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Last June, Islamic State militants forced 100,000 Christians to flee the Iraqi city of Mosul in a single night.
In an interview with the Daily Express, Iraqi priest Father Douglas Bazi shared details of how the city’s population was given a 24-hour ultimatum to convert to ISIS’ radical Islam or face execution.
He said 100,000 Christians chose to flee, penniless, leaving their homes and livelihoods behind. Those who stayed behind had to pay a Jizya – an Islamist tax for non-believers – of more than a year’s salary for an average Iraqi. Those who could not pay were beheaded.
“Before 2003 we were two million Christians in Iraq. Now we are maybe 180,000,” Bazi said.
“At least 1,800 Christians have been killed since 2003 in Iraq. That’s why the people are afraid.
“Overnight 100,000 people escaped from Mosul and escaped from ISIS. When they arrived and took over Mosul they told the people we have three conditions according to Sharia. READ MORE
Muslim demands for non-Muslim “infidels” to pay jizya on pain of death are growing, even as the West fluctuates between having no clue what jizya is and thinking that jizya is an example of “tolerance” in Islam.
In the video where the Islamic State slaughters some 30 Christian Ethiopians in Libya last April, the spokesman repeatedly pointed out that payment of jizya (which the impoverished Ethiopian migrant workers could not render, nor the 21 Copts before them) is the only way for Christians around the world to safeguard their lives:
But whoever refuses [to pay jizya] will see nothing from us but the edge of a spear. The men will be killed and the children will be enslaved, and their wealth will be taken as booty. This is the judgment of Allah and His Messenger.
When the Islamic State invaded ancient Christian regions around the Ninevah Plain last June, it again declared: “We offer them [Assyrian Christians] three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract—involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.”
The Islamic State—which most Western politicians ludicrously insist “has nothing to do with Islam”—is not alone in calling for jizya from Christian “infidels.” In 2002, Saudi Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul Rahman, discussing the Muslim prophet’s prediction that Islam will eventually conquer Rome, said, “We will control the land of the Vatican; we will control Rome and introduce Islam in it. Yes, the Christians . . . will yet pay us the jizya, in humiliation, or they will convert to Islam.”
And in a video recently posted, Sheik ‘Issam Amira appears giving a sermon in Al Aqsa Mosque where he laments that too many Muslims think jihad is only for defense against aggressors, when in fact Muslims are also obligated to wage offensive jihad against non-Muslims:
When you face your pagan enemy, call them—either to Islam, jizya, or seek Allah’s help and fight them. Even if they do not fight [or initiate hostilities], fight them!… Fight them! When? When they fight you? No, when they refuse to convert to Islam or refuse to pay jizya…. Whether they like it or not, we will subjugate them to Allah’s authority.
In short, if the Islamic State is enforcing jizya on “infidels,” demands for its return are on the increase all around the Muslim world. Put differently, if Abu Shadi, an Egyptian Salfi leader, once declared that Egypt’s Christians “must either convert to Islam, pay jizya, or prepare for war,” Dr. Amani Tawfiq, a female professor at Egypt’s Mansoura University, once said that “If Egypt wants to slowly but surely get out of its economic situation and address poverty in the country, the jizya has to be imposed on the Copts.”
The Doctrine and History of Jizya
So what exactly is jizya?
The word jizya appears in Koran 9:29, in an injunction that should be familiar by now: “Fight those among the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] who do not believe in Allah nor the Last Day, nor forbid what Allah and his Messenger have forbidden, nor embrace the religion of truth, until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued (emphasis added).”
In the hadith, the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, regularly calls on Muslims to demand jizya of non-Muslims: “If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay jizya, seek Allah’s help and fight them.”
The second “righteous caliph,” Omar al-Khattab, reportedly said that any conquered “infidel” who refuses to convert to Islam “must pay the jizya out of humiliation and lowliness. If they refuse this, it is the sword without leniency.”
