Tuesday, February 10, 2009



Andrew Bostom


(Part II - 1)

3rd  part of 4

Violent jihad warfare on infidels is the norm, not the exception, in Islamic history. Once successful, jihad leads to the imposition of humiliating, degrading, violent, and expensive oppression under dhimmitude, the institutionalized imposition of lowly status upon those who refuse to abandon their faith and adopt Islam. Among the worst victims of jihad and dhimmitude have been the Jews and Christians who lived in historic Palestine. Part II (3 and 4) of this article examines jihad and dhimmitude in historical Palestine in the pre-modern and modern eras

Although episodes of violent anarchy diminished during the period of Ottoman suzerainty (beginning in 1516-1517 C.E.), the degrading conditions of the indigenous Jews and Christians living under the Sharia's jurisdiction remained unchanged for centuries. For example, Samuel b. Ishaq Uceda, a major Kabbalist from Safed at the end of the 16th century, refers in his commentary on The Lamentations of Jeremiah, to the situation of the Jews in the Land of Israel (Palestine):

...there is no town in the [Ottoman] empire in which the Jews are subjected to such heavy taxes and dues as in the Land of Israel, and particularly in Jerusalem. Were it not for the funds sent by the communities in Exile, no Jew could survive here on account of the numerous taxes... The [Muslims] humiliate us to such an extent that we are not allowed to walk in the streets. The Jew is obliged to step aside in order to let the Gentile [Muslim] pass first. And if the Jew does not turn aside of his own will, he is forced to do so. This law is particularly enforced in Jerusalem, more so than in other localities. [32]

A century later Canon Antoine Morison, from Bar-le-Duc in France, while traveling in the Levant in 1698, observed that the Jews in Jerusalem are "there in misery and under the most cruel and shameful slavery", and although a large community, they suffered from extortion. [33]

Similar contemporary observations regarding the plight of both Palestinian Jews and Christians-subjected to the jizya [infidel tax], and other attendant forms of social, economic, and religious .. discrimination, often brutally imposed, were made by the Polish Jew, Gedaliah of Siemiatyce (d. 1716), who, braving numerous perils, came to Jerusalem in 1700. These appalling conditions, recorded in his book, Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, forced him to return to Europe in order to raise funds for the Jews of Jerusalem.

No Jew or Christian is allowed to ride a horse, but a donkey is permitted, for [in the eyes of Muslims] Christians and Jews are inferior beings... The Muslims do not  allow any member of another faith-unless he converts to their religion-entry to the Temple [Mount] area, for they claim that no other religion is sufficiently pure to enter this holy spot.

In the Land of Israel, no member of any other religion besides Islam may wear the color green, even if it is a thread [of cotton] like that with which we decorate our prayer shawls. If a Muslim perceives it, that could bring trouble.

Moreover, the Muslim law requires that each religious denomination wear its specific garment so that each people may be distinguished from another. This distinction also applies to footwear. Indeed, the Jews wear shoes of a dark blue color, whereas Christians wear red shoes. No one can use green, for this color is worn solely by Muslims. The latter are very hostile toward Jews and inflict upon them vexations in the streets of the city...the common folk persecute the Jews, for we are forbidden to defend ourselves against the Turks or the Arabs. If an Arab strikes a Jew, he [the Jew] must appease him but dare not rebuke him, for fear that he may be struck even harder, which they [the Arabs] do without the slightest scruple. This is the way the Oriental Jews react, for they are accustomed to this treatment, whereas the European Jews, who are not yet accustomed to suffer being assaulted by the Arabs, insult them in return.

Even the Christians are subjected to these vexations. If a Jew offends a Muslim, the latter strikes him a brutal blow with his shoe in order to demean him, without anyone's being able to prevent him from doing it. The Christians fall victim to the same treatment and they suffer as much as the Jews, except that the former are very rich by reason of the subsidies that they receive from abroad, and they use this money to bribe the Arabs. As for the Jews, they do not possess much money with which to oil the palms of the Muslims, and consequently they are subject to much greater suffering.[34]

These prevailing conditions for Jews did not improve in a consistent or substantive manner even after the mid 19th century treaties imposed by the European powers on the weakened Ottoman Empire included provisions for the Tanzimat reforms. First introduced in 1839, these reforms were designed to end the discriminatory laws of dhimmitude for both Jews and Christians, living under the Ottoman Shari'a. European consuls endeavored to maintain compliance with at least two cardinal principles central to any meaningful implementation of the reforms: respect for the life and property of non-Muslims; and the right for Christians and Jews to provide evidence in Islamic courts when a Muslim was a party. Unfortunately, these efforts to replace the concept of Muslim superiority over 'infidels', with the principle of equal rights, failed. [35]

