslim Turks, at Nicaea and Dorylaeum. Historical accounts of the battles made me think of shock and awe. The chronicles are filled with horrific atrocities, committed by both sides. One Islamic chronicler wrote: "The crusaders cut the Turkish army to pieces. They killed, pillaged and took many prisoners. When this event, so shameful for Islam became known, there was real panic." When the crusaders reached what was then northern Syria, they faced the first real test of their faith in holy war. In October 1097, the crusaders arrived at Antioch, one the holiest cities on their journey to Jerusalem.' TRANSLATOR: When the crusaders came here, they set up camp in this area and they realised it would be difficult to overcome the high and magnificent fortifications. 'When the siege of Antioch began, some crusaders had been on the march for almost two years and were 1,500 miles from home. They were suffering so much hardship that they thought God was punishing them. So, in spite of the fact that they were at the point of starvation, they decided to fast.

Imagine, they decided to start fasting. The crusaders, at this point began to hold prayers, they fasted, they had religious processions. All of it geared to reinvigorate the sense of mission and the sanctity of their mission. 'Nine months into the siege, in June 1098, the crusaders' prayers were finally answered. A traitor from Antioch's population offered to help break the siege. He was an Armenian Muslim named Firuz. Here we are at St George's gate. It was here that Firuz suspended a rope ladder for the crusaders.

The crusaders used it to climb up onto the ramparts. They first captured that bastion over there and then opened the gate below, the people inside were shocked. Firuz effectively, single-handedly changed the course of history. Were it not for his actions, the crusaders would still be on the outskirts of the city, starving, many of them losing heart and it would have failed. It would've ended and history would not have been the same. 'What followed was the first major massacre of the crusades. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of Muslims were butchered here. From now on, this kind of wholesale slaughter would be the calling card of crusaders in many of the cities they conquered.' It's very easy to think of the crusaders only as holy warriors, but they saw themselves as much more. In fact, in their own eyes, they were also pilgrims on their way to liberate Jerusalem in Jesus Christ's name. And that's why, whilst they were slaughtering people here in Antioch and leaving the dead bodies littering the city, they still described themselves as being in imitatio Christi,

in imitation of Christ.

'Just like today's terrorists who murder innocents in the name of Allah. The crusaders believed that Jesus condoned their massacres. In June 1099, 10,000 Muslims looked on in awe as the crusaders arrived at the walls of Jerusalem. This city is still at the heart of the struggle for control

of the Holy Land and 900 years ago, it was the crusader's ultimate prize. Some of the crusader descriptions of the battle show the kind of fanatical devotion one now associates with al-Qaeda.' "One could see marvellous works, some of the pagans were mercifully beheaded. Others, tortured for a long time, were burned to death in searing flames." To understand the crusades, we must understand first of all, that this is a spiritual enterprise. It was a brilliant move of the Pope to offer those sinners who are knights or fighting people, a penance which was their greatest passion, which is to kill. That is fighting as a kind of penance. A spiritual act? Yes. Cleansing act? Yes, cleansing act. Cleansing Jerusalem of pollution by the Saracens, as they called the Muslims. 'After just one month, the crusaders conquered the city and began cleansing it of so-called Muslim pollution.

It was one of the bloodiest massacres of the Middle Ages.' What kind of things did the crusaders do? Here is an eyewitness, Raymond of Aguilers, "Some Saracens," that is Muslims, "whose fate was easier, merely had their heads cut off. The Christians gave over their whole hearts to murder so that not one suckling little male child or female, not even an infant of one year, would escape alive the hand of the murderer." 'Perhaps unsurprisingly, many Muslim historians have grossly exaggerated

the extent of the massacre, but what is extraordinary, is that the crusader chroniclers did the same.'

Early Christian chroniclers speak of 10,000 Saracens-Muslims killed. Very recently, a new Muslim source came to light and he says 3,000 were killed in Al-Aqsa. Let's remember on 9/11, in New York, in a population of millions, there were less than 3,000 dead and still we remember this with horror.

