Friday, February 10, 2006


Diane West on the caricatures:
We need to learn a new word: dhimmitude. I've written about dhimmitude periodically, lo, these many years since September 11, but it takes time to sink in. Dhimmitude is the coinage of a brilliant historian, Bat Ye'or, whose pioneering studies of the dhimmi, populations of Jews and Christians vanquished by Islamic jihad, have led her to conclude that a common culture has existed through the centuries among the varied dhimmi populations. From Egypt and Palestine to Iraq and Syria, from Morocco and Algeria to Spain, Sicily and Greece, from Armenia and the Balkans to the Caucasus: Wherever Islam conquered, surrendering dhimmi, known to Muslims as "people of the book [the Bible]," were tolerated, allowed to practice their religion, but at a dehumanizing cost.


This is the lesson of Cartoon Rage 2006, a cultural nuke set off by an Islamic chain reaction to those 12 cartoons of Muhammad appearing in a Danish newspaper...With only a small roll of brave journals, mainly in Europe, to salute, we have seen the proud Western tradition of a free press bow its head and submit to an Islamic law against depictions of Muhammad. That's dhimmitude.

Not that we admit it: We dress up our capitulation in fancy talk of "tolerance," "responsibility" and "sensitivity."...Left unmentioned is the understanding (editorial judgement?) that "gratuitous offense" leads to gratuitous violence. Hence, fear — not the inspiration of tolerance but of capitulation — and a condition of dhimmitude.

Yet, despite this near-total capitulation by the Western media, I and almost everyone I know has seen the cartoons. Weird.

And you know, it occurs to me that if the quality of Western civilization is such that the difference between victory and surrender comes down to the choice of running or not running some cartoons...uh, yeah. That's really silly.

Regarding dhimmis, while it's certainly true that non-Muslims were not considered full citizens in medieval Islamic societies, it's important to note that members of minority religions in the Islamic world had one of the best deals going at the time. Quite different from the situation of Jews, apostates, and minority Christians in contemporary Europe, tens of thousands of whom fled to Muslim lands to escape near-constant persecution by dominant Christian sects. There was no comparable migration in the other direction. This is what's known as voting with one's feet.

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