The Third Choice


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Before it was innocuously renamed Park 51, the Ground Zero mosque development had been known as the Cordoba House, which proponents claimed referred to a supposed golden age of multi-faith tolerance under Islamic rule. What they neglect to mention is that historically, non-Muslims under Muslim rule have been presented with three choices: conversion to Islam, death, or the subservient status known as dhimmitude.

A new book sheds light on that little-understood condition and its contemporary relevance. The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude and Freedom by Dr. Mark Durie was released in February by Deror Books and short-listed for Australian Christian Book of the Year. A former linguistics scholar, Durie is now the Vicar of St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Caulfield in Melbourne, Australia. He writes and speaks extensively in Australia and internationally about Islam, interfaith dialogue, religious conflict, and the persecution of religious minorities, especially Christians living under Sharia law.

I caught up with the author just prior to his recent arrival in Los Angeles to promote the book.

MT: Dr. Durie, I’d like to begin talking about The Third Choice by asking what inspired you, as an Anglican priest, to write a study of Islam and dhimmitude?

MD: I first became interested in Islam when doing linguistic field work in Aceh, Indonesia, in the early 1980′s. The Acehnese people are proud of their Islamic identity, but despite enjoying countless discussions about religion with them, I made no attempt to study Islam formally; my whole focus was on linguistic research. But I couldn’t escape learning about jihad, because it played such a large role in the historical consciousness of the people. An amazingly large number of works of Acehnese literature are jihad epics. Another aspect of my experience was contact with local Christians; this is how I came to know of the difficult circumstances of non-Muslims living in an Islamic society.

When I left academia to become an Anglican minister, around 1998, I thought I was leaving Islamic jihad well behind me. I had no idea of the depth and breadth of the global Islamic movement. Then as I watched the burning World Trade Center towers collapse in the New York morning sunshine, I knew there was no ideology on this earth other than Islamic jihad which could have inspired such an attack. It was no surprise when verses from the Koran reportedly found in the backpacks of the terrorists were exactly the same verses which had figured so prominently in Acehnese jihad epic poems from over a century ago.

At that point I knew I had to try to understand Islam properly. So I read the hadiths, the Koran, and Ibn Ishaq’s biography of Muhammad in the months after 9/11, with the eye of a theologian – I was constantly asking how this material would form people’s spiritual identity.  This exploration made me deeply troubled. The persona of Muhammad which arose before me from Islam’s primary sources shocked me to my core. I thought, “If this man’s life is supposed to be the best example, we are all in deep trouble.”

I went to the Islamic Council offices in Melbourne and bought more books about Islam. One was Maududi’s Let Us be Muslims. This only increased my concern. After chapters on all the essentials of Islam, such as the pillars of faith, Maududi concludes the book with a call to jihad. Everything else in Islam, he said, was but a preparation for toppling governments, taking power, and establishing Islam in the world. I thought this was an ideal book for turning a pious young Muslim into a jihad-ready militant.

At that time I began to write and teach on Islam, and I’ve been going ever since. I wrote The Third Choice to help people understand Islam from the ground up, and to know what it really means to depend upon the benevolence of an Islamic state from the perspective of a dhimmi – a non-Muslim living under Islamic rule.

MT: How is your book different from other works about the topic by scholars like Andrew Bostom or Bat Ye’or, who actually wrote your foreword?

MD: Their books are great, and I could not have written The Third Choice without them. But they are long and academic. Their focus is on specific historical manifestations of Islam: jihad, dhimmitude and anti-Semitism. They also include large chunks of primary source material. This is great for the researcher, but for many readers it is just too much to digest. Also, their books don’t attempt to explain Islam itself as a total system.  One of my central goals is to make Islam itself clear and plausible. This is very necessary. Also I approach the subject as a theologian – I focus on ideology: how it shapes people’s worldview, and how we can find freedom from it. The Third Choice is a one-stop shop for understanding Islam and the dhimmi condition.

MT: Where and in what ways do you see dhimmitude at work in the West?

MD: Gradually, and in countless ways, the West is accepting that Islam deserves to be treated differently and preferentially. We are finding it perfectly normal to make concessions to Islam which would never be made to other faiths. The “third choice” of my title is the alternative to conversion to Islam or the sword. This is the choice to give up fighting, and surrender to Islam, and live as a non-Muslim under Islamic rule. But there is a price to keeping your head without converting, and this is to serve Islam and to embrace your own inferiority.

