Western Ignorance of the ‘Conditions of Omar’

Church in RaqqaBy Raymond Ibrahim:

A jihadi group occupying the Syrian town of Raqqa recently gave Christian minorities living there three choices: 1) convert to Islam, 2) remain Christian but pay tribute and accept third-class subject status, or 3) die by the sword.

According to the BBC, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria issued a directive

citing the Islamic concept of “dhimma”, [which] requires Christians in the city to pay tax of around half an ounce (14g) of pure gold in exchange for their safety. It says Christians must not make renovations to churches, display crosses or other religious symbols outside churches, ring church bells or pray in public.  Christians must not carry arms, and must follow other rules imposed by ISIS (also known as ISIL) on their daily lives.  The statement said the group had met Christian representatives and offered them three choices—they could convert to Islam, accept ISIS’ conditions, or reject their control and risk being killed.  “If they reject, they are subject to being legitimate targets, and nothing will remain between them and ISIS other than the sword,” the statement said.

Because several Western media outlets uncharacteristically reported on this latest atrocity against Syrian Christians, many Westerners are shocked—amazed to hear of such draconian conditions.

In reality, however, these three choices are fully grounded in Islamic teachings, as shall be demonstrated below.

So why is the West, here in the “information age,” utterly if not abhorrently ignorant of the teachings of Islam?   Because those responsible for making such knowledge available—specifically academia, media, and government—are more interested in whitewashing Islam andbemoaning Islamophobia (see pgs. 219-249 of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians for specifics).

Western Dissembling

Most symbolic of all this is that right around the same time news that jihadis were subjugating and extorting jizya-money from Syrian Christians appeared, the Saudi-funded Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Christian-Muslim Understanding at Georgetown University, Washington D.C.,  held a seminar discussing how Islam is misunderstood and being demonized by so-called “Islamophobes.”

I have direct experience of this.  Many years ago, as a graduate student at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, my interest in medieval Islamic history, Sharia, and jihad received askance looks from professors—not least because most classes offered were about the evils of colonialism and Orientalism, or Islamic “feminism.”

It was the same when I worked at the African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress, a governmental institution; there, our conferences regularly focused on the purported achievements of Islamic civilization.

As for the endemic Muslim persecution of Christians—past or present—apparently only an “Islamophobe” would raise that topic up.

Speaking of government, also around the same time jihadis were giving Christians the three classic choices of Islam—conversion, subjugation, or death—a delegation of Syrian Christian clergy came to the Senate Arms Services Committee meeting room to offer testimony concerning the sufferings of Syria’s Christians.  Then,

Sen. John McCain marched into the committee room yelling, according to a high-level source that attended the meeting, and quickly stormed out. “He was incredibly rude,” the source told Judicial Watch “because he didn’t think the Syrian church leaders should even be allowed in the room.” Following the shameful tantrum McCain reentered the room and sat briefly but refused to make eye contact with the participants, instead ignoring them by looking down at what appeared to be random papers. The outburst was so embarrassing that Senator Graham, also an advocate of U.S. military intervention in Syria, apologized for McCain’s disturbing outburst. “Graham actually apologized to the group for McCain’s behavior,” according to the source, who sat through the entire meeting. “It was truly unbelievable.”

Less dramatically but equally revealing, CIA chief John Brennan recently declared that the ideology of those offering Christians three choices is “a perverse and very corrupt interpretation of the Koran,” one that has “hijacked” Islam and “really distorted the teachings of Muhammad.”

And if the attempts to suppress the reality of Christian suffering under Islam by academia, media, and government were not enough, months and years back, when the plight of Syria’s Christians was becoming known, even random (but supposedly nonbiased and independent) think tanks and writers also tried to suppress it.

Is it any wonder, then, that Christians in Syria being offered three choices—Islam, subjugation, or death—is mindboggling to the average person in the West, appearing as a wild aberration?

The Conditions of Omar

Yet knowledge of the particulars of Islam’s three-fold choice has been available for centuries; early Western peoples were much acquainted with it, including the now much maligned “Orientalists.”

Whereas Koran 9:29 provides divine sanction to fight the “People of the Book”  (namely, Christians and Jews) “until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued,” the lesser known Conditions of Omar (also known as the Pact of Omar) lays out in detail how they are to feel themselves subdued.

