Humiliating Dhimmis -- Perfectly Acceptable in Traditional Islam
Ironically perhaps, Muslims worldwide in February 2006 are violently protesting cartoons published in a Danish paper that humiliate Islam and Muhammad, the Muslim prophet. They demand punishment for the cartoonists and for all of Denmark and all Danes, a form of punishment that is regularly called "collective punishment" if it is applied by Israel in the slightest degree for the sake of basic self-protection. Some outsiders recall that cartoons insulting Jews and what Jews consider holy, as well as Israel, are regular features of the Arab press. Sometimes the United States too is insulted or even attacked [9-11] in a most outrageous manner.
Here is an account of Muslim/Arab humiliation of Jews in Iraq in the eleventh century:
Prior to this, the ruler of Baghdad, whose name was al-Muqtadi, had given full authority to his vizier, Abu Shuja, to make a change in policy regarding the Jews living in Baghdad. Now he (Abu Shuja) had already sought on many occasions to destroy them, but the God of Israel had thwarted his intention, and on this occasion too, he protected them from his fury.
He (Abu Shuja) directed that yellow badges should be affixed to the headgear of every Jewish male. In addition to the badge on the head, another of lead, the weight of a silver coin, was to hang round the neck of every Jew. The lead pendant was to be inscribed with the word "dhimmi" indicating that the Jews were tribute bearers. He also imposed that every Jew should wear a distinguishing belt around the waist. Abu Shuja imposed two distinguishing signs upon Jewish women. Each woman had to wear one red shoe and one black shoe. Furthermore, each woman had to have a small copper bell on her neck or on her shoe which would tinkle so that all would know and differentiate between the women of the Jews and of the Muslims. he assigned cruel Muslim men to watch over the Jewish men and cruel Muslim women to oversee the Jewish women, in order to oppress them with every sort of insult, humiliation, and contempt. The Muslims would mock them, and the common rabble, together with their children, would beat Jews throughout all the streets of Bagdad.This account was written by a famous medieval convert to Judaism (converted 1102). He was called Obadiah the Norman Proselyte, since he was a Norman from southern Italy [not from France], the town of Oppido. Southern Italy and Sicily were conquered by Normans in the Crusading period. His original name was Iohannes and he was in fact a priest, a man skilled in musical notation, and with a talent for languages. No one was allowed to convert to Judaism in Christian Europe, so he had to go to the Islamic domain to convert to Judaism. In the Islamic domain, it was forbidden of course for a Muslim to convert to another religion, but dhimmis of one faith [i.e., Christians] were allowed to convert to another dhimmi faith [i.e., Judaism]. But dhimmis as such had to pay their tribute to the Muslim state, Christians as much as Jews. So the treasury of the Islamic state did not lose out by such conversions.
[quoted from Norman Stillman, The Jews of Arab Lands (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1979), p 251]
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Coming: collecting jizyah in Baghdad, Jews in Jerusalem, poems of Zion, etc.