This is the very first documentary on the Holy War from the dual perspective of East and West. It traces the mobilization of religious sentiment for political purposes on both sides, and shows how false notions of East and West are entrenched in our collective consciousness. Compelling live-action dramatizations and CGI put the viewer in the midst of major historical confrontations, and leading international experts explain how the relations between cultures and religions evolved against the background of the Holy Wars.
S01:E01 - The Sword of the Prophet
When Mohammed, a merchant from Mecca, started to preach Islam or the devotion to God at the beginning of the 7th Century, he initially put his trust solely in the persuasive powers of his words. But soon Islam developed into a religion that just like Christianity defended a universal claim even by the power of the sword. It was just a matter of time until the two monotheistic world religions would clash head on. In the battle of Tours and Poitiers on October 25th, 732 the Moors were fought back by a coalition of Christian forces under the helm of Charles Martel, progenitor of the Carolingians.
S01:E02 - Crusade to Jerusalem
Four hundred years after the Muslim expansion, the Christians of Europe struck back. "It is the Will of God" was the slogan of the crusaders who assembled in Western Europe. At the end of the first expedition - personally sacralized by the Pope - the blood-drenched conquest of Jerusalem took place, in the year 1099. In recollection of the "jihad", Muslim leaders pooled their resources to win back the lost territories. The events that occurred had a long-term influence on religious affairs. Hundreds of thousands of crusaders died, but also a large number of Islamic warriors, as well as civilians - Christians, Jews and Muslims.
S01:E03 - The Turks at the Gates of Vienna
The film depicts the epoch of battles between the Islamic Ottoman Empire and the Christian powers of Europe. The fear of being enslaved by the Ottomans was one of the great traumas of Early Modern Europe. For a long time the Ottoman Empire seemed invincible. The showdown at Vienna in September 1683 was to be the last conflict fought on European soil under the banner of the Holy War. Following their defeat by the Christian Holy League the Ottomans were pushed back deep into the Balkans.
S01:E04 - The Kaiser's Jihad
During the First World War, the despotism and arrogance of Europe's colonial powers in the Islamic world was revealed once more. Particularly the British and Germans exploited the conflicts between Arabs and Ottomans for their own power interests. Max von Oppenheim, an envoy of Wilhelm II, the German Emperor, is supposed to have triggered a "jihad" against the British and French with the help of Turkish allies, in order to destabilise the colonies of the opponents of the German Empire. The Arab Muslims, however, did not follow Max von Oppenheim, but the charismatic "Lawrence of Arabia". Acting on behalf of Britain, he encouraged the Arabs to rebel against the Ottoman Empire, with money, weapons and the promise of independence.
S01:E05 - Terror for the Faith
The images of 9/11 or September 11th, 2001 sent shockwaves around the world; the unparalleled terror attack changed the international political system. There seemed to be a gulf opening up between the West and the Islamic World. The film describes the roots of modern Jihad and shows that its causes can be traced back to the political history of the near and Middle East since 1945. It shows which turning points in Osama Bin Ladens life led to his declaration of war against America. Al-qaeda believes in a history of suppression by the West from the crusades to the present day. The killing of Bin Laden in 2011 and the political uprisings in the Arab World are raising hopes for a weakening of islamically motivated terrorism
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