Cos even if you take this figure of 3,000,

this was not done by machine guns and grenades, this was done by people with swords and axes, it was butchering people, literally, like animals. Exactly. They do it out of the conviction that this slaughter is divinely ordained, that it pleases God. And this is why, at the very end of the massacre and the pillage, all of them turned to the Church Of The Holy Sepulchre and as our sources say, when the killing and the plunder were over, all came rejoicing and weeping from excess of gladness to worship at the sepulchre of our saviour, Jesus. 'I wonder, what would Jesus, who preached peace and love to all, have made of the fact that Jerusalem was once stained with the blood of Muslims, murdered in his name. During the Middle Ages, it was commonplace for both Christians and Muslims to commit violence in God's name. But what was unique about the Christian crusaders, is that they saw their holy war as an act of Christian devotion, every bit as important as prayer.' For the crusaders, this, the Church Of The Holy Sepulchre was the prize and as soon as they walked in, they prayed.

Even though they were drenched in blood from the slaughter in Jerusalem. But for them, there was no contradiction between slaughter and holiness. Because the act of killing infidels, in itself was an act of purification that would allow them to enter the kingdom of heaven. 'The crusaders had endured countless hardships as they fought their way to Jerusalem. Nearly three quarters of those who set out had perished along the way. And it's shocking to think that is was all for the sake of this tiny tomb, the tradional site of Christ's resurrection. For people in the West, the crusader occupation of the Holy Land is an event that took place 900 years ago. But for many Muslims it's something that's still happening today. Translator: The crusader wars are returning to this very same land, if not from Europe, now from America. 'In the West, the crusades are events in the distant past, which have little bearing on our everyday lives, but in the Middle East, it's very different. Take the town of Marrat Al-Numan, for many locals, the crusader massacre that took place here over 900 years ago, may as well have happened yesterday.' TRANSLATOR: Long ago, our grandparents told the story to our parents, our parents told the story to us and now we are telling you. There was a group who came from the West, from Rome, they formed an army of thousands. They opened the citadel gates, they entered and massacred everyone. This is amazing, because this is essentially a diwan, or a guesthouse. A sort of cafe where people come to hear poems and stories retelling what happened in this town and in Syria at the time of the crusades. I think it's just a measure of how much that part of history still lives and matters to people.

'The people I met see all Western involvement in the Middle East through the prism of what happened here. TRANSLATOR: They wore the cross under the pretext that they were Christians, coming to support their fellow Christians here. But in reality, they wanted the country's wealth. History is now repeating itself in Iraq. America went there in the name of progress, freedom and to remove and oppressive regime, now they're actually killing its sons and taking its wealth.

APPLAUSE 'I met up with the director of the local museum. He took me to Ma'ara Citadel, site of the crusader massacre.

TRANSLATOR: The crusaders opened people's stomachs, to see if they'd swallowed any precious jewels, they also killed children. Goodness, let me translate that, cos that's amazing. He told in quite graphic detail what happened in the siege. They started with the children, to put them on a spike

and cook the children and ate them. They were cannibals, they ate people. 'Every war is filled with accounts based on myth and propaganda,

in our age and in past centuries. I suspect most people will find it hard to believe that the crusaders committed acts of cannibalism.

But these acts were actually recorded by the crusaders themselves. In Ma'ara, our troops boiled pagan adults in cooking pots.

They impaled children on spits and devoured them, grilled. 'The crusaders were not the first to carry out acts of cannibalism in the history of warfare nor would they be the last.

Although these atrocities were probably a result of acute starvation, people here see them as acts of Christian fanaticism. Today, crusader castles remain an important feature of the Middle East landscape, enduring reminders of this bloody period of conflict between East and West. The most spectacular is Krac des Chevaliers in northern Syria. TRANSLATOR: A vast space like this containing so many knights was fairly standard for a castle However, Krac des Chevaliers crusader castle in Syria. is still by far the biggest 'After the capture of Jerusalem, into so-called crusader states, the Crusaders divided the Holy Land as ruler. each with its own Western nobleman the Holy Land of "Muslim pollution", They might have come to cleanse a more pragmatic approach.' but the Crusaders soon adopted settled here, Those first crusaders who population, with the Muslims? how did they react with the local with enmity in the beginning. TRANSLATOR: They were looked upon Then, later on, they established friendly relations. The Muslim knight, Usama Ibn Munkiz, wrote of his many friendships with foreign knights, of visiting their homes and eating their food. 'Many in the Middle East have now forgotten that Muslims and Crusaders signed peace accords and were happy to trade with one another throughout the period. But everyone remembers how the native Muslim population eventually turned against the crusader settlers.' They could not forget that this land was a Muslim land.

