Voices

Dhimmi-nized

Scared Westerners single out one religion for kid-gloves treatment

Issue: "A few good men," May 6, 2006

When Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of the noxious South Park, see a taboo, they hasten to break it. So they were sure to weigh in on the controversy over those Danish cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad. The animated South Park, featuring foul-mouthed children, had long presented Jesus as a sympathetic but comical character. The creators were fresh off a series savaging Scientology as a cult of child-molesters. So Islam was ripe for ridicule.

But at the climax of the two-part series-in which the politically correct citizens of South Park literally buried their heads in the sand so as not to offend Muslims by seeing something they did not approve of-the show's network Comedy Central blacked out the depiction of Muhammad. And yet, the network left in a blasphemous scene involving Jesus, the American flag, and President Bush.

Comedy Central could have axed the entire show and initiated a policy of respecting all religions. But instead, the network made Islam off-limits for satire, while letting Christianity be fair game. This privileging of Islam over Christianity came not because the TV execs are more sympathetic to the Muslim religion. They acted out of sheer fear. They knew they had nothing to fear from offending Christians, but that Muslims really might kill them.

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This same fear is shaping the depiction of Islam throughout Western culture. On university campuses, Christianity is routinely criticized, while Islam is treated with kid gloves. The Jesus Seminar casts doubt on the Bible, but there is no Muhammad Seminar to cast doubt on the Quran. A trendy European jeans company emblazons its products with anti-religious symbols and slogans. While there is a line insulting Christianity and a line insulting Hinduism, there are no plans for an anti-Muslim line. The motive, again, is simple fear. But fear is an appropriate motivator for the infidels, according to Islam.

It has to do with the concept of "dhimmitude." According to the fear-based spin, Islam is a religion of tolerance. Historically, when Muslims would conquer an infidel nation, the inhabitants would be encouraged to convert to Islam. Polytheists, if they refused to convert, would be killed. But the monotheistic "people of the Book"-namely, Christians and Jews-could retain their religion, as long as they accepted the status of "dhimmis." This entailed paying a special tax, which was really tribute money to Islam, accepting second-class citizenship, and following special laws limiting the practice of their religion and keeping Islam as supreme.

Today, the Muslim conquest of the West is carried out not only by the terrorist sword but by immigration. And Muslims, empowered by democracy and multiculturalism, are implementing the principles of dhimmitude in their new homelands.

Western nations are accepting dhimmitude even at the expense of traditional liberties. Notice how, in the Danish cartoon controversy, the rioters demanded that non-Muslims obey the Islamic law against religious images. Increasingly Western nations, in a misguided push for multicultural sensitivity, have passed "anti-vilification laws" that forbid "offending" Muslims.

Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci criticized Islam in her book The Force of Reason. Muslims in Italy filed charges, whereupon she had to flee to America to avoid prosecution. In Australia, two Christian pastors were convicted of violating the anti-vilification law when they read some of the scarier parts of the Quran in public and taught that Islam is a false religion.

Canada has taken the extraordinary step of allowing Muslims in that country to be governed by Islamic law (Shariah) when it comes to disputes over property and family issues, including marriage and divorce. This means that women coming to what they thought was a free country with a legal system that protects individual rights must submit to an Islamic council, whose rulings will be enforced by Canadian courts.

Islam becoming a privileged religion over all the rest makes dhimmis of us all.

Gene Edward Veith
Gene Edward Veith

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