Here is an address given by Bat Ye’or, the pioneering scholar of dhimmitude, at Paul Gerhardt Church in Munich, Germany, at Christian Solidarity International’s 29th Annual Meeting, which was held from November 2 to November 4, 2006.
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is for me a great honour to be invited by CSI, an organization that has been so active on so many humanitarian fronts in order to denounce slavery, war crimes and genocide, and to alleviate human suffering. And I am thinking particularly of its struggle on behalf of human rights and dignity in Sudan since 1992, and CSI”s freeing over 80.000 Christian and other Sudanese slaves under the leadership of John Eibner and Gunnar Wielback.
The globalization of our world and the policies that have led to large-scale Muslim immigration, adopted by the European Community from 1973, has introduced into Europe conflictual situations and prejudices common in the Muslim world against non-Muslims that have been documented by Orientalists familiar with Islamic theology, law and history. But the politization of history initiated by Edward Said has obfuscated the root causes of Islam’s traditional hostility toward Jews and Christians from the seven century onward. Edward Said was a Christian raised in Egypt and educated in America; he taught English literature at Columbia University. A great admirer of Arafat and a member of the PLO”s top Committee, he endeavored to destroy the whole scientific accumulation of Orientalist knowledge of Islam and replace it with a culture of Western guilt and inferiority toward Muslims victims. The obliteration of the historical truth that he constantly pursued from 1978 — starting with his book Orientalism — as well as his hostility to Israel, has prevented an understanding and the resolution of problems that today assail Europe and challenge its own survival.
I will examine the relations between Islam and Christianity, Islam and Judaism, Judaism and Christianity and the tensions created by a Muslim immigration into a European Judeo-Christian civilization. I will speak of those issues in that order.
In the relationship between Islam and Christianity, we can examine both the theological and the political levels. The theological pillars of Islam are: the Koran which is Muhammad’s revelation; the Hadiths, a compilation of his acts and sayings which have a theological and normative value; and the early biographies written about him. According to these three sources, Islam sees itself as the primal and sole true religion. Islam is the pure religion of Adam and has preceded all others. The Koran uses biblical names like Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus and others but they represent different people than those in the Bible — and all are considered to have been Muslim prophets who preached Islam. Jesus is also a Muslim prophet called Isa, endowed with a different life; he brought a book: the Gospel, in which he preached Islam. We have, in fact, a Jesus named Isa, a Muslim prophet, and Yeshua, the Jewish Jesus, “born in Bethlehem of Judea” (Matthew 2:1). According to several hadiths, Isa has a mission: at the end of time he will return to destroy Christianity and impose Islam as the sole religion over the whole world. These hadiths, often quoted in sermons, speak of him killing the pig, breaking the cross — which means destroying Christianity — and the hadiths continue: he will suppress the jizya or poll-tax and the booty will be boundless. The suppression of the jizya refers to the suppressions of all religion other than Islam. In the Islamic optic, what is Christianity? Christianity is a falsification of Islam and of the true message of Isa, which is the same as that revealed to Muhammad: Islam. It follows that a good Christian is a Muslim. True Christianity is therefore Islam.
And what about Muslim-Jewish relations? They are more complex but they follow the same pattern. When Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina, he found there large Jewish tribes well organized with their synagogues and scholars. On their festive days they assembled and studied the Bible. Pagan Arabs were jealous and complained that they were illiterate and ignorant and didn’t have a book like the Jews and the Christians. Hence, Muhammad proclaimed himself to be the prophet whom the Jews were awaiting, an Arab prophet sent with a revelation in Arabic given by Gabriel, which was the same as that revealed to the Jews and Christians. The discrepancies between the Koran and the Bible were noticed by the Jews. Muhammad answered by accusing the Jews of hiding the truth and by saying that their Bible was a later falsification of the Islamic revelation given to the Muslim prophets: Abraham, Jacobs, Moses, and all the others. The true Bible was the Koran. Since Jewish objections hampered his predication, Muhammad decided to get rid of the Jews of Medina. Some were expelled and their belongings confiscated and shared among Muhammad and his followers; others — from 600 to 900 males, according to Muslim sources — were beheaded and their wives and children enslaved. This is the origin of Islamic hatred and accusations against Jews. Muhammad’s various decisions against the Jews in Arabia also set the theological jihadic laws against Christians and other non-Muslims. Muslim law gives to Jews and Christians the same legal status. That means that, in Islam, Jews and Christians are treated identically as “the People of the Book” (ahl al-khitab). Christians, whatever their efforts to dissociate themselves from Jews or from Israel, are put into the same category of the Jews by Islamic law.
