By Hugh Fitzgerald
The continued emphasis by Muslim and non-Muslim apologists for Islam on a single verse -- "There is no compulsion in religion" -- is permitted not only because their Infidel audience has no idea either about what is said relevantly elsewhere, in hundreds of places, in the Qur'an and Hadith, and not only because they are unaware of the doctrine of abrogation or "naskh," but because they are also unaware of the precise meaning that is given to that phrase "there is no compulsion in religion" by Muslim jurisconsults. If they did look into it, they would find that the "obvious" meaning of the words -- that is, the meaning that we Infidels choose to endow that phrase with -- is not what Muslim scholars mean at all. They mean that in the end one cannot force deep belief on people, though one can force them to comply outwardly, even on pain of death. And that is what Islam is in the business of doing: forcing outward compliance, on pain of punishment that may well include, has often included, death.
But there is one more thing that should surely be offered as an objection when some fool comes along and utters credulously this "there is no compulsion in religion" and expects us to believe the Western understanding of it. That is the observable behavior of Muslims over 1350 years. What have Muslims done, when they have conquered, by force or otherwise, non-Muslim lands and peoples? They offer three possibilities: death, conversion, and, at least to those who can be classified as ahl al-kitab or "people of the book," permanent status as dhimmis, with a host of political, economic, and social disabilities which together added up to lives of humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity, at times relieved -- but only at times -- by the occasional mollitude of a particular Muslim ruler. A slim reed on which to base one's happiness. And so, over time, many non-Muslims, in order to avoid this condition of degradation, humiliation, and physical insecurity, converted to Islam.
Why else did Hindus accept Islam? And the Muslims of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India, of today, if they were quite honest with themselves, would recognize that they are the descendants of those who were essentially forced, or deemed it absolutely necessary, to convert -- and if they were to recognize this, they might convert back. Why did the ancestors of those we now call "Bosnians" (i.e., Muslims of the Balkans) convert to Islam under Ottoman rule, if not to escape the condition of the dhimmi (and such things as the devshirme, or forced levy of Christian children)? Why did North Africa, once Christian (both Tertullian and St. Augustine came from there) become islamized and then arabized? Why did the Christians and Jews of Iraq largely disappear, leaving only the remnant left today, which is also now leaving Iraq as they are newly threatened without the "secular" despot Saddam Hussein to protect them? (His "secularism" was a response to the need to disguise his Sunni despotism, and make it "open to all," including the inoffensive and innocuous Christians.)
Were they all driven out, or did many of them, over time, convert in order to avoid their condition as dhimmis? What happened to the Christians of Byzantium? Did they all leave, or did many of them become the ancestors of those who today are utterly convinced that they have been "Muslim" and "Turk" since time immemorial?
We all know the answer to these questions. And how many of us, if we had to endure the dhimmi status, and had each year, for example, to pay a jizyah tax of, say, $20,000, would remain non-Muslims? How many can say that their children or grandchildren would also remain willing to pay the tax rather than to become Muslims?
Of course there is "compulsion in religion" in the lands of Islam. The burdens placed on non-Muslims are simply too onerous to be ignored, and many, over the past 1350 years, when living under Muslim rule, have succumbed in order to avoid the dhimmi condition.
And that succumbing, that yielding, demonstrates perfectly the "compulsion in religion" that Islam demands, whatever naive and unschooled interpretation of 2.256 any Infidel idiot chooses to give it. Muslims know better.
Friday, September 26, 2008
By Hugh Fitzgerald