Omaha’s Tri-Faith Initiative Mirrors “Pact of Umar”

Why a 7th Century Islamic pact is as terrifyingly relevant as ever.

OmarFor those of you unfamiliar with Islamic history, Umar bin al-Khattab - the second Islamic Caliph - made an agreement with the subjugated Christians of Syria setting forth the conditions under which said Christians would be permitted to live in proximity to the conquering Muslims.

This Pact of Umar is the origination of the concept of dhimmitude, a dehumanizing status belonging to subjugated non-Muslims in Islamist societies.

The translation I have re-produced below comes from the stellar book by Raymond Ibrahim, titled Crucified Again.

In return for their lives, the Christians agreed:

Not to build a church in our city—nor a monastery, convent, or monk’s cell in the surrounding areas—and not to repair those that fall in ruins or are in Muslim quarters;

Not to clang our cymbals except lightly and from the innermost recesses of our churches;

Not to display a cross on them [churches], nor raise our voices during prayer or readings in our churches anywhere near Muslims;

Not to produce a cross or [Christian] book in the markets of the Muslims;

Not to congregate in the open for Easter or Palm Sunday, nor lift our voices [in lamentation] for our dead nor show our firelights with them near the market places of the Muslims;

Not to display any signs of polytheism, nor make our religion appealing, nor call or proselytize anyone to it;

Not to prevent any of our relatives who wish to enter into Islam;

Not to possess or bear any arms whatsoever, nor gird ourselves with swords;

To honor the Muslims, show them the way, and rise up from our seats if they wish to sit down;

Adhere to these conditions and live. Break these conditions and all bets are off. While this pact was made in the early 7th Century, it is still considered relevant today as evidenced by its widespread application throughout the Middle East.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) certainly considers these conditions to be quite pertinent to the present-day conduct of interfaith relations. They are enforcing the conditions on the Christian residents of Syria, in addition to the regions they have recently conquered in Iraq.

According to the BBC, ISIS offers a heck of a deal – you must convert to Islam or if you remain Christian, you must accept dhimmi status and pay the jizya, (a tax for non-Muslims only) or… you can just be put to the sword.

As wildly enticing as the first or third choices may appear, most opt for door number two and live out their lives as second-class subjects. This is the hard-tyranny of Islamic supremacy. The inherently political and social nature of Islam and Sharia leave no room for other forms of intersection between believers and unbelievers.

This hard-tyranny is the hallmark of the Caliphate system. Freedom is an unknown concept; liberty is blasphemy in a system that crushes the individual into mortar paste for the building of greater Islam.

The global left views the advent of a new Caliphate as something akin to an Islamic version of the European Union, an economic and political alliance designed to trade with the rest of the world on an equal footing. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Caliphate is a means toward an end; that end being Islamic dominance. The Caliphate is merely the structural entity that will administer Sharia throughout an Islamist-controlled world.

Considering the recent proliferation of “interfaith” initiatives throughout Western Europe and the United States, it seems prudent to give more than a cursory glance to the preferred ground-rules of the Islamists, and to examine the role such interfaith efforts might play in an expanding the Caliphate system.

One such interfaith initiative, here in Omaha, Nebraska intends to co-locate a Mosque, a Synagogue and a Church on the same campus.

There is a “Memorandum of Understanding” (MOA) that governs the interaction between the three faiths that make up the Tri-Faith Initiative, as they call themselves. It lays the ground rules for everything from site planning, to building design and subsequent use.

From the MOA:

  • Each Participant controls the ultimate design of their own building.  To the extent that design issues can be coordinated among the buildings, we will attempt to do so.
  • A common “look and feel” shall be sought in the design of buildings on this campus.

The Synagogue has already been built on the Tri-Faith site. This building has no outward indications of the Jewish faith. No Star of David, no Menorah. The only indication that this isn’t an ordinary office building is a stylized Hebrew script on the clerestory windows, done in a much understated manner.

The general understanding of the MOA is that it will likewise require a similar incoherence on the exterior of the Christian church slated for the project. No exterior display of the Cross. Where have we seen this before? Let’s ask our buddy Umar!

Not to display a cross on them [churches], nor raise our voices during prayer or readings in our churches anywhere near Muslims; Not to produce a cross or [Christian] book in the markets of the Muslims;

While it is possibly a simple oversight on the part of the architect, the rendering of the Mosque provided by the Mosque organizers features a very prominent Crescent and Star, an internationally known symbol of Islam, in apparent defiance of the MOA.

Similarly, the MOA outlines how people are to behave outside of their respective buildings:

To the extent Practices take place outside the walls of one’s own religious space, consideration shall be given to the beliefs of other Participants.

Rules governing shared space and practices allowed therein will give maximum consideration to issues of respect for and tolerance of the beliefs of all Participants. (authors' emphasis)

Could such an innocuous bylaw be construed as a parallel to yet another of Umar’s conditions?

Not to congregate in the open for Easter or Palm Sunday, nor lift our voices [in lamentation] for our dead nor show our firelights with them near the market places of the Muslims;

Not to clang our cymbals except lightly and from the innermost recesses of our churches;

Perhaps not. It is for the reader to decide.

The MOA continues:

No Participant shall engage in any proselytizing (intending to convert members of other Participants).

Now that exhortation rings a bell…

Not to display any signs of polytheism, nor make our religion appealing, nor call or proselytize anyone to it; (authors' emphasis)

Setting aside for a moment the command of Jesus to spread the Gospel, it is instructive to note that Islam considers the Cross to be a “sign of polytheism” as is any graphic representation of the Christian concept of the Trinity, a feature of Christianity that is foundational.

Insisting on these sorts of prohibitions under the rubric of respect is the methodology Islamists have employed across Europe to first bully citizens, then governments into a forced respect for their often barbaric 7th Century traditions and notions of worship.

The end result is the functional equivalent of the installation of the Pact of Umar among the societies where Muslims are not in control of the government. This is the soft-tyranny of Islamism, utilized when hard-tyranny is not an option. One certainty however remains consistent throughout…Islam reigns supreme.

I have written previously about the troubling connections between the governing board of the Tri-Faith venture and two known fronts for Muslim Brotherhood operations in the US – CAIR (Council on American and Islamic Relations) and ISNA (The Islamic Society of North America).

As of the time of this writing, the board stubbornly refuses to disavow relationships with either group, despite being presented with evidence from the FBI linking these groups to the terror group HAMAS.

The clear parallels between the Tri-Faith Memorandum of Understanding and the Pact of Umar cannot be ignored and should not be discounted - especially given the refusal of the Mosque organizers to renounce the involvement of CAIR and ISNA in their project.

Islamists spread their radical ideology through all means, not just the sword. Will the Tri-Faith Initiative prove to be a Midwest expression of 7th Century subjugation, albeit a voluntary one? That remains to be seen, but the vision emerging is not a hopeful one, unless you’re Umar bin al-Khattab.

Joe Herring writes from Omaha, Nebraska and welcomes visitors to his website at www.readmorejoe.com. Dr. Mark Christian, a former Muslim, is the Executive Director of the Global Faith Institute, also based in Omaha.

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