Here in Christchurch there has been much controversy about the announcement that the name of our local Rugby team and it’s pre-match horsemen in ‘Crusader’ garb, are to be ditched, in reaction to the recent mosque attacks and subsequent expressions of sympathy towards the Muslim community.
By Martin Harris 7/4/19
This has proven to be a very unpopular decision with local sports fans, and seemed like a gross over-reaction, especially as the Muslim community have had no input. After all, the Medieval Crusades were a long time ago, and the name is “just something cool and catchy”. What’s the harm?
Due to the intense censorship of alleged shooter Tarrant’s infamous “Manifesto”, classed as Objectionable Material here in NZ, we have been unable to analyze this document or display images of it. However, this author has learned that certain passages and references within this banned document make reference to the Crusaders and Knights Templar that make some sense of the ditching of the “Crusaders” name:
There are also numerous references throughout the manifesto to the religious wars of the Middle Ages, such as the Crusaders, and Pope Urban II, who urged Christians to go to war against Muslims in 1095 with the words “Deus vult,” which is Latin for “God wills it.” “Deus vult” were also words chanted by white supremacists as they marched through Charlottesville during the violent Unite the Right rally in August 2017. Tarrant, in his manifesto, trolls that he contacted the Knights Templar of the Crusaders for “their blessing” before he carried out his attack. Many white supremacists in Charlottesville carried shields and waved flags painted with the Knights Templar’s trademark red cross.
“The Middle Ages present kind of an origin myth for whiteness that is really important to modern white supremacists,” said David Perry, a Medieval scholar who focuses on the influence of the Middle Ages on the modern white supremacist movement. “It’s become a kind of pop-culture medievalism that has spread through the internet and become a global phenomenon.”https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/vbwn9a/decoding-the-racist-memes-the-new-zealand-shooter-used-to-communicate
Regardless of whether one agrees with the abandoning of the Crusaders name and associations or not, this information adds some perspective and food for thought.