The books and articles by Bat Ye’or on Islam and jihad, dhimmitude and the collapse of Oriental Christianity, Eurabia and the Muslim-Christian anti-Zionist alliance, compose an oeuvre of historic proportions and scholarly significance. In a period of some thirty years she wrote five major works that substantiated with massive evidence the historic persecution of Jews and Christians (dhimmis) under Islamic rule and the contemporary Arab project for the Islamization of Europe and the West.
A young refugee from Egypt who migrated to England, “a small woman, fragile, shy” as she writes in the preface of her latest book, Understanding Dhimmitude, Bat Ye’or has invested extraordinary energy (with the assistance and encouragement of her late husband David Littman) in the education of a generation about hidden histories, malevolent schemes, insidious incremental long-term processes, treacherous elites, and human sufferings, which are markedly unknown to public awareness.
Bat Ye’or has now offered the reading public a condensation of “twenty-one lectures and talks on the position of non-Muslims in Islamic Societies” under the title of Understanding Dhimmitude. This book resonates with heart-pounding anxiety, yet buoyed by human empathy for the oppressed and humiliated dhimmis, denied dignity and rights, crushed under what the Quran calls “Allah’s religion.”
Unlike her other works that detail the scope and horror of Muslim subjugation and contempt for demeaned infidel non-Muslims in the distant past and until today, offering a broad canvas from Pakistan to Morocco, and the awful spoliation of Copts in Egypt and Armenians in Turkey, Assyrians in Iraq and Christians in southern Sudan, this most recent book provides the reader with rigorous conceptual clarity of the historic global Islamic jihad and its universal caliphal ambitions for mankind. The only legitimate religion, as always, is Islam alone. And its divine mandate, as she explained in a talk at St. Paul’s Church in London in 2003, is nothing less than to rule the world and implement Quranic law.
With her five major books in hand, and a growing reputation as a woman of courage and truth, with a call for justice for the defenseless dhimmi victims of Islam, Bat Ye’or lectured in a variety of forums in Europe, America, Canada, and Israel. She was consistently forthright and precise, teaching and warning. The major themes that Bat Ye’or expresses and explains in her lectures can be summarized as follows:
- Islam in its religious doctrine and civilizational aspirations demands a superior status in replacing and superseding Judaism and Christianity, its ancient forerunners;
- Islam has from its origins constructed a “regime of dhimmitude [over the inferior and tolerated non-Muslims], the laws of dhimmitude…the mentality of dhimmitude” (p. 118) that has imposed insecurity and oppression on the native peoples of the Orient/Middle East;
- Islam succeeded to bring about a situation such that “the whole of Oriental Christendom was destroyed” (p. 40), a kind of “religious cleansing” rolling on to this very day;
- There is no validity to “the myth of a marvelous Muslim-Christian symbiosis” or a “Middle East Golden Age” (p. 161), not in the past nor to its present formulations and offshoots, like the Euro-Arab Dialogue and the Alliance of Civilizations, which are deceptive plots for Muslim conquest;
- The Islamic jihad mentality of conquest overwhelmed Eastern Christianity and now targets “the Christian West” (p. 83) – with the goal “to force us all to live in the shadow of dhimmitude in Europe” (p. 52).
- In the face of Islamic jihad, “Israel represents the national liberation of a dhimmi people” (p.55), as the Jews have risen up in rebellion against the forces of Muslim repression and degradation to secure their political independence in their ancient homeland.
While historian Georges Bensoussan refers to a history of “conviviality and contempt” to describe the fantasy and reality of Muslim relations with non-Muslims over 14 centuries, Bat Ye’or shows a canny insight into the intricacies and interconnections touching this complex subject. Her prescience identifies Christian collaboration with Islam, designed to harm the Jews, which ends up ironically strengthening the common Muslim adversary of both Christians and Jews; she understands that Western/Christian anti-Semitism is a theological and historical foundation for the West’s collapse in the face of the Muslim invasion of Europe, as the European Union joins forces with the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to plummet Israel into submission and disarray; she uncovers the devious Palestinian ruse of calling Jesus a Palestinian (when he was a Jew from Judea) to bond Muslims with Christians against the Jews; she exposes Europe’s accommodation with Palestinian terrorism as the moral bankruptcy of a civilization already weary and tattered from a 20th century marred and mired in wars and totalitarianism; she explains the Muslim war to destroy the nations of Europe and rejects moralizing multiculturalism, which is promoting Europe’s suicide by turning cities and neighborhoods into conquered Muslim territory; and, lastly, she has challenged the historical presentation of Islam as tolerant and its civilizational ambiance as pluralistic by mobilizing mountains of historical data that show Islam was discriminatory and denigrating towards all non-Muslims, especially the Jews and the Christians.
Nietzsche understood that “the knowledge of the past is desired only for the service of the future and the present,” in order to make history and not glibly remember it. Bat Ye’or made the argument that it is imperative to know history, especially when the history is now; when its ideas and rhythms continue to flow into the present era. Islam is ordained “to fight against the people [non-Muslims] until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is his Apostle,” as narrated in the compilation of traditions Salih al-Bukhari, and this article of faith is hewn in stone in the hearts of the believers (as the Muslims consider themselves alone to be). This must be understood in order for the non-Muslims – Europeans, Americans, Israelis – to respond in a forthright and resolute fashion to the predatory religion of Islam.
In an address to the Third Christian Zionist Congress in Jerusalem in 1996, Bat Ye’or pointed out that she introduced the word dhimmitude in 1983 to describe the common destiny of suffering and discrimination endured by Jews and Christians under shariah law. The Christians of Iraq and Syria, Iran and Pakistan, Lebanon and Egypt, Sudan and Nigeria, have all been victims of Muslim massacres and terrorism. Meanwhile, the Jewish presence across the Middle East and North Africa dwindled under the scourge of Islam. Islam, resplendent with arrogant pride and absolute faith, considers its Islamization and dhimmization of non-Muslim peoples and countries as an act of Divine Law, legitimate and obligatory. The Muslim Ummah (nation) will push relentlessly until victory, and after the Muslim assault historically gobbled up the Middle East and beyond, it aspires now to turn Christian Europe into the Home of Islam. With Europe losing confidence in its identity and philosophy of life, the demands of Islam and the mass Muslim immigration there are transforming the continent that may no longer breathe the free air of Rousseau, Goethe, and Mill.
There was a time in history, before the bane of being “politically correct” struck us like thunder, when you could say things as they are, tell the truth, express an opinion, offer an explanation without qualification. You might criticize Islam and not be cursed as blasphemous. But things have changed as the scepter of Islam and its menacing shadow begin to cover the pathways of America and Europe. Bat Ye’or through her writings and lectures may not have saved the Christians of the East or of the West, but she has done the great service of voicing the gravity of their destiny. With empathy and clarity she has brought the truth to the doorstep of mankind; and mankind’s leadership should do now whatever is politically necessary to assure that her prophetic warnings do not become a death writ.
Bernard Lewis wrote in 1995 that “it may be that Western culture will indeed go: the lack of conviction of many of those who should be its defenders and the passionate intensity of its accusers may well join to complete its destruction.” Of this horrific prognosis, and its historical depth and contemporary trajectory, we can learn much from Bat Ye’or, as in her most recent book Understanding Dhimmitude.
Dr. Mordechai Nisan taught Middle East Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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