Saturday, February 11, 2006


Here's a new word for you to learn: dhimmitude.

The Dhimmi are the non-Muslim peoples, Jews and Christians, who have been subjugated by Muslims. There are Dhimmi all over the world, and their experience and their treatment by Muslims, not just radical Muslims but ordinary, every day Muslims, has always been the same.

Wherever Islam conquered, surrendering dhimmi, known to Muslims as "people of the book [the Bible]," were tolerated, allowed to practice their religion, but at a dehumanizing cost.

There were literal taxes (jizya) to be paid; these bought the dhimmi the right to remain non-Muslim, the price not of religious freedom, but of religious identity. Freedom was lost, sorely circumscribed by a body of Islamic law (sharia) designed to subjugate, denigrate and humiliate the dhimmi. The resulting culture of self-abnegation, self-censorship and fear shared by far-flung dhimmi is the basis of dhimmitude. The extremely distressing but highly significant fact is, dhimmitude doesn't only exist in lands where Islamic law rules.

And we have seen the once proud Western tradition of a free press kneel down in submission to an Islamic law against depictions of Muhammad. That's dhimmitude.

Not that the press will admit it. They dress it up in language about tolerance, responsibility, and sensibility and congratulate themselves on their good judgment and pluralism. The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, BBC, NBC, numerous other papers including the New York Times all joined in this cowardly dodge. Left unmentioned is the understanding that "gratuitous offense", which they don't hesitate to offer about Christianity or Judaism, might lead to gratuitous violence.