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ICC Note:
Here is an insightful note on a political blog. So many people just don’t understand the nature, dictates, and history of Islam. This guy get’s it and it’s refreshing. You can’t understand the current situation in Islam unless you understand the nature, dictates, and history. Then you will have context for Muslim actions and persectuion of Christians.

Errantacademic

Islamic Tolerance

TPM Cafe

I am so very tired of people saying Islam is (or was) tolerant of other religions. The facts (as opposed to the myth that is mindlessly reiterated by those who have never taken the trouble to find out the facts) are these.
Here is a relevant quote from the Qur’an:

Sura 9, verses 29-31:

Fight those who believe not in God nor the last day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of truth, (even if they are) of the people of the Book [Bible], until they pay the jizya with willing submission, feel themselves subdued. Jews call Uzair [Ezra] a son of God, and the Christians call Christ the Son of God … God’s curse be on them; how they are deluded away from truth! They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of God, and (they take as their Lord) Christ the son of Mary. Yet they are commanded to worship but One God.

In Islam, this was interpreted to mean that all non-Muslims were to be subject to attack whenever it suited the interests of Islam to attack them. Islam was and always has been expansionist and has always used violence to spread. Why should now be different?

Second: you’ll note the comment about “jizya”. This is a pair of taxes ( a poll tax and a property tax) that all non-Muslims have to pay. In short, you can only be a non-Muslim in a Muslim society if you pay the state a tax (and historically a heavy one) for the privilege of believing what you wish to believe. Nor was this “privilege” given to everyone: it was only given to the “Ahlu l-Kitab” or “People of the Book” or Jews and Christians. Others were forcibly converted, or killed if they refused.

If you paid this tax, could you live as you liked? Not at all: these were some of the burdens of those who remained Christian or Jewish:

· Murder of a Muslim by anyone was subject to the death penalty. Murder of a Christian or Jew by a Muslim was only subject to a blood money payment.

· The testimony of a Jew or Christian was judged invalid against a Muslim.

· A Muslim man could marry a Jewish or Christian woman. Jews and Christians were not allowed to marry Muslim women.

· Conversion to Islam was a one-way street: no Muslim was ever allowed to convert to any other religion, on pain of death. This applied even when individuals were forcibly converted.

· Building of churches and synagogues was severely constrained, and often prohibited.

· Depending on the ruler, Jews and Christians were often made to wear special clothing, or were banned from wearing certain kinds of clothing.

· When feelings ran high, mobs of Muslims often killed Jews and Christians for real or imagined slights, and were almost never punished.

Now, this is supposed to be tolerance? If it is, it is tolerance of a kind I think none of us would have exactly liked….

And please… do me a favor and don’t talk about how we in the West once did very similar things. That was just intolerance too. And the existence of our historical intolerance cannot be used justify the intolerance of others.