Jihad against the Italians in Rome and Sicily (812 -1571)

The second Muslim lunge at Italy

Although Sicily was never directly threatened again, the shadow of the Islamic Jihad loomed once again over Italy when the Ottoman Turks started moving into the Mediterranean after 1500 A.D. With the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the prospect of the conquest of Europe was reignited in Muslim hearts. This prospect had been defeated at the battles of Poitiers and Palermo and had been rolled back by the Reconquista in Spain.

After the conquest of Constantinople, the Ottomans now moved toward Malta which had remained a peaceful Christian bastion for more than four centuries after its liberation by the Normans in 1127. In the meanwhile Malta had become the base for the Crusader knights of Malta and it played an important role as a transit point for the crusaders to go to the holy land.

So Malta was a marked fortress for the Muslims who bided their time to seek revenge when they could again come within striking distance.

Turks ravaged the Maltese peasantry to instill terror

And so as if to prove the point, the Turks launched two attacks against the island in 1547, and again in 1551 and again in 1565 till they were finally routed decisively at the naval battle of Lepanto in 1571. The Turks had a policy of ravaging the Maltese countryside to terrorize the peasantry, while they ignored the fortified towns. They turned their attention to the island of Gozo and carried away the entire Christian population into slavery, the children being brought up as Muslims who were to be thrown into battle as suicide warriors named Janissaries (from Jan = life and Nisar = given away).

That same year the Turks drove the Knights out of Tripoli. These attacks stung the Knights into feverish activity to improve the islands’ defenses in anticipation of another, and possibly bigger, attack. On the 18th May, 1565, the Ottoman Turks and their allies pitted 48,000 of their best troops against the islands with the intention of invading them, and afterwards using them as a base to make a thrust into Southern Europe by way of Sicily and Italy.

Pan-European Christian alliance defeats the Turkish Jihad

At the battle of Malta, against the Turks were drawn up some 8,000 men: 540 Knights; 4,000 Maltese; and the rest made up of Spanish and Italian mercenaries. Landing unopposed, the first objective of the Turks was to secure a safe anchorage for their large invasion fleet, and with that in mind, launched their attack on St.Elmo. After a heroic resistance of thirty one days the fort succumbed to the massive Turkish bombardment and continuous cavalry charges.

After the fort had been reduced, the Ottomans turned their attention to the two badly fortified towns overlooking the harbor. Subjected to a ceaseless bombardment, the Christian forces held back the enemy behind the crumbling walls, and against all odds, kept the enemy at bay until a small relief force of some 8,000 troops arrived from Sicily (a smaller relief force of 600 men had previously landed at about the time that St.Elmo had fallen).

These attacks in addition to their losses from disease, fire and steel, totally demoralized the Turks. Added to this was the fact that their supplies were running low. The Turkish invaders were in no position to offer further battle, and the Turks retreated never again to attempt another invasion in that part of the Mediterranean.

The Battle of Lepanto

In 1571, Don John of Austria commanding the fleet of the Holy League, met the Ottoman Turks in the waters at the mouth of the Gulf of Patros. Don John of Austria met his fleet off Messina and saw that he had 300 ships, great and small, under his command. The Pope himself had outfitted twelve galleys and the depth of his war chest had paid for many more. Don John’s eye must have gazed with pride on the 80 galleys and 22 other ships that had been provided by his half-brother Philip II of Spain.

Each of these Spanish galleys held a hundred soldiers on top of the rowers who propelled the ship through the water and no less than 30,000 men in the service of Spain would fight at Lepanto. The next largest contingent was that of Venice.

Although they were no longer the dominating power of yesteryear, the Venetians could still assemble a fleet of more than a hundred vessels beneath the winged Lion of St. Mark’s standard. The Venetians provided the technological cutting edge that was to win the battle.

The Turkish fleet under the command of Ali Pasha had been reinforced by a Calabrian traitor fisherman who had turned Moslem. His name was Uluch Ali and he was now the Bey of Algiers, that notorious nest of the Muslim corsairs feared by all Christian ships plying their trade in the Mediterranean. Don John moved his force towards the anchorage of Lepanto where he knew the Turks to be waiting and during the night of October 6th, with a favorable wind behind him, Ali Pasha moved his fleet westward towards the mouth of the Gulf of Patras and the approaching ships of the Holy League.

The action that was to follow was the biggest naval engagement anywhere on the globe till then. The Turkish flotilla initially arrayed in a giant crescent-shaped formation, quickly sliced into three sections by two concentrated charges of the Venetian navy. The centre, under Ali Pasha, nevertheless pushed forward and the action opened when the cannon of Don John’s two centre galleasses (gunships) began to do great execution among Ali Pasha’s advancing ships.

Seven or more Turkish galleys went down almost immediately as a result of the longer range of the Christian fleet. The Turks were not lacking in murderous instinct, however, and they pressed on in the face of intense fire from the galleasses, the galleys’ guns and crossbowmen on the Christian decks.

Christians follows Muslim tactics and outdo the Muslims

Ali Pasha tried to come alongside the Christian ships in the hope of boarding. Here the legendary steadfastness under fire of the 16th and 17th century Spanish infantryman came to the fore and attack after attack was beaten off by killing shots from their guns and engaging in hand to hand combat by the Spanish swordsmen. Then Don John gave the order to board Ali Pasha’s flagship.

In a wild melee of attack, retreat and counterattack played out on decks awash with the blood of the slain, the air rent by the screams of the wounded and dying seamen from both sides, the Spaniards forced their way onto the Turkish galley three times. Twice they were beaten back but finally they stormed the Turkish poop and a wounded Ali Pasha was beheaded on the spot. His head was spitted on a pike and held aloft for all the Turkish fleet to see and the Ottoman battle flag, never before lost in battle, was pulled down from the mainmast. The Muslim centre broke and retired as best it could, their courage forgotten in face of the grisly sight of their admirals head held aloft by the elated Spaniards. Amen.