The two most characteristic psychological traits of the dhimmi are gratitude and humility. We are seeing both these traits shaping public discourse around Islam. President Obama, for example, has spoken of the “debt” the West owes to Islam. This sense of indebtedness is being imparted to our schoolchildren through Islamicized history textbooks.

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  • Chezwick_Mac

    Durie hits the nail on the head…returning to the "roots" of Islam and embracing the example of Muhammad means embracing genocide (the Jewish Banu Qurayzah tribe), political murder (K'ab Al-Ashraf; Abu Afak, the octogenarian; Marwan, the pregnant poetess), mutilation and torture (Kinana; the renegades} and other crimes against humanity. These are all documented in the Hadith and the Sirat Rasul.

    Durie is also right that some problems can't be solved, only managed. But to do even just this, one must stop the denial. Appeasers seem to believe that if we proclaim Islam a "religion of peace" often enough, it will become so. This is both delusional and dangerous.

    • sflbib

      I wonder if anyone has taken a poll to find out what percentage of the American people really believe the line that "Islam is a religion of peace hijacked by a few nut cases."

      • Chezwick_Mac

        Don't know, but at Daily Kos and Britain's Guardian, it's considered sacrilege to suggest otherwise.

      • hrayspitz

        I've have the definition I need:

        Islam is not a religion. It is a pernicious ideology equivalent to Nazism, Fascism and Communism in the threat it presents to Civilization, both East and West.

        • John shepherd

          Yes!!…when I see the straight armed salute of the Romans , the Nazis , and Islam especially and know full well of the histories of their murderous intent and practice I know that we are looking at three manifestations of the same satanically evil animal ? May God open the eyes of more of the world's people to see this and to flee to Him through Yeshua the messiah for their eternal safety !!!

  • Yossi Ben-Aharon

    Having study Islam and kived for a while in a Muslim country, I have come to the conclusion that the only way to stem the growing time of Jihadism is by exacting a heavy price for every act of jihad, not just violent Jihad, but legal Jihad, Propaganda Jihad, expose Takiyya for what it is and reject any attempt at applying Sahriah in any non-Muslim society, openly and without absolute determination. Only then, there will be a slight chance, that Jihadists will begin to realize that Jihad simply does not pay.

  • jacob

    Thank GOD OBAMA took off his "Christian" mask declaring we OWE to Islam but didn't elaborate in which way.

    Later on, he claimed Muslims helped in USA independence and I wonder how as, if and when they actually did, it must be a damned well kept secret.and probably, in his infinite Harvard wisdom, was able to uncover…

    I guess we have been putting up too long with all the crap Muslims in this country have been dishing out at all levels and morons in high places have been saying AMEN to, the
    last straw being this mosque close to the WTC…

    One doesn't have to have a PhD to realize they are using our democracy principles to impose ISLAM on all of us and time is pasee already to put a stop to all of it or weep like women what we were too damned lazy, sorry or stupid to defend as men…

  • Beverley

    This applies to Obama … "Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch." Matt 15v14

    I believe America is waking up. "You can fool some of the people some of the time etc….

    Let's see what happens in November.

  • dhimminology

    Wow! A great interview. I agree and agree and agree with the author Mark Durie! Anyway, I am a Dhimmi living in a Muslim country close by Indonesia. My country is not as bad as Indonesia but will become like Indonesia in future as the non-Muslim population shrinks and the Muslim population increases exponentially and our rights are slowly taken away to nothing. What Mark described about how we Dhimmis feel are so true – although at least in spirit, I am not a Dhimmi but outwardly I have to behave like a Dhimmi to appear inconspicious and avoid detention as 'a national threat'. Islam IS the problem. Destroy Islam(the ideology camoflouging as a 'religion') and then only can not only non-Muslims be liberated from an ever-increasing threat of war but Muslims too will be free from the evil machinations of their power-mad clerics. It is tragic that the West has already succumbed to the spirit of dhimmitude. Unless the West wakes up and meets Islam as the evil ideology that it is(akin to Maoism, Stalinism, Nazism and all those totalitarian regimes that killed millions of innocent people but far worse than even those ideologies), the West is doomed to become Islamized and its civilization become the dust of history.

  • Mike Elmore

    Read Mark Durie's book Revelation if you want to know what God Muslims believe in verses the God Jews and Christians believe in. This guy is spot on..elmore

  • Samurai Hit Woman

    We are all moved by what can't be seen. For example an Idea or emotion moves us. That's why the purveyors of ideas, intellectual's, dishonesty has been so damaging to the human race. In fact dishonest intellectuals are behind many of the tragedies of our race.

