The Rise of Islam - MO-HAM-MAD, a prophet astute in statecraft and military strategy ‎and an inspired statesman, changed the history and destiny of Arabia and of much of ‎the world. He was born about 570 to the Banu Hashim family, reputable merchants in ‎the tribe of Quraysh in Mecca. According to tradition, he was a penniless orphan who ‎married Khadija, the widow of a rich merchant, somewhat older than himself. He ‎probably engaged in trade, and is said by some to have had responsibilities in ‎connection with the Ka'aba stone. When he was about forty years old he began ‎preaching a new religion, eventually meeting the opposition of Meccan oligarchy. ‎Initially, MO-HAM-MAD made few converts and many enemies. His first converts were ‎Khadija, Ali (who became the husband of Fatima), and Abu Bakr.

The Hijra - From about 620, ‎Mecca became actively hostile, since much of its revenues depended on its pagan ‎shrine, the Kaaba, under the protection of the Quraysh, and an attack on the existing ‎Arab religion was an attack on the prosperity of Mecca.‎ Following the death of Khadija in 621, MO-HAM-MAD married eleven other women. ‎Tradition relates that he and his followers were invited to the town of Yathrib by ‎Jewish and Christian tribes after they were no longer welcome in Mecca. In 622, the ‎first year of the Muslim calendar, they set out on the Hijra, the emigration to Yathrib, ‎later renamed Medina, meaning "the city" where MO-HAM-MAD concluded a treaty with ‎the tribes of Medina. A large number of Medinans, known as the Ansar (helpers), ‎were attracted to MO-HAM-MAD's cause. According to several sources, early versions of ‎Islamic practice included Jewish practices such as the fast of Yom Kippur and prayer ‎to Jerusalem, perhaps influenced by the Jews of Medina. These were eventually ‎dropped, and the direction of prayer was turned to Mecca. ‎

Battle of Badr - In 624 MO-HAM-MAD learned of a war party of the Quraysh, who were setting out to ‎Medina to avenge the apparenly accidental death of one Hadrami, a relative of the ‎leader of the Quraysh. MO-HAM-MAD and his army, aided by the ansar auxiliaries, rode ‎out to meet them at Badr. This battle, related in the Quran, is often called the first ‎battle of Islam, but in fact there had been several skirmishes before Badr. Despite the ‎numerical superiority of the Qurayshites, the Battle of Badr was apparently a clear ‎victory for MO-HAM-MAD. The Quraysh lost about 70 warriors and leaders and 70 ‎captured (these "round" numbers may be historical conventions) out of a fighting ‎force of about a thousand. ‎

Battle of Uhud -The Qurayshites prepared better for the battle of Uhud, fought in the following year. ‎They gathered a force of some 3,000 men, including a strong cavalry contingent led ‎by Khalid Ibn Walid, later a famus general of Islam. The battle was fought in the vally ‎of Aqiq, north of Yathrib (Medina) in the shadow of Mount Uhud. Though the Muslims ‎had the initial advantage, they fell to looting the camp of the Meccans and ‎abandoned a good archery position in the high ground. This allowed Khalid ibn Walid ‎to save the day for the Qurayshites and inflict heavy losses on the Muslims. Tradition ‎relates that the Muslims lost 70 men in this battle. Uhud is often called the second ‎battle of Islam, because it is the second battle referred to in the Quran, or perhaps ‎because it was the second Ghazwa. A Ghazwa is a large scale raid that was led by ‎MO-HAM-MAD in person. ‎

Battle of The Trench - MO-HAM-MAD believed firmly in his position as last of the prophets and as successor of ‎Jesus. Therefore, he seems at first to have expected that the Jews and Christians ‎would welcome him and accept his revelations, but he was soon disappointed. ‎Medina had a large Jewish population that controlled most of the wealth of the city, ‎and a portion of them at least refused to give their new ruler any kind of religious ‎allegiance. Muhammad, after a long quarrel, appropriated much of their property, and ‎destroyed two Jewish tribes, the Banu Nadir and the Banu Quraizah. MO-HAM-MAD ‎fought the Banu Nadir and expelled them from Meccah. According to tradition, in 627, ‎remnants of the Banu Nadir instigated the formation of a large alliance (Ahzab) of ‎tribes including the Quraysh, the Banu Quraiza and others and mounted an attack on ‎Medina with a force of about 20,000. MO-HAM-MAD and his followers constructed a ‎trench around Medina as a part of its fortification, purposely making one section ‎narrower than the rest, so that the Meccan attackers would try to cross the trench at ‎that point. This formed a convenient trap which resulted in the death of many ‎Meccans. Unable to cross the trench, the Meccans besieged Medina. Medina was ‎saved by a miracle reminiscent of the destruction of Senacharib before Jerusalem. ‎After 27 days of siege, according to tradition, God sent a piercing blast of the cold ‎east wind. The enemy’s tents were torn up, their fires were put out, the sand and rain ‎beat in their faces. Terrified by the portents, they broke camp and lifted the siege. ‎

Treaty of Hudaybieh - In 628, MO-HAM-MAD and his followers set out on a pilgrimage to Mecca, and met the ‎Quraysh tribe at Hudaybiyeh, where the Quraysh had assembled to block the ‎pilgrimage. Instead of fighting, the enemies concluded a treaty and the Muslims ‎agreed not to make the pilgrimage that year. Instead, they turned on the Jews of the ‎town of Khaybar, who were now no longer protected by the Quraysh, and attacked ‎and subjugated the city.

Conquest of Mecca - By 630, MO-HAM-MAD and the Muslims were strong enough to ‎attack and conquer Mecca, despite the treaty, alleging that the Quraysh had violated ‎the treaty first. The Meccans were forced to convert to Islam, and the powerful ‎Quraish and Umayya tribes were incorporated into the Islamic leadership by giving ‎members of their leaders, especially Uthman, prominent positions in the military and ‎government. By this time pagan Arabia had been converted, and the Prophet's ‎missionaries, or legates, were active in the Eastern Empire, in Persia, and in ‎Ethiopia.‎


The new religion evolved into a way of life and recipe for community organization, ‎providing a religious and ideological framework for uniting the Arab tribes, and a ‎social and organizational framework for regulating the unified action of the nomads. ‎The separate tribes had been re-formed into a Muslim-Arab Umma (community). The ‎Qur'an is, among other things, a handbook for rules of war, prescribing the laws of ‎treaties and of booty and commanding the faithful to Jihad, (holy war) against any ‎who interfere with the practice of Islam. In practice, Jihad was often carried out as ‎aggressive war well beyond the borders of Islam. ‎MO-HAM-MAD had created powerful force that could now wrest control of much of the subcontinent. In 632, MO-HAM-MAD died after a short illness. Though he had been an astute statesman, he failed to make any arrangements for his succession. His successors were chosen one after the other from among the family and supporters of MO-HAM-MAD.

Abu Bakr, father-law of MO-HAM-MAD, was his first successor. He was given command of the faithful as Khalifa (deputy) of MO-HAM-MAD. Several tribes living at some distance from Mecca refused to accept his rule, and a war of secession, the Ridda, was fought by Abu Bakr and his able general Khalid ibn al Walid to subjugate these tribes. Muslim successes in these wars and real or perceived threats from the neighboring Persian and Byzantine empires initiated a series of wars of conquest outside the Arabian peninsula. Abu Bakr died in 634, and was replaced by Umar, who completed the initial expansion of Islam. The Byzantine and Persian empires had been greatly weakened by their struggles with each other and internal decay. The Arabs had perfected a form of warfare suitable for the desert, and for those times and conditions. The swordsmen mounted on camels, and living by raids and foraging were self-sufficient and didn't concern themselves with supply lines. They could come out of the desert that bordered Persian and Byzantine domains and strike at will. If they failed in battle, they could quickly retreat into the desert, where it was difficult for enemies mounted on horseback to follow. The failing Byzantine and Persian empires could not organize field armies large enough to decisively defeat the Arabs, nor could they provide the manpower for proper stationary defensive fortifications. The Arabs quickly conquered Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Egypt and Persia. The Caliph Umar conquered Jerusalem in 640, and guaranteed the safety of the Christian holy places.

The Caliphate is moved from Arabia - On the death of Umar (Omar) in 644, Uthman was chosen as Caliph. Uthman was murdered by mutinous soldiers in 656, provoking a civil war over the succession, and laying the foundation for an eventual split. In place of Uthman. Ali, the son-in-law of MO-HAM-MAD, who had married his daughter Fatima, became Caliph. Ali moved the capital from Media to Kufa, in what is now Iraq. The Arabian peninsula, which had spawned Islam, remained an important religious center and the site of the holy pilgrimage to Mecca, but it was politically eclipsed and did not play an important part in the subsequent expansion of Islam. Ali fought a civil war against supporters of the party of Uthman and others. He defeated the widow of MO-HAM-MAD and her supporters at Basra, in modern Iraq, in the battle of the Camel. Mu'awiya, who ruled the province of Syria from Damascus, claimed that he was the legitimate successor to the Caliphate, and challenged Ali indecisively in the battle of Siflin in 657. The Kharjites (meaning "those who left") protested against the compromise outcome of the battle and formed a separate movement as adherents of Ali, forming a separate movement. They continued to be important until about the eleventh century and eventually evolved into Ibadi Islam. Ibadism is neither Sunni nor Shi‘i, and exists today mainly in Oman, East Africa, the Mzab valley in Algeria, the Nafus mountains of Libya, and Jerba island in Tunisia. Ali was murdered in 661 and the Caliphate moved to Damascus under Mu'awiya, who founded the Umayyad dynasty.

In the course of history, Islam diverged into numerous schools and sects with different approaches and philosophies ranging from fierce and puritanical schools such as the Wahhabi of Saudi Arabia to tolerant and spiritualistic Suffi practitioners. Four different Sufi schools (Tasawwuf) arose in different parts of the Islamic world : The Naqshbandiah, the Qadriah, the Chishtiah, and Suharwardiah. Sunni (meaning "orthodox") Islam includes four systems of law. One of these, the school of Malik ibn Anas (died in 796), which is observed today in much of Africa and Indonesia, originated with the scholars of Medina. The three other Sunni law schools (Hanafi, Shafii, and Hanbali) developed at about the same time, mostly based on Iraqi scholarship.