Named after the second caliph, Omar bin al-Khattab (r. 634 to 644), the Conditions was purportedly agreed upon between the caliph and a community of Christians conquered by invading Muslims, ironically in the region of Syria.  It has since been referenced in most major works on the treatment of dhimmis—non-Muslims living under Islamic authority.

Read more at PJ Media

Unprecedented Christian Persecution in Iran: UN Report

Pastor Saeed Abedini

Oppression under the “moderate” President Rouhani is even greater than under the more vocally extreme President Ahmadinejad.

BY RYAN MAURO:

A new United Nations report concludes that the persecution of Christians in Iran is at unprecedented levels. A minimum of 50 Christians are in prison, with the most famous inmate being American Pastor Saeed Abedini. Evangelical ministries see the regime as trying to suppress a rising tide of conversions to Christianity.

The report states that 35 of the 42 Christians arrested last year were guilty of forming “house churches,” where church services, Bible studies and even baptisms happen in someone’s home. The punishment for this crime against Iran’s theocracy is one to 10 years behind bars.

The U.N. report shows that the oppression under the “moderate” President Rouhani is even greater than what it was under the more vocally extreme President Ahmadinejad. That is because every Islamist believes in sharia governance, so any increase in Christian numbers will lead to an increase in arrests of Christians.

The number of Christians in Iran was miniscule before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, by some accounts numbering in the low hundreds. Amazingly, the takeover of oppressive theocrats acted like a growth hormone for the faith. By claiming to represent Islam, the mullahs made many Muslims second-guess their faith.

Now, it is relatively easy to find atheist or agnostic Iranians or those who practice a reformist, liberal interpretation of their faith compatible with secular democracy. Others turn to other faiths, most commonly evangelical Christianity.

Operation World says that evangelical Christianity is growing faster in Iran than anywhere else in the world, with an estimated annual growth of 19.6%. Todd Nettleton, Director of Media Development forVoice of the Martyrs told me that the church in Iran is “growing at an absolutely phenomenal rate.”

Read more at Clarion Project

Aid or Jizya?

011By Mark Durie:

In sharia law, jizya refers either to tribute paid by non-Muslim nations to ward off jihad attack, or to a head tax paid by conquered non-Muslim adult males living under Islamic conditions.

Muhammad instructed his followers:

Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah.
Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war …
When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action.
If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm.
Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them ….
If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya.
If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands.
If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them.
(Sahih Muslim. The Book of Jihad and Expedition. (Kitab al-Jihad wa’l-Siyar). 3:27:4294.)

Consistent with this message, the renowned Andalusian jurist Averroes (Ibn Rushdi) wrote:

Why wage war? The Muslim jurists agree that the purpose of fighting the People of the Book … is one of two things: it is either for the conversion to Islam or the payment of the jizya. The payment of the jizya is because of the words of the Exalted, ‘Fight against such as those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah or the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah and His Messenger hath forbidden, and follow not the religion of truth, until they pay the tribute readily being brought low.’
[The Qur'an, Sura 9:29]. (Bidayat al-Mujtahid wa Nihayat al-Muqtsid, The Distinguished Jurist’s Primer).

The Arabic word jizya means ‘compensation’ or ‘reparations’. The  root j-z-y refers to something provided as a compensation or satisfaction, instead of something else.  Muslim lexicographers defined jizya as a tax taken from non-Muslims ‘that ensures their protection, as though it were a compensation for their not being slain’. (E. W. Lane, An Arabic-English Lexicon).

Paying jizya is a long-standing US tradition.  As soon as it won independence from Britain, and recognizing that its ships were no longer protected by British naval power, the US began to send tribute to the Barbary states.  The first appropriation by Congress was made in 1784 was for $80,000, and in 1795 the US government paid a million dollars in cash, naval stores and a frigate to ransom 115 kidnapped soldiers from Algiers (America and the Barbary Pirates: An International Battle Against an Unconventional Foe by Gerard W. Gawalt).  In that year, total US government revenue was six million dollars.

