[For] the peoples and nations that fell under Islamic occupation,… the story was one of forced conversions to Islam, slavery, death and the Islamic institution of dhimmitude.
This is the word that describes the parlous state of those who refused to convert to Islam and became the subjugated, non-Muslims who were forced to accept a restrictive and humiliating subordination to a superior Islamic power and live as second class citizens in order to avoid enslavement or death. These peoples and populations were known as dhimmis, and if such a status was not humiliating enough, a special tax or tribute, called the jizya, was imposed upon them and upon all dhimmis.
Dhimmitude is the direct outcome of jihad, which is the military conquest of non-Islamic territory mandated by Allah as a spiritual obligation for every individual Moslem and Moslem nation.
From its beginnings in the seventh century, Islam spread through violent conquest of non-Moslem lands. In the eighth century, a formal set of rules to govern relationships between Moslems and non-Moslems was created based upon Moslem conquests of non-Moslem peoples. These rules were based upon jihad, which established how the Moslems would treat the conquered non-Moslems in terms of their submission to Islam.
Jihad can be pursued through force or other means such as propaganda, writing, or subversion against the perceived enemy. The so-called enemies are those who oppose the establishment of Islamic law or its spread, mission, or sovereignty over them and their land….
In the early years of the Islamic conquests, the “tribute” or jizya was paid as a yearly poll tax, which symbolized the subordination of the dhimmi. Later, the inferior status of Jews and Christians was reinforced through a series of regulations that governed the behavior of the dhimmi. Jews and Christians were awarded a different status than other faiths. They were considered to be under protection as “people of the book.” People of non-monotheistic faiths, pagans, or atheists were simply to be exterminated.
According to Mitchell G. Bard, who has written extensively on the subject and produced the excellent rebuttal to Arab and pro-Arab propaganda in his book, Myths and Facts, “… dhimmis, on pain of death, were forbidden to mock or criticize the Koran, Islam or Muhammad, to proselytize among Moslems or to touch a Moslem woman (though a Moslem man could take a non-Moslem as a wife).
“Dhimmis were excluded from public office and armed service, and were forbidden to bear arms. They were not allowed to ride horses or camels, to build synagogues or churches taller than mosques, to construct houses higher than those of Muslims or to drink wine in public. They were not allowed to pray or mourn in loud voices as that might offend the Moslems.
“The dhimmi had to show public deference toward Moslems, always yielding them the center of the road. The dhimmi was not allowed to give evidence in court against a Moslem, and his oath was unacceptable in an Islamic court. To defend himself the dhimmi would have to purchase Moslem witnesses at great expense. This left the dhimmi with little legal recourse when harmed by a Moslem.
“Dhimmis were also forced to wear distinctive clothing. In the ninth century, for example, Baghdad’s Caliph al-Mutawakkil designated a yellow badge for Jews, setting a precedent that would be followed centuries later.”
By the twentieth century, the status of the dhimmi in Moslem lands had not significantly improved. H.E.W. Young, British Vice-Consul in Mosul, wrote in 1909: “The attitude of the Muslims toward the Christians and the Jews is that of a master towards slaves, whom he treats with a certain lordly tolerance so long as they keep their place. Any sign of pretension to equality is promptly repressed.”
Dhimmitude for Dummies
By Victor Sharpe
Dhimmitude Past and Present: An Invented or Real History?
By Bat Ye’or
October 10, 2002
By Gregory M. Davis
Understanding the Islam in Islamic Antisemitism
By Andrew G. Bostom
November 17, 2008
Dhimmitude in History
Dhimmitude and Disarmament
By David Kopel
Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide
By Bat Ye’or, et al