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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Life under muslim rule

DB claims that unlike Jewish life in christian Europe, life for Jews under muslim rule was just dandy. While it is true that christian Europe was historically the most violent towards the Jews, this by no means means that life under the Arabs was good. Here is a brief overview of the Jew in Islam and under the rule of Arab society:


According to Arab propagandists, the main issue of the Arab-Israel conflict is "the Palestinian state". This is a myth. As will be clearly demonstrated, the main issue is, rather, the deep, traditional and religious hatred of the Arab for the Jew.

In 1948, before 800,000 Jews fled, 850,000 Jews lived throughout the Arab world. Many Jewish communities had been established 2,000 years before. Some, such as the Yemenite Jewish community, date back from the time of the destruction of the First Jewish Temple by the Babylonians, in the fifth century before the common era.

Arab propaganda would have the world believe that there exists a long tradition of Arab tolerance. In the words of the late King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, in 1973: "Before the Jewish state was established,there existed nothing to harm good relations between Arabs and Jews."

And, according to former PLO head, Yasser Arafat: "We are not against the Jews. On the contrary, we are Semites and we have been living with each other in peace and fraternity, Muslims, Jews and Christians for many centuries."

But numerous scholarly works and eye-witness reports document the long history of violence, oppression and humiliation suffered by Jews and Christians in the Arab lands from the rise of Islam in the seventh century, until the present day.


In the Arabian city of Medina, Islam's founder, Muhammad, at first courted the favor of the long-respected Jewish community. He even adopted several Jewish practices, such as the fast of Yom Kippur and prayer in the direction of Jerusalem, in the hope of acquiring Jewish converts for his new religion.
When it became clear to him that the Jews were not interested in trading their faith, his attitude toward the Jews soured. Muhammad's resentment was canonized in Islam's holy book, the Koran. Although also containing some earlier, benign references to Jews, the Koran remains decidedly anti-Jewish:

"The most vehement of mankind in hostility are the Jews and the Idolaters...
distorting with their tongues and slandering religion...
the greediest of mankind...
desire nothing but your ruin...
commit evil and become engrossed in sin...
Allah hath cursed them for their disbelief.
Taste ye the punishment of burning.
Those who disbelieve our revelations, we shall expose them to the fire.
As often as their skins are consumed, we shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment."

Thus, the holy book of Islam, the Koran, presents the Jewish people as inherently evil, treacherous, and as infidels of their prophet, Muhammad, Islam's founder.

Furthermore, from among other statements of Muhammad in the Hadith:
"The resurrection of the dead will not come until the Muslims will war with the Jews and the Muslims will kill them... The trees and rocks will say, "O Muslim, O Abdulla, here is a Jew behind me, come and kill him."


Muhammad's new attitude was expressed in practical deed. Upon the thriving Jewish oasis community of Khaibar, north of Mecca and Medina, Muhammad inflicted inhuman atrocities (Israel Ben Zeev, Jews in Arabia). Furthermore, he hideously annihilated the Quraizan Jews of Arabia -- adults and children.

It was Quraizan Jews who had established the prosperous town of Yathrib that attracted an infiltration of the pagan Arabs before the rise of Islam. (This pattern of Jewish industriousness attracting an Arab work force was to repeat itself over and over during the present century.) The Moslem Arabs, now united under Muhammad, eliminated the Jews and expropriated their wealth. The town's name was changed to Medina -- Islam's second-holiest city (Bernard Lewis, Arabs in History, New York, 1966).

This pattern of plundering the possessions of Jews under Arab control was to continue into this century. It is justified by the Koran:
"Some you slew and others you took captive. Allah made you masters of the Jews' land, their houses, and their goods..." (the Koran, Surah 33, Dawood translation).

"Make war... until they pay tribute in a state of humiliation" (the Koran 9:29).

Muhammad's fame spread; the pagan Arabs flocked to him; the Arabian Muslim creed gathered an earth-shattering momentum (Alfred Guillaume, Islam, Baltimore, 1954).

That momentum propelled the Arabs into control of vast territories, far beyond the Arabian peninsula. The Arab conquests constituted a further fulfillment of the biblical verses:

"And he [Ishmael, father of the Arab people] will be a wildman. His hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him, and in the face of all his brethren will he dwell" (Genesis XVI, 12), "...and I will make him into a large nation" (Genesis XXI, 18).


Muhammad's successor, Omar, codified the twelve laws under which a non-Muslim, or dhimmi, would be suffered to exist in the Arab world. Calculated to impoverish and humiliate, these Islamic laws were enforced on pain of death.

