Christian C. Sahner, a professor on Oxford’s Faculty of Oriental Studies, wrote Monday that “the process of Islamisation” of the Middle East was not a matter of “conversion by the sword,” but was actually “slow, complex, and often non-violent. Forced conversion was fairly uncommon, and religious change was driven far more by factors such as intermarriage, economic self-interest, and political allegiance.”
Oh, all right, then. If it was “slow, complex, and often non-violent,” then how bad could it have been? And how bad could the Islamization of Britain, and of Europe, be today?
Unfortunately, behind Sahner’s coolly written assessment lies a far uglier reality. He is technically correct: the Islamization of the Middle East was indeed largely driven by “intermarriage, economic self-interest, and political allegiance.” But behind these bland words lies a far uglier reality. Islamic law forbids Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men, but allows Muslim men to marry non-Muslim women. Thus since women would join their husband’s household, the Muslim community always grew at the expense of the non-Muslim community.
And the “economic self-interest” was driven by the fact that, as Sahner acknowledges, non-Muslims had to pay “special taxes.” This was, of course, the jizya, specified in the Qur’an as the hallmark of the degradation and submission of the “People of the Book” (i.e., primarily Jews and Christians): “Fight those who do not believe in Allah or the Last Day, and do not forbidden what has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, and do not acknowledge the religion of Truth, even if they are of the People of the Book, until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (Qur’an 9:29).
Jews and Christians could free themselves from this economic hardship simply by converting to Islam, so many did so, resulting in the fact that, as Sahner likewise admits, “Muslim elites sometimes even discouraged conversion, for when non-Muslims embraced Islam, they no longer had to provide these taxes to the state, and thus the state’s fiscal base threatened to contract.” Conversion was sometimes not just “discouraged,” but forbidden outright.
Sahner says that “non-Muslims were generally entitled to continue practising their faiths, provided they abided by the laws of their rulers and paid special taxes.” Those “laws of their rulers” enforced their second-class status and daily humiliation as those who had rejected Muhammad and Islam. Non-Muslims in Islamic-ruled lands were oppressed for centuries, and when that oppression was relaxed, Islamic hardliners made sure that the relaxation was temporary.
Just one example from my new book The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS: in 1301, according to the fourteenth-century Muslim historian Ibn Naqqash, the vizier of Gharb in North Africa visited the Mamluk sultan al-Malik an-Nasir and several other high dignitaries in Cairo, including the emir Rukn ad-Din Baybar al-Jashangir, “who offered him magnificent presents and received him with the greatest distinction.”
But the vizier was not happy with what he had seen in Egypt: the dhimmi Jews and Christians were “attired in the most elegant clothes” and “rode on mules, mares, and expensive horses.” Even worse, they were “considered worthy of being employed in the most important offices, thus gaining authority over the Muslims.”
Back home in Gharb, by contrast, the Jews and Christians were “maintained with constraints of humiliation and degradation. Thus they were not permitted to ride on horseback, nor to be employed in the public administration.”
The emir Rukn and several others were impressed, and “unanimously declared,” according to Ibn Naqqash, “that if similar conditions were to prevail in Egypt this would greatly enhance the [Muslim] religion.”
New rules were implemented swiftly. Ibn Naqqash continued: “The churches of Misr [old Cairo] and Cairo were closed and their portals were sealed after having been nailed up….Next, the dhimmis were dismissed from the public administration and the functions that they occupied in the service of the emirs. They were then prohibited to ride horses or mules. Consequently, many of them were converted to Islam.”
Of course: the light of its truth was shining brightly. Click here to order The History of Jihad, the first and only comprehensive history of jihad worldwide — not just against Europe, but against India, Africa, Israel, the U.S., and more — in the English language. This book contains the unwhitewashed truth that establishment academics don’t want you to know and hope you don’t find out. Rewriting history today in service of contemporary political agendas is a big business. Don’t allow yourself to be fooled.
Article posted with permission from Robert Spencer