The Rise of Shi'ism -. Despite civil discord, Mu'awiya continued the rapid expansion of Islam throughout central and Eastern Asia, including Afghanistan. Mu'awiya also launched the first Muslim expeditions against Byzantine Constantinople, though he was unsuccessful. In 680, Mu'awiya died and was succeeded by Yazid. Yazid was challenged by Hussayn, the son of Ali, in the same year, and Hussayn and his followers were massacred in the battle of Karbala in Iraq. This event formed the impetus for the growth of the dissident Shi'ite movement, which had begun with the death of Ali in opposition to the Umayyads. The ranks of the Shi'ites were swelled by various discontented groups, notably by newly converted non-Arab Muslims, the Mawali, who demanded equal rights with Arabs. The Shi'a supported successors of Ali and family members of the Prophet as the only legitimate Caliphs. They spawned several related political and religious movements including the Isma'ili sect, the Carmathians and the Fatimid movement and dynasty. A central belief of the Shi'ites relates to the coming of a special leader, the Mahdi, the Muslim equivalent of the Jewish and Christian Messiah. The majority of Shi'ites recognize a line of twelve leaders, or Imams beginning with Ali and ending with MO-HAM-MAD al Muntazar (MO-HAM-MAD, the awaited one). These Shia, known as "Twelvers," believe that the Twelfth Imam did not die but disappeared in 874, and that he will return as the "rightly guided leader," or Mahdi, and usher in a new, more perfect order. A second Shia group, the Ismailis, or the "Seveners," follow a line of Imams that challenged the Seventh Imam and supported a younger brother, Ismail. The major Shi'a ritual is Ashura, the commemoration of the death of Husayn. Other practices include pilgrimages to shrines of Ali and his relatives. The Alawi of Syria and Lebanon are considered to be a branch of Ismaili Shi'ism, as is the Druze religion, which originated in Fatimid Egypt. Druze, Ismailis and Alawi share beliefs in emanations of God, in supernatural hierarchies, and in the transmigration of souls.

The Umayyads - In 683 Yazid died. A second civil war ensued, ending in Umayyad victory at the battle of Marj Rahit. The Caliph Marwan ruled for only a year, but arranged for the succession of his son Abd-al Malik. Abd-al Malik consolidated Arab gains and put down revolts by Kharjites and others with a heavy hand. His deputy Al-Hajjaj ibn Yussef was send to Iraq against its governor, the brother of Ibn al-Zubayr who was in rebellion, and after dealing with him, al-Hajjaj was sent to Mecca with Syrian troops under his command to subdue the rebellion of Ibn al-Zubayr and his followers. After a seven-month seige, Ibn al-Zubayr was killed and unity was restored to the Muslim empire. Al-Hajjaj's cruelty became a byword in Islam. He is said to have told the faithful at a mosque in Baghdad, "I have seen that some heads have ripened and are ready to be picked, I will be the one to pick them."

Abd-al Malik was succeeded in 705 by Walid, whose reign represented the height of Ummayad power. Walid resumed the expansion of the Muslim empire, conquering Sind in India and landing in Spain for the first time in 710. Walid was succeeded in 715 by Sulayman, who mounted a disastrous expedition against Constantinople that almost ruined the Arab state. In 717 he died, passing the Caliphate to Umar ibn Abdel Aziz, or Umar II. Umar II, a pious and able ruler, reconstructed and restored the Arabian empire. However, he reigned only 3 years, and was followed by Yazid and Hisham, and Marwan, the last Umayyad ruler in the East. In the West however, the Umayyads established an independent dynast in Spain, where Abd ar Rahman III became Caliph in 912. The last Umayyad Caliph of Spain was Hisham III, who ruled until 1032

The Abbasids and the Climax of Arab power - Disenfranchised and dissatisfied elements including Shi'ites united under the leadership of Abu Muslim in Persia, and raised a black flag of rebellion in Khurasan. These forces quickly gathered strength and swept away the resistance of the Arab tribes at the battle of the Great Zab, bringing to power Abu'l Abbas known as al Saffah, founder of the Abbasid caliphate. The rise of the Abbasid caliphate represented a true social revolution. Arabs been displaced by Persians and others. The distinctions of aristocracy disappeared. The distinction between Arab Muslims and converted Muslims was likewise wiped away and the basis was laid for the eclectic and tolerant Muslim society of the golden age of Islam. The Abbasid caliph Al-Mansour built a capital city on an island between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, in place of a small Persian village. He called his capital Madinat as-Salam - the city of peace, but it came to be known by most people by its older Persian name, Baghdad.

The further spread of Islam - Though the caliphate splintered, Islam spread under various rulers to Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia, and into Indonesia. In Europe, in addition to Spain the Arabs began attacking Sicily as early as the reign of Mu'awiya. A serious effort was direct at Sicily by Ziyadatallah the Muslim ruler of Tunisia in 827, when aiding the dissident Byzantine admiral Euphemious. He sent a force of about a hundred ships, and with the fortuitous arrival of Spanish Muslims, was able to gain a foothold, occupying Palermo in 831. Muslim rule in Sicily and parts of southern Italy lasted until 1091 when they were finally expelled by the Normans under Roger I.

Spain was conquered by successive waves of Muslim invasions in the eighth century. The Muslim advance into Europe was soon halted at the battle of Tours (also known as the battle of Tours and Poitiers and the battle of Poitiers) in 732. According to some accounts, this was an impressive and critical battle. Abd-er Rahman, governor of Spain led an army estimated to 60,000 to 400,000 soldiers across the Western Pyrenees and toward the Loire River, but they were met just outside the city of Tours by Charles Martel, (Charles the Hammer) and the Frankish Army, and defeated. According to other accounts the Muslim army was a small forward force. In any case, the Muslims persisted in Spain and solidified their hold their, Arabizing the culture of Spain and enriching European culture. Spain soon became an independent Muslim country and parts of Spain remained in Muslim hands until it was conquered by Christians and the Muslims expelled or converted at the end of the 15th century. To this day, the expulsion from Spain is remembered with bitterness by Muslims, and Spain, known as Al-Andalus in Arabic, is considered territory lost from Dar al-Islam (the realm of peace) to Dar al-Harb (the realm of war).

The fall of the Abbasids and decline of the Arabs - The Arab empire began to disintegrate soon after the Golden age, and a period of independent Caliphates and successive chaotic invasions followed. The Shi'ite Fatimids established an independent Caliphate in North Africa in 910, and conquered Egypt in 969, founding the city of Cairo. The Buwayhids occupied the throne of Persia in 932 and conquered Baghdad in 945. The Seljuk Turks in turn conquered Baghdad in 1055, and their rule spread to Syria and Palestine, where they displaced the Fatimids. The Fatimids, based in Egypt, briefly retook Jerusalem in 1098. In these centuries the Assassin sect arose, based mainly in Iran Iraq and derived from the Ismai'ilis. They were hired killers who services were offered to various Muslim rulers. It is frequently said that they used Hashish as a means of increasing their ferocity, but this may be a spurious tale.

The Crusades - The Muslims were challenged by the Crusaders who arrived in the Middle East in 1096 and captured Jerusalem in 1099. The Muslim world reacted slowly but surely to the unexpected and unwelcome intrusion of the "Franks." Salah Eddin, a Kurd, took control of Fatimid Egypt and declared an end to the Fatimid dynasty in 1171. He reconquered Jerusalem in 1187, having defeated the Crusaders at the battle of Hattin. The Crusaders lingered on in Syria and Palestine. The last fortress of the Crusaders, Acre, fell in 1291.

The Mongols - Despite the conquest of Baghdad by the Buwayhids and Seljuk Turks, the Abbasids still ruled nominally as Caliphs until 1258, when the Mongols under Hulagu (also Holagu, Huleku) sacked Baghdad, ending the the temporal power of the Caliphate. The Mongols swept across the Middle East, reaching the Mediterranean and wreaking havoc in the already weakened remains of the Arab empire. The advance of Hulagu was finally stopped at the battle of Ayn Jalut near Nazereth in Palestine in 1260. The Mongols eventually converted to Islam and were integrated in the Muslim domains. However, the invasion of Hulagu was followed in the fourteenth and fifteen centuries by the invasion of Tamurlaine, who conquered Samarkand in central Asia and reached Syria about 1401.

The Mamluke Turks - The Mamlukes were a slave caste of warriors. About 1250 they took power in Egypt from the remains of the Ayubbid dynasty founded by Salah Eddin. It was they who defeated the Mongols at Ayn Jalut. Their rule was quickly extended over Palestine and Syria.

The Safavid Dynasty - In the confusion left by the retreating Mongols of Tamerlane, the Safavid dynasty took power in Persia in 1501, and established a strong independent state, though it eventually had to cede Baghdad and all of Iraq to the Ottoman Turks. Persians fought against western incursions, against the Uzbeks and against Sunni Muslims. In particular, the first Safavid Shah, Ismail I, pursued a policy of persecuting Muslims and interfering with Ottoman interests. This attracted the ire of the Turkish Sultans, who inflicted a decisive defeat on the Persians in 1514, causing the loss of northern Iraq and eastern Asia minor. The Safavid's ruled until 1732.

The Ottoman Turks - While the Mamlukes were taking power in the southern part of the Middle East, the Ottoman Turks were gathering strength in the Asia Minor and spilling over into Europe. Their success was due to good organization and early exploitation of the power of fire arms, which was not realized by other Muslim antagonists. The Mamlukes had been Turkish slaves of the Arabs; the Ottomans in turn created a soldier caste of Janissaries (Yeni Ceri, meaning New Troops), who were Christians conscripted or captured at any early age and raised as fanatic Muslims. They originally served as the personal guard of the Sultan. After the 1380s Sultan Selim I recruited them by taxation in human form called devshirmeh. The sultan’s men would conscript a number of non-Muslim, usually Christian, boys – at first at random, later by strict selection – and take them to be trained.

In Asia Minor, Osman I established the beginning of the Ottoman dynasty in 1293. Osman's successor Ohkran conquered most of western Asia Minor. By 1354 the Turks had a base at Gallipoli, a peninsula. on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. In 1351, Murad I took Adrianople. The Byzantine Empire was reduced to the city of Constantinople. In 1389, at the Battle of Kossovo, Murad I defeated Christian resistance and Ottoman power extended up to the Danube. Slowed for a time by the invasions of Tamerlane, the Ottomans maintained their power in their European possessions and in the 15th century their expansion resumed.

In 1443 or 1444, the forces of the Sultan Murad II defeated an army of Christian allies at the Bulgarian seaport of Varna. On May 29, 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Sultan Mehmet the Conquerer (Mehmet the II). The Turks spread their rule progressively over practically the entire Middle East. In 1517 they defeated the Mamlukes, using canons and guns against the Mamkuke troops who were armed mostly with swords. The Hashemite Sharif of Mecca accepted Ottoman rule. In 1519 they extended their rule through most of North Africa, and later conquered and reconquered Iraq. In Europe, the Ottoman Turks conquered Wallachia, Transylvania Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Albania. As early as 1480, they had landed at Otranto in Italy, but their presence there proved to be short lived. By 1529 they were threatening Vienna, though their siege failed and they did not extend their empire beyond Hungary.

The conquest of Constantinople made trade between Europe and the east more difficult. The Europeans soon sought a sea route that would bring them to the spices of India without the intervention of Arab traders. Vasco Da Gama reached the Indies by sea in 1498, and opened the ocean trade between Europe and Asia. Thereafter, the overland trade routes of the Arabs and Turks declined in importance.

