Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and while Salim Mansur purveyed a lot of soothing nonsense in our FrontPage symposium, he is certainly right about Bat Ye’or in “She’s a Cassandra of our time” in the Toronto Sun (thanks to Looney Tunes):
Last week, attending in Toronto a Fraser Institute conference on immigration, terrorism and border control I met Bat Ye’or, a remarkably gentle woman in her 70s, though her work as a historian has generated in equal measure ire and admiration in both Europe and North America.
As I departed the conference, events elsewhere — Arab-Muslim terrorists plying their evil trade — filled the news cycle.
It is with these and more in mind I recall sitting with Bat Ye’or as memorable and a meeting to be treasured.
Bat Ye’or, meaning “daughter of the Nile” in Hebrew, is the pen name Gisele Orebi took for herself.
Bat Ye’or was born in Cairo and with her family became a stateless refugee in 1957 when the Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser revoked the citizenship of Jews settled in the land of the Pharoahs for nearly three millenniums.
I have been reading Bat Ye’or for some time and have acquired insight into that aspect of history — the place of religious minorities in the Arab-Muslim world — that Muslims more than anyone else need to learn and reflect upon, but sadly will likely not.
In Islam and Dhimmitude (2001) Bat Ye’or explored what happened to followers of other faiths in the lands where Islam spread.
For Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Hindus, Buddhists and others the choice left under Muslim rule was conversion, paying a special poll-tax to be “tolerated” as people of diminished (dhimmi) status in Muslim society, or flight.
In pre-modern times such an arrangement in places under Muslim rule could be viewed as comparatively somewhat more agreeable than elsewhere as in Europe of the Inquisition.
But that such arrangement should persist or get revived in modern times, and Muslims defend it on the basis of sharia (Islamic laws) is instructive of what Muslim rule implies for non-Muslims.
Read it all.