Ask one hundred people in the United States what a dhimmi is and perhaps two or three might know. In both Eastern and Western Europe, the number would be slightly higher because of latent memories of battles fought against invading Moslem armies over hundreds of years.
In 732, Charles Martel led his Frankish forces at Tours to victory against an Islamic invasion of France, which nearly destroyed Christian Europe. Similarly, Islam was ousted from Spain in 1492 after an occupation of the Iberian Peninsula by the Moslems for hundreds of years. Sadly, the Spanish Christian monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand, and the Portuguese a few years later, also expelled the Jewish community at the behest of the Church although the Jews had lived in Spain and Portugal for many centuries and had never posed a threat to either Moslem or Christian sovereignty.
In Italy, Islamic power was ended when the heavy Turkish galleys were defeated by Venetian galleasses at the great naval battle of Lepanto in 1571. And the Moslem Ottoman power, which at its height again threatened all Western Europe, was barely turned back at the gates of Vienna on 11 September 1683 by a coalition of European armies. Incidentally, could there be a connection between 9.11.1683 and 9.11.2001, or is it just coincidence?
These were four major defeats by Europe of Islamic attempts of conquest and subjugation set against a history of victorious Moslem invasions and conquests that had been the hallmark of Islam since its founding in the seventh century.
But what of the peoples and nations that fell under Islamic occupation? For them, the story was one of forced conversions to Islam, slavery, death and the Islamic institution of dhimmitude.
This is the word that describes the parlous state of those who refused to convert to Islam and became the subjugated, non-Muslims who were forced to accept a restrictive and humiliating subordination to a superior Islamic power and live as second-class citizens in order to avoid enslavement or death. These peoples and populations were known as dhimmis, and if such a status was not humiliating enough, a special tax or tribute, called the jizya, was imposed upon them and upon all dhimmis.
Dhimmitude is usually the direct outcome of jihad, which is the military conquest of non-Islamic territory mandated by Allah as a spiritual obligation for every individual Moslem and Moslem nation. But dhimmitude can appear among non-Muslims to this day out of ignorance.
From its beginnings in the seventh century, Islam spread through violent conquest of non-Moslem lands. In the eighth century, a formal set of rules to govern relationships between Moslems and non-Moslems was created based upon Moslem conquests of non-Moslem peoples. These rules were based upon jihad, which established how the Moslems would treat the conquered non-Moslems in terms of their submission to Islam.
Jihad can be pursued through force or other means such as propaganda, writing, or subversion against the perceived enemy. The so-called enemies are those who oppose the establishment of Islamic law or its spread, mission, or sovereignty over them and their lands.
Propaganda and subversion are the very means now being employed against the West and Judeo-Christian civilization and Islamists have shown themselves to be brilliantly adept at manipulating the gullible and uninformed western media in pursuit of their aims of world domination.
As I have written in previous articles, non-Islamic lands are considered the dar al-harb, the "house of war," until they submit to Islamic rule and enter the dar al-Islam. The 'infidel' falls into three categories: those who resist Islam with force, those living in a country that has a temporary truce with Islam, and those who have surrendered to Islam by exchanging land for peace.
The belief that all Islamic powers respond to overtures of peace by ending their aggression is but a mirage in the desert. This is proven time and again to be a delusion and is, in fact, a classic example of the mindset and behavior of the dhimmi.
A non-Moslem community forced to accept dhimmitude is condemned to live in a system that will only protect it from jihad if it is subservient to the Moslem master. In return, it is guaranteed limited rights under a system of discriminations that it must accept, or face forced conversion, slavery, or death.
In the early years of the Islamic conquests, the "tribute" or jizya was paid as a yearly poll tax, which symbolized the subordination of the dhimmi. Later, the inferior status of Jews and Christians was reinforced through a series of regulations that governed the behavior of the dhimmi. Jews and Christians were awarded a different status than other faiths. They were under protection as "people of the book." People of non-monotheistic faiths, pagans, or atheists were simply to be exterminated.
According to Mitchell G. Bard, who has written extensively on the subject and produced the excellent rebuttal to Arab and pro-Arab propaganda in his book, Myths and Facts, "... dhimmis, on pain of death, were forbidden to mock or criticize the Koran, Islam or Muhammad, to proselytize among Moslems or to touch a Moslem woman (though a Moslem man could take a non-Moslem as a wife).
"Dhimmis were excluded from public office and armed service and were forbidden to bear arms. They were not allowed to ride horses or camels, to build synagogues or churches taller than mosques, to construct houses higher than those of Muslims or to drink wine in public. They were not allowed to pray or mourn in loud voices as that might offend the Moslems.