The Ottoman empire continued to flourish in the 16th and 17th centuries despite inherent weaknesses in the organization of the Sultanate. The first sign of weakness was the Turkish defeat in the sea battle of Lepanto (near Naupactus in Epirus, Western Greece) in 1571, by the an anti-Ottoman alliance known as the Holy League. The Holy League was assembled by the influence of Pope Pious V and led by Don Juan of Austria. It consisted of the Papal States, Spain, Venice and Genoa.

The decisive turning point in the Turkish struggle with Europe came with the second siege of Vienna in 1680. The Turks were beaten back by a combined force of Germans and Austrians aided by 30,000 Poles under the Emperor Jan Sobieski. The Ottoman Empire declined in power and importance, but the fact of decline was not really grasped for another 120 years. Napoleon's rapid conquest of Egypt in 1798 clearly signaled to the Muslims that they had been left behind in the race for cultural development, and efforts were made to introduce Western arms, printing presses, music and dress.

However, the Muslim world failed to industrialize and modernize, and the Turkish Empire continued to retreat before the advances of the Russians and to disintegrate due to internal causes. Throughout the nineteenth century, they were partly saved by the British and French who were interested in maintaining Turkey as a means of stopping Russian expansion, and in protecting their growing interests in Turkey, which was considerably indebted to them. All the powers, including Russia, pursued a policy of keeping the Sultan in power and maintaining the integrity of the Turkish Empire. At the same time, the Western powers encouraged or took advantage of the dissolution of certain parts of the Empire. Greece was taken taken from Turkey in 1830 following an internal revolt, and Serbia became autonomous in 1829 following the Russo-Turkish War. Lebanon became autonomous in 1861. Egypt remained independent after the withdrawal of Napoleon, though it was forced to give up conquests in Syria and Palestine. Turkey lost further territories, especially in the Balkans, after the Crimean war in 1856 and after the Balkan crisis of 1878.

In 1908 the government of Turkey was seized by the Young Turks, a group of college students and dissident soldiers who had focused the discontent of many with the despotism and inefficiency of the regime, and the nationalist hopes of Arabs and others. In 1908, the Young Turks forced Sultan Abdülhamid II to reinstitute the 1876 constitution and recall the legislature. In 1914, Turkey entered WW I under on the side of the Central Powers. Britain decided that it was time to dismantle the Ottoman Empire. A British officer, T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) aided a Muslim revolt by the Hashemite family, rulers of Mecca and the Hijaz. The British, Australians and French carried out a long and bloody battle in the Gallipoli peninsula, and finally were forced to withdraw, suffering about 250,000 casualties. However, General Allenby conquered Palestine and Syria, and the Turks retreated before the British and the rebellious Arabs, as well as the Russians pressing from the north.

Turkey was forced to sign an ignominious peace at Sevres in 1919, but Kemal Ataturk, who seized the government from Young Turks, refused to honor it and negotiated better terms at Lausanne in 1922 after defeating the invading Greeks. Ataturk abolished the Caliphate formally in the same year and began the modernization of Turkey.

The Ottoman Empire, the last empire of the Muslims, was at an end, and the Middle East was carved up by Britain and France into nation states, mandates and protectorates, all of which eventually became independent following World War II. In Saudi Arabia, the Wahhabi Saud family, based in the Eastern Najd areas took power, displacing the Hashemites who ruled the Hijaz. The Hashemites had been promised an Arabian kingdom by the British in return for their support of the British and the revolt against the Ottoman Turks. The British compensated the Hashemites for the loss of the Hijaz by giving them the Kingdoms of Transjordan and Iraq.

The Fall of Constantinople and Islam’s Treatment of Christians

JUNE 4, 2015 12:19 PM

May 29 was the anniversary of the conquering and desolation of the great Christian city of Constantinople by the forces of Islam in 1453. The below historical descriptions of the pillaging and destruction by the Muslim invaders is remarkable for its similarity to the actions of the Islamic State and other jihadi groups today, and vividly illustrates the historical continuity of Islam’s treatment of Christians and other non-Muslims.

This continuity is the result of specific commands in the Quran, melded with the example of Muhammad, which gives Islam its inherently supremacist and warlike nature and mandate, to make the whole world submit to the rule of Allah.

The early twentieth century saw 4 million or more Orthodox and Eastern Christians martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ during the Armenian Genocide, which actually was part of a larger holocaust committed by the Turkish Muslims during the period from 1894-1922.

Now we see a new wave of genocide committed by Muslims against Christians at the start of the twenty-first. Historical continuity reveals much about Islam, its purpose, and its adherents…

The Final Assault

Several thousand of the survivors had taken refuge in the cathedral: nobles, servants, ordinary citizens, their wives and children, priests and nuns. They locked the huge doors, prayed, and waited. {Caliph} Mahomet {II} had given the troops free quarter. They raped, of course, the nuns being the first victims, and slaughtered.

At least four thousand were killed before Mahomet stopped the massacre at noon. He ordered a muezzin {one who issues the call to prayer} to climb into the pulpit of St. Sophia and dedicate the building to Allah. It has remained a mosque ever since.

Fifty thousand of the inhabitants, more than half the population, were rounded up and taken away as slaves. For months afterward, slaves were the cheapest commodity in the markets of Turkey.

Mahomet asked that the body of the dead emperor be brought to him. Some Turkish soldiers found it in a pile of corpses and recognized Constantine {XI} by the golden eagles embroidered on his boots. The sultan ordered his head to be cut off and placed between the horse’s legs under the equestrian bronze statue of the emperor Justinian. The head was later embalmed and sent around the chief cities of the Ottoman empire for the delectation of the citizens.

Next, Mahomet ordered the Grand Duke Notaras, who had survived, be brought before him, asked him for the names and addresses of all the leading nobles, officials, and citizens, which Notaras gave him. He had them all arrested and decapitated. He sadistically bought from their owners {i.e., Muslim commanders} high-ranking prisoners who had been enslaved, for the pleasure of having them beheaded in front of him.
by Paul Fregosi, Jihad, pp. 256-7.

The Fateful Day

In the city everyone realized that the fateful moment had come. In the city, while the bells of the churches rang mournfully, citizens and soldiers joined a long procession behind the holy relics brought out of the churches. Singing hymns, men, women, children, soldiers, civilians, clergy, monks and nuns, knowing that they were going to die shortly, made peace with themselves, with God and with eternity.

When the procession ended the Emperor met with his commanders and the notables of the city. In a philosophical speech he told his subjects that the end of their time had come. In essence he told them that Man had to be ready to face death when he had to fight for his faith, for his country, for his family or for his sovereign. All four reasons were now present. Furthermore, his subjects, who were the descendants of Greeks and Romans, had to emulate their great ancestors. They had to fight and sacrifice themselves without fear. They had lived in a great city and they were now going to die defending it. As for himself, he was going to die fighting for his faith, for his city and for his people… He thanked all present for their contribution to the defense of the city and asked them to forgive him, if he had ever treated them without kindness.

Meanwhile the great church of Saint Sophia was crowded. Thousands of people were moving towards the church. Inside, Orthodox and Catholic priests were holding mass. People were singing hymns, others were openly crying, others were asking each other for forgiveness. Those who were not serving on the ramparts also went to the church, among them was seen, for a brief moment, the Emperor. People confessed and took communion. Then those who were going to fight rode or walked back to the ramparts.

From the great church the Emperor rode to the Palace at Blachernae. There he asked his household to forgive him. He bade the emotionally shattered men and women farewell, left his Palace and rode away, into the night, for a last inspection of the defense positions. Then he took his battle position.

The excesses which followed, during the early hours of the Ottoman victory, are described in detail by eyewitnesses… Bands of soldiers began now looting. Doors were broken, private homes were looted, their tenants were massacred. Shops in the city markets were looted. Monasteries and Convents were broken in. Their tenants were killed, nuns were raped, many, to avoid dishonor, killed themselves. Killing, raping, looting, burning, enslaving, went on and on… The troops had to satisfy themselves.

The great doors of Saint Sophia were forced open, and crowds of angry soldiers came in and fell upon the unfortunate worshippers. Pillaging and killing in the holy place went on for hours. Similar was the fate of worshippers in most churches in the city. Everything that could be taken from the splendid buildings was taken by the new masters of the Imperial capital. Icons were destroyed, precious manuscripts were lost forever. Thousands of civilians were enslaved, soldiers fought over young boys and young women. Death and enslavement did not distinguish among social classes. Nobles and peasants were treated with equal ruthlessness.

The Sultan entered the city in the afternoon of the first day of occupation. Constantinople was finally his and he intended to make it the capital of his mighty Empire. He toured the ruined city. He visited Saint Sophia which he ordered to be turned into a mosque. What he saw was desolation, destruction, death in the streets, ruins, desecrated churches…

by Dionysios Hatzopoulos Professor of Classical and Byzantine Studies, and Chairman of Hellenic Studies Center at Dawson College, Montreal, and Lecturer at the Department of History at Universite de Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

A legacy of violence

02/28/2011 22:22
Jerusalem Post

Gap between delusions of grandeur, localism, bridged time and again by force of arms became key element of Islamic political culture.

Turbulent times often breed nostalgia for a supposedly idyllic past. Viewing the upheavals sweeping the Middle East as a mass expression of outrage against oppression, eminent historian Bernard Lewis fondly recalled past regional order.

“The sort of authoritarian, even dictatorial regimes that rule most of the countries in the modern Islamic Middle East are a modern creation. They are a result of modernization,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “The pre-modern regimes were much more open, much more tolerant. You can see this from a number of contemporary descriptions. And the memory of that is still living.”

I doubt past generations of Muslims would share this view. In the long history of the Islamic empire, the wide gap between delusions of grandeur and the forces of localism would be bridged time and again by force of arms, making violence a key element of Islamic political culture. No sooner had the prophet Muhammad died than his successor, Abu Bakr, had to suppress a widespread revolt among the Arabian tribes. Twenty-three years later, the head of the umma, Caliph Uthman ibn Affan, was murdered by disgruntled rebels; his successor, Ali ibn Abi Talib, was confronted for most of his reign with armed insurrections, most notably by the governor of Syria, Mu’awiya ibn Abi Sufian, who went on to establish the Umayyad dynasty after Ali’s assassination.

Mu’awiya’s successors managed to hang onto power mainly by relying on physical force to prevent or quell revolts in the diverse corners of their empire. The same was true for the Abbasids during the long centuries of their sovereignty.

WESTERN SCHOLARS often hold up the Ottoman Empire as an exception to this earlier pattern. In fact, the caliphate did deal relatively gently with its vast non- Muslim subject populations – provided they acknowledged their legal and institutional inferiority in the Islamic order of things. When these groups dared to question their subordinate status – let alone attempt to break the Ottoman yoke – they were viciously put down.

In the century or so between Napoleon’s conquests in the Middle East and World War I, the Ottomans embarked on an orgy of bloodletting in response to the nationalist aspirations of their European subjects.

The Greek war of independence of the 1820s, the Danubian uprisings of 1848, the Balkan explosion of the 1870s – all were painful reminders of the cost of resisting Islamic rule. The 1990s wars in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo are but natural extensions of this “much more open, much more tolerant” legacy.