Lessons of the Battle of Lepanto

The Christians had now learnt their lessons. Lepanto was a battle to death for both sides. Negotiations were never on the agenda. The options were fight, flight or death. The first mistake made by Rodrigo in Spain when he faced the first Muslim Jihad in 711, he had tried to walk his way out by negotiating his freedom, only to be betrayed and having his head sawed off to be paraded before the Visigothic Spanish army – a grisly sight that numbed and demoralized the Visigoths at the Battle of the Guadalete river between the Muslims and the Visigothic Spaniards (Jihad against Spain (and Portugal).

From Guadalete to Palermo, the Christians had come a long way, learning what their enemy was all about. Once having seen the bestiality of the Muslims, the Christians never forgot nor forgave the Muslims. And so “mercy” was a quality not much in vogue any longer in the wars between the crescent and the cross.

The Christians were quick to learn the tactics of foul warfare from the Muslims and turn their new learning against a ruthless adversary. Apart from the bravery of soldiers on both sides, the tactic that clinched victory was the gruesome act of beheading of the Turkish Admiral Ali Pasha and his deputy Uluch Ali.

Beheading and sticking the severed head on to a pike and parading it were unchristian and uncivilized practices, but it was the Muslims who had introduced them into Europe, and the Christians were quick to learn and use them against the Muslims. A lesson we need to relearn, not to behead and stick the head once again on a pike, but to unleash a nuclear and neutron assault on the enemy, before he does it to us at New York, London, Madrid, Toronto, Sydney, Tokyo, Paris, Moscow, Berlin or in any city in the civilized world.

The engagement at Lepanto had lasted for more than four hours and when the smoke finally cleared it became apparent that this was a major victory for the Holy League and a bitter defeat for the Ottoman Turks. Almost 8,000 of the men who had sailed with Don John were dead and another 16,000 wounded.

On the brighter side 12,000 Christian galley slaves had been released from their servitude to the Ottomans. The Turks and Uluch Ali’s Algerines had suffered much more grievously. Of the three hundred and thirty Turkish ships, fewer than fifty managed to escape and most of them were burned because they could not be made sufficiently seaworthy for further use; one hundred and seventeen Muslim galleys were captured intact and the rest were sunk or destroyed after they had been run ashore by the fleeing Turks.

More than fifty thousand of the seventy-five thousand men who had entered the battle on the Muslim side were killed, five thousand were taken prisoner (with at least twice that number of Christian galley slaves liberated), and only a few were able to escape either by ship or by swimming ashore. Turkey, for the first time in several centuries, was left without a navy

The day belonged to Don John, the Holy League and Christendom. When the news of the victory broke, church bells were rung all over in Europe in a spontaneous outburst of joy and thanksgiving. The victory at Lepanto, put paid any further Turkish adventure to invade Italy by sea. More so it left the European powers without any formidable rival on the seas, paving the way for aggressive and bolder forays by the European maritime powers to sail across all the oceans and establish colonies in the Americas, Australia, Africa and Asia.

The Jihad had a penultimate break at Lepanto, the final one was to come a century later at Vienna in 1683, that put paid all attempts of the Muslims to overrun Europe. Muslim rule was thenceforth confined to the south eastern corner of Europe in the Balkans (Jihad against the Serbs, Croats, and Albanians (1389 to 1920) where the seed of Islam was not uprooted when the Christians liberated those lands between 1850 and 1920.

Modern liberalism has set the lethargy in motion that prevents the immediate decimation of the Muslims who are a perennial threat to civilization

Modern liberalism had set the lethargy in motion a lethargy that came to roost at Mostar and other cities in the Balkans which saw the slaughter by the Muslims and Christians of each other. Howsoever ideal may liberalism be, it is of no value when dealing with the blood-thirsty Muslims. This is the lesson which the Serbs and Croats learnt in the 1990s. But these being Christian lands originally, it was the Muslim who were the occupiers and even if we forget the concept of anyone being an occupier, since the world belongs to all humans, with their beastlike behavior, the Muslims became unwelcome citizens wherever they attacked ravaged and imposed their beastlike cult on their unwilling victims. The Muslims have quarreled and fought with everyone wherever they went, and when there were no non-Muslims around, they fought among themselves. Such is the beastlike legacy that Islam has given the modern age.

But the overarching relevance of the Battles of Palermo and Lepanto was that they saved the Italian mainland from a Muslim invasion and so also indirectly prevented (or should we say delayed) the Islamization of Europe (or Eurabia) when there was no power strong enough in Central Europe in the 10th to the 15th centuries to resist a successful Muslim onslaught.

But modern Europeans have become enfeebled by modernism and liberalism, qualities that the Muslim immigrants will have nothing to do with. And if we do not wake up and reinvent the spirit of Palermo, we shall lose our homelands to the Muslims in a few decades from today. What the Muslims failed to achieve on the battlefields of Lepanto and Palermo, they will achieve through lax immigration laws, and the sacrifices of our brave knights at Lepanto and Palermo would ultimately prove to have been in vain, unless we not only stop the Muslims from immigrating in to Italy and other parts of the Western World, but also take the war into the enemy’s heartland as did our Crusader forebears and destroy once and forever the barbaric creed of Islam, to remove threat it presents not only to Italy and to the Western Civilization, but also to the world at large and save our generation and all future generations from the scourge of Islam. Do we have it in us to do that?

The answer to this poser decides if civilization wins or barbarism wins.

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