Dhimmis – Second Class Citizens
“Those who follow Muhammad are merciless to the unbelievers but kind to each other.”
– The Qur’an (48:29)
In 638 A.D. the practice of converting the conquered peoples into second class citizens began when Muhammad conquered the Jewish oasis at Khaybar. Those that were not massacred were forced to accept a pact, “Dhimma” which rendered them inferior to their Muslim conquerors. Over the centuries the ideology of Dhimmitude expanded into a formal system of religious bigotry.
People of the Book (Jews and Christians) living in Muslim lands were called Dhimmis, which means “the protected people.”
Dhimmis were allowed to keep their own religion, but with certain restrictions. They were not allowed to build new places of worship, to display non-Muslim symbols on their buildings or clothing, to pray non-Muslim prayers or preach non-Muslim faiths in public, to proselytize, or to publish non-Muslim literature. In some places, they were forbidden to wear Muslim clothing, hold public offices, or bear weapons. They were required to pay jizya, a head tax, and kharaj, a land tax.
The Dhimmis had certain rights that were granted them, so long as they met all their obligations and did not rebel. They had the right to protection of life and property, the right to reside in Muslim lands, the right to follow their religion, the right to choose their own religious leaders, the right to work, the right to trade, and freedom from enslavement (rebellion was punished with automatic enslavement). In addition, they were exempt from military service, from religious duties and laws specific to Islam, and from the paying of Zakat. The protection of the Dhimmi is withdrawn if the Dhimmi goes against Islamic law, gives allegiance to a non-Muslim power, refuses to pay the Jizya tax, entices a Muslim from his faith, or harms a Muslim or his property.
Like the Jews under Nazi Germany
The Dhimmis were always second class citizens and were expected to show deference to all Muslims, who were their superiors. In some places, Dhimmis were subject to persecution, especially in the heartland regions of the Islamic world; Mecca and Medina eventually came to be completely restricted and non-Muslims were forbidden to even enter those cities.
In practice, Dhimmis had few legal rights. Dhimmis could not testify in court against a Muslim and they had no legal right to challenge or dispute anything done to them by Muslims. There is no such thing as a Muslim murdering a Dhimmi (at most, it can be manslaughter). However, a Dhimmi striking a Muslim is killed. False imprisonment became common for Dhimmis. Often, the only law for a Dhimmi was the caprice of their Muslim masters.
The Dhimmis were often humiliated, beaten and treated as if they were unclean. They were treated with much oppression and cruelty. If they could not afford to pay the Jizyah, they were enslaved, tortured or killed.
If they converted to Islam, they were exempt. This is how the Muslims converted many of the conquered people to Islam. This practice was called, Muslim “toleration,” but the life of a Dhimmi was cheap and tenuous.
Those of us that survive will all become Dhimmis.