Men of religion wrote books on holy war and about the religious significance of cities like Damascus and Jerusalem. of a general atmosphere All of this led to the creation with the spirit of holy war. that was saturated and charged 'This spirit of resistance among many Muslims is what resonates most the current state of the Middle East. when they look at to Westerners, Nowadays, the crusades mean nothing which took place in the past. they're just events it's very different. But for Muslims,

but from a different direction. The past is returning, coming back to this very same land, Now the crusader wars are now from America. if not from Europe, feel that they must do the same Arabs and Muslims today, with the new crusaders, to repel the earlier crusaders. as their ancestors did that today's Western governments 'This belief among many Muslims, one and the same, and the crusaders are is what al-Qaeda tries to exploit.' the crusaders began here, Islam's fight back against in northern Syria. By the middle of the 12th century, Aleppo's magnificent citadel was the power base of the largest Muslim lordship in the Middle East. It was ruled over by Islam's

first true holy warrior for centuries, Nooruddin. TRANSLATOR: Leaders here had been more interested than in fighting the invaders in fighting each other for power who were coming from Europe. from the others. Nooruddin was different He was abstemious in life, the importance of holy war he lived simply and sensed to liberate the region. 'The success that Nooruddin had this concept of jihad, of struggle, was in reinvigorating actually means. which is what the word jihad that he convinced Muslims And the reason is to drive the crusaders out. to come around a unified campaign, fighting a holy war against us Saying that the crusaders were to capture and hold Jerusalem going to drive these Crusaders out and the way that we are in defence of Islam and Muslims. is by launching our own holy war, Nooruddin's leadership One of those inspired by named Salahuddin Ayubi. was a young Kurd In the West he is better known as Saladin. TRANSLATOR: Saladin was Nooruddin's minister in Egypt. He later became the most powerful personality in the Middle East and he established a state in his own name. He then went on to launch the great war to reclaim Jerusalem. 'But it was events in the 20th century that transformed Saladin into a cult figure and his war against the crusaders victory against the West.' is now seen as Islam's greatest of liberating land by force. He was the last success in Islam attitudes among many Muslims 'In recent decades, have centered around Saladin, towards the Crusades Christian rule over Jerusalem the holy warrior who brought to an end.

Popular perceptions of Saladin not so much by history, have been influenced in the Middle East.' as by modern conflicts

liberation from the occupation. I think Salahuddin was a symbol for people know all the facts Regardless of whether

I am sure not. about Salahuddin or not, a myth that has basis in history. Most of his stories are a myth, but again and again. A myth that can be used liberating a piece of land by force. He was the last success in Islam of 'Decades of conflict in the Middle East

have transformed Saladin from a holy warrior who fought crusaders into a timeless symbol of resistance against Western intervention. Nearly every 20th-century Arab leader has compared himself to Saladin. Creating the myth that they are engaged in a 900-year war with the West and today al-Qaeda do the same. This rebranding of Saladin's story has inspired countless folktales, books and films. most famous actors. Ghassan Massoud is one of Syria's

blockbuster Kingdom Of Heaven, He even appeared in the Hollywood playing the part of Saladin. to recapture Jerusalem TRANSLATOR: Saladin set out and should be for Eastern people. because it is an eastern city London or Germany. Not for people from Paris, who'd taken the city by force. They were Westerners of the mythology surrounding Saladin 'Ghassan's views struck me as typical in the Middle East.' that's part of everyday life in Syria and the Middle East A large part of the population this land for longer than Muslims, is Christian and they have been in the word crusaders to describe them. so it isn't right for us to use as important a symbol as the Koran. Because the cross is very clear in Saladin's mind This idea must have been against the Western armies. when he waged his battles

'In 1187, at the Battle of Hattin, brought crusader control Saladin's army effectively of the Holy Land to an end.

