Wherever Muslims form a plurality of the population, the life of non-Muslims tends to be grim. In some part, this results from the laws of Islam, which disdain and purposefully oppress the non-believer. In reverse chronological order, this entry provides an occasional glimpse into the problems that can arise.
Document of submission: On conquering the northern city of Raqqa, Syria, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria organization gave 20 Christian leaders there the classic three Islamic options: to convert to Islam; to remain Christian as dhimmis; or to "face the sword." They opted for the second choice and promised, in return for assurances of physical safety to agree to a long list of conditions. These include to:
- Abstain from renovating churches or monasteries in Raqqa;
- Respect Islam and Muslims and say nothing offensive about them;
- Pay the jizya tax worth four golden dinars for the rich, two for the average, and one for the poor, twice annually, for each adult Christian;
- Refrain from drinking alcohol in public;
- Dress modestly.
And not to:
- Display crosses or religious symbols in public;
- Use loudspeakers in prayer;
- Read scripture indoors loud enough for Muslims standing outside to hear;
- Undertake subversive actions against Muslims;
- Carry out any religious ceremonies outside the church;
- Prevent any Christian wishing to convert to Islam from doing so;
The document ends with: "If they adhere to these conditions, they will be close to God and receive the protection of Mohammed his prophet … none of their religious rights will be detracted nor will a priest or monk be wronged. But if they disobey any of the conditions, they are no longer protected and ISIS can treat them in a hostile and warlike fashion." (February 27, 2014)
Jizya Tax on Christians in Egypt and Syria: As Islamists control portions of these two countries, they impose the additional taxes due from non-Muslims.
In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has imposed jizya on all of the 15,000 Copts of Dalga, "without exception," according to Fr. Yunis Shawqi. "[The] value of the tribute and method of payment differ from one place to another in the village, so that, some are being expected to pay 200 Egyptian pounds per day, others 500 Egyptian pounds per day." Some families not able to pay have been attacked and as many as 40 Christian families have fled Dalga.
In Syria, jihadi rebels went into a Christian man's shop and "gave him three options: become Muslim; pay $70,000 as a tax levied on non-Muslims, known as jizya; or be killed along with his family." (September 10, 2013)
"Non-Muslims want equal funeral rights in Turkey": Municipalities in Turkey pick up most funeral expenses for Muslims but the tiny number of non-Muslims must shoulder these costs all on their own. The authorities use the excuse that they are unfamiliar with non-Muslim funeral practices. It also turns out that mosque utility bills are picked up by the national government but not so for non-Muslim sanctuaries. (January 17, 2013)
No pork allowed: A Muslim-owned firm in the United Kingdom, Boohoo Clothing, has informed non-Muslim employees that they may not consume pork on company premises. (November 12, 2012)
Boohoo Clothing's memo to employees forbidding pork.
"Ikea Apologizes for Removing Women From Saudi Catalog": Images of a women with a child in a bathroom appear in an Ikea catalog in 27 languages in 37 countries - but not in the version distributed in Saudi Arabia, where the offending female miraculously vanished. (October 2, 2012)
"The Specter of Jizya Returns to Egypt": Raymond Ibrahim documents how the Salafis in Egypt want an immediate imposition of jizya on Copts while the Muslim Brothers are willing to wait a while. (December 15, 2011)
"Egypt: Desire for Money - Jizya - Prompts Attacks on Christians": Raymond Ibrahim reveals how a demand for jizya accompanies the violence in Egypt against Copts. According to a newspaper article, a church came under attack because its priest "had declared that the Copts would not pay jizya, in any way, shape, or form. This is what caused the Salafists to want to banish him from the region, so they could collect jizya from the Copts." (July 6, 2011)
"Military burns unsolicited Bibles sent to Afghanistan": On the one hand, no less an array of American personages than David Petraeus, Robert Gates, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama has just pressured Pastor Terry Jones not to burn Korans, fearing the Muslim violence against Americans if he went ahead with the ceremony.