    But Islam's idea's can be seen, we are not being deceived into servitude by Islam as we were by the other "ideas" perpetrated by the "thinking" class.

    The worthlessness of Islam can be seen in its history, obscenity of ideas, and actions. Therefore if we don't turn Islam back at the gates we'll asking for it with our eyes wide open.

    • marie

      Great points SHW.

      The Islamists have been very open and forthcoming with their message. Read the placards at their protests. Death to America. Democracy go to hell. Infidels will burn in hell. etc. It is the dishonest media and intellectual elite that lie and try to cover for them telling the dhimmis: "They don't really mean that."

      Well I think the dhimmis are slowly waking up to this dishonesty and I am grateful to people like Mark for helping us to see the truth.

  • kafir4life

    islam has been proven again and again to be nothing more than a gutter cult, invented by an epileptic, low IQ barbarian named mohamad. He made himself famous by appealing to the less than religious fellow barbarians by giving them a "faith" that they can believe in by their own warped standards. He would counsel his fellow goats and pigs that according to his allah the moon god, if they accept him as their lord and mad mo as the "prophet" that they could kill and rape and they'll have a special "heaven" where they can rape and rape (boys and girls……it's all the same to islam). Of course his fellow barbarians thought this was indeed a great religion! That concept continues today among the 1.5 billion adherents. That may seem like quite a number, but look at ANY dog poop on a hot summer day, and you'll see the reasons.

  • tanstaafl

    Islam is a movement founded by a sociopath, run by sociopaths and forces the normal adherents of it's murderous cult to behave like sociopaths.

  • Voltimand

    Okay, so cartoonist Molly Norris has had a fatwa (i.e., "contract") put out on her from a murderous imam in Yemen which has the FBI telling her to "disappear," new identity, etc. Has anybody any remembrance of the Salman Rushdie affair over his novel "The Satanic Verses"? This is what these murderers do when they do what they do. The FBI hereby admits that it can't protect a US citizen against an incitement to murder, which is itself a crime, and tells her to go disappear. This is an example of de facto dhimmitude. Instead, we should have a SF hit squad on the ground in Yemen right now hunting down this twit and showing what happens to people who incite jihadist thugs to murder US citizens. The only thing jihadists respect if the use of violent force, whether coming from them or, for that matter, aimed at them.

    What's going to happen is that incident-by-incident, the muslim Jihadists are going to cause an every-growing portion of the US population to conclude that this country is in a defacto war waged against it by worldwide Muslim jihad. This hardcore of American patriots will also have to face the every-growing group of appeasers who have become already dhimmi, and as such have gone over the enemy and are traitors to this country.

  • dhimminology

    Whereas Islam has already named non-Muslims as enemies(especially Jews and then Christians followed by 'pagans'), we non-Muslims are so confused by our politically-correct media and backboneless leaders that we non-Muslims generally fail to identify the enemy.

  • OldChick

    *What they neglect to mention is that historically, non-Muslims under Muslim rule have been presented with three choices: conversion to Islam, death, or the subservient status known as dhimmitude.*

    If it ever comes to that, I know who my one phone call will be to…Dr.Kevorkian.

  • bompins

    I have heard this term "Abrahamic Faith" a number of times and have heard a number of noted individuals talk about how Judaism, Christianity and Islam all have the same origin in Abraham.
    This is nothing more than slick marketing and a clever attempt to legitimize Islam and give suspecting people the warm fuzzies. But we must remember that Mohammed introduced his new religion to the world more than 600 years after Jesus' time on earth. 600 years!
    Put in simple terms, he was just a modern forerunner to many of these cult figures who have come along and deceived people… names like Sun Myung Moon, Jim Jones, Joseph Smith, David Koresh, etc. etc.
    We need to stand up and challenge anyone who gives us this line and ask them to document where exactly the connection exists between Abraham and Mohammed because there is absolutely none.

    • AirCavRick

      Islam is a "religion" of hate and intolerance. There book reqiuires the destruction of western civilization. What more is to be said?

  • marie

    Hi Brad thank you for your insights. I have read Bawer's "While Europe Sleeps" and Mark Steyn's "America Alone". These really opened my eyes to what I had been seeing but didn't want to acknowledge. I will take your advice and read Surrender.

    I am awaiting delivery of "The Third Choice", having ordered it after listening to a podcast of an interview of Mark by Pamela Gellar. He is very level headed and thoroughly well informed. Just the sort of voice we need at this time. The podcast is available on Mark Durie's homepage or at Atlas Shrugs Blog Talk. Highly recommend it.

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