Over the next hundred years, were overrun and destroyed. one by one, the crusader states This victory was followed by in the Holy Land. seven centuries of Muslim rule In the Middle East,

faded from public consciousness. Islam's dominance meant the crusades After the end of the 13th century,

of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, the destruction in the Mediterranean, you go back to the normal situation Islam is the dominant force, where Islam is the aggressor, right through the the 18th century. Islamic culture and society In those circumstances simply forgets about the crusades. Christians and Muslims 'For centuries, East and West, to the annals of history, assigned the crusades when a new set of Western nations but that all changed

once again. began to dominate the Middle East you have British rulers in India, In the 19th century, seeing themselves as crusaders. and North Africa, You have French rulers in Syria the heirs of the crusade. seeing themselves as

romantic idea. Now, this is an entirely false, it's radically different, Colonialism is not crusading, Islamic-Christian relationships. but I believe that poisoned Islamic-Western relationships? And particularly very badly indeed. And Islamic-Western relationships, 'It was European colonialism ancient memories for many Muslims, that re-awakened

as crusaders. casting these new Western invaders In 1917, the European colonial powers the world had ever seen. were fighting the most horrific war with the Muslim Ottoman Empire, Germany had allied itself which ruled over the Holy Land. on the verge of defeat By November, the Ottomans were once more at the gates of Jerusalem. and the Western army was One word was on everybody's lips. Crusade. at the end of the First World War, Nearly 100 years ago, General Allenby took Jerusalem, through this gate, the Jaffa gate. and he entered the city He was aware of how sensitive the issue of the crusades was in the Middle East. He wanted to persuade the British not to describe the capture of Jerusalem as some kind of new crusade, but he failed. Once again, these references to the crusades simply reinforced the suspicions in the minds of many Muslims. From a Palestinian point of view, it is irrelevant whether he tried or not, to convince the press in Britain to consider this occupation of Jerusalem as not a crusade or an end of the crusades. To the local population it was an occupation of foreign, Western power. 'The British mandate in Palestine only exacerbated Muslim fears about the re-emergence of an ancient struggle between East and West. Since the 19th century, thousands of European Jews had been emigrating to what they considered their biblical homeland. As the British had come out in support of a Jewish state in Palestine, many Muslims took the view that Western Jews and Christians were united in a new crusade. The Jewish settlement of Palestine since the late 19th century, then nowadays, is very similar to the crusader way of controlling the country. Where you have demographic cleansing from one side, establishing independent settlements of one race or one group. Therefore, regardless of their aims, regardless of the different backgrounds of the crusaders and the Jews, the end product is very similar. 'No matter how controversial such views may sound, they are widely held in the Middle East. The ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict just adds to the crusader myth, which is exploited by terrorist groups like al-Qaeda. I may not believe that the West is waging a new crusade, but millions of Muslims do. Both East and West share responsibility for making the crusades the divisive and destructive issue they are today. The West needs to come to terms with the fact that the crusades were not heroic episodes in Christianity's past. They were horrific holy wars, which no western leader should ever be seen to identify with. Using the word crusades by a Western ruler with interests in the Near East is worse than crass, it's almost criminal. 'And in the Muslim world, people have to realise that today's conflicts are not part of a 900-year war between East and West.' Colonialism is not crusading, it's radically different. But the two became identified, quite falsely, in the minds of many Muslim thinkers. 'Only a thorough re-evaluation of what the crusades really meant can end the poisonous effect they now have on the modern world.

I want the West to be aware of my version,

not to accept it, but to be aware of the sensitivity of history to my culture and to my understanding. This is the maximum that I ask them. But the same, I ask my people to be aware of the western version of history. This is what we can say about tolerance.

'Both sides need to understand the crusades for what they were and stop blaming the past for the wrongs of today.

