"It exalts terrorism, wants to wipe out Israel, and is threatening a tax of non-Muslim residents." That would be the jizya (here, al-jeziya). Now isn't that funny: Islamic apologist Stephen Schwartz has denounced the "fear-mongering of those obsessed with jihad, shariah, and the dhimma." He says the dhimma is a thing of the past and should stay that way, and that "the dhimma is now held out by a demagogic element in the West as a terrifying symbol of Islamic domination, and Western advocates of any rational approach to Islam short of a crusader war are regularly insulted as dhimmis, or people who have surrendered to Muslim rule."
Yet the jizya is a cornerstone of the dhimma. I guess Hassam El-Masalmeh is part of a fear-mongering, demagogic element in the West.
From the estimable Sandro Magister in Chiesa, with thanks to Tom Syseskey:
ROMA, December 29, 2005 – Thirty thousand pilgrims from all over the world came to Bethlehem for Christmas, one third more than the previous year. The leader of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, a Muslim, attended the midnight Mass at the basilica of the Nativity. And in his homily, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, an Arab, hailed him as a man of peace, reserving his protest for “the wall raised up before us, forcing us to live as if in a prison, our lands confiscated, our young men carried away at night and thrown into the Israeli prisons.”
But in the city where Jesus was born, relations between Christians and Muslims are more complicated than they appear.
Christians are no longer the majority of the 30,000 inhabitants of the city, as they always were in the past The Muslims are now more numerous than the Christians in the same proportion that the mosques exceed the churches, by a margin of 15 to 10....
The leader of the Hamas contingent in the municipal council of Bethlehem, Hassam El-Masalmeh, exalts the suicide attacks against the Jews, and asserts that these will continue until all of Palestine, including the territory of Israel, is under Palestinian control.
But mayor Victor Batarseh, a practicing Catholic, condemns the terrorist attacks and wants Hamas to stop carrying them out. He says that he is ready for a territorial compromise with Israel in order to bring about a true Palestinian state. But even before the latest municipal elections, he chose Hamas as his main ally, together with another extremist group called Islamic Jihad....
The general plan of Hamas also includes the imposition of a special tax, called al-jeziya, upon all of the non-Muslim residents in the Palestinian territories. This tax revives the one applied through all of Islamic history to the dhimmi, the second-class Jewish and Christian citizens.
In an interview with Karby Legget, published in the December 23-26 edition of “The Wall Street Journal,” Masalmeh, the leader of the Hamas contingent at the municipal council of Bethlehem, confirmed: “We in Hamas intend to implement this tax someday. We say it openly – we welcome everyone to Palestine but only if they agree to live under our rules.”