"The dhimmi had to show public deference toward Moslems, always yielding them the center of the road. The dhimmi was not allowed to give evidence in court against a Moslem, and his oath was unacceptable in an Islamic court. To defend himself the dhimmi would have to purchase Moslem witnesses at great expense. This left the dhimmi with little legal recourse when harmed by a Moslem.
"Dhimmis were also forced to wear distinctive clothing. In the ninth century, for example, Baghdad's Caliph al-Mutawakkil designated a yellow badge for Jews, setting a malign precedent that would be followed centuries later."
By the twentieth century, the status of the dhimmi in Moslem lands had not significantly improved. H.E.W. Young, British Vice-Consul in Mosul, wrote in 1909:
"The attitude of the Muslims toward the Christians and the Jews is that of a master towards slaves, whom he treats with a certain lordly tolerance so long as they keep their place. Any sign of pretension to equality is promptly repressed."
The concept of jihad is not something now discarded by Islam as a quaint belief appropriate to the distant past. On the contrary, it is a cardinal belief in the 21st century for Moslems based upon Koranic injunctions. It is believed by millions of Moslems around the Third world, as much as by Moslems living in America, Britain, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. It is a belief, passionately held, that one day the entire world will become Islamic and accept completely the will of Allah.
It is vital, therefore, that the public in every non-Moslem country be made aware that Moslems consider themselves in a perpetual state of war with their non-Moslem neighbors. If Islamic armies are unable to defeat what they consider the "infidels," then a period of "truce" exists, which has several conditions. These include allowing Islam to be propagated, and if a non-Moslem nation forbids it or rejects mass proselytizing to Islam, then that nation will be considered as subject to holy jihad.
Sheikh Zayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaida's second in command, had invited America to embrace Islam. The invitation is always given, according to some experts, prior to a major assault upon the "infidel nation," because any rejection is considered by Moslems as an empirical reason to wage war upon the non-Moslem state; in this case the United States of America.
It is nearly impossible for sophisticated and secularized Western and European elites to understand or accept such medieval concepts, let alone the idea that a religious war is being waged against them. But their dismissal and amused disregard of what is taking place is as calamitous as that exemplified by the myopic politicians in Britain and America before the Second World War.
The lone voice in the wilderness at that time, Winston Churchill, appealed in vain to the political leaders who had not the ears to hear or the eyes to see the growing fascist menace during the 1930s posed by Germany and Italy. He called one such British politician an "epileptic corpse," and reached back through his prodigious memory to find a poem, which characterized the failure of the Baldwin government in 1935 to re-arm. The apt poem was The Clattering Train, which could equally be applied to the later appeasement of Hitler by Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax.
"Those in charge of the clattering train,
the axles creak and the couplings strain.
The pace is hot and the points are near,
and sleep has deadened the driver's air.
The signals flash in the night in vain,
for death is in charge of the clattering train."
Western notions of peaceful co-existence between states, human rights and liberal democracy are all alien to the bin-Ladens and Zawahiris of the Islamic world. Iran's current president, the current ayatollah and the Iranian mullahs, all reject Judeo-Christian civilization as being in theological error. For them, the entire human race must embrace Allah's pre-eminence and the Moslem believer is the divine instrument to bring about the "Umma" (worldwide Moslem community) in whatever way possible, including warfare and terror.
Jihad has reappeared as a way of wiping out the humiliation the Arab and Moslem world has felt as Western power became ascendant, especially after the defeat of the Ottoman Turkish Empire at the end of the First World War.
With a fabulous and never-ending flow of petrodollars pouring into Arab and Moslem coffers, the belief among Moslems is that the time is now right for Islam to reassert itself in dominating the world and bringing it to Allah through all-out war, including nuclear war, if necessary.
The corollary to jihad is dhimmitude. This is what appeasement by non-Moslems to Islamist threats and terror leads to. Winston Churchill would have been shocked but not surprised at the craven appeasement displayed by today's elites in the U.S. and European political echelons.
It is in marked contrast to the way their ancestors confronted an earlier existential Islamic threat when they defeated decisively the Moslems at Tours, Iberia (Spain and Portugal), Lepanto and Vienna.
But without a similarly decisive defeat of present-day Islamist aggression and Islamo-fascism we may all be faced, sooner than we think, with the choice of forced conversion to Islam or subservience and wretchedness as dhimmis.
Look at how the Democrats in lock step have just grotesquely protested at the justified and principled removal of the Somali Muslim ingrate and spewer of hate, Ilhan Omar, from the Foreign Affairs committee. That is dhimmitude by an entire American political party.
Better, therefore, for us to be aware of the facts and not also be dummies.© Victor Sharpe
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.