In the Muslim world, we have too much history, we see everything that involves the West and the west's involvement in the Muslim world, as a crusade. Whether it's to do with democracy today, or oil, or in liberating the Holy Land for Christ 1,000 thousand years ago. It's why Osama bin Laden and the other leaders of al-Qaeda keep referring to their fight being with the crusaders today. because for them, the West's involvement in the Muslim world is a re-enactment of the crusades and don't underestimate the power of that appeal. But yet, in Europe, I'm struck by the opposite, by the absence of history and the knowledge of this chapter of Christian history. That there was a moment in the history of Europe and Christian Europe, in which violence was an essential part of the Christian faith. Rageh Omaar looking at the impact and the legacy of the Crusades from two very different perspectives. Now we'll be screening the final four episodes of this excellent series

from Britain's Channel 4 later this year on Compass and we'll let you know well in advance so you can put them in your diary. 'Next week, it's Easter.' # May the spirit of God... #

'And on Friday evening, we join 30 Australian pilgrims who experience the modern-day appeal of an age-old tradition.' MAN: 'We try and control life all the time.

When you actually choose to go out on a camino or pilgrimage, you're giving all that up and just step into the unknown.' 'I think this will be an opportunity just to take a bit of time out of the day-to-day and just put yourself in a place where you can be open to hear God speaking. Sometimes it's in the gentle breeze that God speaks.' And even if you're in pain, you think, "Well, she's 20 years older and she's doing it, so we'll just keep it up." Camino salvado - from Perth to the Benedictine monastery in New Norcia. It's our Compass special on Good Friday at 7:30. And on Easter Sunday, the extraordinary story of one of the world's great lost masterpieces - Caravaggio's The Taking Of Christ.

When you look at this painting, you don't respond to it as if in the Bible.

You respond to it as a man being arrested. No artist has ever made the darker side of the Christian story so alive. It's a scene of the world gone askew. Christ captured and treated and betrayed exactly like a common criminal. In its day, this was one of the most costly and celebrated of all artworks. But its fame fell away.

And in a confusion of discarded fashions and lost fortunes, a work of genius disappeared without trace. A truly lavish and fascinating mystery revealed on screen. It's the private life of an Easter masterpiece - The Taking Of Christ.

It's on Easter Sunday and it's just terrific, I urge you to watch. So until then, goodnight. Closed Captions by CSI *

This program is not subtitled 'It's 20 minutes before the opening of Julia Britton's latest play, and people are gathering at the theatre for the performance. But the playwright is at home, telling me about her lifelong love affair with the theatre.'

The most pleasure I've had in a theatre is to hear people laugh. I love to hear them laugh. Just hope they laugh today. 'If we don't go, Julia will miss the opening of her play, but nobody's quite sure how to get there.' Do you know the way? (LAUGHS) I know the way when it's light, but not dark. 'Julia has had more than 40 plays produced, won many writing awards and worked with first-rate actors including Geoffrey Rush. It's quite an achievement, especially since she began writing late in life.' After my husband died, I thought, "What do you do with the rest of your life?" you want. You might as well do something and wrote for the theatre. So I left the university This is the most... you've ever written. ..the most moving, exciting work It has such strength, beauty and... But Isherwood... ..such sensitivity. APPLAUSE is a huge success, 'This opening night afterwards. and a cause for celebration

Julia's birthday. I discover it's also a theatre foyer? venue for a party than Julia Britton is 92, and what better people have retired At around 75, the age when most set and the dust settle neatly, to vaguely watch the clock, the sun she became half of the odd couple, her frequent collaborator. the other half being Robert Chuter,

There was Julia, protected with a harvest of white hair, small, clear-eyed, practical and irreverent. And there was Robert,

big, loose around the edges... LAUGHTER ..volatile, emotionally impractical, and also irreverent. For more than 15 years they've been egging each other on, supporting... 'Now Julia and Robert are egging each other on professional lives.' to the biggest adventure of their put on by the Pleasance Theatre, We've had an offer to have a play a very nice theatre in Islington. It's called Fresh Pleasures. who's part of the Bloomsbury set. It's about the artist Duncan Grant, London is a risky ambition. 'Putting on a play in cutthroat fragile shoulders, Much of the burden will be on Julia's as well as playwright. as she is producer It's a worry. There's still a chance of that. It would be tragic if it fell over. It's like a huge punt. some health scare. I fear she'll have don't go together that well. Old people and aeroplanes very worried about it. So I have been I've lost a lot of sleep. Julia ploughs ahead. NARRATOR: Unfazed by these concerns,

Julia's first play over 20 years ago, I was involved in the production of yet I still don't know what drives her. This expedition to the UK, for instance. Will it be a brilliant move or a massive folly? I intend following the Good Ship Julia to London to find out. 'The new play is a one-hander, and one of director Robert Chuter's first concerns is to cast the role. The part is not easy.