There was a period at the start of the 19th century when the US government was consistently paying over 10% of US revenue in jizya to the Barbary states to prevent further jihad attacks against US ships.  An equivalent proportion of US Government revenue today would amount to hundreds of billions of dollars, or more than the annual cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.  The US Navy was created in 1794 to address this challenge.  Gerard W. Gawalt writes:

In fact, it was not until the second war with Algiers, in 1815, that naval victories by Commodores William Bainbridge and Stephen Decatur led to treaties ending all tribute payments by the United States. European nations continued annual payments until the 1830s.

In The Third Choice  (pp.212-213) I questioned whether aid given by Western states today might  be considered by some Muslims to be ‘jizya’.  I meant by this that aid would not be received as a generous gift from a friend, but something taken as a right, a payment compensating a potentially violent aggressor:

Aid or Jizya?
One can also ask some troubling questions about the flow of funds from Western governments to organizations and nations which are committed to Islamization. This includes what is known as ‘international aid’, but might just as easily be called tribute. Some of the largest aid grants from the USA and the European Union have been going to Islamic communities which are producing large numbers of radicals, such as Egypt and Pakistan. Professor Moshe Sharon, emeritus Professor of Islam at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem has written:

… the billions of dollars which stream from the EU to Muslim terror groups under various disguises are nothing less than Jizyah money paid by the dhimmisof Europe to the Muslim rulers. … European money is the collective Jizyah paid by the Europeans in the (false) hope that it will secure for them the protected status of the dhimmi.

It is an irony that clerics funded by the Palestinian Authority, who live off European and US aid, have denounced Western governments on Palestinian Television, declaring the inevitable victory of Islam over the whole world. For example, Sheikh Muhammad Ibrahim al-Madhi, a Palestinian authority employee,preached a sermon broadcast on PA Television on April 12, 2002, in which he prophesied the defeat of every nation on the earth:

Oh beloved, look to the East of the earth, find Japan and the ocean; look to the West of the earth, find [some] country and the ocean. Be assured that these will be owned by the Muslim nation, as the Hadithsays … from the ocean to the ocean’…

Raymond Ibrahim has drawn our attention to a Salafist cleric’s recent pronouncement on Egyptian television that US aid to Egypt should indeed be considered as jizya:

According to the sheikh, Egypt must be less cooperative with the U.S. and at the same time insist for more monetary aid.  If so, the sheikh believes that “America will accept; it will kiss our hands; and it will also increase its aid.  And we will consider its aid asjizya, not as aid.  But first we must make impositions on it.”

When the host asked the sheikh “Do the Americans owe us jizya?” he responded, “Yes,” adding that it is the price Americans have to pay “so we can leave them alone!”  When the host asked the sheikh if he was proclaiming a fatwa, the latter exclaimed, “By Allah of course!”  The sheikh added that, to become a truly Islamic state, Egypt must “impose on America to pay aid as jizya, before we allow it to realize its own interests, the ones which we agree to.”

While the Egyptian cleric was focused on “international jizya”—that is, money paid by one non-Muslim nation to a Muslim nation, U.S money to Egypt—other Muslims have been receiving and enjoying individual “jizya” from Western, infidel governments, in the form of welfare aid.

Just last February, for example, Anjem Choudary, an Islamic cleric and popular preacher in the United Kingdom, was secretly taped telling a Muslim audience to follow his example and get “Jihad Seeker’s Allowance” from the government—a pun on “Job Seeker’s Allowance.” The father of four, who receives more than 25,000 pounds annually in welfare benefits, referred to British taxpayers as “slaves,” adding, “We take the jizya, which is our haq [Arabic for “right”], anyway. The normal situation by the way is to take money from the kafir [infidel], isn’t it? So this is the normal situation. They give us the money—you work, give us the money, Allahu Akhbar [“Allah is Great”]. We take the money. Hopefully there’s no one from the DSS [Department of Social Security] listening to this.”

