Domination of the world has long been a dream of those who follow the Prophet Muhammad. Early in their existence did they attempt domination of Western Europe — but were stopped by Charles Martel, grandfather of Charles the Great, Charlemagne. The Battle of Poitiers (or the Battle of Tours) as it became known, halted the Muslim expansion into Europe and laid the foundations for the Corolingian Empire.

The Muslims did gain portions of Spain, and it took almost six centuries before their hold on power was broken by another religion — Christianity.

Meanwhile with its own internal power struggle, the forces of Islam came to be dominated by the Turks. With the capture of Constantinople in 1453, the Turkish Empire was born. And empires exist for one purpose — expansion.

With its eyes firmly planted yet again on Western Europe, the forces of Islam marched west, leaving a trail of destruction in the Balkans that would reverberate yet again in the 1990s as Christian and Muslim forces locked horns in a fierce military confrontation. But the Turks were unable to get past the city of Vienna. Again, their dreams were shattered, but not for long.

In the years 1564-65, Suleiman (also Soleyman) the Magnificent was preparing yet again for the control of Western Europe. No land battle would stop the Turks, so Suleiman decided to use the Mediterranean as a way to get to his desired destination.

But there was a small problem. A small band of Christians — the Order of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem — were located on the island of Malta, and they had a reputation of disrupting the Turkish Muslims any time they sailed in to their parts of the Mediterranean. There was only one course of action: remove them.

Preparations were made, and eventually a flotilla of ships transported an estimated 30,000 Muslims ready to do Jihad in the name of Allah. But preparations were also made on the island of Malta under the leadership of Grand Master Jean Parisot De La Valette.

In mid-May of 1565, the island inhabitants, plus approximately 1,000 Knights, a total of about 9,000, were ready and prepared for battle. In his speech to them prior to the battle, La Valette said,

“It is the great battle of the Cross and the Koran, which is now to be fought. A formidable army of infidels are on the point of investing our island. We, for our part, are the chosen soldiers of the Cross, and if Heaven requires the sacrifice of our lives, there can be no better occasion than this. Let us hasten then, my brothers, to the sacred altar. There we will renew our vows and obtain, by our Faith in the Sacred Sacraments, that contempt for death which alone can render us invincible.”

Those words indicate the resoluteness of the Grand Master to the task at hand. Death would be preferable to surrender.

And thus began a key battle between the Cross and the Koran that eventually resulted in the demise of Turkish Islam as a world power. It would take half a millennium for the Muslims to rise again and threaten the West.

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