Eastern Christians Torn Asunder

Eastern Christians Torn Asunder

Challenges – New and Old

National Review Online
September 18, 2003

By Bat Yeor

The dhimmi mentality cannot be easily defined and described. An
endless variety of reactions has been provoked by the evolving
historical situations in the civilization of dhimmitude, which
spans three continents and close to fourteen centuries. Generally
speaking, /dhimmi/ populations can be described as oscillating between
alienation and submission and, at the other extreme, a self-perception
of spiritual freedom.

The basic aspects of the /dhimmi/ mentality are related to
characteristics of its status and environment, because /dhimmitude/
operates exclusively within the sphere of jihad. Contrary to common
belief, jihad is not limited to holy war conducted militarily;
it encompasses all strategies, including peaceful means, aimed at
the unification of all religions within Islamic dogma. Further,
as a juridical-theological construction, jihad determines all
aspects of relations between the /Umma/ — the Islamic community —
and non-Muslims. According to the classical interpretation, these
are classified in one of three categories: enemies, temporarily
reconciled, or subjected. Because neither jihad nor /dhimmitude/
have been critically analyzed, we can say today that the Islamist
mentality — currently predominant in many Muslim countries —
establishes relations with non-Muslims in the traditional jihad
categories of war, truce, and submission//dhimmitude/.

In our times /dhimmis/ are found among the residues of indigenous
populations of countries that were Islamized during a millenium of
Muslim conquests: Christians, Hindus, and a scattering of Jews and
Zoroastrians. Christians would seem to be the most familiar group,
closer to Westerners by proximity, culture, religion, and subject to
the same status under Islam as the Jews, the other /ahl al-Khitab/,
“people of the Book” — the Bible. But this impression is often
deceiving as the reassuring appearance of similarity is misleading.

The behavior of Christian /dhimmis/ varies according to the country,
the social category, and their association with the ruling classes
as, for example, their participation in the Iraqi or Syrian Baath
parties or the PLO, a militarist organization engaged in the Arab
jihad against Israel. Christian /dhimmis/ appointed to important
positions by Muslim rulers have often served as agents between the
Arab world and strategic centers in the West: churches, governments,
industries, universities, media, etc.

Because Christian /dhimmi/ populations are on the whole highly skilled
and better educated than the surrounding population, they often suffer
from malicious jealousy coupled with the traditional anti-Christian
prejudices of the /Umma/. The persistence of Christianity in Muslim
environments testifies to qualities of endurance and adaptability. Yet
survival in dhimmitude had its price: the /dhimmi/ pathology.

Briefly summarized, Christian attitudes can be classified in three
categories: active resistance, passive resistance, and collaboration.
These three attitudes are manifest within one and the same population,
but certain geographical or historical situations favor one or another.


Recent examples of active resistance are noteworthy. The repression
of the Christian rebellion against the establishment of sharia in the
Sudan in 1983 caused more than two million dead and over four million
displaced. Lebanese Christians fought against the Islamization of
their country during the civil war that began in 1975. At the dawn
of the 20th century, Armenian and Assyrian Christians were punished
by genocide for their attempts at independence. In the present day,
active Christian resistance against Islamization in Indonesia,
Nigeria, and other African countries is manifest in the massacre
of Christian civilians, the burning of villages, the flight of
populations. Westerners, and especially Europeans, turn a deaf ear
to the sufferings of Christians who actively resist Islamization,
frequently blaming them for their own misfortunes.


Examples of passive resistance can be found in Egypt, Pakistan,
and Iran. Egyptian Christians denounce the violence of which they
are victims and strive to protect their dignity, reduce legal
and professional discrimination, and secure basic rights such
as permission to build or renovate churches. Here again, the West
prefers to ignore their dire situation or underplay it with episodic
attention. Christians engaged in active or passive resistance exhaust
their meager resources in vain efforts to alert their fellow Christians
and enlist their help.


Collaborators are recruited among Christians who identify themselves
as Arabs. This type of collaboration, which caused endless fratricidal
battles over the centuries, has been denounced by /dhimmis/ struggling
for centuries against an Islamic domination that progressed with the
help of Christians.

Christian collaborationism has taken different forms in the course of
history, according to circumstances and political opportunity. It is
expressed today in a two-pronged political and theological project. The
political project is implemented in a trans-Mediterranean fusion, with
the construction of an economic, cultural, political, geographical
entity composed of the European Union and Arab and African countries.
This policy of association and integration, active in all international
forums, works to counterbalance American policy, under cover of a
notion of “international legitimacy,” albeit a legitimacy of sanguinary
totalitarian Arab dictators.

