Eastern Christians Torn Asunder

Challenges — new and old.

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.

European Fears of the Gathering Jihad

By Bat Ye’or

February 21, 2003

The pro-Saddam Hussein European manifestations of February 15th that brought millions into the streets of European capitals are the culmination of Charles de Gaulle’s political vision of a European destiny led by France. During World War II de Gaulle was the leader of French resistance against the Nazis, but his post-war anti-Americanism rallied many of his previous enemies. Hostility to America and antisemitism were strong in various French circles: the communists, the left, and particularly among the numerous politicians, civil servants, intellectuals and businessmen, who had willingly collaborated with the Germans. Those political currents had important links with the Arab-Muslim world.

De Gaulle’s vision intended to restore to France a dominant role in international affairs by the construction of a strong and united Europe as a counter-weight to American power. After the loss of Algeria in 1962, France’s last Arab colony, de Gaulle oriented his policy toward the Arab-Muslim world. During the 1960s, a French Mediterranean policy was elaborated, which would link as an economic and political geostrategical unit the European Community (EC) and the Arab League countries. But Arab collaboration had a price: the elimination of Israel. In spite of France’s efforts to bring its European partners closer to Arab views, many countries were reluctant to follow this path. At that time, the Arab-Israeli conflict didn’t provoke any interest or declaration from the EC.

After the Syro-Egyptian October 1973 war against Israel, and the third Arab defeat, the Arab oil producers proclaimed an oil embargo, increased the oil price four times, lowered the production, and classified the consuming countries into friends, enemies, or neutrals. Now, France’s maneuvers to align the EC on the Arab anti-Israeli policy in order to create a strong Euro-Arab bloc succeeded. The nine countries of the EC, meeting in Brussels (November 6, 1973) issued a joint Resolution, which endorsed the Franco-Arab policy in respect to Israel.

In 1974 the Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation was founded to strengthen the political, economic and cultural co-operation between Europe and the Arab world. The Association had about 600 members in 18 national Parliaments of the countries of the enlarged European Union (EU), as well as in the European Parliament – and all the major trends in European politics were represented. This Association organized regular meetings with Arab leaders and politicians and served as a channel between them and the European governments, the Presidency of the European Council of Ministers, and the Commission of the European Communities. In other words, it was a most powerful Arab lobby functioning through European functionaries, built into the European institutions to influence European policy at its summit.

In the following years, this body was reinforced by a political, economical and cultural structure, named the Euro-Arab Dialogue, which united at the highest level the EC – later to become the European Union – and the countries of the Arab League. The Europeans tried to maintain the Dialogue on a base of economic relations, while the Arab countries tied the oil and business markets to the European alignment on their anti-Israeli policies. Even though some countries were reluctant to follow this path, the joint proclamations of the EU concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict endorsed the anti-Israeli points established previously by the Second Islamic Conference in Lahore, Pakistan (February 1974).

Henceforth, an associative diplomacy binding the Arab-Muslim countries and the EU developed in international forums and especially in decisions concerning the Middle East conflict. During Euro-Arab symposiums the oil threat was brandished and pressure was exerted on the EU, as a reminder that economic relations were inexorably tied to Europe’s political alignment with Arab anti-Zionist policy. However, the Dialogue was not restricted to influencing European foreign policy against Israel and detaching Europe from America, it also aimed at establishing permanently in Europe a massive Arab-Muslim presence by the immigration and settlement of millions of Muslims with equal rights for all, native-born and migrants alike. This policy endeavored to integrate Europe and the Arab-Muslim world into one political and economic bloc, by mixing populations (multiculturalism) while weakening the Atlantic solidarity and isolating America.

To facilitate Muslim settlements in the West, cultural changes in school teaching, universities and social life were imposed. Textbooks were rewritten in view of allaying Muslim susceptibilities, and university teachings in Middle East and Islamic history soon conformed to Arab-Muslim norms and their worldview. Recommendations were emphatically and repeatedly imposed for spreading the knowledge of the Arabic language in Europe, and the learning about the superior Islamic history and civilization. As these decisions were taken, and then implemented through the mechanism of the Dialogue that covered every country of the EU, a profound cultural Islamization — through the network of schools, universities and the blessing of Islamophile clergymen — conditioned the mentalities of two generations of European youth. To this cultural transformation was added from within the demographic pressure of an ever-increasing Muslim immigration and, from without, an all-encompassing symbiosis on every level with the Arab-Muslim world. This symbiosis built on the system of the Euro-Arab Dialogue, and hence approved by the higher political authorities of the EU, covered book publishing, university exchanges, television, press and radio collaboration, theological rapprochement, youth meetings, and intense collaboration between numerous ONG organizations, humanitarian activities, workers unions, economical and financial relations. Scientific, nuclear and military training were provided as, for exemple, France’s nuclear program with Iraq, culminating in the construction of the nuclear reactor Osirak, destroyed by Israel in 1981.

