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As Mark Durie points out in The Third Choice, a book on dhimmitude,
Even a breach by a single individual dhimmi could result in jihad being enacted against the whole community. Muslim jurists have made this principle explicit, for example, the Yemeni jurist al-Murtada wrote that “The agreement will be canceled if all or some of them break it” and the Moroccan al-Maghili taught “The fact that one individual (or one group) among them has broken the statute is enough to invalidate it for all of them.”
It should be noted that this approach applies to all non-Muslim groups —Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.—living amidst Muslim majorities. Yet, because Christians are the most visible infidel minority in the Islamic world, most examples relate to them. The Copts, for instance, are especially targeted because they comprise the largest Christian bloc in the Middle East. (Centuries before the Muslim conquests, Egypt was a major center of Christianity, and Alexandria arguably equal to Rome in theological authority. The result is, after centuries of persecution, there is still a viable Christian presence in Egypt.)
Today, however, as the world shrinks—and as Muslims conflate the West with “Christianity”—the reasons to persecute Islam’s Christians grow: ethnicity and geography no longer matter; shared religion, even if nominal, makes all “Christians” liable for one another.
Consider Iraq: its persecuted Christians are being targeted in part “over their religious ties with the West.” Last year’s Baghdad church attack, when over fifty Christians were butchered, was initiated in “retaliation” to absurd accusations against the Egyptian Coptic Church.
Yet, nearly a millennium ago, it was the Copts who were massacred when their Western coreligionists—the Crusaders—made inroads into Islam’s domains. Again, the logic was clear: we will punish these Christians (Copts), because we can, in response to those Christians (Crusaders).
It is in this context that one can understand the rationale of the jihadists behind the Baghdad church attack, when they went so far as to threaten all Christians around the world as “legitimate targets for the mujahedeen [holy warriors], wherever they can reach them.”
Bold as that seems, “wherever they can reach them” simply means that it is the Islamic world’s accessible, vulnerable non-Muslims—Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus—not their Western counterparts, who will continue to be targeted, even as the West looks the other way.
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