This issue – of Western aid being interpreted as tribute and a rightful due – is part of a broader problem of interactions between Muslims and non-Muslims.  In The Third Choice I discussed this in the context of Christian-Muslim interactions, but the issue affect non-Muslims in general:

In submitting to the requirement of grateful service to Islam, Christians may well interpret their own submissiveness in gospel categories of forgiveness and service, but from the Islamic side this can just look like the program of Islam as ‘submission’ is working. Muslims can often interpret such submissiveness as Islam’s rightful due, not an expression of grace, and even allow themselves to feel generous in accepting this service. For this reason, Christians involved in partnering with Muslims should make every effort to understand the theological grid which dhimmitude would seek to impose upon the relationship, and while continuing to be gracious, back up the grace with a strong admonition to reciprocity.

The issue here is not so much whether Muslims will misinterpret the motives of Christians. It is rather the danger of a politico-theological framework being imposed upon the Christian-Muslim relationship, to conform it to the requirements of dhimmitude…  (The Third Choice, p.223)

The Egyptian Salafist Sheikh was giving voice to a mindset which is real and widely held.  Western donors  to the Muslim world to be alert to the potential for aid to be regarded as a ‘right’ from the Muslim side.  According to this mindset, recipients of modern-day ‘jizya’ could respond with more belligerence – and not friendship – to extract even more resources from the infidels.

Aid or jizya - the difference is crucial.  Aid is a gift to friends.  Jizya is an act of surrender .  Western donors should be most wary of making military donations to sharia-compliant states.  In 2013 US aid to Egypt will amount to c. 1.5 billion dollars, most of which will be military hardware.  One of the traditional uses of jizya by Islamic states is to fund further jihad, so belligerence can extract more jizya.  It is completely understandable that US lawmakers are seeking to restructure US Aid to Egypt.

Given that Egypt is now governed by the Muslim Brotherhood, US should not be sending a single item of military hardware Egypt’s way.  Instead it should start forwarding desperately needed food aid (and see here), with ‘US AID’ stamped in large letters on the parcels.

Mark Durie is an Anglican vicar in Melbourne, Australia, author of The Third Choice, and an Associate Fellow at the Middle Eastern Forum.

A One-Sided Suicide Pact

By Edward Cline:

Soeren Kern, writing for the  Gatestone Institute in his November  16th article, “Islam Needs a  Fair Chance in Germany,” reported a significant development in Germany that  portends dire consequences for that benighted nation and for all of Europe: the  city of Hamburg signed a “treaty” with organizations representing its Islamic   population.

The “treaty” features a series of  concessions, not by the Muslims to secular  authority, but by the secular  government of Hamburg to the Muslims. The  “treaty,” which requires ratification  by the city’s Parliament, grants Muslims  “rights” and “privileges” enjoyed by no  other religious group there.

The November 13 agreement, signed  by Hamburg’s Socialist Mayor Olaf Scholz  and the leaders of four Muslim umbrella  groups, is being praised by the  proponents of multiculturalism for putting the  northern port city’s estimated  200,000 Muslims on an equal footing with  Christian residents….

The most controversial part of  the accord involves a commitment by the city  government to promote the teaching  of Islam in the Hamburg public school  system. The agreement grants the leaders  of Hamburg’s Muslim communities a  determinative say in what will be taught by  allowing them to develop the  teaching curriculum for Islamic studies.

Moreover, Muslim officials will  also be able to determine who will (and who  will not) be allowed to teach  courses about Islam in city schools. In practice,  this means that only Muslims  will be allowed to teach Islam and that pupils  will not be exposed to any  critical perspectives about the religious, social  and political ideology of  Islam.

Under the wide-ranging accord,  Muslims in Hamburg will also have the right  to take three Islamic holidays as  days off from work. Up until now, it has been  up to individual employers to  decide whether or not to grant Muslim staff  religious days off on a case-by-case  basis. In addition, Muslim students will  be exempt from attending school on  Muslim holidays.

The agreement also includes  provisions for the construction of more mosques  in Hamburg, the upkeep of  cultural Islamic facilities, the authorization for  Muslims to bury their dead  without the use of coffins, as well as the  counseling of patients and prison  inmates by Muslim clerics.

Moreover, the “treaty” will  guarantee “broadcast slots alongside Protestant  and Catholic broadcasts on  public and private radio and television, as well as  broadcasting council seats  for Muslims with the northern Germany NDR public  broadcaster and Germany’s  federal ZDF television channel.”