The development of those complex ties between the Arab-Muslim world and the EU was, at its core, conditioned by an anti-Israeli and anti-American policy, the Arab ambition being to detach Europe from its Atlantic ally. As Palestinian and Islamic terrorism developed, the EU — anxious to save its growing and multiple interests in the Muslim world — accused Israel and U.S. policy of provoking it. Rather than confronting Islamic terrorism, European leaders resorted to appeasement by condemning Israel. Anti-Zionism, integrated into the developing Euro-Arab relations became a European sub-culture of hate, denigration and disinformation, nourished by the inner dynamic of the Euro-Arab Dialogue that led to the rise of Eurabia. Opposing views were silenced to maintain a monolithic façade of Islamic correctness in the press and publications. From September 2000, the outburst of Palestinian terrorism within Israel triggered a violent antisemitic wave in Europe as if it had become the heart of Arabism.

France, Germany and Belgium, the troika leading Eurabia, imposed monolithic orders for the EU and their African satellites. An alliance with the Organization of the Islamic Conference, comprising 56 countries, would provide world supremacy at the UN in some issues. The Euro-Arab bloc’s reliance on UN “international legitimacy” is based on its virtual control of this forum. Essential to the Arab League’s policy in relation to Israel, Arafat — the godfather of international terrorism — became the key regulator between the EU and the Arabs. The EU assumed the main funding of the Palestinian Authority, and until now the European Parliament refuses any investigation of how more than a billion euros of European taxpayers’ money, transferred to Arafat, has been used.

Today the Iraqi crisis confronts the EU governments with three decades of pusillanimous policy based on oil, markets, short-term economic gains, and an imperialist ambition of domination. It is practically impossible now in Europe to control Islamic terrorism either from within or without. Nor can the EU accept the destruction of the multifarious symbiosis created by all European political parties with the Arab and Muslim world, to the detriment of their own country’s security. Europe has undergone a profound structural and demographic change, which is not yet fully perceived by Europeans, even less by Americans. This transformation of a Judeo-Christian based-civilization and culture by strong trends of Islamization is creating social, political and cultural grounds for confrontations that could provoke dangerous social implosions. The drifting away of Europeans from America is not, therefore, due to their superior moral exigencies, as some superficial analysts write. Rather, this drift reveals a traumatic fear of a terrorism that the EU always refused to acknowledge, scapegoating instead Israel and America. It reveals the preservation, at all costs, of Arab and Muslim corrupt dictatorships, including Arafat, with whom the EU has built its economic and international political strategy, power and security. And, more threatening, it indicates a profound transformation, a mutation, whereby a civilization is drifting toward ‘dhimmitude.’*

*Author’s note: Dhimmitude derives from the surrender of the Christian clergy and political leaders to the Muslim jihad armies, and their submission to Islamic domination of both their lands and peoples. In exchange, they received a pledge of protection (‘dhimma’) from the Muslim sovereign – and the cessation of the jihad war. This “protection” was conditioned on a ransom payment (jizya) that was extorted from the vanquished Christian and Jewish populations (dhimmis). Sometimes, Christian submission to Islam was rooted in personal ambition. Dhimmitude often induced self-hatred, and hatred against Jews and Christians who resisted the jihad and Muslim domination. Christian dhimmitude has been a world force for Islamization throughout history.

Jihad and Human Rights Today

An active ideology incompatible with universal standards of freedom and equality.
By Bat Ye’or

Human rights and the concept of jihad are two incompatible ideas. In Judeo-Christian societies, the concept of human rights is based on the biblical interdiction against killing, and the equality of all human beings. Though it has religious roots, this notion of human rights evolved mainly from the 19th century in a secular European and American framework. It then acquired a universal character, proclaiming the equality of all human beings and the inviolability of their natural human rights. But it was only after World War II that this concept became the core of an international legal system, as a tool to prevent political abuses and to protect civil populations from genocidal policies.

Other major civilizations — including the Chinese, Hindu, and Islamic — have also conceived legal systems which protect the rights of their citizens. However, in the Islamic case, specifically, the 54 Muslim countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference have conceived their own human-rights charter, contained in the 1990 Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.

This document states in its preamble, and in articles 24 and 25, that all its provisions are in conformity with the sharia, the religious Islamic law, which has primacy. Moreover, it proclaims that God has made the Islamic community (umma) the best nation — and, hence, its role is to guide humanity. We can see here the differences between the Cairo Declaration and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which does not refer to any religion or to the superiority of any group over another, but stresses the absolute equality of all human beings.

