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Emet m'Tsiyon

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Neophytos was a Greek monk living in Jerusalem during the Greek revolt that started in 1821. We continue his account of events in Israel in reaction to the revolt. We bear in mind that this was a revolt of a dhimmi people, the Greeks, against a Sunni Muslim state, the Ottoman Empire. By the way, it is misleading to call the Ottoman Empire "Turkish" since there were high officials originating from several nationalities, including Arabs. These officials were almost always Muslims, but there were exceptions. Muslim law and opinion consider it outrageous for any non-Muslim [dhimmi] people to challenge Muslim supremacy. We note that now in Iraq the Sunni Arab Muslim minority [about 20% of the Iraqi population] --who have long controlled the country-- are outraged that Shi'ite Arabs and Sunni Kurds [non-Arabs] are going to or likely to dominate the government in the future. The reaction of the "militant" sections of Sunni Arabs in Iraq, as well as of Sunni Arabs coming to Iraq from Syria, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere, is to commit mass murder against Shi'ites, Kurds, and even fellow Sunni Arabs who may be helping the new government which is likely to represent the majority [Shi'ites and Kurds], at least in background of the officials, for the first time in Iraqi history. We note that the Wahhabi creed which is predominant in Saudi Arabia, considers Shi`ites not merely heretics but worthy of death, and that many Sunnis believe that the Shi`ite faith was in its origins the product of a Jewish conspiracy to weaken Islam. Given the hatred for heretic Muslims, it is no surprise that rebel dhimmis are viewed with profound hatred and contempt. Needless to say, the fact that many Sunnis view the Shi`ites as the product of a Jewish plot does not make the Shi`ites necessarily sympathetic to Jews in any way.

Late June 1821 -- Jerusalem. Local Muslims "held council and began to divide the spoils [belonging to Greek Orthodox] among themselves."

On hearing this, we, in misery and terror, with trembling lips, begged God to succour us. At last, at a meeting of the Synod, consisting of the Locum Tenens [deputy] of the Patriarch, the Archbishops and Members [of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher], it was decided to fill the mouth of all those who held power in Jerusalem, as well as all those who could bite (do any mischief [tr. S N Spyridon]). That we proceeded to do. Meanwhile the doublefaced Turks [here = Muslims generally] of Jerusalem and all the vagabonds began to cause trouble and shout that the Sultan had ordered that all the Romei should be killed. Their leaders, the Notables and others, on receiving money and many other things, kept them in check. But they would have their prey, so they clamoured for the Sultan's orders to be read in front of them that their own ears might hear. Two days previous to this the Notables had received instructions from Darwish Pasha, Governor of Damascus, concerning the Rayahs [dhimmis], wherein they were told that no Christian should be killed except with his permission. On Friday July 8, the Mullah announced in the Haram esh-Sharif [on the Temple Mount] that all Moslems should betake themselves to the Law Court to hear the Sultan's letters.
"Loyal and prudent Moslems, you have heard the orders of Sultan Mahmud --May God grant him a long life. These Romei [= Greek Orthodox] who are here in Jerusalem and in the environs have never been known as traitors, nor have they at any time plotted against you by word or action. They are poor people and harmless as you know. We have collected all the arms which they had, and if, perchance, they still have some, they are very few in number. There is scarcely one Christian to a hundred Moslems and since they are so very few it is a shame for us to say that we are afraid of them, and take this as an excuse for killing them. Behold how the Waly [governor of a wilaya or vilayet = province] of Damascus [Jerusalem was part of the Damascus vilayet], the Noble, our lord, Darwish Pasha, not only did not allow any movement against them in Damascus, but he also commands us that we should not kill any Rayah without his consent! Therefore, let each one of you return to his home in peace, and let each one continue his work in his own sphere. We shall take the necessary precautions. Do not disturb the Rayahs, for they are faithful; evil done to them is a sin and an injustice against our God and our Prophet."

Like speeches were made by the Effendis, who spoke for more than three hours.

While this speech-making was going on at the Law Courts, a rumour spread throughout the city that the Moslems were gathered at the Law Courts demanding authority (fetwa) to kill all the Romei. We moved in great fear and terror, and, disconsolate, we cried to heaven for help. The Frank monks and the Armenians gathered their adherents into their own monasteries, lest the Turks in killing the Romei might also kill them. This state of terror continued till late in the afternoon, until the Moslems, hearing the moaning and wailing of the women and children and being informed of the cause, assured us, on that they had no such intentions, and explained why they had gathered at the Law Courts. So by God's help we were delivered from the threatening danger and the Moslems were at peace for the moment. [Extracts from Annals of Palestine, 1821-1841, pp 15-16]
Note the eagerness of the Muslim populace (called "Turks" by NeoPhytos) to attack, loot and despoil the rebel dhimmis. This urge was thwarted by the Notables, economic, religious and political leaders, etc., who had been generously paid off, according to NeoPhytos. In Iraq today, Muslims are slaughtering Muslims. Defenders of those murderers in the West often explain the mass murder as the justified reaction to what Israel is accused of doing. So why are they slaughtering fellow Muslims? These justifications and explanations for mass murder are based on the Judeophobia of both certain Westerners and certain Arabs.

NeoPhytos quotes Muslim leaders as saying there was only one Christian to one hundred Muslims. The Christian proportion in Jerusalem in 1821 was probably more than one fourth, and the Jews were probably about one-fourth. The Muslims thus were slightly less than half of the Jerusalem population, although estimated to be about 75% of the country as a whole. See the discussion and estimates of the Jerusalem population in the 19th century on earlier posts on this blog [including an estimate reported by Karl Marx].


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