In short: Jews and Christians are left with what? The true Bible is the Koran, the Holy Scriptures of Jews and Christians are just falsifications, and all the biblical figures are Muslim prophets who preached Islam. In practice, what are the consequences?
1) Biblical narrative in the Holy Land is Muslim history, and Jews and Christians had no history there as they came after Islam. Their history and their sacred scriptures are in the Koran. This motivates Muslim opposition to the legitimacy of the State of Israel. The Bible is considered a travesty of Muslim history.
2) Because Judaism and Christianity originate from one unique trunk, which is Islam, these two religions are unrelated. It is false to assert that Christianity unfolded from Judaism. This is why the Islamized Churches in the Muslim world have developed a kind of Marcionism, abandoning the Jewish Jesus in order to link Christianity to the Palestinian Arab Muslim Isa. This trend which originated in the Palestinian and Arab Churches (Sabeel Centre in Bethlehem) is growing in Europe, supported by the antisemitic/anti-Zionist wave created by Palestinianism.
Palestinianism is the new European salvific theology created to help the Arabs destroy Israel, but which in fact is eating away at the roots of Christianity. Palestinianism teaches that if justice is granted to the Palestinians, suddenly the global jihad and the persecution of Christians in Muslim lands will disappear. “Justice for the Palestinians” in reality means the elimination of Israel. This elimination will bring peace to the world. Since 1973, this has become a joint Euro-Arab policy. The cultural and media war to delegitimize Israel accredits also the Muslim belief that Jews and, therefore, Christians have no historical roots in the Holy Land. Another consequence of Muslim replacement theology is that when we speak of Judeo-Christian values, we are in fact referring to Muslim values. And when we refer to biblical narratives and figures, or to their iconography, we offend Muslims because they do not fit in the koranic model.
Now let us see the political context. Since Muhammad was a prophet, a legislator and a war leader, legislation and politics are united in the service of the religious expansion and domination of Islam. The ultimate goal is to impose Islamic rule over the whole world. In this perspective, Muslim political doctrine divides the world into two eternal enemies: the land of Islam (dar al-Islam) and the land of war (dar al-harb) inhabited by the infidels which must — in the end — be conquered by Islam. Between them no peace is possible, but only temporary truces in case Muslims are too weak to conquer them. This is the doctrine of jihad which is a comprehensive legal system of war based on theology that regulates every aspect of Muslim behaviour toward non-Muslims. Jihad is a religious duty incumbent on Muslims, individually and collectively, and this is preached regularly by imams in sermons worlwide.
Jihad covers several fields: military actions, terrorism, abductions, ransoming, enslavement, and armistice conditions, the jihad by the pen — that is to say, propaganda — and the jihad of the hearts, which means corruption. Jihad has been waged for thirteen centuries against non-Muslims and huge geographical areas have been conquered and their population subdued, enslaved, deported or massacred. The non-Muslim population targeted by jihad is given a choice: conversion to Islam or the payment of a ransom to the Muslim authority and recognition of its sovereignty. If they refuse both they will face war. After a land has been conquered and its population accepts to submit and pay a tribute for its security this population becomes a dhimmi people. It is “protected” by a pact of submission, called the dhimma. Protected from what? From the jihad onslaught. Non-Muslims dhimmis are protected only as long as they pay the tribute, which is a poll-tax, and submit to oppressive and discriminatory shari”a regulations.
Islamic law covers the rights and obligations of dhimmis in great details. This has been the subject of my research. I call dhimmitude the Islamic system of governing the non-Muslim peoples subjected by jihad. This system is linked to jihad and like jihad it is a theological, political and legal institution. Dhimmitude is, in fact, the peaceful continuation of jihad because it is dhimmitude that destroyed the massive non-Muslim majorities that were conquered.
It is my opinion that we are now living in a period of reactivated jihad and dhimmitude. Those of you who have laboured in South Sudan and Darfur and have seen the atrocities there will recognize these legal tactics of jihad described in my books or in any Muslim texts on jihad. What is happening in Iraq evokes the events in the 8th century described in Mesopotamia by the Christian Syriac cleric Pseudo-Dyonisos of Tell Mahre, quoted in my study on The Decline of Eastern Christianity which is available here in a German edition. These events are confirmed at that same period by Armenian chronicles and by Egyptian priests describing Muslim internal feuds and atrocities in Egypt against dhimmis, or by Jews in Palestine, and with the passing centuries the chronicle of the Jacobite Patriarch of Antioche (in Syria), Michael the Syrian, that covers a period till the end of the 12 century. We have countless accounts on the devastation by the Arabs and Turks in Anatolia, in the Balkans, and all along the European Mediterranean coasts and islands.