This theme of non-Muslim degradation appears regularly in the commentaries of Islam’s authorities. According to the Medieval Islamic Civilization Encyclopedia, Muslim “jurists came to view certain repressive and humiliating aspects of dhimma as de rigueur. Dhimmis [subjugated non-Muslim Christians and Jews] were required to pay the jizya publicly, in broad daylight, with hands turned palm upward, and to receive a smart smack on the forehead or the nape of the neck from the collection officer.”
Some of Islam’s jurists mandated a number of other humiliating rituals at the time of jizya payment, including that the presiding Muslim official slap, choke, and in some cases pull the beard of the paying dhimmi, who might even be required to approach the official on all fours, in bestial fashion.
The root meaning of the Arabic word “jizya” is simply to “repay” or “recompense,” basically to “compensate” for something. According to the Hans Wehr Dictionary, the standard Arabic-English dictionary, jizya is something that “takes the place” of something else, or “serves instead.”
Simply put, conquered non-Muslims were to purchase their lives, which were otherwise forfeit to their Muslim conquerors, with money. Instead of taking their lives, they took their money. As one medieval jurist succinctly put it, “their lives and their possessions are only protected by reason of payment of jizya.”
Past and increasingly present, Muslims profited immensely by exacting jizya from conquered peoples.
For instance, Amr bin al-As, the companion of Muhammad who conquered Christian Egypt in the early 640s, tortured and killed any Christian Copt who tried to conceal his wealth. When a Copt inquired of him, “How much jizya are we to pay?” the Islamic hero replied, “If you give me all that you own—from the ground to the ceiling—I will not tell you how much you owe. Instead, you [the Christian Copts] are our treasure chest, so that, if we are in need, you will be in need, and if things are easy for us, they will be easy for you.”
Yet even that was not enough. Caliph Uthman later chided Amr bin al-As because another governor of Egypt had managed to increase the caliphate’s treasury double what Amr had. In the words of Uthman, the “milk camels [Egypt’s Christians, that is] . . . yielded more milk.” Years later, yet another caliph, Suliman Abdul Malik, wrote to the governor of Egypt advising him “to milk the camel until it gives no more milk, and until it milks blood.”
Little wonder Egypt went from being almost entirely Christian in the seventh century to today having a mere 10%—and steadily dwindling, thanks to ongoing persecution—Christian minority.
Related to the idea of institutionalized jizya is the notion that non-Muslims are fair game to plunder whenever possible. The jizya entry in the Encyclopaedia of Islam states that “with or without doctrinal justification, arbitrary demands [for money] appeared at times.” Even that medieval traveler, Marco Polo, whose chronicles appear impartial, made an interesting observation concerning the Muslims in Tauris (modern day Iraq) in the thirteenth century:
According to their doctrine [Islam], whatever is stolen or plundered from others of a different faith, is properly taken, and the theft is no crime; whilst those who suffer death or injury by the hands of Christians [during the course of a plunder-driven raid], are considered as martyrs…. These principles are common to all Saracens [Muslims].
All this is echoed in recent times by the words of Sheikh Abu Ishaq al-Huwaini, spoken a few years ago, concerning what the Muslim world should do to overcome its economic problems:
If only we can conduct a jihadist invasion at least once a year or if possible twice or three times, then many people on earth would become Muslims. And if anyone prevents our dawa [invitation to conversion] or stands in our way, then we must kill or take them as hostage and confiscate their wealth, women and children. Such battles will fill the pockets of the Mujahid [holy warrior] who can return home with 3 or 4 slaves, 3 or 4 women and 3 or 4 children. This can be a profitable business if you multiply each head by 300 or 400 dirham. This can be like financial shelter whereby a jihadist, in time of financial need, can always sell one of these heads.
So it was for well over a millennium: Muslim rulers and mobs extorted money from “infidels” under their sway as a legitimate way to profit.
