Dhimmitude

Dhimmitude

Dhimmitude is a neologism first found in French denoting an attitude of concession, surrender and appeasement towards Islamic demands. It is derived by adding the productive suffix -tude to the Arabic language adjective dhimmi, which literally means protected and refers to a non-Muslim subject of a sharia law state.

Dhimmitude has several distinct, but related meanings depending on the author; its scope may be historical only, contemporary only, or both. It may encompass the whole system of dhimma, look only at its subjects (dhimmis), or even apply it outside of any established system of dhimma.

Contents

Origin

The term was coined in 1982 by the Lebanese President and Maronite militia leader Bachir Gemayel, in reference to perceived attempts by the country's Muslim leadership to subordinate the large Lebanese Christian minority. In a speech of September 14, 1982 given at Dayr al-Salib in Lebanon, he said: "Lebanon is our homeland and will remain a homeland for Christians… We want to continue to christen, to celebrate our rites and traditions, our faith and our creed whenever we wish… Henceforth, we refuse to live in any dhimmitude!"[1]

The concept of "dhimmitude" was introduced into Western discourse by the writer Bat Ye'or in a French-language article published in the Italian journal La Rassegna mensile di Israel in 1983.[2] The term was used in English as early as 1985 in a book review by Prof. James E. Biechler in the Journal of Ecumenical Studies, in which he praised Ye'or's work, commenting that "Perhaps the single most significant contribution of the author is her definition and development of the concept of 'dhimmitude'".[3]

Ye'or further popularised the term in her books The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam. From Jihad to Dhimmitude. Seventh-Twentieth Century[4] and the 2003 followup Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide[5] After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the term became far more widely used, particularly in discussions about Islamism and the Islamization of the West.

Associations and usage

The associations of the word "dhimmitude" vary between users:

  • Bat Ye'or defined dhimmitude as the condition and experience of those who are subject to dhimma, and thus not synonymous to, but rather a subset of the dhimma phenomenon: "dhimmitude [...] represents a behavior dictated by fear (terrorism), pacifism when aggressed, rather than resistance, servility because of cowardice and vulnerability. [...] By their peaceful surrender to the Islamic army, they obtained the security for their life, belongings and religion, but they had to accept a condition of inferiority, spoliation and humiliation. As they were forbidden to possess weapons and give testimony against a Muslim, they were put in a position of vulnerability and humility."[6]
  • It may be simply a replacement for the relatively little known (compared to dhimmi) noun dhimma, coined to carry the same meaning.[7] This has already widely happened in French usage where, as in English, "-tude" is a productive suffix.
  • A more recent pejorative usage variant of "dhimmi" and "dhimmitude" divorces the words from the historical context of jihad and applies them to situations where non-Muslims in the West and India are championing Islamic causes above others. "Dhimmi" is treated as analogous to "Quisling" within this context.

Sample views

Bernard Lewis, Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, states that

"If we look at the considerable literature available about the position of Jews in the Islamic world, we find two well-established myths. One is the story of a golden age of equality, of mutual respect and cooperation, especially but not exclusively in Moorish Spain; the other is of “dhimmi”-tude, of subservience and persecution and ill treatment. Both are myths. Like many myths, both contain significant elements of truth, and the historic truth is in its usual place, somewhere in the middle between the extremes."[8]

Robert Spencer author of The Myth of Islamic Tolerance defines dhimmitude as:

Dhimmitude is the status that Islamic law, the Sharia, mandates for non-Muslims, primarily Jews and Christians. Dhimmis, “protected” or “guilty” people, are free to practice their religion in a Sharia regime, but are made subject to a number of humiliating regulations designed to enforce the Qur'an's command that they "feel themselves subdued" (Sura 9:29). This denial of equality of rights and dignity remains part of the Sharia, and, as such, are part of the legal superstructure that global jihadists are laboring through violence to restore everywhere in the Islamic world, and wish ultimately to impose on the entire human race. [9]

See also

References

  1. ^ As reprinted in Lebanon News 8, no. 18 (September 14, 1985), 1-2
  2. ^ Bat Ye'or, "Terres arabes: terres de 'dhimmitude'", in La Cultura Sefardita, vol. 1, La Rassegna mensile di Israel 44, no. 1-4, 3rd series (1983): 94-102
  3. ^ James E. Biechler, review of The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam in Journal of Ecumenical Studies (Philadelphia). 1985?
  4. ^ Bat Ye'or (1996). The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam. From Jihad to Dhimmitude. Seventh-Twentieth Century. Madison/Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press/Associated University Presses. ISBN 0-8386-3688-8. 
  5. ^ Bat Ye'or (2003). Islam and Dhimmitude. Where Civilizations Collide. Madison/Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press/Associated University Presses. ISBN 0-8386-3943-7. 
  6. ^ John W. Whitehead, An interview with Bat Ye'or. Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, 5 September 2005
  7. ^ Judith Apter Klinghoffer: Deja vu, in: History News Network
  8. ^ Bernard Lewis, 'The New Anti-Semitism', The American Scholar Journal - Volume 75 No. 1 Winter 2006 pp. 25-36.
  9. ^ Spencer, Robert: Billboard

External links


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