I left out something important in my post on the War on Christmas: it's not as bad in America as it is in countries in which Muslims show how tolerant they are of other religions:
Gaza's Christians keep low Xmas profile
Gaza's tiny Christian community is keeping a low profile this Christmas, traumatized by the killing of a prominent activist in the wake of Hamas' takeover of the coastal territory.
Few Christmas trees are on display, churches are holding austere services and hundreds of Christians hope to travel to the moderate-controlled West Bank to celebrate the holiday in Bethlehem. Many say they don't plan on returning to Gaza.
Christians and Muslims have generally had cordial relations over the years in Gaza, but that relationship has been shaky since Hamas seized control and tensions were exacerbated with the recent death of 32-year-old Rami Ayyad.
Ayyad, a member of the Baptist Church, managed Gaza's only Christian bookstore. In early October, he was found shot in the head, his body thrown on a Gaza street 10 hours after he was kidnapped from the store.
Now there will be Muslim apologists who will say that this vile treatment of Christians is un-Islamic, that if you really understood Islam and the teachings of its prophet you would see that Islam really loves Jews and Christians. However, I recall something different: The prophet Mohammed on his deathbed said, "Let there be no two religions in Arabia." [Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley]
And when the Caliphate once more rules over the world, it will be interesting to see how our Muslim friends interpret the word Arabia.
But, but, you stammer, what about Sura 2 Verse 256 of the Qur'an: "Let there be no compulsion in religion."? Surely this means no one must be forced to convert to Islam?
Well, that's very interesting, no compulsion, eh?. We're reminded of the instructions of Sura 9 Verse 29:
9 Dec 2007,
Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 9, "Repentance,” verse 29, Part 2
In explaining how the Jews and Christians must "feel themselves subdued," Ibn Kathir quotes a saying of Muhammad: "Do not initiate the Salam [greeting of peace] to the Jews and Christians, and if you meet any of them in a road, force them to its narrowest alley." He then goes on to outline the notorious Pact of Umar, an agreement made, according to Islamic tradition, between the caliph Umar, who ruled the Muslims from 634 to 644, and a Christian community.
This Pact is worth close examination, because it became the foundation for Islamic law regarding the treatment of the dhimmis. With remarkably little variation, throughout Islamic history whenever Islamic law was strictly enforced, this is generally how non-Muslims were treated. Working from the full text as Ibn Kathir has it, these are the conditions the Christians accept in return for "safety for ourselves, children, property and followers of our religion" – conditions that, according to Ibn Kathir, "ensured their continued humiliation, degradation and disgrace." The Christians will not:
1. Build "a monastery, church, or a sanctuary for a monk";
2. "Restore any place of worship that needs restoration";
3. Use such places "for the purpose of enmity against Muslims";
4. "Allow a spy against Muslims into our churches and homes or hide deceit [or betrayal] against Muslims";
5. Imitate the Muslims’ "clothing, caps, turbans, sandals, hairstyles, speech, nicknames and title names";
6. "Ride on saddles, hang swords on the shoulders, collect weapons of any kind or carry these weapons";
7. "Encrypt our stamps in Arabic"
8. "Sell liquor" – Christians in Iraq in the last few years ran afoul of Muslims reasserting this rule;
9. "Teach our children the Qur’an";
10. "Publicize practices of Shirk" – that is, associating partners with Allah, such as regarding Jesus as Son of God. In other words, Christian and other non-Muslim religious practice will be private, if not downright furtive;
11. Build "crosses on the outside of our churches and demonstrating them and our books in public in Muslim fairways and markets" – again, Christian worship must not be public, where Muslims can see it and become annoyed;
12. "Sound the bells in our churches, except discreetly, or raise our voices while reciting our holy books inside our churches in the presence of Muslims, nor raise our voices [with prayer] at our funerals, or light torches in funeral processions in the fairways of Muslims, or their markets";
13. "Bury our dead next to Muslim dead";
14. "Buy servants who were captured by Muslims";
15. "Invite anyone to Shirk" – that is, proselytize, although the Christians also agree not to:
16. "Prevent any of our fellows from embracing Islam, if they choose to do so." Thus the Christians can be the objects of proselytizing, but must not engage in it themselves;
17. "Beat any Muslim."
Meanwhile, the Christians will:
1. Allow Muslims to rest "in our churches whether they come by day or night";
2. "Open the doors [of our houses of worship] for the wayfarer and passerby";
3. Provide board and food for "those Muslims who come as guests" for three days;
4. "Respect Muslims, move from the places we sit in if they choose to sit in them" – shades of Jim Crow;
5. "Have the front of our hair cut, wear our customary clothes wherever we are, wear belts around our waist" – these are so that a Muslim recognizes a non-Muslim as such and doesn’t make the mistake of greeting him with As-salaamu aleikum, "Peace be upon you," which is the Muslim greeting for a fellow Muslim;
6. "Be guides for Muslims and refrain from breaching their privacy in their homes."
"Horrors of war", Christian Armenian women
enslaved by Turkish soldiers and forced to strip
Image: Paul Emile Boutigny, c. 1914
Photo Credit: The Crypt
But, you continue to protest, Mohammed said so many nice things about Jews and Christians why do we also find so many nasty things? Quite simple. When Mohammed was in an inferior position to the pagans running Arabia, his writings were benign, respectful, and downright sycophantic. When he became military ruler he dispensed with all servility towards them. In this manner you will find two approaches or points of view in the Qur'an depending on when it was written; on whether Mohammed was pretending to be a nice guy or when he no longer had to worry about his enemies.
So when moderate Muslims point to verses showing how peaceful Islam is, they are quite right. When they point to verses showing how tolerant Islam is toward other religions, they are quite right. When they define Jihad as inner struggle to better oneself spiritually, they are quite right.
But when Osama Bin Laden needs justification for war against the Crusaders and Jews, for the massacre of innocents, for a view of Jihad as armed military action and points to verses in the Qur'an, he too is quite right.
And just as in Law, a person's last will and testament is the defining document. You can write all you want about peace and good tidings, but if in your last will you promise war and destruction, that document is the binding one. So although moderates can point to early sayings of the prophet to show how cuddly and warm Islam really is (look at the cute Cair-Bear), by Law, Mohammed's last pronouncements are the ones that must be followed. As a deception, it is very handy to have two sets of books to show the unwitting infidel. Mohammed used the first set to lull the pagans into submission; and now, moderate Muslims are doing the very same to us infidels.