Much of this financial fleecing came to an end thanks to direct European intervention. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, one Muslim region after another abolished the jizya and gave non-Muslims unprecedented rights—originally to appease Western powers, later in emulation of Western governance. The Ottoman Empire’s Hatt-i Humayun decree of 1856 abolished the jizya in many Ottoman-ruled territories. Elsewhere in the Muslim world, the jizya was gradually abolished wherever Western powers were present.
Today, however, as Muslims reclaim their Islamic heritage—often to the approval and encouragement of a West, now under the spell of “multiculturalism”—jizya, whether institutionalized as under the Islamic State, or as a rationale to plunder infidels, is back.
Even in the West, in 2013, a UK Muslim preacher who was receiving more than 25,000 pounds annually in welfare benefits referred to British taxpayers as “slaves,” and explained: “We take the jizya, which is our haq [Arabic for “right”], anyway. The normal situation by the way is to take money from the kafir [infidel], isn’t it? So this is the normal situation. They give us the money—you work, give us the money, Allahu Akhbar [“Allah is Great”]. We take the money.”
Academic Lies about Jizya
Yet if Muslims—from Islamic State jihadis to Egyptian university professors—know the truth about jizya, the West is today oblivious, thanks to its leading authorities on Islam: Western academics and other “experts” and talking heads.
Consider the following excerpt from John Esposito, director of the Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University and a widely acknowledged go-to source for anything Islamic:
In many ways, local populations [Christians, Jews, and others] found Muslim rule more flexible and tolerant than that of Byzantium and Persia. Religious communities were free to practice their faith to worship and be governed by their religious leaders and laws in such areas as marriage, divorce, and inheritance. In exchange, they were required to pay tribute, a poll tax (jizya) that entitled them to Muslim protection from outside aggression and exempted them from military service. Thus, they were called the “protected ones” (dhimmi). In effect, this often meant lower taxes, greater local autonomy (emphasis added) …
Despite the almost gushing tone related to Muslim rule, the idea that jizya was extracted in order to buy “Muslim protection from outside aggression” is an outright lie. Equally false is Esposito’s assertion that jizya was paid to “exempt them [non-Muslims] from military service”—as if conquering Muslims would even want or allow their conquered “infidel” subjects to fight alongside them in the name of jihad (holy war against infidels) without first converting to Islam.
Yet these two myths—that jizya was for “Muslim protection from outside aggression” and exemption from military service—are now widely accepted. In “Nothing ‘Islamic’ About ISIS, Part Two: What the ‘Jizya’ Really Means,” one Hesham A. Hassaballa recycles these fabrications on BeliefNet by quoting Sohaib Sultan, Princeton University’s Muslim chaplain, who concludes: “Thus, jizyah is no more and no less than an exemption tax in lieu of military service and in compensation for the ‘covenant of protection’ (dhimmah) accorded to such citizens by the Islamic state.”
In reality and as demonstrated above via the words of a variety of authoritative Muslims, past and present, jizya was, and is indeed, protection money—though protection, not from outsiders, as Esposito and others claim, but from surrounding Muslims themselves. Whether it is the first caliphate from over a millennium ago or whether it is the newest caliphate, the Islamic State, Muslim overlords continue to deem the lives of their “infidel” subjects forfeit unless they purchase it, ransom it with money. Put differently, the subjugated infidel is a beast to be milked “until it gives no more milk and until it milks blood,” to quote the memorable words of an early caliph.
There is nothing humane, reasonable, or admirable about demands for jizya from conquered non-Muslim minorities, as the academics claim. Jizya is simply extortion money. Its purpose has always been to provide non-Muslims with protection from Muslims: pay up, or else convert to Islam, or else die.
And it is commanded in both the Koran and Hadith, the twin pillars of Islam. In short, jizya is yet another ugly fact of Islam—add to offensive jihad, imperialism, misogyny, slavery, etc.—one that, distort as they may, the academics cannot whitewash away, even as the world stands idly by watching its resumption in the twenty-first century.
Note: Most quotations not hyperlinked are sourced from Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians. Full references can be found there.