On the other – well read again the title above. Details from a May 22, 2009, report from CNN:
Military personnel threw away, and ultimately burned, confiscated Bibles that were printed in the two most common Afghan languages amid concern they would be used to try to convert Afghans, a Defense Department spokesman said Tuesday[, May 19]. The unsolicited Bibles sent by a church in the United States were confiscated about a year ago at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan because military rules forbid troops of any religion from proselytizing while deployed there, Lt. Col. Mark Wright said.
Such religious outreach can endanger American troops and civilians in the devoutly Muslim nation, Wright said. "The decision was made that it was a 'force protection' measure to throw them away, because, if they did get out, it could be perceived by Afghans that the U.S. government or the U.S. military was trying to convert Muslims," Wright told CNN on Tuesday. Troops at posts in war zones are required to burn their trash, Wright said. The Bibles were written in the languages Pashto and Dari. …
Military officers considered sending the Bibles back to the church, he said, but they worried the church would turn around and send them to another organization in Afghanistan—giving the impression that they had been distributed by the U.S. government. That could lead to violence against troops or U.S. civilians, Wright said.
(September 21, 2010)
"Hamas disinters Christians in Gaza": According to Reverend Majed El Shafie, president of One Free World International, "Hamas digs up the bodies of Christians from Christian burial sites in the Gaza Strip claiming that they pollute the earth." (December 12, 2009)
Al-Qaeda leader wants Americans to pay jizya: Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid, general commander of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, spoke on Al-Jazeera television about the future of the United States, as transcribed and translated by MEMRI. He began by reiterating the common Muslim goal: "Our religion was sent to encompass and to rule all of mankind, because all the people are the servants of Allah, and this land is the land of Allah, and therefore, all the people should be ruled by the law of Allah." Then, about the Americans: he lists several conditions ("to get out of the countries of the Muslims, to stop their support of the oppressive Jewish occupier in Palestine, to stop their support for the apostate governments, which have usurped the rule in the countries of the Muslims, to stop all the aggression against the Muslims, and to release the prisoners from their jails") and indicates that if these are fulfilled,
then the fighting between us and them will cease – but not permanently. There will be a hudna [a truce] for, let's say, 10 years. In addition, from this moment, we call upon them to convert to Islam.
If they convert, the fighting between us and them will come to an end forever, but if they do not, we shall strive to establish the Islamic caliphate, and then we will call upon them, once again, to convert to Islam.
If they convert to Islam - Allah be praised. But if they do not convert, we shall impose Islamic rule on them, and exact the jizya poll tax from them.
If they accept these terms, the fighting between us and them will cease. This is not beyond the power of Allah.
But if they do not accept all this, there will be fighting between us and them. This is the plan of Islam for peace with the Americans and others.
(June 22, 2009)
"Sikhs pay Rs 20m 'tax' to Taliban in Pak's Aurakzai": The Times of India reports that Sikhs living in the Aurakzai region of Pakistan paid 20 million rupees (=US$250,000) as jizya to the Taliban after the latter occupied at least ten of their homes and kidnapped a Sikh leader, Saiwang Singh. On payment, the Taliban left the homes and released Saiwang Singh. (April 16, 2009)
"Saudi Arabia: Hundreds accused of 'immorality'": Saudi Arabia's Authority for the Prohibition of Vice and the Promotion of Virtue, known as the religious police or Mutawwa, issued a report showing that 434 people were detained over the past year detained on accusations of "immorality," such as skipping prayers, consuming alcohol, and appearing in public with members of the opposite sex who are not close family members. This amounts to a 19 percent increase over the previous year. Three-quarters of those are foreigners. Only those detained for use of drugs or alcohol had to appear before magistrates; others were subsequently released with a caution after promising to lead a "virtuous" life. Even those who were sentenced by judges often had non-custodial sentences, instead having to clean buildings and cars, do community work, or – and this is where the dhimmitude enters – memorise the Koran. (November 25, 2008)
"133 temples demolished in four years in Malaysia": State Executive Council member Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar announced that, by an official count, local authorities demolished as many as 96 Hindu and 37 Buddhist temples in Malaysia in the period 2004-07. (October 29, 2008)
"Philippines' Islamic city proud to be different": Although the Philippines is a majority-Catholic country, the city of Marawi, 385 miles south of Manila, is predominantly Muslim, with Catholics accounting for about 1 percent of the town's 160,000 population. Not only is the Shari'a implemented in the usual ways (alcohol, pork, gambling, and karaoke clubs forbidden, Muslim women must cover their heads), but also in the denigration of Christianity.
