I read an interesting bit of history over the weekend, thanks to the kind folks over at Making Light. The story is about one Abd el-Kader, an Algerian warrior, scholar and statesman, who united the tribes of his native land to fight the French occupation from 1832-1847. Outgunned and outmatched, he inspired many–including the founders of Elkader, Iowa, the only city in the United States to be named for an Islamic freedom fighter. Eventually, he was taken prisoner by the French and forced to live in exile.
But the story doesn’t end there.
A decade later, he winds up in Damascus as a bloody massacre is underway. This man, who once devoted his life to repelling Christians in his homeland, now stood in defense of them. He faced down bloodythirsty mobs of Kurds, Druze and Arabs, and, ultimately, delivered roughly 10,000 Syrian Christians to safety. It was an effort so bold, that the French awarded him the Legion of Honor, among other accolades from nations around the globe.
Check it out here, and stay tuned for the surprise ending.