Today, as in the past, jihadist terror is waged not only against Israel, Judaism, but also against the West, that is Christianity. Beheading the enemies of Islam, like the prophet did when he set a sacred model by beheading the Jews who refused to convert — was repeatedly done by jihadists during all the jihad conquests of Christian lands. Abducting infidels for ransom fills up countless historical accounts. Suppressing by terror all criticism by infidels of the Muslim religion or policy is mandated in the land of dhimmitude. Jihad and dhimmitude are the two forces that have eliminated the indigenous non-Muslim populations from their Islamized homeland. Jihad today is displayed in all its traditional manifestations: military and economic warfare, terror, abductions, corruption for the control of the Western media, the universities and public opinion.
Dhimmitude is applied now against non Muslims — mainly Christians — in most Muslim countries. Shari”a laws or laws inspired by shari”a discriminate against non-Muslims, mainly Christians, the Jews having fled or been expelled. Now it is the Christians — in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and elsewhere — who are leaving because in Islam anti-Jewish hate is always connected to anti-Christian hate and vice-versa as it grows from the same source. Hence, anti-Zionist European policies adopted in order to protect Europe and local Christians from Islamism is useless.
Why have we regressed to a situation all too common throughout history till the 19th century and in some countries, the 20th? It is my opinion that 1973 was the fatidic date when political decisions were made that would lead Europe along the path to dhimmitude. It was the period — after the Kippur War — when European independent states, threatened with PLO terrorism and an Arab oil boycott, accepted to submit and adapt their foreign policies to Arab and Palestinian political demands. This is when the European Palestinian appeasement policy began. Europe helped spread the new death cult: Palestinianism, which is the sacralisation and legitimisation of the jihad against Israel. For decades Europeans have been conditioned by Euro-Arab Palestinian propaganda and Israel’s demonisation. To achieve this end a whole culture of denial of historic jihad and dhimmitude has been conceived and propagated throughout Europe. The responsibility for terror and war was deliberately shifted from the jihad ideology to Israel’s right of existence. Palestinianism is just the modern continuation against the Jews of the jihad onslaught waged against Christianity for over a millennium.
By justifying the Palestinian jihad against Israel, Europe entered into a suicidal dynamic. The repudiation of Israel’s historical legitimacy and its replacement by a jihadist world order with its own Islamic conception of justice denies Europe’s own sovereignty and legitimacy. In the Islamic context, Palestinians incarnate jihadist ideology against infidels and Muslim replacement theology; whereas, in fact, Israel represents the liberation of the Jewish people from the yoke of dhimmitude. For decades the European Union has provided the Palestinians with the intellectual, cultural and media ammunitions against Israel. It was Arafat, the subsidised “mignon” of Europe, who invented modern international terrorism — including air piracy against Israel in 1968 — and created a culture of hate and a policy of chaos since September 2000 that have now become global. Europe’s alliance with the Palestinians and the Arab world against Israel and America was based on its own denial of jihad ideology. Because of this denial Europe encourage a large-scale Muslim immigration for economic and strategic interests. This is why Europe is today deeply submerged by an anti-American and anti-Zionist culture.
For Christians, Israel is central in this context, because jihad is waged in the name of Islamic replacement theology, whereby Isa replaces Yeshua or Jesus, and the Koran replaces the Gospel. Christians are linked to the Jews by the Bible. If Christians want to break from this bond, they will have to forego the First Testament, including the Ten Commandments, the Prophets, and the Psalms and somehow, link the Gospel to the Palestinian Muslim Isa of the Koran. This is the challenge that Christians are facing now. And this is the spiritual meaning of Israel for Christians now: either Christians will resist or they will convert and Europe will become one more Islamized Christian territory. The jihad against Israel is also a war against the Christian world.
It is my opinion that Europe has become the new land of dhimmitude and I will explain why. I have described in Eurabia, my last book, the causes that have triggered the dhimmitude of Europe. I will not develop this theme now but I will explain why politically and intellectually we have become dhimmis.