Father Teresito Soganub doesn't look like a Catholic priest and, from the outside, his cathedral doesn't look like a church. In his parish, tucked away in Marawi, the only Islamic city in the Philippines, it's easier that way. "To avoid arguments and to avoid further misunderstandings we just plant the cross deep in our hearts," said the 47-year-old priest, who doesn't wear a crucifix or a clerical collar and sports a beard out of respect for his Muslim neighbors. … his modest Santa Maria Auxiliadora Cathedral, with its corrugated iron roof, has no cross outside to show that it is a Christian church. "People here don't want a large symbol. The residents don't want that."
(March 17, 2008)
"No moving Jewish lips in prayer on Temple Mount, says Dichter": Israel, ironically, occasionally applies the Shari'a that amounts to dhimmitude. One example would be jailing a person who insults the Islamic prophet, Muhammad (on which, see, "[Hebron Pig Poster Incident:] How Clinton Adheres to the 'Rushdie Rules,'"). Nadav Shragai explains another rule in Ha'aretz:
In 1976, the Supreme Court ruled that it accepted the government's position that it was not opposed to individual Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, providing that it was not of a demonstrative nature that could lead to public disorder. High Court rulings in recent years have also been seen to support individual, as opposed to group prayer on the Mount. [Members of Knesset Uri Ariel and Aryeh Eldad] recently decided to test the State's position on this issue. They informed the police that "they intended to manifest this right" [to non-demonstrative prayer] by first coordinating the best time and place to enter and exit the Temple Mount complex. The two MKs explained that all they intended to do was to pray, without informing the media of their plans, or wearing a talit or tefilin, or bringing a Torah scroll with them.
"It is not possible to arrest a person for 'conversing with his maker,'" [Public Security Minister Avi] Dichter replied, using the same terminology of the MKs' letter. "However it is possible to carry out an arrest for expressions of outward and demonstrative signs [of prayer]." This interpretation, Dichter continued, "is in line with the rationale that bans Jews from praying at the site, in light of serious concerns that this will serve as a provocation, resulting in disorder, with a near certain likelihood of subsequent bloodshed." It was further explained to the two MKs that from the police's point of view, there is no substantive difference between the prayer of an individual and group prayer, since the threat to public safety is the same. Such act would be considered "altering the status quo at the site."
In short, the Government of Israel is enforcing a regulation banning Jews from praying in any overt manner on the Temple Mount, even just their moving the lips of their mouths. January 2, 2008)
"Government authorities demolished church in Malaysia": A new church built with government authorization, reports Malaysia Today, was deemed an "illegal" structure and demolished on June 4. (June 20, 2007)
"Mahdi Army Orders Christian Women in Baghdad to Veil Themselves": "An undated letter issued by Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi army to Christians in Baghdad orders Christian women to veil themselves or face grave consequences. The letter … states that the Virgin Mary was not unveiled and so Christian women should not be unveiled. The letter ends with an ominous note that committees have been established to monitor the Christian populace and enforce the decree." (May 30, 2007)
"Muslims Forcing Christian Assyrians in Baghdad Neighborhood to Pay 'Protection Tax'": The Assyrian International News Agency reports that
Muslims in the Dora neighborhood of Iraq are forcing Assyrians (also known as Chaldeans and Syriacs) to pay the jizya. … At least two cases have been reported to a government employee—who wishes to remain anonymous—in which the Christian Assyrian wives were instructed to go to a certain mosque and pay, which they did out of fear. The stated reason for the payment was "we do the fighting and you pay to support."