In an excellent article by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi on joshualandis.com, he gives a good description of the oppression imposed on Christians living in Islamic nations. Below is a portion of the article, along with the preliminary translation of the relevant excerpts of the first formal dhimmi pact. We ask, “If the same was imposed on those who follow Islam in Western nations, would not a loud cry be heard of discrimination and accusations of Islamaphobia?”
“In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful:
Traditionally, a ‘dhimmi’ in Islam is a Jew or Christian who agrees to live under the authority of an Islamic state, agreeing to pay a ‘jizya’ (poll tax) and enduring a number of discriminatory conditions in return for ‘protection’ from the state. The Qur’anic basis for this arrangement is 9:29. In practice of course, the dhimmi pact, far from being a model of historical multiculturalism and tolerance as hailed by Western Islamic apologists such as Karen Armstrong, is actually equivalent to Mafia racketeering, as failure to pay ‘jizya’, whose financial burdens often proved heavy historically, leads to a loss of ‘protection’ by the state.
For the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS), which has the backing of broad elements of classical Islamic theology in this regard, such a development comes as no surprise, as the group’s predecessors- Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) and al-Qa’ida in Iraq- similarly imposed jizya on Christians both in the Baghdad area (al-Dura neighborhood) and the north of the country. In Syria, the group has already imposed dhimmi terms in practice on Christians in Raqqa province, such as in Tel Abyad, where supposed violation of the dhimmi pact was the pretext for ISIS’ desecration of the Armenian church in the fall of last year.
One should also note that this pact has been imposed by ISIS’ leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and bears his signature as the amir al-mu’mineen (“Commander of the Faithful”- the traditional title of a Caliph, illustrating how ISIS is aiming to build the Caliphate and is projecting its leader as the future Caliph). It would thus indicate that Baghdadi is likely to be in Raqqa province at the moment.
Here is my preliminary translation of the relevant excerpts of the first formal dhimmi pact:
“In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful:
Text of the pact of security the Islamic State has given to the Christians of Raqqa with their embracing the rulings of dhimma.
Fight those who believe not in God, nor the Last Day, nor in what God and His messenger have forbidden, nor adopt the true religion [Islam], [even if they be] from the People of the Book [Jews and Christians], until they pay jizya with the hand, and feel themselves subdued- Qur’an 9:29.
We bear witness that there is no deity but God alone. He has fulfilled his promise. He has given victory to His servant. He has made mighty His soldiers. He has defeated the parties on His own: there is no deity but God whom we worship, having purified religion for Him even if the kuffar hate it.
And we bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger- may God’s peace and blessings be upon him…and we bear witness that Jesus the son of Mary is God’s servant and His messenger…the Almighty has said: ‘Never would the Messiah disdain to be God’s servant, and nor would the Angels who are near, and whosoever disdains to worship Him and is haughty- He will gather them to Himself together’- Qur’an 4:172.
And for what follows: This is what the servant of God- Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Commander of the Faithful [NB: this is the title of a Caliph] has given to the Christians concerning the pact of protection. He has given them security for themselves, their wealth, their churches and the rest of their property in the province of Raqqa: their churches should not be attacked, nor should anything be taken [by force] from them, nor from their domain, nor anything from their wealth, and there should be no compulsion against them in religion, and none of them should be harmed.
He has imposed these conditions on them:
1. That they must not build in their town or the periphery a monastery, church or monk’s hermitage, and must not rebuild what has fallen into disrepair.
2. That they must not show the cross or any of their scriptures in any of the roads or markets of the Muslims and they must not use any means to amplify their voices during their calls to prayers or similarly for the rest of their acts of worship.
3. That they must not make Muslims hear recital of their scriptures or the sounds of their bells, even if they strike them within their churches.
4. That they must not engage in any acts of hostility against the Islamic State, like giving housing to spies and those wanted for a reason by the Islamic State, or whosoever’s brigandery is proven from among the Christians or others, they must not aid such persons in concealing or moving them or other such things. If they know of a conspiracy againt the Muslims, they must inform them about it.