Duncan Grant, the main character, The actor will have to not only play in his life, single-handedly. but all the other key characters

Tamblyn Lord steps up to the plate. With only six weeks to go, He's faced with a humdinger.' You have read the script. with it? up with in terms of any problems How did you go? What have you come

with the lines, Just getting familiar where to pitch the voices and then obviously looking at just and the characters. at a time through the dialogues. It's just trying to get one page for their perversity and promiscuity, 'Julia Britton's plays are renowned and Fresh Pleasures is no exception, no personal experience.' although she assures us that she has

No, not exactly, no. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! very different. The work I do is fairly progressive,

It's work people are scared to go to. Where angels fear to tread. And I'm no angel. We've seen nudity, we've seen simulated sex, we've seen masochism, sadism, Nazi, gay - any combination of the above, I've seen it all. She has an absolutely fearless attitude to, uh, sexuality, if you like. She has been the victim of ageism. or supported She's not been properly celebrated by funding bodies, so all her views are conventional. because they think she's older, than any of them. But really she's wilder successful productions 'One of Julia and Robert's most Chatterley's Lover. was a scorching adaptation of Lady

that it toured the country. It was so popular with audiences and simulated copulation But its nudity wowsers in Perth. attracted the attention of a bunch of on national TV. Julia was forced to defend herself extraordinarily funny, I thought it was a time warp, because it's like living in arguments that were brought, because it's exactly the same had to suffer, and criticism that Lawrence the same arguments have been brought forward in Western Australia. That was an incredibly brave thing for them all to have done. To bring that classic, almost untouchable novel to the stage like that is a great achievement,

and I think it worked terrifically well. prominent artist, Duncan Grant, 'Fresh Pleasures is about the Garnett at the turn of the century. who was gay, and lived with Bunny of the Bloomsbury set, They lived in Charleston with others sister, Vanessa Bell. including Virginia Woolf's older with Vanessa, Duncan fathered a child a daughter called Angelica. Angelica married Bunny, 18 years later, Duncan's former lover.

squares and loved in triangles, The Bloomsbury people lived in sums it up. and I think that just about 'Like Duncan Grant, living arrangement. Julia has an unconventional with Robert and his friend Chris.' She shares a rambling Earlwood villa This is where we all work. Hi. This is Chris, by the way. Hi, how are you? And Robert. around in the room? Is this basically your work

Well, a lot of it is. All that, I think, is. All that is, more or less. It is, I suppose.

Props are still here, aren't they? Oh, yes. And files, yeah. Yes. Costumes, you know. These are the jerseys for the play.

Those are lovely. Would you like to see? Yep. they used to wear in the old days. These famous old Fair Isles that What about your bedroom, Julia? (ROBERT LAUGHS) Show us your bedroom. No! No, you must not. We must see your bedroom. all stuck together. The museum and the library of motivated to make me untidy. In my childhood, everything was sort

on hand and foot. My whole life, I was waited Well, that's partly it, yes. did you have servants? You were waited on - Yes, we did, yes. We weren't, really. It wasn't that we were wealthy. it just so happened I don't know why, that my parents thought, such a bad time themselves, they'd had were in the teaching profession - having to fight to get where they the gutter, you know, my father had come up from had a terrible time. And I think they thought children should have the leisure to do their schoolwork properly. 'Her mother was the first female science graduate in the UK, and her father, a dour headmaster. She won a scholarship to Withington Girls' School, a forward-thinking secondary school in Manchester. effect on her life. This school would have a profound to educate women The idea of this school was really in a public school. as men were educated

or cookery We had no frills, we had no dancing or even drama or music or anything. We just had academic subjects or Cambridge which would take us to Oxford

and compete in the professions. women were not restricted It was always put before us that to teaching and nursing, and be missionaries and spies. but they could go out into the world Politicians. at least as far as we know, 'Julia didn't become a spy, well, a lifelong interest in the theatre.' but Withington Girls' School fostered the theatre very young. I started going to school early, I used to get out of and it was only about seven pence to sit in the gallery in the back row. I saw almost everything that went on in those days,

from about the age of 14. When we lived out of town, I used to walk ten miles into town to go to the rep company.