Nor was such violence confined to Ottoman Europe. Turkey’s Afro-Asiatic provinces were also scenes of mayhem.

The Ottoman army or its surrogates brought force to bear against Wahhabi uprisings in Mesopotamia and the Levant in the early 19th century, against civil strife in Lebanon in the 1840s and against a string of Kurdish rebellions. In response to the national awakening of the Armenians in the 1890s, Istanbul killed tens of thousands – a taste of the horrors that awaited the Armenians during World War I.

Violence and oppression, then, have not been imported to the Middle East as a byproduct of European imperialism; they were a part of the political culture long before. If anything, it is the Middle East’s tortuous relationship with modernity that has left physical force as the main instrument of political discourse.

Unlike Christianity, Islam was inextricably linked with empire. It did not distinguish between temporal and religious powers (which were combined in the person of Muhammad, who derived his authority directly from Allah). This allowed the prophet and his erstwhile successors to cloak their political ambitions with a religious aura.

Neither did the subject populations of the Ottoman Empire undergo the secularization and modernization that preceded the development of nationalism in Western Europe in the late 1700s.

So when the old European empires collapsed 150 years later, individual nationstates were able to step into the breach. By contrast, when the Ottoman Empire fell, its components still thought only in the old terms – on the one hand, the intricate web of loyalties to clan, tribe, village, town, religious sect or local ethnic minority, and on the other, submission to the distant Ottoman sultan/caliph as the temporal and religious head of the world Muslim community – a post that now stood vacant.

INTO THIS vacuum stepped ambitious political leaders speaking the rhetoric of “Arab nationalism.”

The problem with this state of affairs was that the diversity and fragmentation of the Arabic-speaking world had made its disparate societies better disposed to local patriotism than to a unified secular order.

But then, rather than allow this disposition to develop into modern-day nationalism, Arab rulers systematically convinced their peoples to think that the independent existence of their respective states was a temporary aberration.

The result was a legacy of oppressive violence that has haunted the Middle East into the 21st century, as rulers sought to bridge the reality of state nationalism and the mirage of a unified “Arab nation,” and to shore up their regimes against grassroots Islamist movements (notably the Muslim Brotherhood) articulating the far more appealing message of a return to religious law (Shari’a) as a stepping stone to the establishment of a worldwide community of believers (umma).

One need only mention, among many instances, Syria’s massacre of 20,000 Muslim activists in the early 1980s, or the brutal treatment of Iraq’s Shi’ite and Kurdish communities until the 2003 war, or the genocidal campaign in Darfur by the government of Sudan.

This violence has by no means been the sole property of the likes of Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Hafez Assad, and Ayatollah Khomeini. The affable and thoroughly Westernized King Hussein of Jordan didn’t shrink from slaughtering thousands of Palestinians during September 1970 (known as Black September) when his throne came under threat from Palestinian guerrillas.

Now that the barrier of fear has been breached, it remains to be seen which regimes will be swept from power. But it is doubtful whether Middle East societies will be able, or willing, to transcend their imperial legacy and embrace the Western-type liberal democracy that has taken European nations centuries to achieve.

The writer is professor of Middle East and Mediterranean studies at King’s College London, editor of the Middle East Quarterly and author of Islamic Imperialism: A History.

Islam and Muslims is a History of Oppression, Violence, and Fanaticism

Dr. Sami Alrabaa
June 2, 2009
Family Security Matters

Have you ever pondered what has been the contribution of Islam and Muslims to the world civilization until now? The answer is very evident and straightforward: oppression, violence, discrimination, and fanaticism. These negative immoral values have been an essential part of Islam since its inception.

Here is the evidence. Muhammad, the leader of Muslims claimed that he was a “prophet,” and in the name Allah, he ordered his followers to kill the “infidels,” non-Muslims; in particular, Jews and Christians.

While Judaism and Christianity were spread peacefully under sacrifices by followers of Moses and Jesus, Islam was spread under the threat of the sword: “Submit to Islam, otherwise you’ll be killed.” Islam considers non-Muslims the enemies of Allah. For more details, check out Understanding Muhammad by Ali Sina.

Also in the name of Allah, Muhammad urged his followers to conquer the world and force its people to convert into Muslims. Muslims call all this “Futuhat” (opening). The Muslim conquest was bloodier much worse than “colonialism.” The British and French colonialists never forced people to renounce their local faiths. For further details, check out Islamic Jihad by M.A. Khan.

After Muhammad’s death, four of his staunchly contemporary followers took over, called the Caliphs, or “Al Khulafa’ Al Rashidun” (the rightly guided successors) as Muslims prefer to call them. Abu Bakr, Omar, Othman, and Ali, all of them were murdered by fellow Muslims in bitter fights for the leadership of the rising Muslim empire.

Exploiting a power vacuum in the world after the decline of the Roman Empire, Muslims conquered big parts of the world: the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan (and other regions in Central Asia), parts of India, Bangladesh, parts of China, down to Malaysia, and Indonesia.

As Omar Ibn Al Khattab, the second Caliph, was visiting Egypt after his troops had conquered it, he stood in front of the largest and most precious library in world at the time, in Alexandria, and asked, “What is this?” He was told it was a library. He stated, “If its books say what the Koran says, then it is superfluous. If it doesn’t, it must be destroyed.” And it was destroyed.

As a tourist, if you roam Arab and Muslim countries, what historical ruins do you sight? Certainly not Muslim ones. In Egypt you see Paranoiac ruins, in Iraq Babylonian ruins, in Syria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Turkey you sight Greek and Roman ruins, in Lebanon Phoenician ruins, etc.

Two beautiful churches were converted into mosques: the Sophia in Istanbul and the one that is now called Umayyah Mosque in Damascus.

Since the inception of Islam, Muslims have always divided the world into Darrul-Islam, where Islam is the state’s religion, and Darul-Harb, where Muslims live in Kafir-states (infidel states) as a minority.

According to a study by the AmericanUniversity in Cairo/Egypt, the majority of Muslims all over the world want to see Sharia, the “law of Allah” introduced and applied across the globe. 

Ideologically, i.e. religiously, Muslims have always claimed “purity” and “supremacy” of Islam over other religions, in particular Judaism and Christianity, which they allege have been deformed over the time. Mosques and madrassas all over the world preach this day in day out.

Besides, it is unthinkable for the majority of Muslims to separate Islam from the state. They claim that Islam is a full-fledged system that regulates both religious and mundane life. They also believe that Sharia is “the best law” for all, every time and everywhere.

Advocates of “rationalism” and “secularism,” like Ibn Khaldun (1336-1406) and Ibn Rushd (1126-1198), inspired by Greek philosophy, were prosecuted and put under house-arrest during the so-called “golden ages” of the Muslim empire. Both scholars were able to study Greek philosophy and write their scholarly works not in the center of the Muslim Empire, not in Baghdad and Cairo, but in its peripheries in Spain, which at the time enjoyed an economic and cultural prosperity.

At present, Muslim scholars dare not criticize irrational archaic passages in the Koran and Hadith. They risk being killed or prosecuted. The Egyptian theologian Nasser Hamed Abu Zeid is a case in point.

Heads of religious establishments, who predominantly were and are still fundamentalist, have enjoyed full power and have staunchly been allies of Arab-Muslim leaders.

Religious establishments, run by ministries of religious affairs, called Wazarat Al Awqaf, or schools like Al Azhar in Cairo/Egypt, have always played a “vital” role in cementing the rule of political totalitarian regimes. Through their Ijtihad (efforts of interpretation) and fatwas they have tried to justify/legitimate the ruler’s actions whenever and wherever it is convenient to both. They have also played an important role in brain-washing the masses and hence helped subjugate them to the ruler’s will.

“Submission” plays a pivotal role in subjugating the masses, especially the illiterate among them who constitute the majority in the Muslim world. The word “Islam” means basically “submission.” Additionally, according to both the Koran and Hadith, Muslims must subjugate to the will of “Walee Al ‘Amr” (the ruler) and to elderly men in the family.

Muslims are pacified by the tenet: “It is all Allah’s will. The reward will come in Paradise.” Islam urges Muslims to surrender to the will of Walee Al ‘Amr. It is “haram” (sinful) to object to the ruler’s will. As a result, Muslims learn hypocrisy and grow scared of the altruistic leadership.

Further, Islam, including the Koran and Hadith, rejects the concept of “democracy” and formation of political parties which they believe they are pagan fads that only split the Muslim Umma (nation). Instead, Islam advocates “Shura” (consultation) among the powerful in society.

Muslims address each other by “akhi” (brother) but in practice they do everything in their hands to accommodate their own interests and disregard the common good. Investing in the community is practically unknown in Muslim societies. The powerful do everything possible to subjugate the masses. 

Muslim leaders do not trust each other and do not tolerate criticism. Every one of them believes that they are acting correctly and those who disagree with them are branded as “traitors.”

In addition, the Arab states have always fueled internal and external disputes to distract from their failure to introduce reforms, provide proper development, and deliver solutions. The Palestinian- Israeli conflict is a prime case in point. 

Hence, the Arab and Muslim states have always been plagued with internal division, conflict, and weakness.

The Muslim empire, and later the majority of independent Muslim states over the 20th century have been and are still being ruled by undemocratic despotic regimes. They are either absolute monarchies like in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, and Morocco, or semi military regimes like in Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, and Saddam’s Iraq. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, and Indonesia have been ruled by the military on an on-and-off basis.

Arab and Muslim societies are also plagued by delusion and a wishful illusionary mindset. The Arab and Muslim media are replete with brain-washing propaganda and conspiracy theories, depicting Islam as the best religious and socio-economic program for all times, and blame the abject misery in the Muslim world on Western hegemony. 

Ali Gom’a, the grand mufti of Egypt, claims that Islam is the best religion on earth. “Those who do not like it, do so because they do not understand it.”

Islam apologists like Navid Kermani, an Iranian-German, claim that “very few people understand Sharia.” In other words, all those atrocious passages in the Koran and Hadith that incite to hatred, violence, and discrimination against women, are all a mere “misunderstanding.”   

While Muslims reject “interests”, demanded and paid by banks, as “riba” (usury) they, in reality, take and pay interests, but they call it “murabaha” (shared profit). They also brag that Islam has “liberated” women, but in theory and practice they are discriminated against and denigrated. Check out “Is Islam a Violent Faith?” and “Women in Hadith.”

Muslim clerics also brag that the Koran is the “best scientific book of all times.”

Zaghlul Al Najjar, a Muslim theologian, publishes weekly articles in the Egyptian Al Ahram propagating that the Koran is the most important scientific book of all times. Just because the Koran mentions the word “tharra” (atom), he alleges that the holy book of Muslims is the “mother” of all “scientific books.

Also, Muslim propagandists depict ad nausea a wonderful picture of the so-called “golden ages of Islam” which never were. Scholars like Ibn Khaldun and Ibn Rushed flourished in Spain and not in Riyadh, Baghdad, or Cairo.  