We accept to have our life continuously disturbed and threatened by the global jihad. From the moment the European Community, instead of fighting terror, submitted to the Palestinian threats, it lost the control over its own security. European policy with the Palestinians is a total failure because it was deliberately based on false assumptions and the denial that the PLO”s war against Israel was a jihad. Europe gave an unconditional support for Arafat, and paid billions of euros without any control to the Palestinian Authority. The result of European’s unilateral solicitude for the Palestinians has resulted in the election of Hamas, a terrorist jihadist movement. Europeans behave like dhimmis who have to pay tribute money for their security and the development of Muslim economies without even being thanked. Massive Muslim immigration, linked with the 56 Muslim countries weighs heavily on European policy. We have seen it during the Danish Cartoons Affair. According to Islamic law, dhimmis cannot criticise the Prophet or say that Islamic law has a defect without risking death. Hence, the Islamic blasphemy laws — even at the United Nations — have been imposed on us, and particularly on the Western media. The Islamists control the foreign, domestic and security policy of Europe through terror, the ongoing intifadas in France and the policy of chaos in the suburbs, jihadist-martyrdom bombings in Spain and England and persistent threats everywhere. It is such threats that keep the level of anti-Americanism and the hate against Israel so high in Europe.
The European policy of symbiosis with the Arab-Muslim world which I have described in Eurabia has set up a vast Euro-Arab demographic, political, economic and cultural zone encompassing immigration and multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is a crucial dimension of the Euro-Arab strategic alliance. Since 1975 the texts of Euro-Arab meetings and of the EU require the establishment of cultural and political Muslim centres in European cities. The problem is that Muslims and Europeans have contradictory views on their common history. Europeans consider jihad a barbarous war causing huge massacres and enslavement, while for Muslims jihad represents a peaceful progression of Islam. Dhimmitude is a dehumanizing system, but for Muslims it is a generous tolerance offered to non-Muslims. In order to accommodate the Muslims and their integration in Europe, European leaders have promoted the Islamic view of history. Therefore, they have justified and lauded the tolerance of dhimmitude, as for instance the Andalusian myth. For this reason, Europeans ignore totally what is jihad and what is dhimmitude. While we are currently living a period of jihad, and while Europeans are already conditioned to dhimmitude, they do not realise it because the historical framework has been obfuscated.
Cultural jihad with its antisemitic, anti-American and anti-Western characteristics develops within the context of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism thus becomes the instrument for the subversion of Western thought, aimed at imposing Islamic historical and theological thinking such as the justification of Islamist terrorism — based on the Muslim self-perception of victimhood. The erroneous affirmation that it was Islamic culture that has triggered European civilization in medieval period, is an attempt to prove Islam historical, cultural and demographical legitimacy in Europe, and consequently the implementation of shari”a principles today. It also affirms Islam cultural superiority over the West.
To conclude: There has been several interfaith dialogues but with poor results. Europe has paid billions to Muslim countries worldwide but the culture of jihad is flowering in spite of Europe’s appeasement policy. Palestinianism which is a replacement theology was the tool that led to Europe’s Islamisation and dhimmitude. By joining the Muslim jihad against Israel, the Christian West has obfuscated its own history, and now faced with a global jihad it is unable to assess correctly the situation and defend itself. Israel represents the liberation of man from dhimmitude, whereas Palestinianism represents jihad and dhimmitude ideology based on replacement theology. Europe, enslaved by Palestinianism, has chosen servitude instead of freedom. If we want peace to prevail, the Muslim world must abandon the jihadist ideology, it must recognise Jews and Christians as different and not see them as apostate Muslims. And this must start with Muslim recognition of the legitimacy of Israel, because jihad started against the Jews and it can only end with the rehabilitation of the Jews and Israel, which will bring the rehabilitation of all non-Muslims. We can achieve it if we speak the truth, if we teach in our schools and universities jihad and dhimmitude. Then, masses of peaceful Muslims, liberated from the jihadist ideology of hate, will join us to build together peace. But we cannot help them if, ourselves, we are doomed in dhimmitude.
Bat Ye”or, born in Egypt, is a pioneer researcher on “˜dhimmitude” and “˜Eurabia”. Her four major books translated from French into English are: The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam, (1985); The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude, (1996), German edition: Der Niedergang des Orientalischen Christentums unter dem Islam, (2002); Islam and dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide (2002), and Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, (2005). German translation in preparation.