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Denying the Legacy of Dhimmitude at Our Peril
on January 16, 2002
Previously I forwarded a review of this book by Raphael Israeli, PhD, published in the 1/11/02 edition of The Jerusalem Post. The following is my own review:
V. S. Naipaul, the Nobel laureate writer, depicts in both "Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey", and "Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples" how Islam attempts to erase the pre-Islamic history of conquered, indigenous peoples. Indeed, in awarding its 2001 Nobel Prize in Literature to Mr. Naipaul, the Nobel Committee , credited the author "for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories".
Bat Ye'or's thirty years of scholarship on "dhimmitude", the religious, cultural, and political fate of non-Muslims, in particular Christians and Jews, living under Islamic rule, is a seminal effort to recapture this specific suppressed history. In her current work, "Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide", the author bravely elucidates how doctrinal patterns of subjugation of the dhimmi peoples (i.e., Christians and Jews) initiated during the Arab and Turkish waves of Islamic conquest, the jihad-dhimmitude continuum, are of immediate relevance to contemporary historical trends and specific events.
Ye'or's unique prism reveals striking, poignant hypocrises. For example, she compares the paucity of Western press coverage of the brutal ongoing, 20-year jihad waged by the Islamist Khartoum government against thousands of black African Christian and Animist inhabitants of the southern Sudan, to the ceaseless, exaggerated reporting of the so-called al Aqsa intifada:
"None of the Christian or animist children deliberately enslaved, converted to Islam by force, mutilated, obliged to flee, or killed had his photograph blown up in the Western press. And none of them was mentioned, nor their fate pitied. But Muhammad al-Dura, a Muslim Palestinian child- accidentally killed in a crossfire exchange between Palestinians who initiated it, and Israelis- became the most well known child victim on the globe. He was an effective banner for antisemitic and revengeful frustration against Israel- for the million and a half Jewish children deliberately rounded up, deported, and killed in Europe sixty years earlier. The serious Geneva daily, Le Temps, chose this tragedy as the 'photograph of the year' (December 30, 2000)."
This disturbing, graphic juxtaposition captures the books two key thematic elements: the violent, living legacy of jihad and dhimmi suppression in the Sudanese example, impossible to distinguish in its theological and juridicial underpinnings from the jihad of the Arab (634 to 750 C.E.) and Turkish (1021 to 1683 C.E.) waves of Islamization; and the notion of a "dhimmitude of the West", particularly evident in Europe, as manifested by official Church and/or European press silence regarding the blatant Islamist persecution of a Christian minority in the Sudan, or the rising tide of antisemitic violence in France, in particular, in contrast to the over wrought European reaction to perceived "persecution" of the Palestinians, strongly influenced (in a striking example of the self-loathing "dhimmi syndrome") by the distorted propaganda of dhimmi Christian Arab clerics,
A painstakingly documented book, its message requires urgent exposure in light of the cataclysmic events of September 11, 2001. Indeed, the media, academia, and the lay public ignore Bat Ye'or's scholarly insights at our collective peril.