Among other restrictions, Jews were forbidden to touch the Koran, practise Judaism in public, or own a horse. Jews were forced to wear particular clothing, including a piece of yellow cloth as a badge. Expressions of grief at Jewish burials were not to reach the ears of Muslims.

By Islamic law, Jewish or Christian testimony was meaningless against a Muslim. On the other hand, the dhimmi lived in constant fear of the Muslim, for there would be no way of defending himself against an accusation of cursing Islam.

Although a Muslim was subject to capital punishment for the murder of a fellow Muslim, the murder of a dhimmi would, at most, cost him a fine.

For this Arab "tolerance", the infidel dhimmi paid extra taxes as prescribed in the Koran:
"Fight against those who believe not in Allah... until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low."

And they did fight; with a brutality that has become a trademark. The helpless Jews in Arab lands repeatedly tasted Arab savagery. Those typical hatchet-and-knife pogroms were visited with regularity also upon the dhimmi Jews of the Holy Land.


Since the Arabian invasion of Palestine in the seventh century, Jews and Christians were allowed to remain alive, between attacks, to be a source of funds obtained by special taxes and extortions, and to serve as helpless scapegoats for the Muslim masses. This policy continued under successive waves of other Muslim non-Arab conquerors of the Holy Land, as well.

The lawful humiliation of the non-Muslim was a fact of life. The degree of harshness of the persecution depended on the whim of the particular ruler.

Arab dominion over non-Muslims was reminiscent of the nation of Amalek of biblical infamy:
"Amalek represents that principle which judges the dignity of men and nations solely in terms of visible power and domination. It is willing to condone any act as long as it results in successful conquest. It will tolerate only that which it fears or that which it can safely despise" (Rabbi S.R. Hirsch, Collected Writings II, p.414).

From the beginning of Muslim Turkish rule in 1516, Jews had to pass Muslims on their left side, the side of Satan (David Landes, "Palestine Before the Zionists." Commentary, February 1976). Sultan Murad III decreed death for all Jews of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, but later commuted the sentence (Jacob de Haas, History of Palestine, New York, 1934).

In 1586, the famous Ramban Synagogue of the Old City of Jerusalem was seized by the Muslim authorities. This had been the last synagogue in Jerusalem remaining in Jewish hands (Ben Gurion, Israel, Tel Aviv, 1971).

One single Jew survived the Muslim massacre in the holy city of Safad in 1660 (Jacob de Haas, History of Palestine, New York, 1934).

In 1775, Muslim mob violence against the Jews of Hebron was incited by the infamous blood libel (Samuel Katz, Battleground: Fact and Fantasy in Palestine, New York, 1973).

The Albanian born Mamluk "Arab", called "the Butcher", terrorized the land with his sadistic exploits through the late 1700's (Jacob de Haas, History of Palestine, New York, 1934).

To be permitted to pray by the Wailing Wall, the Jews paid a high annual rent to the Arab whose property adjoined it. They paid protection money to Muslim officials, already paid by the Turkish Government, for fear of desecration of the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, and of Rachel's Tomb (David Landes, Palestine Before the Zionists, 1976).

In the 1830's, during the brief Egyptian reign over Palestine, the Jews found themselves caught between the ravages of the Egyptian soldiers and the multi-ethnic Muslim rebels who fought them:
"Forty thousand fellahin rushed on Jerusalem... The mob entered, and looted the city for five or six days. The Jews were the worst sufferers, their homes were sacked and their women were violated" (Jacob de Haas, History of Palestine, New York, 1934).

News of the Damascus blood libel of 1840 brought heightened waves of persecution and murder of Jews throughout Palestine (Moshe Ma'oz, ed., Studies in Palestine During the Ottoman Period, Jerusalem, 1975).

In 1914, after returning from his heinous mass slaughter of the Armenian people, Turkish commander Baha-ud Did threatened to do the same to the Jews if he ever got the chance. Fierce persecutions ensued. Use of the Hebrew language was banned. Entire Jewish families were thrown in prison. Jewish males were forced into labor battalions. Farm carts and animals were confiscated just before harvest time. The entire Jewish population of Jaffa was expelled on Passover, 1915. Resistors were hanged. Thousands wandered helplessly on the roads, starving (Martin Gilbert, Exile and Return, New York, 1978).

During the last few years of Muslim rulership over Palestine, torture for a Jew was the norm upon arrest. By the time the British routed the Turkish Ottomans from Palestine in 1917, the entire country, including the new Jewish settlements, had been plundered.

The documented Muslim excesses committed during the corrupt Turkish rule over Palestine from 1516 to 1917, are too hideous and numerous to record (See Joan Peters; From Time Immemorial p.190 et seq.).