The German term for treaty,  vertag, occurs no less than five times  in the article. It occurs in the  document itself. In the article, the term agreement occurs  fifteen times. But the actual document  reads, in a loose English translation, “A Draft Treaty between the Islamic Community and the Municipal Authority of Hamburg.”

However, no matter how many times  the term agreementappears in the  article, a treaty is what the  agreement is. Islam is on a cultural or  civilizational jihad against the  West and all Western institutions.  So, what is a treaty? Is it a “truce” between  the secular authorities and the  religious Muslims? Is it a “non-aggression pact”  between two powers vying for  hegemony? Is it the granting to Muslims a “separate but equal” political status?

A treaty is commonly regarded as  an agreement between belligerent nations,  states, or governments. TheOxford  English Dictionary defines treaty as:

3a. A settlement or  arrangement arrived at by treating or  negotiation; an agreement, covenant,  compact, contract.

3b. spec. A  contract between two or more states, relating to  peace, truce, alliance,  commerce, or other international relation; also, the  document embodying such  contract, in modern usage formally signed by  plenipotentiaries appointed by the  government of each state.

A treaty between belligerents  indicates a cessation of hostilities between  the parties. The Hamburg treaty  implicitly acknowledges that its Muslim  “communities” are part and parcel of the  Islamic Ummah, or the  worldwide, global “community” of Islam. The treaty  has implicitly recognized  the Ummah as a state to “treat” or “negotiate”  with. So, the  “agreement” is called a “treaty.” The German government has not  been waging  cultural or political jihad against Muslims; it is Muslims,  especially those of  Turkish origin in Germany, who have been waging all sorts of  jihad against  non-Muslim Germans in the way of rape jihad, jihad against  freedom of speech, and jihad against Jews.

This is the situation in all European countries now, especially  in the western European nations of Belgium, France, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and  Finland. Across the Channel, Britain is succumbing to the same phenomena.

Out of a population of about 1.8  million in the city proper of Hamburg,  Muslims of various sects, including the  Alevi, a Turkish sect, constitute over  nine percent.

Again, I think it is significant  that this agreement is consistently called  a treaty. It acknowledges that  Islam has been at war with Western  culture, and will continue to be until the  “peace” of a global caliphate is  achieved. For the time being, in Hamburg, its  activists see a short-term gain  in minimizing or playing down their necessary  and constant hostility. In Islam,  this is an instance of Dar al-Ahd, or a  temporary truce. The  “treaty,” from the Muslim perspective,  is also necessarily an instance of what  could be called “Grand Taqiyya,”  or the Koranic sanctioning of lies and deceit when dealing with the enemy kaffirs and infidels, especially in their own countries.

But these “treaties” will turn  out to be nothing but “truces,” when a  movement is renewed to exact more  concessions from the Germans. Call these  “treaties” for what they are: fleeting  “non-aggression pacts,” with Islam being  the sole aggressor.  Regardless of the nature or content of these treaties, Germany will remain  Dar al-Harb, the land of the enemy, and Dar al-Kufr, or the  land  of the kaffirs or unbelievers. It is noteworthy that all the concessions  will be  paid by non-Muslim Germans as a form of jizya, or “protection”  tax.  Germans will not “retaliate” against Islamic aggression, for political   correctness will silence them for fear of being accused of racism or  bigotry.

Islam, however, is first and  foremost, from top to bottom, a totalitarian  ideology. Its doctrine requires  that Muslims and their spokesmen advocate  Islam’s own kind of racism and  bigotry.

Islam is a nihilist ideology, as  well. It is the enemy of all human values.  In exchange for submission to it, it  promises a paradise after death. Life on  earth is merely transitory and not  important. The Hamburg “treaty” is an  extension of that nihilism; it requires  its secular signers to aid and abet the  piecemeal annihilation of their  values and their culture. The  Islamists know what they are doing. Their secular  cosigners do not. It seems  the “right” thing to do, per a Kantian categorical  imperative to pursue an end  regardless of, but especially because of, its  selfless nature, in the name of  what Mayor Scholz called “the strengthening the  societal foundation” of  Hamburg.

Which is tantamount to injecting  the bubonic plague pathogen into a human  body in order to “strengthen an  individual’s well-being.”