'After graduating from Manchester University with a degree in classics, Julia took off to South Africa, as a journalist. raised a family and worked where she met her husband, Phil, apartheid came in, The paper I wrote for, when was badly penalised. The front page was often blacked out totally. We didn't just cut the stuff. When we got it censored we just blacked it out. So you could have the headlines blacked and all the stuff blacked. And the editor was put in jail a couple of times. We hadn't been agitators or anything, but we'd all been totally against it. My husband just ignored it, he did exactly as he chose. He was teaching music. Why should music have a colour bar? When you came to Australia, did you have trouble getting... They were glad to get rid of you. You could get one-way passports. 'The Britton family arrived in Adelaide, where Julia reinvented herself as a classics teacher at Adelaide University, before moving to Melbourne at the age of 70 to pursue a career as a playwright.' Something I don't suffer from is writer's block, and I'm very glad. That is really terrible. You see writers that get jammed with a play, and sometimes it's years before they get it finished. But I don't have that problem, really. For better or worse. Maybe I don't think too much, I should think a bit more.

But it comes quite easily to me. I get the shape of a play in my mind even before I start writing the first sentence. She can absorb a book into her mind. She can read a book in a night, just absorb it. Just, that seen, put that down. Then she can just take that book Th n s@e can just ta e th t b ok and just write it. ..kiss one another and go through the whole phantasmagoria of desire, but we can never be alone together. 'Fresh Pleasures is a tough play to put on. It's a major task for Tamblyn to remember all the lines, let alone give a performance. Robert Chuter enlists the assistance of his friend Chris Pender to help with the production. My parents thought I looked pale and listless. My father had his suspicions and called the doctor. He told me to take down my trousers, examined me and said, "I hope you don't play around with-with-with this." I don't like writers that much. I should say I don't like writers attending... MAN: Don't like writers that much! ..rehearsal. They tend to get in the way of the creative process, and sometimes the actor has a much more instinctive insight than maybe the writer does.

I'd set up a studio in Bloomsbury at Gordon Square. It was furnished with...

Julia's criticism tends to be on the negative side.

And I say, "But what about the positive?" She's always moaning to me about Rob and how tiresome he is. But he's a great ally as well. Even though he has a tempestuous way about him I think they are a great pair, because he's a mad innovator and a genius, and she recognises his genius for what it is and just accepts that. 'Robert Chuter brings on board the talents of set designer Anthony Breslin. For this play to work, the set is crucial, and they've meticulously recreated Grant's studio. But will Julia approve? How are you? How are you going? Very well, thank you.

Hi, Julia, how are you? These come out like this, on either side. Oh, yes. And the furniture's... The seat's there, the table's there and the easel's over here. 'Robert seems surprisingly anxious about Julia's reaction. Their relationship is complex, and it's not always obvious who's calling the shots. MAN: She needs Rob and Rob needs her. It's kind of symbiosis.

Not in order yet, Julia. No. They're not hung straight. It's not an altogether harmonious relationship, but there's something there that they both recognise the other can't do or won't do, and so they form this kind of unlikely alliance, and it's stayed. It'll all be paper and things there.

Without it, she wouldn't have had the opportunity to realise all of those dreams that she had for her own work being performed. So how do you look in the hat? The hat? Yeah, the hat fits well. It's a bit big, isn't it? Mm. I'll show you... (LAUGHS)

Getting used to the shorter hair.

