chapter  6
Knowing the Enemy: Western Understanding of Islam at the Time of the Crusades*
ByBernard Hamilton
Pages 15

Certainly most Christian theologians who studied Islam did so with a view to hastening Muslim conversions. When crusading was at its height some Western theologians sought to become better informed about the faith of Islam. The enlightened view of Islam was not widely shared in Latin Christendom at that time, nor was it rooted in any very profound knowledge of the Muslim religion. B. Z. Kedar is correct in his view that a good deal of information about Islam was available in the West before the crusades, both in written and oral sources, but because there was a general lack of interest in the subject, no attempt had been made to coordinate this knowledge. One of the ways in which the crusades differed from earlier phases of these wars was that those who took part in them were recruited from all over Western Europe and not simply from the frontier regions.