Almost two decades later, two eyewitness accounts from Jerusalem, one written by the missionary Gregory Wortabet, (published in 1856), and the second by British Jerusalem Consul James Finn, (reported November 8-11, 1858) make clear that the deeply ingrained Islamic religious bigotry, discriminatory regulations, and treacherous conditions for non-Muslims in Palestine had not improved, despite a second iteration of Ottoman "reforms" in 1856. Wortabet's narrative depicts the common, prevailing attitudes of Muslim Jew hatred derived from a purely Islamic perspective. Indeed, Wortabet refers, quite plausibly to the hadith about Muhammad's poisoning by a Khaybar Jewess as a primary source of such animus. Finn's report highlights the legal discrimination and  physical insecurity suffered by both Jews and Christians. 

[Wortabet's account] The Jew is still an object of scorn, and nowhere is the name of "Yahoodi (Jew)" more looked down upon than here in the city of his fathers. One day, as I was passing the Damascus gate, I saw an Arab hurrying on his donkey amid imprecations such as the following:

'Emshi ya Ibn-el-Yahoodi (Walk, thou son of a Jew)! Yulaan abuk ya Ibn-el-Yahoodi (Cursed be thy father, thou son of a Jew)!'

I need not give any more illustrations of the manner in which the man went on. The reader will observe, that the man did not curse the donkey, but the Jew, the father of the donkey. Walking up to him, I said: -

'Why do you curse the Jew? What harm has he done you?'

'El Yahoodi khanzeer (the Jew is a hog)!'  answered the man.

'How do you make that out?' I said. 'Is not the Jew as good as you or I?'

'Ogh!' ejaculated the man, his eyes twinkling with fierce rage, and his brow knitting.

By this time he was getting out of my hearing. I was pursuing my walk, when he turned round, and said: -

'El Yahoodi khanzeer! Khanzeer el Yahoodi! (The Jew is a hog! A hog is a Jew!)'

Now I must tell the reader, that, in the Mahomedan vocabulary, there is no word lower than a hog, that animal being in their estimation the most defiled of animals; and good Mahomedans are prohibited by the Koran from eating it.

The Jew, in their estimation, is the vilest of the human family, and is the object of their pious hatred, perhaps from the recollection that a Jewess of Khaibar first undermined the health of the prophet by infusing poison into his food. Hence a hog and a Jew are esteemed alike in the eye of a Moslem, both being the lowest of their kind; and now the reader will better understand the meaning of the man's words, 'El Yahoodi khanzeer!' "

[Finn's account]...my Hebrew Dragoman, having a case for judgment in the Makhkameh before the new Kadi...was commanded to stand up humbly and take off his shoes...during the Process, although the thief had previously confessed to the robbery in the presence of Jews, the Kadi would not proceed without the testimony of two Moslems - when the Jewish witnesses were offered, he refused to accept their testimony-and the offensive term adopted toward Jews...(more offensive than Giaour for Christians) was used by the Kadi's servants... In continuing to report concerning the apprehensions of Christians from revival of fanaticism on the part of the Mahometans, I have... to state that daily accounts are given to me of insults in the streets offered to Christians and Jews, accompanied by acts of violence... the sufferers are afraid.[36]

Tudor Parfitt's analysis concluded that these problems persisted through the close of the 19th century,

...the courts were biased against the Jews and even when a case was heard in a properly assembled court where dhimmi testimony was admissible the court would still almost invariably rule against the Jews. Inside the towns, Jews and other dhimmis were frequently attacked, wounded, and even killed by local Muslims and Turkish soldiers. Such attacks were frequently for trivial reasons. [37]

During World War I in Palestine, the embattled Young Turk government actually began deporting the Jews of Tel Aviv in the spring of 1917-an ominous parallel to the genocidal deportations of the Armenian dhimmi communities throughout Anatolia. A contemporary Reuters press release discussing the deportation stated that,

Eight thousand deportees from Tel Aviv were not allowed to take any provisions with them, and after the expulsion their houses were looted by Bedouin mobs; two Yemenite Jews who tried to oppose the looting were hung at the entrance to Tel Aviv so that all might see, and other Jews were found dead in the Dunes around Tel Aviv. [38]

