Don’t Ignore The Conditions of Omar

A jihadi group occupying the Syrian town of Raqqa recently gave Christian minorities living there three choices: 1) convert to Islam, 2) remain but pay tribute and accept third-class subject status, or 3) die by the sword. According to the BBC, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria issued a directive citing the Islamic concept of “dhimma”, [which] requires Christians in the city to pay tax of around half an ounce (14g) of pure gold in exchange for their safety. It says Christians must not make renovations to churches, display crosses or other religious symbols outside churches, ring church bells or pray in public. Christians must not carry arms, and must follow other rules imposed by ISIS (also known as ISIL) on their daily lives. The statement said the group had met Christian representatives and offered them three choices—they could convert to Islam, accept ISIS’ conditions, or reject their control and risk being killed. “If they reject, they are subject to being legitimate targets, and nothing will remain between them and ISIS other than the sword,” the statement said.

Because several Western media outlets uncharacteristically reported on this latest atrocity against Syrian Christians, many Westerners are shocked—amazed to hear of such draconian conditions.

In reality, however, these three choices are fully grounded in Islamic teachings…

—Raymond Ibrahim, “Western Ignorance of the ‘Conditions of Omar’”

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  1. I didn’t know how much the dhimmi tax was. This is about $650, which is more than most of these poor people will have. However, as far as I know, all the Koran and Hadiths say is that non-Muslim people of the book must pay a tax (or something like it), without specifying how much it is. The Conditions of Omar are merely tradition, which doesn’t make it easier for Christians and Jews when they are imposed on them by wicked people.

  2. @John Rokos:

    Tradition in Sunni Islam is something like Tradition in Roman Catholicism: authoritative. The whole idea of “Sunnah” is that it is the path of Muhammad and his closest companions.

    The only “Qur’an Only” Muslims I know of are the Ibadis of Oman and a few oases in the Maghreb. But they are just as bigoted against the People of the Book as any Sunnites or Shi’ites–possibly more so.

    Further, as a Christian, I cannot claim to be an expert on the exegesis of the Qur’an and Hadith. I have read the former and some of the latter in English translation, and don’t like what I read (apart from noting some utter lies in the Qur’an–such as Jews view Uzair/Ezra as Son of God the way Christians see Jesus; or that the Christian Trinity is God, Jesus, and Mary rather than the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). But I freely admit that I may be missing something–especially since Thomas Carlisle was right in noting that reading it requires a “stern sense of duty”. For someone used to the richness of the Bible’s variety of literary types from narrative to erotic poetry (Song of Songs) to apocalyptic, the Qur’an can get pretty tedious.

    Frankly, I find the Qur’an to be Exhibit A in Martin Luther’s case that “the Devil is God’s ape”. It seems to be an imitation of what Muhammad took for Biblical prophecy; chiefly repetitive invocations of the Day of Judgment and imprecations against people who don’t accept that Muhammad is a prophet.

    And for me, the only “Islamic Reformation” of which I can conceive is a mass movement of Muslims towards faith in the Jesus Christ presented in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. As a former officer of the US Department of State (under my real name), I always winced when our government and media people pontificated about how the terrorists and hostage-takers weren’t “real Muslims”–and had I heard even the most bigoted of Muslims saying “Shut up, Kufr” to such pronouncements, I daresay I would’ve felt a little bit sympathetic to him.

    Also, looking back on the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the introduction of the term “Muslim fundamentalism” into our national discourse, I strongly suspect it was our anti-Christian media gleefully jumping at an opportunity to tar the Evangelicals–who were then abandoning the party of their grandparents in Jimmy Carter’s hour of need–as somehow un-American kin of the mad mullahs of Teheran.

  3. Last Friday I spoke with a muslim Imam, and he told me that it is a lie that Christians were ever forced into converting, since if that would be true, there would be no Christians remaining… well, he probably meant that they were given this three options and lo! many a nominal Christian became a Muslim.

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