'Democrats' For Jihad and Jizya

Democracy does not always bring liberty and justice. According to available polling data, Hamas is poised to win a plurality of the votes in the forthcoming January 2006 Parliamentary elections for Gaza and the Palestinian Arab—controlled areas within Judea and Samaria. The prospect of such electoral results, despite Hamas' continuous, bloody record of jihad terrorism (which merely confirms its openly espoused genocidal charter), creates a conundrum for those policymakers extolling uncritically the virtues of 'democratization' in the Middle East, generally, and the areas under Palestinian Arab suzerainty, specifically.

Frank apologists for Hamas are quick to stress how past 'liberation' movements were incorporated into electoral processes, while cynically ignoring Hamas' heinous ideology. But they will be forced to grapple with the organization's latest open pronouncements stating its plans for non—Muslim 'citizens' under any Hamas—lead governments jurisdiction, and espousing an endless, annihilationist jihad against Israel.

Interviewed by Wall Street Journal reporter Karby Legget (and published in the December 23—26 edition The Wall Street Journal), Hassam El—Masalmeh, who heads the Hamas contingent at the municipal council of Bethlehem, confirmed the organizations plan to re—institute the humiliating jizya, a blood ransom Qur'anic  poll—tax (based on  Qur'an sura [chapter] 9, verse 29), levied traditionally on non—Muslims vanquished by jihad, and forced to live under Islamic Law (the Shari'a). Under the Sharia's regulations, either the non—Muslim infidels must convert to Islam, or they pay the jizya—classically, in a humiliating public ceremony which often involved blows to the head or neck—and their life and belongings are protected. The nature of such 'protection' is clarified in this definition of jizya by the seminal Arabic lexicographer, E.W. Lane, based on a careful analysis of the etymology of the term:

The tax that is taken from the free non—Muslim subjects of a Muslim government whereby they ratify the compact that assures them protection, as though it were compensation for not being slain

The 'contract of the 'jizya', or 'dhimma' encompassed other obligatory and recommended obligations for the conquered non—Muslim 'dhimmi' peoples. Collectively, these 'obligations' formed the discriminatory system of dhimmitude imposed upon non—Muslims — Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Hindus, and Buddhists — subjugated by jihad. Some of the more salient features of dhimmitude include:

  • the prohibition of arms for the vanquished non—Muslims (dhimmis);
  • the prohibnition of church bells;
  • restrictions concerning the building and restoration of churches, synagogues, and temples;
  • inequality between Muslims and non—Muslims with regard to taxes and penal law;
  • the refusal of dhimmi testimony by Muslim courts;
  • a requirement that Jews, Christians, and other non—Muslims, including Zoroastrians and Hindus, wear special clothes;
  • and the overall humiliation and abasement of non—Muslims.

It is important to note that these regulations and attitudes were institutionalized as permanent features of the sacred Islamic law, or Shari'a. Islam manifests itself as a political ideology, not merely a religion, when its teachings are followed on these and other prominent and enduring features.

During his Wall Street Journal  interview, El—Masalmeh stated explicitly, 

We in Hamas intend to implement this tax (i.e., the jizya) someday. We say it openly — we welcome everyone to Palestine but only if they agree to live under our rules.

Nor is this the first time such pronouncements have been made publicly by Palestinian political, or religious leaders. Sheik Muhammad Ibrahim Al—Madhi expressed these identical sentiments with regard to Jews during a Friday sermon broadcasted live on June 6, 2001 on Palestinian Authority  Television  , from the Sheik 'Ijlin Mosque in Gaza:

We welcome, as we did in the past, any Jew who wants to live in this land as a Dhimmi, just as the Jews have lived in our countries, as Dhimmis, and have earned appreciation, and some of them have even reached the positions of counselor or minister here and there. We welcome the Jews to live as Dhimmis, but the rule in this land and in all the Muslim countries must be the rule of Allah.

The inescapable conclusion is that the attendant Shari'a—based regulations associated with the jizya will also be imposed—all of which amount to gross violations of the most basic human rights norms (i.e., freedom of conscience, speech, and worship, codified for example, in the US Bill of Rights) accepted by modern, civilized societies worldwide.

More acutely ominous is the prospect that Hamas, with its openly expressed goal of jihad genocide vis a vis Israeli Jews, will achieve at least an electoral plurality and de facto control of key sociopolitical institutions within Gaza and the West Bank. In a Hamas pre—election video from December 12, 2005, the jihadist terror organization reiterated that it will not give up its armed struggle until Israel is destroyed entirely. The Hamas message also celebrates the organization's love of death as being superior to Israel's love of life, while expressing support for those Israeli Arabs who wish to destroy Israel 'from within.' Hamas eagerly anticipates a day when their flag will fly over not only Jerusalem, but over all Israeli cities, including Acre and Haifa. The following are verbatim quotations from this Hamas video:

We succeeded, with Allah's grace, to raise an ideological generation that loves death like our enemies love life. We will not abandon the way of Jihad and Shahada [Martyrdom] as long as one inch of our holy land is in the hands of the Jews....Congratulations to our people of 1948 [Israeli Arabs] on the liberation of Gaza. You wish to destroy them [the Israelis] from their interior. We will never forget you, and never leave you. A day will come when our flag will fly above all the quarters of our land. Our flag will fly on the minarets of Jerusalem, and the walls of Acre, and the quarters of Haifa.

Responding to an uncharacteristic European Union threat to terminate its own de facto jizya, i.e., 'aid'  payments to the Palestinian Authority, should Hamas gain significant Parliamentary seats in the January elections, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal warned about the dangers of 'playing with the values of democracy and freedom'. What a bitter irony that a murderous jihadist organization has co—opted the rhetoric of true liberal democracies in order to impose the totalitarian Shari'a 'democratically'. As writer Diana West  noted appositely,

'It is vox populi. And just because the people have spoken doesn't mean we should applaud what they say.'

Democracy — mere popular rule — should not be our primary objective for the Muslim world, but rather Muslim societies and governments who share our values, so we can safely share this planet.

Dr. Andrew Bostom, is a frequent contributor to The American Thinker and the editor of the recently released compendium, The Legacy of Jihad.