Ultimately, enforced abrogation of the laws and social practices of dhimmitude required the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire, which only occurred during the European Mandate period following World War I. Remarkably soon afterwards, however,( i.e., within two years of the abrogation of the Shari'a!) by 1920, Musa Kazem el-Husseini, former governor of Jaffa during the final years of Ottoman rule, and president of the Arab (primarily Muslim) Palestinian Congress, demanded restoration of the Shari'a in a letter to the British High Commissioner, Herbert Samuels:

[Ottoman] Turkey has drafted such laws as suit our customs. This was done  relying upon the Shari'a (Religious Law), in force in Arabic territories, that is engraved in the very hearts of the Arabs and has been assimilated in their customs and that has been applied ...in the modern [Arab] states... We therefore ask the British government...that it should respect these laws [i.e., the Shari'a]...that were in force under the Turkish regime...[39]

A strong Arab Muslim irredentist current, which achieved pre-eminence after the 1929 riots, promulgated the forcible restoration of dhimmitude via jihad, culminating in the widespread violence of 1936-39. Two prominent Muslim personalities Sheikh Izz al-Din al-Qassam, and Hajj Amin el-Husseini, the former Mufti of Jerusalem, embodied this trend. And both these leaders relied upon the ideology of jihad, with its virulent anti-infidel (i.e., anti-Jewish, anti- Christian, and anti-Western) incitement, to garner popular support.

Al-Qassam called for the preservation of the country's Muslim-Arab character, exclusively, and urged an uncompromising and intensified struggle against the British Mandate and the Jewish National Home in Palestine. Palestine could be freed from the danger of Jewish domination, he believed, not by sporadic protests, demonstrations, or riots which were soon forgotten, but by an organized and methodical armed struggle. In his sermons he often quoted verses from the Qur'an referring to jihad, linking them with topical matters and his own political ideas. Al-Qassam and his devoted followers committed various acts of jihad terror targeting Jewish civilians in northern Palestine from 1931 through 1935. On November 20, 1935, al-Qassam was surrounded by British police in a cave near Jenin, and killed along with three of his henchmen.

In the immediate aftermath of his death,

Virtually overnight, Izz al-Din al-Qassam became the object of a full-fledged cult. The bearded Sheikh's picture appeared in all the Arabic-language papers, accompanied by banner headlines and inflammatory articles; memorial prayers were held in mosques throughout the country. He was proclaimed a martyr who had sacrificed himself for the fatherland, his grave at Balad al-Shaykh became a place of pilgrimage, and his deeds were extolled as an illustrious example to be followed by all. In addition, a countrywide fund-raising campaign was launched in aid of families of the fallen, and leading Arab lawyers volunteered to defend the members of the [surviving] band who were put on trial. [40]

Hajj Amin el-Husseini was appointed Mufti of Jerusalem by the British High Commissioner, in May 1921, a title he retained, following the Ottoman practice, for the remainder of his life. Throughout his public career, the Mufti relied upon traditional Qur'anic anti-Jewish motifs to arouse the Arab street. For example, during the incitement which led to the 1929 Arab revolt in Palestine, he called for combating and slaughtering "the Jews", not merely Zionists. In fact, most of the Jewish victims of the 1929 Arab revolt were Jews from the centuries old dhimmi communities (e.g., in Hebron), as opposed to recent settlers identified with the Zionist movement.

With the ascent of Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, the Mufti and his coterie intensified their anti-Semitic activities to secure support from Hitler's Germany (and later Bosnian Muslims, as well as the overall Arab Muslim world), for a jihad to annihilate the Jews of Palestine. Following his expulsion from Palestine by the British, the Mufti fomented a brutal anti-Jewish pogrom in Baghdad (1941), concurrent with his failed effort to install a pro-Nazi Iraqi government.

Escaping to Europe after this unsuccessful coup attempt, the Mufti spent the remainder of World War II in Germany and Italy. From this sanctuary, he provided active support for the Germans by recruiting Bosnian Muslims, in addition to Muslim minorities from the Caucasus, for dedicated Nazi SS units. [41] The Mufti's objectives for these recruits-and Muslims in general-were made explicit during his multiple wartime radio broadcasts from Berlin, heard throughout the Arab world: an international campaign of genocide against the Jews. For example, during his March 1, 1944 broadcast he stated:

Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion. [42]

Invoking the personal support of such prominent Nazis as Himmler and Eichmann, [43] the Mufti's relentless hectoring of German, Rumanian, and Hungarian government officials caused the cancellation of an estimated 480,000 exit visas which had been granted to Jews (80,000 from Rumania, and 400,000 from Hungary). As a result, these hapless individuals were deported to Nazi concentration camps in Poland.