Undoubtedly, religion, any religion, becomes part of its followers’ culture. While Protestantism, according to Max Weber, enhanced the Industrial Revolution, Islam hampered all kinds of social and economic development of Muslims wherever they have lived.

Under the title “Culture and Economic Success,” in the German monthly magazine Mercure, Siegfried Kohlhammer ponders over the relationship between culture and economic progress.

Kohlhammer defines “culture” as the sum of values, religious norms and beliefs, traditional habits that sub- or unconsciously determine the thinking and behavior of people. Culture that we acquire and learn over the process of our socialization affects our “Weltanschuung” and perception of our intellectual, human and material environment around us. 

This also applies to Muslims where they constitute the majority, or live as minorities in developed states.

Kohlhammer dedicates a big proportion of his article to explain why Muslims are economically less successful as a majority and less integrated, as immigrants. He believes that certain religious and cultural norms and beliefs hinder Muslims to achieve economic success.      

Kohlhammer argues that Muslims in general are extremely protective of their families, especially of their female members. They are also patriarchal. Unlike other cultural groups, they do not allow their female subordinates to work outside the home and strive for a career. The relationship between migrant Muslims and non-Muslim communities is dominated by suspicion and mistrust.

Generally speaking, Muslims attribute their material failure to “Allah’s will.” They believe that earthly life is trivial and not worth of being economically proactive. Some of them are deeply convinced that they are the only ones who would be allowed into Paradise. “Ambition” is equivalent to “greed” in the Arab Muslim culture. This attitude and restrictive economic incentives have become part of the Arab work ethics and economic culture.

In order to survive in a repressive economic environment, Arabs and Muslims develop “creative” methods of deception towards the state and fellow citizens. Deceptive bargaining and bribing are an essential part of daily transaction. Retail salesmen would swear by Allah that the “price” is the “cost price.” As the customer turns to leave, they call them back and sell at the price offered by the customer, i.e. the “cost price,” which of course is not true. This kind of transaction is called “Shatara” (smartness) and dominates trade in Arab and Muslim countries, not rational honest trade. The majority of Arab and Muslim immigrants exploit the welfare system in Europe as also a kind of Shatara.

In the Arab world, Arab regimes are not really interested in economic development for the whole population through a modern free economic market. The small number of successful Arab businessmen is an integral part of the regime. These people are usually partners of the regime.

Economic repression is maintained as an instrument of political oppression. Basic consumer goods like bread, sugar, tea, etc. are subsidized by the state in an attempt to buy allegiance of the population and an instrument of control. A modern, free, deregulated market might create progress and prosperity. This, in turn, would empower people, further independence, and enhance them to demand democracy, free speech, and human rights.

In most Arab Muslim countries, secure lucrative jobs are predominantly available in government departments and state-run institutions. The elite and people of the middle class are largely employed by the state apparatus. Most basic services and people who work for these services are controlled by the state. The private sector scarcely offers good jobs. A population growth of 2 – 3 percent yearly is increasingly making it difficult for both the state and private sector to provide enough jobs. Most Muslim states are bankrupt and the private sector is almost paralyzed. Nepotism and corruption are used to “subsidize” mediocre incomes and offset striding inflation.

Potential bribe receivers are government officials, the police, judges, and even university professors. The rest of the population lives in dire deprivation. This corrupt environment is suffocating human energy, initiative, and creativity. It is generating a “culture” that is feeding conspiracy theories, and rumors, “the others are guilty for our misery, primarily the West.” Yet, Islamists and nationalists repeat ad nauseum, “We are the best Umma (nation) on the earth, but the West is hampering our development.”

Solid economic planning is missing. Arab and Muslim state leaders and war lords keep their populations busy with atrocious clashes – oiled by the same leaders and lords – in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Libya, Afghanistan, and most recently Somalia.

The political discourse of Arab regimes is defiant and belligerent. For instance, after Saddam Hussein of Iraq was executed, Al Gaddafi, the Libyan dictator, announced the erection of a statue for Saddam in every Libyan city.

Most Arabs are “experts” in political and economic analysis, their favorite pastime conversation. Criticism of local political leaderships and demonstrations are hushed up and perpetrators punished by jail and torture. On the other hand, tiny demonstrations by international human rights organizations against Guantanamo are reported on every Arab state-controlled TV.

As minorities, Muslims have not been either as successful as other ethnic and religious minorities, in both developed and underdeveloped countries. Minorities like Jews, Germans, Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, Indians, Sikhs, and Armenians are the most successful people in North and South America, in Africa, and Asia, but Muslims are not.

The Jews, the arch enemies of Muslims, in the U.S. make up just 1 percent of the American population, but enjoy a living and education standard that is 80% higher than that of their American compatriots. Sixteen percent of all Nobel Prize winners have been Jews.

The Chinese community, for instance, in Indonesia (a country of a Muslim majority), in Thailand, and America is economically the most successful. The same applies to Japanese, Indian, and Korean ethnic minorities. In Uganda and Kenya, the Indian minorities contribute 35 percent of the gross national product.

Muslim Arabs and Muslims in general in America and Europe are not so successful. In Great Britain, 61 percent of Bangladeshi and Pakistani immigrants (all Muslims) are jobless. Forty-eight percent of Pakistanis and 60 percent of Bangladeshis have a low standard of education. On the other hand, the income of Indians in the UK is higher than that of average Britons.

In Sweden, while the rate of employment among the local population is about 74 percent, it is only 42 percent among Turks, 31 percent among Lebanese, 21 percent among Iraqis, and 12 percent among Somalis. 

On the other hand, according to a recent study by a team of researchers at the American University in Beirut, Lebanon, Arab Christians, as minorities in Muslim and non-Muslim societies, are economically more successful than their Muslim counterparts. 

The Muslim culture, loaded with a medieval repressive religion, called Islam, has never gone through a modernization process. Unless this happens, Islam will keep hampering progress in Muslim societies.

Therefore, political and religious reforms are urgently needed in the Arab and Muslim world, and the enlightened world must increase it pressure on Arab/Muslim regimes to do so. Only then the war on deprivation and extremism can be won.

Political and religious reforms are the key to development and peace in the Muslim world. Usually, I’m not a pessimist, but this time around, I am. Contributing Editor Dr. Sami Alrabaa, an ex-Muslim, is a professor of Sociology and an Arab-Muslim culture specialist. He has taught at KuwaitUniversity, KingSaudUniversity, and Michigan State University. He also writes for the Jerusalem Post.


The Legacy of Jihad in Historical Palestine (Part I)

November 19th, 2005

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.

Edward Said’s ridiculous polemic, The Question of Palestine, quotes the following observation by a Dr. A. Carlebach published in Ma’ariv (October 7, 1955).

The danger stems from the [Islamic] totalitarian conception of the world… Occupation by force of arms, in their own eyes, in the eyes of Islam, is not at all associated with injustice. To the contrary, it constitutes a certificate and demonstration of authentic ownership. [1]

Said cites Carlebach with ostensibly self-evident derision. Unwittingly, Said thus reveals his own belligerent obliviousness to Carlebach’s acute perceptions about the ugly realities of jihad war, the resultant imposition of dhimmitude, and their brutal legacy in historical Palestine and the greater Middle East.

As elucidated by Jacques Ellul, the jihad is an institution intrinsic to Islam, and not an isolated event, or series of events:

.. .it is a part of the normal functioning of the Muslim world… The conquered populations change status (they become dhimmis), and the shari’a tends to be put into effect integrally, overthrowing the former law of the country. The conquered territories do not simply change ‘owners’. [2]

The essential pattern of the jihad war is captured in the great Muslim historian al-Tabari’ s recording of the recommendation given by Umar b. al-Khattab to the commander of the troops he sent to al-Basrah (636 C.E.), during the conquest of Iraq. Umar reportedly said:

Summon the people to God; those who respond to your call, accept it from them, (This is to say, accept their conversion as genuine and refrain from fighting them) but those who refuse must pay the poll tax out of humiliation and lowliness. (Qur’an 9:29) If they refuse this, it is the sword without leniency. Fear God with regard to what you have been entrusted. [3]

Jihad was pursued century after century, because jihad, which means “to strive in the path of Allah,” embodied an ideology and a jurisdiction. Both were formally conceived by Muslim jurisconsults and theologians from the 8th to 9th centuries onward, based on their interpretation of Qur’anic verses and long chapters in the Traditions (i.e., “hadith”, acts and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, especially those recorded by al-Bukhari [d. 869] and Muslim [d. 874] ). [4]

Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406), jurist (Maliki), renowned philosopher, historian, and sociologist, summarized these consensus opinions from five centuries of prior Muslim jurisprudence with regard to the uniquely Islamic institution of jihad:

In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the [Muslim] mission and [the obligation to] convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force… The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty for them, save only for purposes of defense… Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations. [5]

Indeed, even al-Ghazali (d. 1111), the famous theologian, philosopher, and paragon of mystical Sufism, (who, as noted by W.Montgomery Watt, has been ”.. .acclaimed in both the East and West as the greatest Muslim after Muhammad.. .” [6]), wrote the following about jihad: must go on jihad (i.e., warlike razzias or raids) at least once a year…one may use a catapult against them [non-Muslims] when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire to them and/or drown them…If a person of the Ahl al- Kitab [People of The Book -Jews and Christians, typically] is enslaved, his marriage is [automatically] revoked…One may cut down their trees… One must destroy their useless books. Jihadists may take as booty whatever they decide…they may steal as much food as they need… [7]

By the time of the classical Muslim historian al-Tabari’s death in 923, jihad wars had expanded the Muslim empire from Portugal to the Indian subcontinent. Subsequent Muslim conquests continued in Asia, as well as Eastern Europe. The Christian kingdoms of Armenia, Byzantium, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, and Albania, in addition to parts of Poland and Hungary, were also conquered and Islamized.

Arab Muslim invaders engaged, additionally, in continuous jihad raids that ravaged and enslaved Sub-Saharan African animist populations, extending to the southern Sudan. When the Muslim armies were stopped at the gates of Vienna in 1683, over a millennium of jihad had transpired. These tremendous military successes spawned a triumphalist jihad literature. Muslim historians recorded in detail the number of infidels slaughtered, or enslaved and deported, the cities and villages which were pillaged, and the lands, treasure, and movable goods seized. Christian (Coptic, Armenian, Jacobite, Greek, Slav, etc.), as well as Hebrew sources, and even the scant Hindu and Buddhist writings which survived the ravages of the Muslim conquests, independently validate this narrative, and ,complement the Muslim perspective by providing testimonies of the suffering of the non-Muslim victims of jihad wars. [8]

In The Laws of Islamic Governance al-Mawardi (d. 1058), a renowned jurist of Baghdad, examined the regulations pertaining to the lands and infidel (i.e., non-Muslim) populations subjugated by jihad. This is the origin of the system of dhimmitude. The native infidel population had to recognize Islamic ownership of their land, submit to Islamic law, and accept payment of the poll tax (jizya).