5. That they must not engage in any displays of worship outside the churches.
6. That they must not stop any of the Christians from embracing Islam if he so wishes.
7. That they must respect Islam and Muslims, and not disparage their religion in any way.
8. The Christians must embrace payment of the jizya- on every adult male: its value is 4 dinars of gold…on the Ahl al-Ghina [the wealthy], and half that value on those of middle income, and half that on the poor among them, on condition that they do not conceal anything from us regarding their state of affairs. And they are to make two payments per year.
9. They are not allowed to bear arms.
10. They are not to deal in selling pork and wine with Muslims or in their markets; and they are not to consume it [wine] publicly- that is, in any public places.
11. They should have their own tombs, as is custom.
12. That they must accept the precepts imposed by the Islamic State like modesty of dress, selling, buying and other things.
So for them is nearness to God and the dhimma of Muhammad, the Prophet and Messenger of God- may God’s peace and blessings be upon him- even as God brings his command: what they have embraced in the conditions outlined in this document.
But if they disagree with anything in this pact, then they have no dhimma, and the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham will deal with them as it deals with the people of war and stubborn enmity.”
The plight of Egypt’s Christian Copts, especially in Upper Egypt, continues unabated. According to a new Arabic report, during the last few days in Asyut, “criminal groups and gangs managed to acquire guns and weapons and, as usual, have attacked and abused the Christians to control their sources of income, including to finance their [the “gangsters”] activities. They forced Copts to pay large amounts of money as tax [jizya] in order not to steal and/or plunder their lands.
The El Fagr report points out that no one has done a thing to oppose these gangs:
“they simply kill Christians and their families as happened in the village of Shameiya when two Copts refused to pay the tax: the gang killed them and this was repeated in many other villages belonging to the governorate of Asyut. It is becoming so normal now to watch as these crimes against Christians occur day by day and nothing is done.”
According to Hanna Grees Sorial, who has owned a piece of land for over 25 years now, with all the proper documents, members of these gangs recently seized his property and even built a fence around it, telling Sorial that he had to pay 100,000 Egyptian pounds (approximately $16,700 USD) if he wanted his land back.
Amazingly, the piece of land in question is just a few meters away from the police station. And Sorial did report the men, who were arrested only to be released quickly, as often happens in Muslim majority nations whenever Christians register a grievance.
Most recently, and by way of retaliation, the gang called him saying that, since he went to police, they are now demanding 800,000 Egyptian pounds to return his land; they also threatened to kill him and his family if he tried to report on them again.
In the words of Sorial:
“the gangs abuse Christians because we are a peaceful minority; we hate violence and they use that against us, seizing our money to buy weapons and to finance their atrocities against the poor and innocent ones.”
In the latest instance, three men dressed in peasant attire, with firearms hanging on their belts, entered a car rental shop, kidnapped the owner, and later called his wife demanding a two million Egyptian pound ransom (equivalent to nearly $300,000 USD).
Kidnapping and holding for ransom Christians throughout the Islamic world has become especially common, with roots in Islamic law: second-class “infidel” Christians are, according to Koran 9:29, required to pay tribute, or jizya (an Arabic word which indicates something that substitutes for something else, in this case, money in exchange for the life of the condemned infidel, who, by refusing to convert to Islam, deserves death).
And, after destroying dozens of Christian churches, Muslim Brotherhood supporters are now demanding jizya money from the Copts, also in al-Minya province.
Because the jizya was abolished due to Western intervention in the 19th century, other Islamists, jihadis, and terrorists in general, apparently seeing themselves as “jizya vigilantes,” believe they are exonerated to kidnap and hold for ransom, or jizya, Christians—for this scenario of kidnapping and holding Christians for ransom has been playing itself over and over again in the Islamic world, with increased frequency, and not just in Egypt, but Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Nigeria, Sudan, ad nauseum.