A United Nations Assembly document presented in 1947 which contained the Mufti's June 28, 1943 letter to the Hungarian Foreign Minister requesting the deportation of Hungarian Jews to Poland, includes this stark, telling annotation: "As a Sequel to This Request 400,000 Jews Were Subsequently Killed". The Mufti escaped to the Middle East after the war to avoid capture and possible prosecution for war crimes.

The Mufti's legacy of virulent anti-Semitism continues to influence Arab policy toward Israel. Not surprisingly, Yasser Arafat, beginning at the age of 16, worked for the Mufti performing terrorist operations. Arafat always characterized the Mufti as his primary spiritual and political mentor.

Yasser Arafat orchestrated a relentless campaign of four decades of brutal jihad terrorism against the Jewish State, [44] beginning in the early 1960s, until his recent death, interspersed with a bloody jihad (during the mid 1970s and early 1980s) against the Christians of Lebanon. [45] Chameleon-like, Arafat adopted a thin veneer of so-called "secular radicalism", particularly during the late 1960s and 1970s. Sober analysis reveals, however, that shorn of these superficial secular trappings, Arafat's core ideology remained quintessentially Islamic, i.e., rooted in jihad, throughout his career as a terrorist leader. And even after the Oslo accords, within a week of signing the specific Gaza-Jericho agreements, Arafat issued a brazen pronouncement (at a meeting of South African Muslim leaders) reflecting his unchanged jihadist views:

The jihad will continue and Jerusalem is not for the Palestinian people alone...It is for the entire Muslim umma. You are responsible for Palestine and Jerusalem before me...No, it is not their capital, it is our capital. [46]

During the final decade of his life, Arafat reiterated these sentiments on numerous occasions.'He also acted upon them, orchestrating an escalating campaign of jihad terrorism which culminated in the heinous orgy of Islamikaze violence [47] that lead to Israel's Operation Defensive Shield military operations in the West Bank two days after the Netanya Passover massacre on March 27,2002. Moreover, throughout Arafat's tenure as the major Palestinian Arab leader, his efforts to destroy Israel and replace it with an Arab Muslim sharia-based entity were integrated into the larger Islamic umma's jihad against the Jewish State, as declared repeatedly in official conference pronouncements from various clerical or political organizations of the Muslim (both Arab and non-Arab) nations, for over five decades. [48]

These excerpts from the recent 2003 Putrajaya Islamic Summit speech by former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohammad highlight the official, collective sentiments of Muslim leaders reiterated ad nauseum since the creation of Israel:

To begin with, the governments of all the Muslim countries can close ranks and have a common stand if not on all issues, at least on some major ones, such as on Palestine... We need guns and rockets, bombs and warplanes, tanks and warships... We may want to recreate the first century of the Hijrah, the way of life in those times, in order to practice what we think to be the true Islamic way of life l.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews. There must be a way. And we can only find a way if we stop to think, to assess our weaknesses and our strength, to plan, to strategize and then to counter-attack. As Muslims, we must seek guidance from the AI-Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet. Surely the 23 years' struggle of the Prophet can provide us with some guidance as to what we can and should do... [49]

After more than thirteen centuries of almost uninterrupted jihad in historical Palestine, it is not surprising that the finalized constitution for the proposed Palestinian Arab state declares all aspects of Palestinian state law to be subservient to the Shari'a, while contemporary Palestinian Authority religious intelligentsia, openly support restoration of the oppressive system of dhimmitude within a Muslim dominated Israel, as well. [50]

An appropriate assessment of such anachronistic, discriminatory views was provided by the Catholic Archbishop of the Galilee, Butrus Al-Mu'alem, who, in a June 1999 statement dismissed the notion of modern dhimmis submitting to Muslims:

It is strange to me that there remains such backwardness in our society; while humans have already reached space, the stars, and the moon... there are still those who amuse themselves with fossilized notions. [51]

A strange notion for our modern times, certainly, but very real, ominous, and sobering.

Andrew Bostom

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.                                        …/….


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