Islamic propagandists frequently bring out the old chestnut about there being "no compulsion in religion." Another one did so here recently. Perhaps he is unaware that in the lands conquered by Muslims they offered, as Qur'an and Sunnah tell them to offer, only three possibilities to non-Muslims: death, conversion, or the status of humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity known as that of the "dhimmi."
That third option was open, of course, only if the conquered people happened to be ahl al-kitab, People of the Book, that is Christians or Jews, or came to be treated as such at some point, as happened to Zoroastrians and, after some 60-70 million of them had been killed, even the Hindus -- so as to keep the Jizyah flowing.
Isn't that a form of "compulsion" in religion? If one is forced to pay a burdensome tax, forbidden from suing Muslims at law, forbidden from repairing or building new houses of worship, forbidden from marrying a Muslim woman without converting to Islam first, forbidden from all kinds of things that add up to a condition that in many cases was nearly unendurable, isn’t that compulsion in religion? Over time, those Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians who constituted, outside of Arabia proper, the original population of the Middle East and North Africa, steadily became more and more islamized.
That certainly constitutes "compulsion in religion." And in any case, the meaning traditionally given to that over-quoted line (a favorite of apologists who assume that Infidel audiences will simply take it at face value) does not mean what it appears to say. It means merely that you cannot compel deep inner belief, but you can certainly compel outward conformity with it (i.e. outwardly showing belief in Islam, whatever one inwardly might feel).
The history of Islamic conquest shows that there has been, from Spain to the East Indies in space, and from the seventh century until now in time, a great deal of "compulsion in religion" by Muslim rulers on the non-Muslims they conquered. And there is to this day, with intolerable pressures put on the most helpless, such as the Mandeans in Iraq, or to a lesser extent, the Copts in Egypt, the Christians in Lebanon and in the "West Bank," and the Chaldeans and Assyrians of Iraq.
Of course in Islam there is "compulsion in Islam." It's all over the place, and not only in the Middle East. When Christian schoolgirls are decapitated in Indonesia, and thousands of churches burned, or Buddhist villagers decapitated all over southern Thailand, or Hindus beaten to death in Bangladesh, or attacked in Pakistan, or driven out by the hundreds of thousands from Kashmir, when if they converted to Islam they would be left alone, surely over time that has its effect. Not everyone can heroically withstand such persecution and threat of murder and actual murder.
That may be defined as "compulsion in religion."
Remember the Fox journalists Centanni and Wiig, who were kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam? Their comments after they were freed were deplorable. They were full of misplaced gratitude to assorted local Arabs (i.e. "Palestinians”). Haniya and other big shots were around to greet them, to embrace them, to make sure that under no conditions would anyone think such a thing as this kidnapping and the forced conversion might have any larger significance. My god, those "Palestinians" were thinking, this could be very bad for us, what if Westerners start thinking of us as...as Muslim Arabs, disguising the Jihad against Israel as a "struggle for the legitimate rights of the 'Palestinian' people"! That would be terrible. We must do everything we can, as quickly as we can, to stop that idea.
And of course we will thoroughly condemn, with as great a mock outrage as we can muster, that forced even if ephemeral conversion. In Muslim states, without the cameras of the world press whirring, forced conversions occur all the time. Ask the Christian and animist blacks in the southern Sudan, or the Hindus of Bangladesh and Pakistan, or any number of helpless non-Muslims trapped, with no one to pay attention, deep within Muslim countries.
Wiig's wife began her little presentation with an "inshallah" -- my, how native we all go with such alacrity. How quickly the two of them seemed to forget (or at least Centanni did) what had actually happened. He expressed his firm belief that it would be a pity if other journalists were to be frightened off from covering the story -- their side of the story, in Gaza.
Disgust. One hopes they will be never again be allowed to cover any Muslim-related subject, and that the display they put on after being freed, so unnatural, so full of stockholm-syndrome syndrome (diplography sometimes comes in handy), will discredit them as well as the “Palestinians.” Along with the scandal of how so many journalists and press agencies covered the Hizballah War last year, not forgetting the fauxtographic record, one hopes that Western audiences will henceforth treat with skepticism and scorn all those who report knowing full well what would happen to them if they failed in the slightest to play ball and please to the utmost the Arab Muslim side -- the side that kidnaps, and then sometimes frees, journalists, but which also has been known on many occasions to kidnap, torture, and then end with a decapitatory flourish.
Nothing reported from an Arab or Muslim area of conflict can, given such a record, be simply received as offered. It must be analyzed and the contents weighed against other evidence that we possess.
For there is, in reality, a great deal of “compulsion in religion.”