He notes that “The enemy makes a payment in return for peace and reconciliation. ” Al- Mawardi then distinguishes two cases: (I) Payment is made immediately and is treated like booty, “it does, however, not prevent a jihad being carried out against them in the future. ”. (II). Payment is made yearly and will “constitute an ongoing tribute by which their security is established”.

Reconciliation and security last as long as the payment is made. If the payment ceases, then the jihad resumes. A treaty of reconciliation may be renewable, but must not exceed 10 years. [9]

A remarkable account from 1894 by an Italian Jew traveling in Morocco, demonstrates the humiliating conditions under which the jizya was still being collected within the modern era:

The kaid Uwida and the kadi Mawlay Mustafa had mounted their tent today near the Mellah [Jewish ghetto] gate and had summoned the Jews in order to collect from them the poll tax [jizya] which they are obliged to pay the sultan. They had me summoned also. I first inquired whether those who were European-protected subjects had to pay this tax. Having learned that a great many of them had already paid it, I wished to do likewise. After having remitted the amount of the tax to the two officials, I received from the kadi’s guard two blows in the back of the neck. Addressing the kadi and the kaid, I said” ‘Know that I am an Italian protected subject.’ Whereupon the kadi said to his guard: ‘Remove the kerchief covering his head and strike him strongly; he can then go and complain wherever he wants.’ The guards hastily obeyed and struck me once again more violently. This public mistreatment of a European-protected subject demonstrates to all the Arabs that they can, with impunity, mistreat the Jews. [10]

The “contract of the jizya”, or “dhimma” encompassed other obligatory and recommended obligations for the conquered non-Muslim “dhimmi” peoples. Collectively, these “obligations” formed the discriminatory system of dhimmitude imposed upon non-Muslims-Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Hindus, and Buddhists-subjugated by jihad. Some of the more salient features of dhimmitude include: the prohibition of arms for the vanquished non-Muslims (dhimmis), and of church bells; restrictions concerning the building and restoration of churches, synagogues, and temples; inequality between Muslims and non-Muslims with regard to taxes and penal law; the refusal of dhimmi testimony by Muslim courts; a requirement that Jews, Christians, and other non-Muslims, including Zoroastrians and Hindus, wear special clothes; and the overall humiliation and abasement of non-Muslims. [11]

It is important to note that these regulations and attitudes were institutionalized as permanent features of the sacred Islamic law, or Shari’ a. Again, the writings of the much lionized Sufi theologian and jurist al-Ghazali highlight how the institution of dhimmitude was simply a normative, and prominent feature of the Shari’a:

...the dhimmi is obliged not to mention Allah or His Apostle.. .Jews, Christians, and Majians must pay thejizya [poll tax on non-Muslims]...on offering up thejizya, the dhimmi must hang his head while the official takes hold of his beard and hits [the dhimmi] on the protruberant bone beneath his ear [i.e., the mandible]... They are not permitted to ostentatiously display their wine or church bells…their houses may not be higher than the Muslim’s, no matter how low that is. The dhimmi may not ride an elegant horse or mule; he may ride a donkey only if the saddler-work] is of wood. He may not walk on the good part of the road. They [the dhimmis] have to wear [an identifying] patch [on their clothing], even women, and even in the [public] baths…[dhimmis] must hold their tongue. [12]

The Great Jihad and the Muslim Conquest of Palestine

September 622 C.E. marks a defining event in Islam- the hijra. Muhammad and a coterie of followers (the Muhajirun), persecuted by fellow Banu Quraysh tribesmen who rejected Muhammad’s authenticity as a divine messenger, fled from Mecca to Yathrib, later known as Al-Medina (Medina). The Muslim sources described Yathrib as having been a Jewish city founded by a Palestinian diaspora population which had survived the revolt against the Romans. Distinct from the nomadic Arab tribes, the Jews of the north Arabian peninsula were highly productive oasis farmers. These Jews were eventually joined by itinerant Arab tribes from southern Arabia who settled adjacent to them and transitioned to a sedentary existence. [13]

Following Muhammad’s arrival, he re-ordered Medinan society, eventually imposing his authority on each tribe. The Jewish tribes were isolated, some were then expelled, and the remainder attacked and exterminated. Muhammad distributed among his followers as “booty” the vanquished Jews property-plantations, fields, and houses-and also used this “booty” to establish a well-equipped jihadist cavalry corps. [14] Muhammad’s subsequent interactions with the Christians of northern Arabia followed a similar pattern, noted by Richard Bell. The “relationship with the Christians ended as that with the Jews (ended) – in war”, because Islam as presented by Muhammad was a divine truth, and unless Christians accepted this formulation, which included Muhammad’s authority, “conflict was inevitable, and there could have been no real peace while he [Muhammad] lived.” [15]

Within two years of Muhammad’s death, Abu Bakr, the first Caliph, launched the Great Jihad. The ensuing three decades witnessed Islamdom’s most spectacular expansion, as Muslim armies subdued the entire Arabian peninsula, and conquered territories which had been in Greco-Roman possession since the reign of Alexander the Great. [16]

Gil, in his monumental analysis A History of Palestine, 634-1099, emphasizes the singular centrality that Palestine occupied in the mind of its pre-Islamic Jewish inhabitants, who referred to the land as “al-Sham”. Indeed, as Gil observes, the sizable Jewish population in Palestine (who formed a majority of its inhabitants, when grouped with the Samaritans) at the dawn of the Arab Muslim conquest were, “the direct descendants of the generations of Jews who had lived there since the days of Joshua bin Nun, in other words for some 2000 years…” [17] Jews and Christians speaking Aramaic inhabited the cities and the cultivated inner regions, devoid of any unique ties to the Bedouin of the desert hinterlands, who were regarded as bellicose and threatening, in the writings of both the Church Fathers, and in Talmudic sources. [18]

The following is a summary of the devastating consequences of the Arab Muslim conquest of Palestine during the fourth decade of the 7th century, directed by the first two Caliphs, Abu Bakr and Umar b. al-Khattab [notwithstanding Pervez Musharaff’s hagiography of the latter, in a recent New York City speech].

The entire Gaza region up to Cesarea was sacked and devastated in the campaign of 634, which included the slaughter of four thousand Jewish, Christian, and Samaritan peasants. Villages in the Negev were also pillaged, and towns such as Jerusalem, Gaza, Jaffa, Cesarea, Nablus, and Beth Shean were isolated. In his sermon on the Day of the Epiphany 636, Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, bewailed the destruction of the churches and monasteries, the sacked towns and villages, and the fields laid waste by the invaders. Thousands of people perished in 639, victims of the famine and plague wrought by this wanton destruction.

The Muslim historian Baladhuri (d. 892 C.E.), maintained that 30,000 Samaritans and 20,000 Jews lived in Caesarea alone just prior to the Arab Muslim conquest; afterward, all evidence of them disappears. Archaeological data confirms the lasting devastation wrought by these initial jihad conquests, particularly the widespread destruction of synagogues and churches from the Byzantine era, whose remnants are still being unearthed. The total number of towns was reduced from fifty-eight to seventeen in the red sand hills and swamps of the western coastal plain (i.e., the Sharon).

Massive soil erosion from the Judaean mountains western slopes also occurred due to agricultural uprooting during this period. Finally, the papyri of Nessana were completely discontinued after the year 700, reflecting how the Negev also experienced the destruction of its agriculture, and the desertion of its villages.[19]

Dhimmitude in Palestine During the Initial Period of  Muslim Rule

Dramatic persecution, directed specifically at Christians, included executions for refusing to apostasize to Islam during the first two decades of the 8th century, under the reigns of Abd al- Malik, his son Sulayman, and Umar b. Abd al-Aziz. Georgian, Greek, Syriac, and Armenian sources report both prominent individual and group executions (for eg., sixty-three out of seventy Christian pilgrims from Iconium in Asia Minor were executed by the Arab governor of Caesarea, barring seven who apostasized to Islam, and sixty Christian pilgrims from Amorion were crucified in Jerusalem).

Under early Abbasid rule (approximately 750-755 C.E., perhaps during the reign [Abul Abbas Abdullah] al-Saffah) Greek sources report orders demanding the removal of crosses over Churches, bans on Church services and teaching of the scriptures, the eviction of monks from their monasteries, and excessive taxation. [20] Gil notes that in 772 C.E., when Caliph al-Mansur visited Jerusalem,

..he ordered a special mark should be stamped on the hands of the Christians and the Jews. Many Christians fled to Byzantium. [21]

Bat Y e’ or elucidates the fiscal oppression inherent in eighth century Palestine which devastated the dhimmi Jewish and Christian peasantry:

Over-taxed and tortured by the tax collectors, the villagers fled into hiding or emigrated into towns. [22]

She quotes from a detailed chronicle of an eighth century monk, completed in 774:

The men scattered, they became wanderers everywhere; the fields were laid waste, the countryside pillaged; the people went from one land to another. [23]

The Greek chronicler Theophanes provides a contemporary description of the chaotic events which transpired after the death of the caliph Harun al-Rashid in 809 C.E. He describes Palestine as the scene of violence, rape, and murder, from which Christian monks fled to Cyprus and Constantinople. [24]

Perhaps the clearest outward manifestations of the inferiority and humiliation of the dhimmis were the prohibitions regarding their dress codes, and the demands that distinguishing signs be placed on the entrances of dhimmi houses. During the Abbasid caliphates of Harun al-Rashid (786-809) and al-Mutawwakil (847-861), Jews and Christians were required to wear yellow (as patches attached to their garments, or hats). Later, to differentiate further between Christians and Jews, the Christians were required to wear blue. In 850, consistent with Qur’anic verses associating them with Satan and Hell, al-Mutawwakil decreed that Jews and Christians attach wooden images of devils to the doors of their homes to distinguish them from the homes of Muslims. [25]

Muslim and non-Muslims sources establish that during the early 11th century period of al-Hakim’s reign, religious assaults and hostility intensified, for both Jews and Christians. The destruction of the churches at the Holy Sepulchre [1009 C.E.] was followed by a large scale campaign of Church destructions (including the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem, and additional churches throughout the Fatimid kingdom), and other brutal acts of oppression against the dhimmi populations, such as forcible conversion to Islam, or expulsion.

