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Caliphate and Dhimmitude

Reader comment on item: The Caliphate: Updates

Submitted by Martin Issel (United States), Dec 15, 2005 at 11:56

The next step for Bush and his advisers is to start explaining what the caliphate means for non-Muslims, subjection to the laws of the dhimma, a state called "dhimmitude". The laws of the dhimma were promulgated more than a thousand years ago to address a problem no previous imperial power had ever encountered: how to maintain the sense of religious superiority when they were dependent on conquered peoples of other religions to profit from their conquests. The answer was to develop a system of discriminations that gave us the yellow star to mark Jews and all the other elements of the racist canon. For those interested in further information, the authority on dhimmitude is a diminutive woman who calls herself "Bat Yeor."

Rejection of dhimmitude is a very real rejection of the Muslim, and not just the Islamist, perception of the world. The West needs to understand this because this is very likely to be the central offense of the West against Muslims, why they hate us so much. Since we cannot embrace dhimmitude to their satisfaction (although some places in Europe are trying), there is no positive solution for the West that doesn't include a rather radical transformation of Islam itself. We need to recognize this, and start thinking about how to go about it.

Perhaps, given their clear dependence on the West for their economic well-being, it is this sense of superiority that the Islamists are trying to re-establish. The bargain they offer is very simple: they make the decisions about what all the rest of us must do to maintain their sense of religious superiority. This may look good to them, but it's hard to see why any non-Muslim would even consider it.
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