Justine Ferrari, Education writer
March 08, 2006
A TEXTBOOK widely used in Victorian high schools describes the Crusaders who fought in the Holy Land in the Middle Ages as terrorists, akin to those responsible for the September 11 attacks.
The Year 8 textbook Humanities Alive 2 says that the Crusaders, like Muslim terrorists, 'believed they were giving their lives for a religious cause'.
'Like the Crusaders ... they were told they would go straight to heaven when they died,' the book says. 'Those who destroyed the World Trade Center (sic) are regarded as terrorists. Might it be fair to say that Crusaders who attacked the Muslim inhabitants of Jerusalem were also terrorists?'
The textbook has been criticised by Melbourne University historian Barry Collett, a specialist in medieval history, for being 'historically inaccurate' and 'grossly misleading' in its depiction of the Middle Ages.
'The Crusaders felt they were intervening to stop the bloodshed that was already going on,' he said. 'I would tend to compare them more with Australian troops intervening in East Timor.'"