The discriminatory edicts al-Hakim imposed upon the dhimmis beginning in August 1011 C.E., included orders to wear black turbans; a five pound, 18-inch cross (for Christians), or five pound block of wood (for Jews), around their necks; and distinguishing marks in the bathhouses. Ultimately al-Hakim decided that there were to be separate bathhouses for the dhimmis use. [26] During the early through the mid 11th century, the Jews, in particular, continued to suffer frequently from both economic and physical oppression, according to Gil. [27]

Muslim Turcoman rule of Palestine for the nearly three decades just prior to the Crusades (1071- 1099 C.E.) was characterized by such unrelenting warfare and devastation, that an imminent “End of Days” atmosphere was engendered. [28] A contemporary poem by Solomon ha-Kohen b. Joseph, believed to be a descendant of the Geonim, an illustrious family of Palestinian Jews of priestly descent, speaks of destruction and ruin, the burning of harvests, the razing of plantations, the desecration of cemeteries, and acts of violence, slaughter, and plunder. [29]

The brutal nature of the Crusader’s conquest of Palestine, particularly of the major cities, beginning in 1098/99 C.E., has been copiously documented. [30] However, the devastation wrought by both Crusader conquest and rule (through the last decades of the 13th century) cannot reasonably be claimed to have approached, let alone somehow “exceeded”, what transpired during the first four and one-half centuries of Muslim jihad conquests, endless internecine struggles for Muslim dominance, and imposition of dhimmitude.

Moreover, we cannot ignore the testimony of Isaac b. Samuel of Acre (1270-1350 C.E.), one of the most outstanding Kabbalists of his time. Conversant with Islamic theology and often using Arabic in his exegesis, Isaac nevertheless believed that it was preferable to live under the yoke of Christendom, rather than that of Islamdom. Acre was taken from the Crusaders by the Mamelukes in 1291 by a very brutal jihad conquest. Accordingly, despite the precept to dwell in the Holy Land, Isaac b. Samuel fled to Italy and thence to Christian Spain, where he wrote:

...they [the Muslims] strike upon the head the children of Israel who dwell in their lands and they thus extort money from them by force. For they say in their tongue, ...’it is lawful to take money of the Jews.’ For, in the eyes of the Muslims, the children of Israel are as open to abuse as an unprotected field. Even in their law and statutes they rule that the testimony of a Muslim is always to be believed against that of a Jew. For this reason our rabbis of blessed memory have said, ‘Rather beneath the yoke of Edom [Christendom] than that of Ishmael. [31]


[1] Edward Said. The Question of Palestine. New York: Vintage Books, 1980, pp. 89-90. [2] Jacques Ellul. Foreward to Les Chretientes d’Orient entre Jihad et Dhimmitude. VIIe – XXe siecle, 1991. Pp. 18-19.  [3] Al-Tabari, The History of al-Tabari (Ta’rikh al rusul wa’l-muluk), vol. 12, The Battle of Qadissiyah and the Conquest of Syria and Palestine, translated by Yohanan Friedman, (Albany, NY.: State University of New York Press, 1992), p. 167. [4] The Noble Qur’an ; Translation of Sahih Bukhari;  Translation of Sahih Muslim [5] Ibn Khaldun, The Muqudimmah. An Introduction to History, Translated by Franz Rosenthal. (New York, NY.: Pantheon, 1958, vol. 1), p. 473. [6] Watt, W.M. [Translator]. The Faith and Practice of Al-Ghazali, Oxford, England, 1953, p. 13. [7] Al-Ghazali (d. 1111). Kitab al-Wagiz fi fiqh madhab al-imam al-Safi’i, Beirut, 1979, pp. 186, 190-91; 199-200; 202-203. English translation by Dr. Michael Schub in Andrew G. Bostom, editor, The Legacy of Jihad-Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims, Amherst, NY, Prometheus Books, 2005, p. 199.[8] Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, especially pp. 24-124, 368-681.[9] Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, pp. 190-95.[10] Cited in, Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, p.31.[11] Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, pp. 29-37.[12] Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, p. 199.[13] Moshe Gil,  A History of Palestine, 634-1099, translated by Ethel Broido, Cambridge and New York, 1992, p. 11. [14] Gil,  A History of Palestine,p.11.[15] Richard Bell, The Origin of Islam in its Christian Environment, London, 1926, Pp. 134-135; 151; 159-161. [16] Demetrios Constantelos, “Greek Christian and Other Accounts of the Moslem Conquests of the Near East”, in Christian Hellenism : Essays and Studies in Continuity and Change, New Rochelle, N.Y., A.D. Caratzas, 1998, pp. 125-26.[17] Gil, A History of Palestine, 634-1099, p. 2. [18] Gil, A History of Palestine, 634-1099, pp. 15, 20; Constantelos, “Greek Christian and Other Accounts of the Moslem Conquests of the Near East”, pp. 126-130.[19] Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam, p. 44.; Bat Ye’or, “Islam and the Dhimmis”,  The Jerusalem Quarterly, 1987, Vol. 42, p. 85. Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine, 634-1099, pp. 61, 169-170; Naphtali Lewis, “New Light on the Negev in Ancient Times”, Palestine Exploration Quarterly, 1948, vol. 80, pp. 116-117; Constantelos, “Greek Christian and Other Accounts of the Moslem Conquests of the Near East”, pp. 127-28; Al-Baladhuri The Origins of the Islamic State (Kitah Futuh al-Buldan), translated by Philip K. Hitti, London, Longman, Greens, and Company, 1916, p. 217. [20] Gil, A History of Palestine, 634-1099, pp. 471-474; Constantelos, “Greek Christian and Other Accounts of the Moslem Conquests of the Near East, p. 135.[21] Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine, 634-1099, p. 474. [22] Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam, p. 74.[23] Chronique de Denys de Tell-Mahre, translated from the Syriac by Jean-Baptiste Chabot (Paris, 1895), part 4, p. 112. English translation in: Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam, p. 74.[24] Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine, 634-1099, pp. 474-75. [25] Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine, 634-1099, p.159; Q16:63- “By God, We (also) sent (Our apostles) to peoples before thee; but Satan made, (to the wicked) their own acts seem alluring: he is also their patron today, but they shall have a most grievous penalty”; Q5:72-“They do blaspheme who say: ‘Allah is Christ the son of Mary.’ But said Christ: ‘O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.’  Whoever joins other gods with Allah,- Allah will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help.” Q58:19- “The devil hath engrossed them and so hath caused them to forget remembrance of Allah. They are the devil’s party. Lo! is it not the devil’s party who will be the losers?”; Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam, p. 84. [26] Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine, 634-1099, pp. 371-379. [27] Moshe Gil, “Dhimmi Donations and Foundations for Jerusalem (638-1099)”, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Vol. 37, 1984, pp. 166-167. [28] Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine, 634-1099, pp. 412-416. [29] Julius Greenstone, in his essay, “The Turcoman Defeat at Cairo” The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, Vol. 22, 1906, pp. 144-175,  provides a translation of this poem [excerpted, pp. 164-165] by Solomon ha-Kohen b. Joseph [believed to be a descendant of the Geonim, an illustrious family of Palestinian Jews of priestly descent], which includes the poet’s recollection of the previous Turcoman conquest of Jerusalem during the eighth decade of the 11th century. Greenstone comments [p. 152], “As appears from the poem, the conquest of Jerusalem by Atsiz was very sorely felt by the Jews. The author dwell at great length on the cruelties perpetrated against the inhabitants of the city…” [30] For example, Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades- Vol. 1- The First Crusade and the Foundation of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Cambridge, 1951, Pp. 286-87; Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine, 634-1099, p. 827 notes, “The Christians violated their promise to the inhabitants that they would be left alive, and slaughtered some 20,000 to 30,000 people, a number which may be an exaggeration…”[31] Isaac b. Samuel of Acre. Osar Hayyim (Treasure Store of Life) (Hebrew). Ms. Gunzburg 775 fol. 27b. Lenin State Library, Moscow. [English translation in, Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians Under Islam, Pp. 352-54.

Dr. Bostom is an Associate Professor of Medicine, and author of the recently released, The Legacy of Jihad, on Prometheus Books.

The Legacy of Jihad in Historial Palestine (Part II)

November 20th, 2005

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 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] 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.


Ibn Warraq’s trenchant critique of Edward Said pointed out the bizarre evolution of this Christian agnostic into,

...a de facto apologist and protector of Islam, the least Christian and certainly the religion least given to self-doubt. [52]

Moreover, as Warraq observed, despite Said’s admission,

...that he does not know anything about Islam, and…the fact that he has never written a single scholarly work devoted to Islam, Said has always accepted the role in the West of an Islamic expert, and has never flinched from telling us what the real Islam is. [53]

Warraq highlighted this tragic irony, just prior to Said’s death, which even had Said lived, is unlikely to have ever been resolved. It is almost certain, for example, that Said would have reacted with hypocritical silence to the early September 2005 Palestinian Muslim pogrom against the small West Bank Christian village of Taiba.

As a secularist defending Islam, one wonders how he will be able to argue for a nontheocratic state once Palestine becomes a reality. If Islam is such a wonderful religion, why not convert to it, and why not accept it as the basis for any new constitution? At some stage, Said will have to do what he has been avoiding all his adult life, criticize Islam, or at least indirectly the idea of a theocracy. [54]

Ibn Warraq has also noted how Said – the Literature Professor and literary critic, made a distressingly stupid error in Orientalism, (both in the 1979 and 1994 editions) confusing the words “eschatological” and “scatological”. [55] A revealing, even pathognomonic error to this medically-trained observer.

In closing, let me move, mercifully, from the ridiculousness of Edward Said to the penetrating insights of Bat Ye’or.  Noting the ceaseless calls for jihad in Palestine during modern times, from 1920 through the present era, Bat Ye’or observed, that jihad remained,

…the main cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict.  Since Israelis are to be regarded, perforce, only as a religious community, their national characteristics – a geographical territory related to a past history, a system of legislation, a specific language and culture – are consequently denied.  The “Arab” character of the Palestinian territory is inherent in the logic of jihad.  Having become fay territory by conquest (i.e. “taken from an infidel people”), it must remain within the dar al-Islam.  The State of Israel, established on this fay territory, is consequently illegal. [56]

And she concluded,

…Israel represents the successful national liberation of a dhimmi civilization.  On a territory formerly Arabized by the jihad and the dhimma, a pre-Islamic language, culture, topographical geography, and national institutions have been restored to life.  This reversed the process of centuries in which the cultural, social and political structures of the indigenous population of Palestine were destroyed.  In 1974, Abu Iyad, second-in-command to Arafat in the Fatah hierarchy, announced:  “We intend to struggle so that our Palestinian homeland does not become a new Andalusia.”  The comparison of Andalusia to Palestine was not fortuitous since both countries were Arabized, and then de-Arabized by a pre-Arabic culture. [57]

Andrew G. Bostom, MD, MS is the author of the recently published, The Legacy of Jihad,   This text was delivered as a lecture on Monday October 31, 2005 at a Conference on Post-Colonial Theory sponsored by Scholars for Peace in the Middle East 


[32] Samuel b. Ishaq Uceda, Lehem dim’ah (The Bread of Tears) (Hebrew). Venice, 1606. [English translation in, Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians Under Islam, Pp. 354.

[33] Bat Ye’or, Islam and Dhimmitude- Where Civilizations Collide. Cranbury, NJ.: Associated University Presses, 2001; p. 318.

[34] Gedaliah of Siemiatyce, Sha’alu Shelom Yerushalayim (Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem), (Hebrew), Berlin, 1716. [English translation in, Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam, Pp. 377-80.]

