Misinterpreting Islamic history

"Misinterpreting Islamic history" Continued...

Issue: "Osama bin Ashcroft?," April 27, 2002

The Wall Street Journal, for example, reported on April 9 that Saudi Arabia almost never allows deceased non-Muslims even to be buried in that country. The corpses of those who provided goods and services to the Saudi masters-Christians from the Philippines, Hindus from India, Buddhists from Thailand, and so forth-must be shipped back to their home countries at a cost of about $3,000 apiece, which is about the annual wage of many of the workers. When employers balk, corpses may be held in Saudi Arabia for months. A Kanoo Cargo manager said, "Saudi does not have much to send abroad apart from oil ... we do a lot of this human remains business."

When a foreigner or anyone else dies in an accident, a Saudi religious court decides if someone is responsible for the death, and if so exacts "blood money" compensation. Look at the religious and sexual bigotry inherent in these figures: 100,000 Riyals (about $27,000 for a Muslim male), half that for a Christian male, 1/15 of that (about $1,800) for a Hindu or Buddhist male, and 1/30 of that (about $900) for a Hindu or Buddhist woman. American fundamentalists even in the days of slavery found burial places for all, and American courts even during days of religious prejudice did not establish such differentials on the basis of belief.

Are Christian and Islamic fundamentalism the same? It's hard to find a fundamentalist in America who says slavery was righteous because slaves were kept alive. Muslims defend dhimmitude, however, by saying that Muslims could have expelled or killed Christians and Jews, but deserve credit for letting them live. (Of course, genocide against the inhabitants of conquered nations would have left Arabs with depopulated areas and not much likelihood of repopulating them.) Some also have praised Islam for giving opportunities to the children of dhimmis. (Muslims often removed children from their Christian or Jewish parents and brought them up in Islam. That went along with the belief that all children are born Muslims and corrupted by parents.)

Other defenders of Islam have asserted that dhimmi status was better than anything offered Jews under Christianity. That is generally not true: For example, under Byzantine authority Jews could not purchase any property that the church had; under Islam, they could purchase no property, period. Under the Byzantines, Jews could act as witnesses; not so under Islam. But in any event, those who accepted dhimmi status, Bat Ye'Or notes, were left with "no genuine rights," because "the person who concedes the charter can equally well rescind it.... Under dhimmitude, a person has no claim to any rights, just permission that can be rescinded. This is not because of temporary decision but is a rooted concept."

In short, Islamic fundamentalism and Christian fundamentalism are worlds apart. Christian fundamentalists may be nice people and they can also live at peace with their neighbors, since all people have inalienable rights. Muslim fundamentalists may be nice people, but to remain faithful to Quranic teaching they can only have a temporary cease-fire with dhimmis. This is a huge difference that many journalists have irresponsibly overlooked.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.


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