Read more: Family Security Matters

Edward Cline is the author of the Sparrowhawk novels set in  England  and Virginia in the pre-Revolutionary period, of several detective and  suspense  novels, and three collections of his commentaries and columns, all  available on  Amazon Books. His essays, book reviews, and other articles have  appeared in The  Wall Street Journal, the Journal of Information Ethics and other  publications.  He is a frequent contributor to Rule of Reason, Family Security  Matters,  Capitalism Magazine and other Web publications.  

Obama Dances the Jizya

By Jessica Rubin at American Thinker:

In the classic Mafia protection racket scheme, the owner of a business must pay the pizzo for the Mafia organization to protect the owner from violence by an alleged third party – usually a branch the organization itself.  In the same way, the U.S. taxpayer is paying various “moderate” Muslim countries and organization to protect us from extremist Muslim organizations.  We pay not only in money, but by chipping away at our individual human rights in order to appease Muslim elements not to go over to the extremist elements.

In many ways, we are already paying the Islamic form of the pizzo – namely, the jizya.  Formally, the jizya is a “tax” paid by kafirs already living under Muslim domination.  It is a tax that must be paid at risk of losing one’s head.  Moreover, the jizya is not just a “head” tax; it is also intended to be a form of humiliation.

Qur’an (9:29) – “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

Paying the jizya is just part of dhimmitude.  The full status of dhimmitude is a miserable, soulless existence.  The linguist and Arabic scholar Mark Durie has traveled extensively to record and observe the status of dhimmis in the ummah (Muslim world).  Think of the life of a cowering, abused dog.  As Durie says, “it involves embracing your own inferiority.”  Indeed, Sura 9:29 of the Koran says that the purpose of the dhimmi system is to “kill the soul” of the non-Muslim, so he will render willingly everything demanded of him.

Every time you go through security at an airport, you are in effect paying the jizya.  You are also being humiliated.  This is the price we must pay in order not to be blown up.

We pay Pakistan to be “on our side’ against al-Qaeda.  We pay the Karzai Mafia to hold fast against the Taliban.  We pay in blood and money.

Obama started his presidency by paying obeisance to the leaders of the ummah in the course of his apology tour and then made his shameless Cairo speech.  This humbling of the U.S. before the Islamic world is part of the “humiliation” that is central to accepting one’s status as a dhimmi.  As Mark Durie says, “The two most characteristic psychological traits of the dhimmi are gratitude and humility.  We are seeing both these traits shaping public discourse around Islam.  President Obama, for example, has spoken of the ‘debt’ the West owes to Islam.  This sense of indebtedness is being imparted to our schoolchildren through Islamicized history textbooks.”

The worst of the tribute we pay the Islamic world is the sacrifice of our values — i.e., our souls.  The right to free speech is being chipped away.  Any criticism of Islam is labeled Islamophobia.  This is the first soul-losing step on the road to full dhimmitude – part of which contains the principle that one must never say or do anything to offend Muslims.

Starting as early as 2008, there was a government memo that warned against “offending,” “insulting,” or being “confrontational” to Muslims.

Read the rest…

 

A New Year of “Dhimmitude” for Egypt’s Copts

by Raymond Ibrahim at Stonegate Institute:

As usual, it took the army an hour to drive two kilometers to the village. “This happens every time. They wait outside the village until the Muslims have had enough violence, then they appear.”

For Egypt’s Christian Copts, the New Year began with threats that their churches would be attacked during Christmas mass (celebrated on January 7). Because many people were watching what might happen—several Coptic churches were previously attacked, including last Christmas (8 dead) and New Year’s day (23 dead), not to mention ominous episodes around the world, such as the Nigerian Christmas day church bombings (40 dead) —the Muslim Brotherhood proclaimed it would “protect” the Copts during their church services. Happily, Coptic Christmas came and went without incident.

Church of St. Mary and St. Abram, recently besieged by 20,000 Muslims.

However, if the Muslim Brotherhood “protected” Coptic churches when many around the world were watching, as soon as attention dissipated, it was business as usual: a large number of Salafis and Muslim Brotherhood members entered a church, asserting that it had no license and no one should pray in it — accompanied by hints that it might be turned into a mosque: an all too typical approach in Muslim countries where building, or even renovating, churches is next to impossible.

