Dhimmi-nishment in Syria?

Christians who remain in Syria's Raqqa province may now be subject to a "dhimmi pact." In classical Islamic law a dhimmi, or “protected person,” is allowed to live in Muslim lands provided he pays the jizya, a residency tax, in a state of submission and abides by other restrictions. Jews and Christians, because they are “people of the Book,” are given the offer to accept dhimmi conditions.

Muslims are obligated to protect dhimmis, but if dhimmis breach the pact, all bets are off. Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, a student at Brasenose College, Oxford University, and a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum, who appears to have first reported the pact on Feb. 26, notes: "The Qur'anic basis for this arrangement is 9:29. In practice of course, the dhimmi pact, far from being a model of historical multiculturalism and tolerance as hailed by Western Islamic apologists . . . is actually equivalent to Mafia racketeering, as failure to pay 'jizya,' whose financial burdens often proved heavy historically, leads to a loss of 'protection' by the state."

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Exactly how many people will be affected by this dhimmi agreement is unclear. There may not be many Christians who have stayed in Raqqa province now that it has fallen under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham, I.S.I.S., a group so notoriously brutal even Al Qaeda refuses to associate with them. In the statement annoucing the dhimmi pact, circulated on Islamist websites, I.S.I.S. members said that some 20 Christian leaders had agreed to the terms, but asked that there names not be revealed.

Jawad Al-Tamimi provided a translation for the agreement:

This is what the servant of God- Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Commander of the Faithful [NB: this is the title of a Caliph] has given to the Christians concerning the pact of protection. He has given them security for themselves, their wealth, their churches and the rest of their property in the province of Raqqa: their churches should not be attacked, nor should anything be taken [by force] from them, nor from their domain, nor anything from their wealth, and there should be no compulsion against them in religion, and none of them should be harmed.

According to Jawad Al-Tamimi's translation of the pact, the terms for protection of a jizya paying dhimmi in Raqqa are as follows:

1. That they must not build in their town or the periphery a monastery, church or monk’s hermitage, and must not rebuild what has fallen into disrepair.

2. That they must not show the cross or any of their scriptures in any of the roads or markets of the Muslims and they must not use any means to amplify their voices during their calls to prayers or similarly for the rest of their acts of worship.

3. That they must not make Muslims hear recital of their scriptures or the sounds of their bells, even if they strike them within their churches.

4. That they must not engage in any acts of hostility against the Islamic State, like giving housing to spies and those wanted for a reason by the Islamic State, or whosoever’s brigandery is proven from among the Christians or others, they must not aid such persons in concealing or moving them or other such things. If they know of a conspiracy againt the Muslims, they must inform them about it.

5. That they must not engage in any displays of worship outside the churches.

6. That they must not stop any of the Christians from embracing Islam if he so wishes.

7. That they must respect Islam and Muslims, and not disparage their religion in any way.

8. The Christians must embrace payment of the jizya--on every adult male: its value is 4 dinars of gold…on the Ahl al-Ghina [the wealthy], and half that value on those of middle income, and half that on the poor among them, on condition that they do not conceal anything from us regarding their state of affairs. And they are to make two payments per year.

9. They are not allowed to bear arms.

10. They are not to deal in selling pork and wine with Muslims or in their markets; and they are not to consume it [wine] publicly--that is, in any public places.

11. They should have their own tombs, as is custom.

12. That they must accept the precepts imposed by the Islamic State like modesty of dress, selling, buying and other things.

A side note of interest: According to Jawad Al-Tamimi, ISIS' official Twitter account for Raqqa province noted the imposition of the dhimmi pact with a small (ish) bit of braggadacio: "Today in Raqqa and tomorrow in Rome."

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