Christian and Muslim Relations The relationship between Christians and Muslims is to say the least, longstanding and unfavorable. Furthermore, there have been more bad times than good times. Nevertheless, these two groups of people do share multiple common beliefs. As Christians follow Christianity, Muslims follow Islam. Conflict aside, Christians and Muslims both believe in these core aspects: One God, Jesus Christ, a second coming, and a heaven and hell. The tension originates with the creation of Islam and stretches into current times. Christian and Muslim relations are one of the longstanding conflicts in world religion. In 633 A.D. the jihad began along with the start of this relationship. Most of the Eastern Roman Army on the eastern frontier was in eastern Anatolia (modern day Turkey) and northern Syria, positioned to confront the threat of the Sassanids. The Romans had a fuzzy awareness of Muhammad and the new religion of the Arabs, but had not had time to realize the threat it represented before powerful Arab armies swept into the provinces of Palaestina and Syria and overran the small forces garrisoning the area, then drove on into Syria behind the armies near the eastern frontier. Now the Romans understood the threat. Until 634, anyway: That was when the jihad hit them. By 651 A.D., after much hard fighting in which the Sassanids gained some early victories, the Sassanid Empire had fallen. The Romans managed to halt the Arab armies at the Taurus Mountains that border eastern and southern Anatolia. But, that did not save the province of Egypt, which was soon overrun. Arab armies then carried their jihad west across Christian North Africa and south into the Christian Blemye Tribe and the likewise Christian Nubian Kingdoms of Nobatia and Makuria in what is today the northern regions of Sudan and some small areas of southern Egypt. In 674 a powerful Arab fleet arrived in the Bosporus at the walls of Constantinopolis, the capitol of the Eastern Roman Empire. They were unable, despite their best efforts, to breach the mighty walls that protected the city. In the end they were defeated because a Christian Syrian refugee named Kallinikos, who also happened to be a brilliant scientist, invented a substance that would burn on water that came to be called "Greek Fire" along with a means of delivering it. This weapon allowed the out-numbered Roman Fleet to destroy the Arab Fleet and put an end to the siege. In 711, having mostly mopped up Christian North Africa, the Jihad hit Christian Spain. The Islamic forces, consisting mainly of newly converted Berbers, overran all but the northern most coastal region of the peninsula. In 719 they turned on and invaded the Christian Merovingian Frankish Kingdom, overrunning Septimania on the Mediterranean Coast. Despite suffering a bloody defeat in 721 at the hands of Odo at Toulouse, they continued their offensives and eventually penetrated to Autun in Burgundy.
However, their advance from the west was finally stopped by Charles Martel at Tours in 732 A.D. That was a mere 99 years after the Jihad against the Christian West had been launched and was a very short time for the Jihad that had begun in 633 to stretch all the way to the Merovingian Frankish Kingdom. It took many years for the Franks to eliminate all of the Islamic strongholds in Aquitania, Burgundy and Septimania, and the process was not completed until 777 A.D., after the rise of the Carolingian Frankish Kingdom under Carolus Magnus. Christianity and Islam have been in contact for over fourteen centuries.
As a religion which began after the time of Christ, and therefore after the New Testament had been completed, Islam has always presented a theological challenge to Christians especially in relation to Muhammad's status as Prophet and the Qur'an's status as Revelation. The history of Christian-Muslim encounter is highly complex. Christians have viewed Islam in a variety of ways. For example,…