Why We Can't All Just Get Along

Jonathan David Carson
It would be nice to be able to just get along with the Muslim world. Unfortunately, mutual respect and tolerance is incompatible with characteristic aspects of Islam.

According to Bat Ye'or,  dhimmitude, which Islamists call "protection" of non-Muslims or "toleration," but which is more accurately called "subjugation," rests on three principles: 


(1) "compulsory degradation"

(2) "differentiation"

(3) "segregation"

For instance, subject peoples are required to wear different clothes and live in different quarters, and they must ride donkeys, not horses and camels.  

One form of compulsory degradation is particularly relevant to the controversy over plans to build a "mega-mosque" near Ground Zero:

Some jurists recommend, while others -- and they are the majority -- state that it is compulsory to forbid infidels to have houses higher than their Muslim neighbors, even to have them of the same height.

Accordingly,  Reliance of the Traveller: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (d. 1368) says that infidels "may not build higher than or as high as the Muslims' buildings, though if they acquire a tall house, it is not razed."

This recommendation or compulsion applies with special force to houses of worship. Thus, 

Under Caliph Ma'mun (813-33), the Muslims of Jerusalem complained that the dome of the (Christian) Church of the Holy Sepulcher had been enlarged, making it higher than the (Islamic) Dome of the Rock.  The patriarch Thomas was cast in prison, but escaped flagellation and saved his dome on payment of a heavy ransom.

We can take from this that the prohibition of infidel houses and houses of worship higher than Islamic ones is not absolute: it can be waived as long as the principle of compulsory degradation is otherwise upheld.

Given this prohibition, we should not perhaps be too surprised that Islamic terrorists destroyed the lofty World Trade Center nor that Muslims now own the tallest building in the world, even if they had to pay for it with borrowed money and oil extracted by Western companies: it was designed by a Chicago firm and erected by Samsung--in Dubai.  There seems to have been no real economic basis for such a tall building, only a desire to overawe the infidels.

The three principles of dhimmitude demonstrate the difficulty of coexistence -- or even of dialogue.  We complain about unfairness.  The Islamists think that there is supposed to be unfairness (degradation).  We complain about double standards; the Islamists think that there are supposed to be double standards (differentiation).   We say that we allow mosques here, but you won't allow churches and synagogues in Saudi Arabia.  The Islamists think that there aren't supposed to be any churches and synagogues there (segregation).  

To all this, our craven ruling class says that we are opposed to the freedom of religion.  Apparently, telling the truth about dhimmitude or shariah law is a violation of the First Amendment.  And in a sense our critics are right: we cannot oppose Islam's opposition to freedom of other religions without opposing Islam itself, since Islam without opposition to freedom of other religions does not exist, has never existed, and probably never will exist.  See Bat Ye'Or or Andrew Bostom.  We can violate freedom of religion in the eyes of the ruling class by opposing the imposition of shariah law, or we can allow the Islamists to violate it.  One way or the other, it is gone.  We are in the same plight as Israelis, condemned around the world for building places to live.  We are all Israelis now.

Jonathan David Carson, Ph.D. blogs at www.makehasteslowly.com
It would be nice to be able to just get along with the Muslim world. Unfortunately, mutual respect and tolerance is incompatible with characteristic aspects of Islam.

According to Bat Ye'or,  dhimmitude, which Islamists call "protection" of non-Muslims or "toleration," but which is more accurately called "subjugation," rests on three principles: 


(1) "compulsory degradation"

(2) "differentiation"

(3) "segregation"

For instance, subject peoples are required to wear different clothes and live in different quarters, and they must ride donkeys, not horses and camels.  

One form of compulsory degradation is particularly relevant to the controversy over plans to build a "mega-mosque" near Ground Zero:

Some jurists recommend, while others -- and they are the majority -- state that it is compulsory to forbid infidels to have houses higher than their Muslim neighbors, even to have them of the same height.

Accordingly,  Reliance of the Traveller: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (d. 1368) says that infidels "may not build higher than or as high as the Muslims' buildings, though if they acquire a tall house, it is not razed."

This recommendation or compulsion applies with special force to houses of worship. Thus, 

Under Caliph Ma'mun (813-33), the Muslims of Jerusalem complained that the dome of the (Christian) Church of the Holy Sepulcher had been enlarged, making it higher than the (Islamic) Dome of the Rock.  The patriarch Thomas was cast in prison, but escaped flagellation and saved his dome on payment of a heavy ransom.

We can take from this that the prohibition of infidel houses and houses of worship higher than Islamic ones is not absolute: it can be waived as long as the principle of compulsory degradation is otherwise upheld.

Given this prohibition, we should not perhaps be too surprised that Islamic terrorists destroyed the lofty World Trade Center nor that Muslims now own the tallest building in the world, even if they had to pay for it with borrowed money and oil extracted by Western companies: it was designed by a Chicago firm and erected by Samsung--in Dubai.  There seems to have been no real economic basis for such a tall building, only a desire to overawe the infidels.

The three principles of dhimmitude demonstrate the difficulty of coexistence -- or even of dialogue.  We complain about unfairness.  The Islamists think that there is supposed to be unfairness (degradation).  We complain about double standards; the Islamists think that there are supposed to be double standards (differentiation).   We say that we allow mosques here, but you won't allow churches and synagogues in Saudi Arabia.  The Islamists think that there aren't supposed to be any churches and synagogues there (segregation).  

To all this, our craven ruling class says that we are opposed to the freedom of religion.  Apparently, telling the truth about dhimmitude or shariah law is a violation of the First Amendment.  And in a sense our critics are right: we cannot oppose Islam's opposition to freedom of other religions without opposing Islam itself, since Islam without opposition to freedom of other religions does not exist, has never existed, and probably never will exist.  See Bat Ye'Or or Andrew Bostom.  We can violate freedom of religion in the eyes of the ruling class by opposing the imposition of shariah law, or we can allow the Islamists to violate it.  One way or the other, it is gone.  We are in the same plight as Israelis, condemned around the world for building places to live.  We are all Israelis now.

Jonathan David Carson, Ph.D. blogs at www.makehasteslowly.com