Collaborationist Christian /dhimmis/ function as the intellectual and
economic mechanism of this project because they belong to both worlds.
Their role is to invent the idyllic Islamic-Christian past that upholds
the political construction of a future Eurabia and to dissimulate
the anti-Christian foundations of Islamic doctrine and history.

/Dhimmi/ collaboration on the theological level is oriented in
two directions: toward Christianity and toward Islam. It finds its
most radical expression in the “Palestinian Liberation Theology,”
meaning nothing less than the liberation of Christianity from its
Jewish matrix. The spiritual center of this theology is the al-Liqa
institute in Jerusalem, created in 1983 for the study of the Muslim
and Christian heritage in the Holy Land. This strongly politicized
institute, sponsored by international Christian organizations,
specializes in disseminating anti-Israeli propaganda through its
international religious and media channels.

Uniting Marcionist and Gnostic theological currents, this Palestinian
theology strips away Jesus’s Jewishness and turns him into a
/sui generis/ Arab-Palestinian Jesus, a twin of the Muslim Jesus
(Isa). Christianity, thus liberated from its Jewish roots, can be
transplanted in Arab-Islamism. This would place Palestine, and not
Israel, at the origin of Christianity, making Israelis usurpers of
the Islamic-Christian Palestinian homeland. This theory denies the
historical continuity between modern Israel and its biblical ancestor,
the locus of nascent Christianity.

The theology of Palestinism, integrating all the anti-Jewish themes
of replacement theology, is reworked to fit the new Palestinian
fashion and addressed to Christians all over the world, inviting
them to gather together around an Arab-Palestinian Jesus, symbol
of a Palestine crucified by Israel. The theme goes back to the 19th
century. However, in those days when the idea of an Arab-Palestinian
entity differentiated from the Arab world did not even exist, the
unifying role of Palestine was assigned to Arab nationalism.

Palestinist theology shores up the Euro-Arab policy of
Christian-Muslim and European-Arab fusion: the modern state of
Israel — considered a temporary accident of history — is bypassed
and Europe’s Christian origins are anchored in an Islamic-Christian
Palestine. Having fulfilled its historical role of uniting the two
enemies — Christianity and Islam — opposed to its very existence,
Israel can now disappear, sealing the fusion between Europe and the
Arabs. The unifying role devolves on Islamic-Christian Palestine; the
reconciliation of Islam and Christianity can finally be consummated
on the ashes of Israel and its negation. This is why the European
Union — and especially France — designates Israeli “injustice” and
“occupation” as the unique sources of conflict between Europe and
the Arab/Muslim world, and the cause of international, anti-Western
Islamist terrorism.

The contribution of /dhimmi/ Christian collaborationism to Islam is
even more important. It satisfies three objectives: 1) its propaganda
shores up the mythology of past and present peaceful Islamic-Christian
coexistence and confirms the perfection of Islam, jihad, and sharia;
2) it promotes the demographic expansion and proselytism of Islamic
propaganda in the West; 3) in the theological sphere it eliminates the
Jewish Jesus and implants Christianity in the Muslim Jesus, in other
words it facilitates the theological Islamization of all Christendom.

According to Islamic dogma, Islam encompasses Judaism and Christianity,
both of which are falsified posterior expressions of the first and
fundamental religion, which is Islam. All the characters of the
Bible, from Adam to Abraham, Moses to David, the Hebrew prophets,
Mary, Jesus, and the apostles, were Muslim prophets who preached
Islam, and it is only in their quality as Muslims that they are
recognized and respected. They belong to the Koran, not to the
Bible. From this viewpoint the bond between Judaism and Christianity
is a falsification, because the filiation of Christianity is Islamic,
not Judaic. Christianity descends from Islam, the first religion of
all humanity (/din al-fitra/). Christianity is a falsified expression
of Islam, and belongs to Islam. According to a /hadith/, when Isa,
the Muslim Jesus, returns, he will break the cross, kill the pig,
abolish the /jizya/ (poll tax for infidels), and money will flow
like water. Exegetes interpret the destruction of symbols attached
to Christianity — the cross and the pig — as the extinction of that
religion; the suppression of the /jizya/ means that Islam has become
the only religion; and the abundance of wealth refers to the booty
taken from infidels. In other words the return of the Muslim Jesus
could lead to the destruction of Christianity.

The global jihad has made the problems of dhimmitude a worldwide
reality. Europe’s creeping dhimmitude, expressed in a refusal even
to mention in its proposed constitution the “Judeo-Christian” values
of its civilization, is one of the major elements of the current
European-American divide.

Bat Yeor is the author of “The Decline of Eastern Christianity
under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude.” Her latest book, “Islam and
Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide,” has just been reprinted. A
version of this article was first published in French and is translated
by Nidra Poller in collaboration with the author.