The institution of jihad belongs to a religious, Islamic domain, outside the realm of Western universalism and secularism. These two domains do not meet. Secular laws can be changed, abrogated, or ameliorated, but jihad regulations are believed to express divine commands. By definition, human beings can neither discuss nor scrutinize the divine will, and so those jihad obligations — attributed by the theologians to Allah — place jihad in the domain of faith. I would like to emphasize strongly that jihad is a special domain of Islamic law. Not all Muslims know it, and many reject its ideology. It would be a great mistake to believe that each and every Muslim identifies with the jihad-war ideology.

The ideology of jihad was formulated by leading Muslim theologians and scholars from the 8th century onward. Their voluminous writings make clear the notion of jihad as a holy war of conquest. Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (d. 966), for example, stated,

Jihad is a precept of Divine institution… We Malikis [one of four schools of Muslim jurisprudence] maintain it is preferable not to begin hostilities with the enemy before having invited the latter to embrace the religion of Allah, except where the enemy attacks first. They have the alternative of either converting to Islam or paying the poll tax (jizya), short of which war will be declared against them…

Jihad ideology separates humanity into two hostile blocs: the community of Muslims (Dar ul-Islam), and the infidel non-Muslims (Dar ul-Harb). Allah commands the Muslims to conquer the entire world in order to rule it according to Koranic law. Hence Muslims must wage a perpetual war against those infidels who refuse to submit. This is the motivation for jihad. It is based on the inequality between the community of Allah and the infidels, as was re-emphasized in the Cairo Declaration. The first is a superior group, which must rule the world; the second must submit. The current relevance of this ideology is apparent, and disturbing.

For example, Al-Muhajiroun, an Islamist newspaper in London, published an article on January 27, 2001, which declared:

Upon the establishment of the Islamic State, the whole world will potentially be Dar ul Harb since the foreign policy of the Islamic state is aimed at conquering the world… Once the Islamic State is established anyone in Dar ul Harb will have no sanctity for his life or wealth hence, a Muslim in such circumstances can then go into Dar ul Harb and take the wealth from the people unless there is a treaty with that state. If there is no treaty, individual Muslims can even go to Dar ul Harb and take women to keep as slaves.

Such an attitude assumes that the infidels have no rights and are totally dehumanized. It breeds hatred and contempt and has led to historical negationism, and the destruction of non-Muslim cultures. Moreover, such views are not confined to the most radical Islamists. They were confirmed in the Proceedings of the Fourth Conference of the Academy of Islamic Research, held in 1968 (General Organization for Government Printing Offices, Cairo, 1968), and regularly since then by eminent Islamic scholars. These authoritative pronouncements have recapitulated the theory of jihad in a manner completely consistent with the Al-Muhajiroun statements.

The theory of jihad against the infidels is composed of two parts: the ideology, and the military institutions aimed at implementing this ideology. According to these rules the infidels without a treaty have no rights at all: they can be deported, reduced to slavery, abducted for ransom, or killed. Women and children can be taken into slavery. Infidels can be spared by a temporary treaty which should not go beyond ten years. The treaty must conform to Islamic rule and serve Islamic interests, hence a ransom should be paid. The infidels who submit to Islamic rulers are given a pledge of security against the rules of jihad, so long as they accept a condition of humiliation, and of total inferiority to Muslims.

Jihad is therefore a genocidal war, according to the modern definition of genocide. It encourages terrorism against civilians and does not differentiate between innocent civilians and soldiers. All infidels without a treaty of protection can be killed. Jihad does not recognize universal human rights, for there is no equality between Muslims and infidels, and no reciprocity between Muslims and infidels in legal matters. Jihad warriors do not accept that either the Geneva Conventions or the conventional rules of war have any validity for them.

Jihadists have associated the notion of a reward in paradise with the practice of killing infidels. Killing at war was, and still is, practiced by all societies. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, wars, because they imply the acts of killing, are hateful and peace is praised. In the jihadist ideology, it is war that is praised, along with the killing of the infidels. Tragically, jihad ideology will not disappear soon. It is shaping the minds of a generation of young Muslims in many countries. Jihad ideology is a well-constructed system, created after the death of the prophet Mohammed. It has remained alive and well since then — except under secularized Muslim governments like that of Turkey, after the Kemalist revolution. It is delusional and dangerous to maintain that this ideology is rooted in social deprivation, backwardness, injustice, or despair. Moreover, paying subsidies to suspend global jihad terrorism is tantamount to paying a tribute to terrorist states, and buying one’s own peace and security as temporarily ransomed privileges — instead of living by the principles of universal human rights, which proclaim the inviolability of every human being. Societies that pay a tribute to survive are destined to disappear.