Too short. It'll grow out in the next couple of weeks. ROB: When Tam arrived he had a beanie on and a pair of jeans, and unshaven, then he sort of clumped in, and she was a bit taken aback. She didn't think it was the suave Duncan Grant. But I assure her that he'll transform. He does now already. What's next? (GIVES LINE) That's right. But there was more than love between us. There...there was art. We were each other's gui... best critics and we... We...we were each other's best critics and... We were each other's best critics and... Don't tell me. ..we encouraged each other when things went wrong. Oh, shite. And Venice was always there for me. He's put up in the country. Sorry. Can we stop there now? It's just too weird with you guys here. The show's costing $110,000, and that's a lot of money. So she's investing a lot in Tamblyn's -

don't want to scare you, Tamblyn. But it does put a lot of onus on him,

but I think it'll go quite well. 'Robert Chuter has let the cat out of the bag. Julia is financing the entire production herself. It's a massive commitment for anyone, let alone a 92-year-old with health problems, and it will dent her bank balance.' And when she said $50,000, my jaw bounced off the floor. And then when someone told me it was way more than that, I got protective, and wanted to go down and put my foot down and say it's not on. And that's where I feel there may be some... Some people who are taking too big a bag of lollies. When you're dead, the money does you no good,

even though the children would accept it. It's much more feasible to enjoy it while you're here

and give it a good shot.

I don't really care about money. I really don't. I mean, look at this place. If I cared about money... Everything in this house has been bought at the Salvos or some garden sale.

I don't really have a view that I want money to put into anything except maybe just to finance a play or two. It's insane, the whole thing, really. She's got not a drop of funding, she's ploughing all her money into her project, bringing out an actor who's demanding equity this and equity that. PHONE RINGS 'The bills continue to mount.' Had to get him a ticket. Cos the other guy was paying for his ticket and I was paying it in comp with this one. He wants both now, both his are comp, and his ticket. And a large sum of money, I might say. Yeah. They have to have supportive wages paid to them, and daily allowances, and they have to be insured,

and you have to take insurance for everybody. It's very complicated. I don't understand it myself. But it is very time-wasting. Or time-consuming, I should probably say there. 'Julia is forking out money for a stills photographer as well as a top London publicist to help the Fresh Pleasure season crash through the London entertainment scene.' Looks more... I haven't got... No, I'm saying... No, I'm not saying, I'm not getting pissy... ..the parameters of what we want, then we can work it out. Like that. Then I won't be hunching. Can't imagine there'll be masses of press, but hopefully through the interest in Bloomsbury group itself, we'll get some bums on seats for the two weeks. There is a lot of publicity. Tamblyn obviously doesn't know. It's been in lots of magazines. There are some interviews lined up for him. It's now getting there, setting it up, a week in the theatre before we open. If I had to take over a group of people, get the money together, write the show, then get them over there, find accommodation for them as well, even at my age I'd be stressing about it. So yeah it's a lot of stress.

'I hear from Julia about a minor tiff with Robert.' Oh, there's been an upset. Um, what sort of upset? Well, I'd really like to know.

You can't tell me? 'Julia won't say, but Robert is more forthcoming.' There's a lot we can't tell you. She wouldn't want me to.

I almost packed my suitcase yesterday and almost walked out. Sometimes they're just pure misunderstandings and perceived insults and misperceptions that just escalate. So suddenly they're not talking to each other

and the whole thing's off and they'll never do a production again. Reading between the lines, I think it is Julia's tendency to stick her oar in and tell everyone how it should be done rather than letting it happen. She's tremendously stubborn, and she's tremendously kind of ambitious in a way. Something drives her to do stuff when people are saying, "Go to a retirement home and take up golf." That's a challenge to her, and she keeps doing. Most people, they're happy to achieve one thing, but not Julia. She gets to the top of the mountain, and then what's next, what's next? She's not gonna sit there and say, "I've achieved this now." There will always be another goal. But as long as she has breath and a heartbeat, she's not going to, um, yeah, she's not going to stop. I think it's ego.

Deep down Julia has got a very, um, sense of pretension. And also she's very egotistical, even though she feigns to be very humble. 'It's obvious that beneath this self-deprecating exterior, there's a healthy ego lurking somewhere. Although she will be travelling to the UK on her Australian passport,