Didn’t history end already? Why then are we still hearing from Francis Fukuyama?
In “Identity and Migration” in Prospect, he says this:
Whether there is anything specific to the Muslim religion that encourages this radicalisation is an open question. Since 11th September, a small industry has sprung up trying to show how violence and even suicide bombing have deep Koranic or historical roots. It is important to remember, however, that at many periods in history Muslim societies have been more tolerant than their Christian counterparts. The Jewish philosopher Maimonides was born in Muslim CÃ³rdoba, which was a diverse centre of culture and learning; Baghdad for many generations hosted one of the world’s largest Jewish communities. It makes no more sense to see today’s radical Islamism as an inevitable outgrowth of Islam than to see fascism as the culmination of centuries of European Christianity.
We see thus that it is an open question that he immediately closes. In other words, like Dinesh D’Souza, he proposes that we ignore the testimony of the jihadists themselves, when they make copious use of the Qur’an and Sunnah to justify their acts of violence. (See, to take just two examples out of a great many, here and here.) No, the equation of Islam with violence comes not from them but from a “small industry” — of “Islamophobes,” no doubt — that has sprung up since 9/11. We should also ignore the doctrine of warfare against and subjugation of unbelievers that is taught by every single orthodox Islamic sect and school of jurisprudence. Instead, we should note that dhimmis were able to practice their religions within the Islamic state — while ignoring also, of course, the institutionalized discrimination under which they labored even in vaunted Muslim CÃ³rdoba.
In fact, Muslim Spain was hardly a paradise for non-Muslims. Even Maria Rosa Menocal, in her extended whitewash of Muslim Spain called The Ornament of the World, admits that at the laws of dhimmitude were very much in force in the great Al-Andalus:
The dhimmi, as these covenanted peoples were called, were granted religious freedom, not forced to convert to Islam. They could continue to be Jews and Christians, and, as it turned out, they could share in much of Muslim social and economic life. In return for this freedom of religious conscience the Peoples of the Book (pagans had no such privilege) were required to pay a special tax “” no Muslims paid taxes “” and to observe a number of restrictive regulations: Christians and Jews were prohibited from attempting to proselytize Muslims, from building new places of worship, from displaying crosses or ringing bells. In sum, they were forbidden most public displays of their religious rituals.
So much for paradise. Also, historian Kenneth Baxter Wolf observes that “much of this new legislation aimed at limiting those aspects of the Christian cult which seemed to compromise the dominant position of Islam.” After enumerating a list of laws much like Menocal’s, he adds: “Aside from such cultic restrictions most of the laws were simply designed to underscore the position of the dimmÃ®s as second-class citizens.” These laws were not uniformly or strictly enforced; Christians were forbidden public funeral processions, but one contemporary account tells of priests merely “pelted with rocks and dung” rather than being arrested while on the way to a cemetery.
If Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived together peaceably and productively only with Christians and Jews relegated by law to second-class citizen status, then al-Andalus has absolutely no reason to be lionized in our age. The laws of dhimmitude give all of Menocal’s accounts of Jewish viziers and Christian diplomats the same hollow ring as the stories of prominent American blacks from the slavery and Jim Crow eras: yes, Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington were great men, but their accomplishments not only do not erase or contradict the records of the oppression of their people, but render them all the more poignant and haunting. Whatever the Christians and Jews of al-Andalus accomplished, they were still dhimmis. They enjoyed whatever rights and privileges they had not out of any sense of the dignity of all people before God, or the equality of all before the law, but at the sufferance of their Muslim overlords.