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The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians Under Islam Paperback – January 3, 1985

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 444 pages
  • Publisher: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press; Rev Exp edition (January 3, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0838632629
  • ISBN-13: 978-0838632628
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,311,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. D Roberts on September 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a disturbing book which reveals what is described as a socially acceptable Islamic conduct against peoples who were classed as "inferior".
For the most part the book describes these peoples as Jews and Christians who were classed as "dhimmi". "Dhimmitude" being further elaborated as the religious, cultural, and political fate of non-Muslims living under Islamic rule, usually when their lands have been subject to Islamic conquest.
Where the politicisation/allegations of racial prejudice, segregation, apartheid and indeed genocide have become quite common-place in the Middle East against the Jewish state, a book such as this is very timely in showing another side to the story. A book that reveals the painful, disturbing policy of prejudice, racial hatred and segregation of countless people who the book describes were classed as "inferior"on the basis of their religion alone.
Many examples are referred to in this study and many issues are discussed. The book draws a number of distinctions drawn and prejudices applied upon Jews and Christians who refused to accept and bow to Islam. Just by way of a single example, page 56 of this study deals with the "Invalidity of the Dhimmi's Oath".
With legal cases being dealt with under Quranic law, every case involving a Muslim and a dhimmi received a "peculiar" treatment in that a dhimmi was forbidden to give evidence against a Muslim. The Dhimmi's oath being deemed unacceptable in an Islamic court, which made it virtually impossible for any Muslim opponent to be condemned. To further any defence, the book describes that the dhimmi would be obliged to "purchase" Muslim witnesses, often at great expense.
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Format: Paperback
The history of Jews and Christians living under Islam is not widely known. When thinking of it at all, one looks to the glories of Islamic Spain or to the Ottoman Empire. The general historical reality is different from these however. Bat Ye'or provides an excellent overview of this history in the first part of her book and a wide variety of source documents in the second.
Here we learn of the religiously sanctioned forced conversions, daily humiliations, massacres, oppression, inequitable taxation, and the like, which eventually led to the near disappearance of the extensive Christian and Jewish communities which had flourished throughout the Near East and North Africa prior to the advent of Islam.
As "dhimmi" (people of the contract) Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians and others of the accepted religions had no rights of citizenship within a Muslim state. As "protected peoples" they had no right to self-defense. They were at best tolerated and at all times living without security - subject to the law but not protected by it.
For example, Jews and Christians are specifically accused in the Qur'an of having falsified God's word. In past Islamic societies therefore, Jews and Christians were considered to be willfully and knowingly adhering to a lie. As religiously convicted liars, they were given no standing in courts of law and could be convicted of crimes on the unsupported word of two Muslim males. The abuses of this system were extensive.
All-in-all, Bat Ye'or's two books ("The Dhimmi" and "The Decline of Near Eastern Christianity under Islam") do much to re-illuminate the forgotten history of Jews and Christians under Islam. They deserve a wide readership.
As an aside here to prove the non-partisanship of my review, it's worth pointing out that the historical behavior of Christian societies toward indigenous Jews and heretics was no better.
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By A Customer on January 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is the classic study of dhimmitude - the condition of non-Muslims who are permitted to live as permanent tributaries under the dhimma, a pact of submission to Islamic conquest. A profoundly moving human document, The Dhimmi is deeply challenging to the 'Andalusian myth', that Muslim relations with those of other faiths have been the epitome of peaceful coexistence. In The Dhimmi, Bat Ye'or provides her classical definition of the psychology of dhimmitude, which is of fundamental importance for understanding the current role of Islam in its full global context.
Dhimmi history is hard to study, in part because the conquerors have written their own version, and promulgated it with supreme moral self-confidence. It is also hard to access dhimmi documents, which are written in Greek, Latin, Farsi, Coptic, Ethiopian, Hebrew, Armenian, Serbian, English, French, Hindi etc etc. A great strength of this book is it's very rich collection of translations from dhimmi and Arab documents.
A must read in these times.
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Format: Paperback
Why do Arabs attack Zionism? In this book, Bat Ye'or gives a surprisingly simple answer. I think she's absolutely nailed the cause of the problem:

"It is well known that the successful revolt of the colonized frequently traumatizes the colonizer. Vengefulness and hatred express the distress of the oppressor confronted by his victim's rebellion. An equality of rights with the inferior party humiliates the dominating group which, deprived of its superiority, seeks compensation in phantasms. Such reactions have been exhaustively analyzed in books dealing with the phenomenon of racism."

The author shows these attitudes in action, as various Arabs complain that the presence of Jews in Israel defiles the land, or that the land is all Arab, with Jews being mere "dhimmis." The liberation of the Jews is sometimes considered a crime against Nature, as we see Egyptian President Nasser call it "the greatest international crime that has been committed in the entire history of mankind."

The terms applied by Arab racists to Jewish dhimmis who sought freedom are now applied to Israel itself: insolent, arrogant, and needing punishment.

I think this book is one of the best at explaining why Arabs and Jews are at odds in the Middle East. And why they'll continue to be at odds until Arabs renounce such racism and until international applause for this racism quiets down.

Bat Ye'or explains the problems of being a dhimmi. A dhimmi lacks rights and is thus dependent on the good will of, um, real people. A dhimmi has no history; actually a dhimmi has no right to have a history, and real people write any history they please regarding dhimmis.
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