Currently, 2012 appears to be unfolding as the “Year of Dhimmitude” for Egypt’s Christians. Consider the following incidents from just last January alone, all of which demonstrate an upsurge in the treatment of Egypt’s Copts as dhimmis – the legal term for Islam’s “protected,” barely tolerated non-Muslim minorities—”protected,” that is, as long as they agree to a number of debilitations, such as those that follow, that render them second-class citizens:

Insulting Islam

According to the Pact of Omar (also one of the earliest sources banning the construction or renovation of churches), dhimmis must “respect Muslims” and never insult them or their religion. Accordingly, a prominent Christian, Naguib Sawiris, is charged with “contempt of religion,” for twittering a cartoon of a bearded Mickey Mouse and a veiled Minnie: “The case has added to fears among many that ultraconservative Islamists may use their new found powers to try to stifle freedom of expression.” Nor are the double standards in Egypt’s “contempt of religion” law set aside: Christianity is daily disparaged in Egypt with impunity.

Similarly, a 17-year-old Christian student accused of posting a drawing of Islam’s prophet on Facebook—which he denies doing, saying it was posted without his permission—triggered days of Muslim violence and havoc, including the burning of three Christian homes to cries of “Allahu Akbar” ["Alah s the Greatest."] The student, who was beaten, is to be “held” for fifteen days, “pending investigation.” Muslim leaders agree “that priests should publicly apologize for the images, and that the student, as well as his family, should move out of the governorate.”

Conversion Issues

Also according to the Pact of Omar, non-Muslims “shall not prevent” any of their family members from converting to Islam. Accordingly, some 20,000 Muslims just attacked a Coptic church, demanding the death of the pastor, who, along with “nearly 100 terrorized Copts sought refuge inside it, while Muslim rioters were pelting the church with stones in an effort to break into the church, assault the Copts and torch the building.” They did this, apparently, because a Christian girl who, according to Islamic law, automatically became a Muslim when her father converted to Islam, had fled from her father and was rumored to be hiding in the church. This would not be the first time churches were attacked on similar rumors.

Collective Punishment

Traditionally, if one dhimmi transgresses, all surrounding dhimmis are collectively punished. As the jurist al-Murtada writes: “The agreement [presumably to "protect" the dhimmis] will be cancelled if all or some of them break it;” another jurist, al-Maghili, taught that “the fact that one individual (or one group) among them has broken the statute is enough to invalidate it for all of them.”

Accordingly, a mob of over 3000 Muslims attacked Christians in an Alexandrian village because a Muslim barber accused a Christian of having “intimate photos” of a Muslim woman on his phone (Sharia bans non-Muslim men from marrying Muslim women). Terrified, the Christian, who denies having such photos, turned himself in to the police. Regardless, Coptic homes and shops were looted and set ablaze. Three Christians were injured, while “terrorized” women and children, rendered homeless, stood in the streets with no place to go. As usual, it took the army an hour to drive two kilometers to the village: “This happens every time,” a man said: “They wait outside the village until the Muslims have had enough violence, then they appear.” None of the perpetrators was arrested.

After the initial attacks, and in an apparent effort to empty the village of its 62 Christian families, Muslims attacked them again, burning more Coptic property. According to police, the woman concerned has denied the whole story, and no photos have been found.

Jizya

Koran 9:29 commands Muslims to “Fight … the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] until they pay the jizya [monetary tribute] with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.” Although abolished under Western pressure during the colonial era, Muslim demands for jizya are back. Even though it has currently not been reinstated, some Muslims have taken matters in their own hands by extorting money from Christians in lieu of jizya. (Who can forget Abu Ishaq al-Huwaini’s lament that Muslims could alleviate their economic woes if only they returned to the good old days of Islam, when plundering, abducting, and selling/ransoming infidels was a great way of making a living?) Thus, Two Christians were killed “after a Muslim racketeer opened fire on them for refusing to pay him extortion money.” The local bishop said, “I hold security forces and local Muslims fully responsible for terrorizing the Copts living there, who are continually being subjected to terror and kidnapping.”

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Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.