[35] Edouard Engelhardt, La Turquie et La Tanzimat, 2 Vols., 1882, Paris, Vol. p.111, Vol. 2 p. 171; English translation in, Bat Ye’or. Islam and Dhimmitude- Where Civilizations Collide, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2001, pp. 431-432; Reports from Her Majesty’s Consuls Relating to the Condition of the Christians in Turkey, 1867 volume, pp. 5,29. See also related other reports by various consuls and vice-consuls, in the 1860 vol., p.58; the 1867 vol, pp. 4,5,6,14,15; and the 1867 vol., part 2, p.3 [All cited in, Vahakn Dadrian. Chapter 2, “The Clash Between Democratic Norms and Theocratic Dogmas”,  Warrant for Genocide, New Brunswick, New Jersey, Transaction Publishers, pp. 26-27, n. 4]; See also, extensive excerpts from these reports in, Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity, pp. 409-433; and Roderick Davison. “Turkish Attitudes Concerning Christian-Muslim Equality in the Nineteenth Century” American Historical Review, Vol. 59, pp. 848, 855, 859, 864.

[36] Gregory Wortabet, Syria and the Syrians. Vol. II, London, 1856, pp. 263-264; Consul James Finn, published in, Albert M. Hyamson. The British Consulate in Jerusalem (in relation to the Jews of Palestine) , Edward Goldstein Ltd., London, 1939, p. 261.

[37] Tudor Parfitt, The Jews of Palestine, 1800-1882, Suffolk, England, The Boydell Press,  1987, p. 168, 172-173.

[38] Yair Auron,  The Banality of Indifference, New Brunswick, NJ, Transaction Publishers, 2000, p. 77.

[39] Musa Kazem el-Husseini, (President Palestinian Arab Congress), to High Commissioner for Palestine, December 10, 1920 (Translated January 2, 1921), Israel State Archives, R.G. 2, Box 10, File 244.

[40] Shai Lachman, “Arab Rebellion and Terrorism in Palestine 1929-39: The Case of Sheikh Izz al-Din al-Qassam and His Movement”, in Zionism and Arabism in Palestine and Israel, edited by Elie Kedourie and Sylvia G. Haim, Frank Cass, London, 1982, p. 72.

[41] Joseph B. Schechtman, The Mufti and The Fuehrer, New York, 1965; Zvi Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti Haj Amin Al-Hussaini, translated by David Harvey, Frank Cass, 1993; Yossef Bodansky, Islamic Antisemitism as a Political Instrument , Houston, 1999, p. 29.; Jennie Lebel, Hajj Amin ve Berlin (Hajj Amin and Berlin), Tel Aviv, 1996;  Jan Wanner, in, “Amin al-Husayni and Germany’s Arab Policy in the Period 1939-1945”, Archiv Orientalni Vol. 54, 1986, p. 244, observes,

“His appeals…addressed to the Bosnian Muslims were…close in many respects to the argumentation used by contemporary Islamic fundamentalists…the Mufti viewed only as a new interpretation of the traditional concept of the Islamic community (umma) sharing with Nazism common enemies”

[42] Joseph B. Schechtman, The Mufti and The Fuehrer, p. 151.

[43] Joseph B. Schechtman, The Mufti and The Fuehrer, pp. 152-63; Jan Wanner, in his 1986 analysis (“Amin al-Husayni and Germany’s Arab Policy”, p. 243.) of the Mufti’s collaboration with Nazi Germany during World War II, concluded,

“…the darkest aspect of the Mufti’s activities in the final stage of the war was undoubtedly his personal share in the extermination of Europe’s Jewish population. On May 17, 1943, he wrote a personal letter to Ribbentrop, asking him to prevent the transfer of 4500 Bulgarian Jews, 4000 of them children, to Palestine. In May and June of the same year, he sent a number of letters to the governments of Bulgaria, Italy, Rumania, and Hungary, with the request not to permit even individual Jewish emigration and to allow the transfer of Jews to Poland where, he claimed they would be ‘under active supervision’. The trials of Eichmann’s henchmen, including Dieter Wislicency who was executed in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, confirmed that this was not an isolated act by the Mufti.”

[44] Efraim Karsh, Arafat’s War, New York, 2003.

[45] Walid Phares, Lebanese Christian Nationalism, Boulder, CO, 1995; Farid El-Khazen, The Breakdown of the State in Lebanon- 1967-1976, Cambridge, 2000.

[46] Efraim Karsh, Arafat’s War, p. 117. A decade and one half earlier, upon Khomeini’s ascension to power in Iran, Arafat immediately cabled the Ayatollah relaying these shared jihadist sentiments (February 13, 1979):

 “I pray Allah to guide your step along the path of faith and Holy War (Jihad) in Iran, continuing the combat until we arrive at the walls of Jerusalem, where we shall raise the flags of our two revolutions.”Quote from, Bat Ye’or, “Aspects of the Arab-Israeli Conflict”, Wiener Library Bulletin, Vol. 32, 1979, p. 68.

[47] Raphael Israeli, Islamikaze- Manifestations of Islamic Martyrology, Frank Cass, London, 2003.

[48] For example, From Cairo, 1968, The Fourth Conference of the Academy of Islamic Research, Sheikh Hassan Khalid, Mufti of the Republic of Lebanon, (excerpts from, Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians Under Islam, Pp.391-94.)

“Your honorable conference has been an Arab, Islamic and patriotic necessity in view of the present circumstances in which the Arabs and Muslims face the most serious difficulties.  All Muslims expect you to expound Allah’s decree concerning the Palestine cause, to proclaim that decree, in all clarity, throughout the Arab and Muslim world.  We do not think this decree absolves any Muslim or Arab from Jihad (Holy War) which has now become a duty incumbent upon the Arabs and Muslims to liberate the land, preserve honor, retaliate for [lost] dignity, restore the Aqsa Mosque, the church of Resurrection, and to purge the birthplace of prophecy, the seat of revelation, the meeting-place of Prophets, the starting-point of Issa, and the scenes of the holy spirit, from the hands of Zionism – the enemy of man, of truth, of justice, and the enemy of Allah…The well-balanced judgement frankly expressed with firm conviction is the first stop on the road of victory.  The hoped-for judgment is that of Muslim Scholars who draw their conclusions from the Book of Allah, and the Sunna of His prophet.  May Allah guard your meeting, and guide your steps!  May your decisive word rise to the occasion and enlighten the Arab and Muslim world, so that it may be a battle-cry, urging millions of Muslims and Arabs on to the field of Jihad, which will lead us to the place that once was ours…Muslims who are distant from the battle-field of Palestine, such as the Algerians, the Moroccans, all the Africans, Saudi Arabia people, Yemeni people, the Indians, Iraqi people, the Russians, and the Europeans are indeed sinful if they do not hasten to offer all possible means to achieve success and gain victory in the Islamic battle against their enemies and the enemies of their religion.  Particularly, this battle is not a mete combat between two parties but it is a battle between two religions (namely, it is a religious battle).  Zionism in fact represents a very perilous cancer, aiming at domineering the Arab countries and the whole Islamic world.”

From the Mecca Islamic Summit Conference, 1981:

“The undertaking by all Islamic countries of psychological mobilization through their various official, semi-official, and popular mass media, of their people for Jihad to liberate Al-Quds…Ensuring military coordination among the front-line states and the Palestine Liberation Organization, on the one hand, and the Islamic States on the other, to ensure full utilization of the potentialities of the Islamic States in the service of the military effort; and setting up a military office in the Islamic Secretariat to be responsible for such coordination, in agreement with the Committee on Al-Quds… Resolution No.2/3.P (IS) on the Cause of Palestine and the Middle East: Considering that the Liberation of Al-Quds and its restoration to Arab sovereignty, as well as the liberation of the holy places from Zionist occupation, are a pre-requisite to the Jihad that all Islamic States must wage, each according to its means….Resolution No.5/3-P (IS)- Declaration of Holy Jihad: Taking these facts into consideration, the Kings, Emirs, and Presidents of Islamic States, meeting at this Conference and in this holy land, studied this situation and concluded that it could no longer be tolerated that the forthcoming stage should be devoted to effective action to vindicate right and deter wrong-doing; and have unanimously. Decided: To declare holy Jihad, as the duty of every Muslim, many or woman, ordained by the Shariah and glorious traditions of Islam; To call upon all Muslims, living inside or outside Islamic countries, to discharge this duty by contributing each according to his capacity in the case of Allah Almighty, Islamic brotherhood, and righteousness; To specify that Islamic states, in declaring Holy Jihad to save Al-Quds al-Sharif, in support of the Palestinian people, and to secure withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories, wish to explain to the world that Holy Jihad is an Islamic concept which may not be misinterpreted or misconstrued, and that the practical measures to put into effect would be in accordance with that concept and by incessant consultations among Islamic states.” (excerpts from, Bat Ye’or, Eurabia- The Euro-Arab Axis (Galleys), Cranbury, NJ.: Associated University Presses, 2005, Pp. 288-90; 295.)

[49] excerpts from, Bat Ye’or, Eurabia- The Euro-Arab Axis (Galleys), Cranbury, NJ.: Associated University Presses, 2005, Pp. 314-19.

[50] MEMRI, “Muslim-Christian Tensions in the Israeli-Arab Community”, August 2, 1999,  ; MEMRI, “A Friday Sermon on PA TV: … We Must Educate our Children on the Love of Jihad…’ ”, July 11, 2001.

[51] MEMRI “Muslim-Christian Tensions in the Israeli-Arab Community”

[52] Ibn Warraq. “Edward Said and the Saidists- Or, Third World Intellectual Terrorism”, in Robert Spencer, editor, The Myth of Islamic Tolerance, Amherst, NY, Prometheus Books, 2004, p. 511.

[53] Ibn Warraq. “Edward Said and the Saidists”, p. 511.

[54] Ibn Warraq. “Edward Said and the Saidists”, p. 511.

[55] Ibn Warraq. “Edward Said and the Saidists”, p. 476. The original 1979 edition as well as the 1994 reissue edition of Orientalism each contain this howler, supporting the notion that the use of the word “eschatological” instead of the appropriate “scatological” was not a mere typographical error. Here is the relevant paragraph from p. 68 of both editions:

Mohammed’s punishment, which is also his eternal fate, is a peculiarly disgusting one: he is endlessly being cleft in two from his chin to his anus like, Dante says, a cask whose staves are ripped apart. Dante’s verse at this point spares the reader none of the eschatological [sic…should be “scatalogical”] detail that so vivid a punishment entails: Mohammed’s entrails and his excrement are described with unflinching accuracy.

[56] Bat Ye’or. The Dhimmi-Jews and Christians Under Islam. Cranbury, New Jersey: Associated University Presses, 1985, p. 116.

[57] Bat Ye’or. The Dhimmi, pp. 122-123. 

After the Ottoman Empire fell, Muslim violence was kept in check through European colonialism. However, with the advent of Arab nationalism and oil revenues, Muslim violence and wars are again a world-wide problem.