(March 18, 2007)
"Imposition of Shariah on non-Muslims proposed in Aceh": Since the Shari'a first took effect in 2005 in Aceh, the intensely Muslim province at the north of Sumatra, it has applied only to Muslims. Now, a bill in the Aceh legislature will impose Islamic law on non-Muslims too. Alyasa Abubakar, a government official, declared: "Based on equality in law, Acehnese people have formally proposed ... to apply the Islamic Shariah Law to all those residing in Aceh, including military, police and non-Muslims." (May 27, 2006)
"Iran eyes badges for Jews, Christians and Zoroastrans": The Iranian parliament has passed a law that requires religious minorities to wear badtes- yellow for Jews, red for Christians, and blue for Zoroastrians to identify them as non-Muslims so that Muslims can more easily avoid contact with them. The law must still be approved by Iran's Supreme Ladeer, Ali Khamene'I, before being put into effect. The law had been drafted two years ago and was recently revived by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. To which Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, responded that "This is reminiscent of the Holocaust. Iran is moving closer and closer to the ideology of the Nazis."
Comment: Actually, this revives a custom that originated in Muslim countries that the Nazis much later adopted. For another recent Muslim example of this practice, recall the 2001 Taliban demand that Hindus wear a yellow badge. (May 19, 2006)
Death penalty for an Afghan conversion to Christianity: An Afghan Muslim known only as Abdul Rahman, 41, was sentenced to death for having converted out of Islam sixteen years earlier. Only due to a major international outcry, including by the pope, was he deemed mentally incapable and thrown out of the country. (March 29, 2006)
Claiming a corpse in Malaysia: M Moorthy, 36, was a national hero in Malaysia due to his mountaineering exploits, especially his being a member of his country's first expedition to the top of Mount Everest in May 1997. He was also a Hindu, the child of Hindu parents, married to a Hindu wife, who as recently as two months ago was interviewed on television about his preparations for the Hindu festival of Diwali. But he was paralyzed from the waist down due to a 1998 injury and a fall from his wheelchair on Nov. 11 led to his death on Nov. 20. His family, naturally, wanted to give him a Hindu funeral.
At that point, however, an Islamic court sided with Moorthy's former colleagues in the Malaysian Armed Forces who claimed that he had converted to Islam; the court would not even permit the family, non-Muslims, to appear before it to dispute the matter. A dreadful scene then occurred at the mortuary as family members jostled with state Islamic officials and former soldiers for the body. The family lost and applied to the country's Appellate and Special Powers High Court, which ruled that it could not override the Islamic courts in such a matter. Moorthy in the end was buried as a Muslim.
The president of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism, Rev. Sri K. Dhammananda said the council was "very disturbed" by what happened and called this development "a crisis for non-Muslims because they can seek no legal remedy." He called for the repeal of a subsection of the Federal Constitution "to make it clear that the Syariah [Shari'a] Court has no jurisdiction to hear matters involving non-Muslims." (December 29, 2005)
Levying the jizya tax in the Palestinian Authority: Jizya is a tax specified in the Koran (9:29) to be paid by non-Muslim males living in dar al-Islam, that is, under Muslim political rule. In theory, it is what non-Muslims pay extra for the privilege of being protected by the Muslim state, in whose military they may not serve. In fact, beyond the often penurious sums involved, it has a humiliating quality to it, reminding the kafirs that they are second-class subjects for refusing the Islamic truth. The tax was regularly collected through Islamic history, fading out only in the nineteenth century.
But Islamists, in keeping with other retrograde ideas, like reviving slavery, would like to re-impose the jizya. Hamas has long wanted non-Muslims in "Palestine" to pay it and as it approaches the corridors of power, this abstract wish takes on new vitality and importance. "We in Hamas intend to implement this tax someday," says a Bethlehem city council member, Hassan El-Masalmeh. "We say it openly—we welcome everyone to Palestine but only if they agree to live under our rules." (December 23, 2005)