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Dhimmitude and Disarmament:

In a short article forthcoming in the George Mason University Civil Rights Law Journal, I examine the work of the scholar Ba'at Yeor, the leading scholar of dhimmitude (the inferior status of Christians, Jews, and, sometimes, other religious groups) under traditional Islamic law. The article looks in particular at the effect of the Shari'a rule that the dhimmi are forbidden to possess arms, or to defend themselves against a Muslim. The final section of the article suggests that at the many American educational institutions where pretend "gun-free" zones have been created, law-abiding adults have been rendered as defenseless against marauders as were the dhimmi of earlier centuries.

SND:
I'm not sure I see the nexus between dhimmitude and "gun-free" zones. I can understand the idea that there is somewhat of a parallel, but what does that have to do with the work of Ba'at Yeor?
8.21.2007 4:05pm
George Lyon (mail):
David, an excellent piece. If we dissect the arguments of the college administrators and their allies, we see one of their principal arguments is that adult college students cannot be trusted with the means to defend themselves, essentially an inferiority argument similar to dhimmitude. But the real driving force here is an almost religious commitment to pacifism.
8.21.2007 4:07pm
eeyn524:
But the real driving force here is an almost religious commitment to pacifism.

Nah. It's an almost religious committment to maintaining the difference between the rulers and the ruled.
8.21.2007 4:15pm
Mr. X (www):
The last sentence of FN2 has a grammatical error.
8.21.2007 4:54pm
Yankev (mail):
SND, the nexus is that we have proof of what happens when entire classes of people are disarmed for no good reason.
8.21.2007 5:53pm
JustAnoherDhimmi:

He reserved the right to expel then whenever he chose1


Typo here.

The effect was similar in other parts of the House of Submission. (page 5, last para)


You don't explain "House of Submission" here, nor use it anywhere else. For a one-time fairly unusual translation of a term, you might want to give an explanation or use a different phrase.

Ye'or writes that the remaining "microminorities struggle along, the last remnants of the multitudes of Christians and Jews who formerly populated those lands. Only cemeteries and ruins recall their past.


Those are pretty bold statements to make--I mean, even today Christians are 10% of the Egyptian population (6 million plus?). The creation of "microminorities" could more accurately be put down to colonialism as well as the creation of Israel which saw millions of jews from across the region. But these really are irrelevant points for your paper. The selection of these quotes seems needlessly ... inflammatory to me.


However, Western European nations such as France and Germany ban the carrying of guns or other arms for defensive purposes. As a result, Jews in those nations are often attacked by gangs of Muslim youths.


Ahh, so THAT'S why Jews are often attacked in Europe--because of the banning of handguns? Not sure I quite follow the logic..


Reading the history of Jews under dhimmitude who had to cower before the
bullies, a modern reader might think, "How terrible. What kind of morally defective society would make into such wretched, helpless victims? I'm glad that I don't live such a world." But you do live in such a world


I'm a bit unsure why you single out Jews throughout much of the article (though not always)--especially here it seems out of place? Pretty safe to say that Christians made up a far greater percentage of populations under Muslim rule throughout history (and you DO discuss christian-specific examples during parts of your essay)--I guess this is just one symptom of the paper being more or less a book report? I haven't read Yeor's works, so I'm unsure what her focus is.

It seems somewhat odd that you choose to use "specialist" spellings like "dhimmi" and "shari'a" but then choose to use "Koran" and "Mohammed" instead of "Qur'an" and "Muhammad." Is this Yeor's practice?


[DK: Lots of useful comments here, that I'll take into account in preparing the final draft. Another usage issue I've been struggling with is whether to italicize "dhimmitude". It's a word coined by Yeor (and therefore an English word that shouldn't be italicized), but seems strange to italicize "dhimmi" (a foreign word) while not italicizing a longer word based on "dhimmi." I'll add a footnote on "House of Submission." What would you suggest as a more standard translation for that phrase? If "Muhammad" is more accurate, I'm happy to switch to it. Same with "Qur'an." One purpose of pre-publication on the web is to get advice from experts in various fields. Yeor has lots of materials on both Christians and Jews; my reason for using Jews in the conclusion was that the previous specific, detailed descriptions of people cowering were about Jews.]
8.21.2007 6:19pm
Sebastian (mail) (www):
Ahh, so THAT'S why Jews are often attacked in Europe--because of the banning of handguns? Not sure I quite follow the logic.

No, Jews are attacked because people for centuries have had an irrational hatred of them. What banning handguns does it ensure that people can act out on that irrational hatred without any fear of repercussions.

I know more than a few Jews who are licensed to carry firearms. Any bet on what would happen if a marauding band of [insert hate group here] decided to take out their irrational hatred on them?
8.21.2007 6:39pm
PersonFromPorlock:
George Lyon:

...we see one of their principal arguments is that adult college students cannot be trusted with the means to defend themselves...But the real driving force here is an almost religious commitment to pacifism.

The idea that an adult can be responsible carries with it the implication that they can be called to account when they fail to fulfill a responsibility. This is nowhere most college administrators want to go.
8.21.2007 6:59pm
PersonFromPorlock:
Arrgh!

...that they can be called to account when they fail...

"...that he can be called to account when he fails..."
8.21.2007 7:02pm
VincentPaul (mail):
The public school administrators that I know of not only discourage victims of bullies from protecting themselves, they turn a blind eye to the activities of their favorite bullies and are commended by the school board for the fine job they've done. In one instance, the local school superintendent sought out and argued with a father whose daughter was the victim of harassment (which took place during summer vacation) simply because the girl's father had dared to phone the bully's father to tell him he'd better talk to his son about the language used. In another incident, a boy was bullied throughout the school year until he committed suicide at school. Within a few years the building principal was made superintendent.
8.21.2007 7:20pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
VincentPaul - that is one reason I favor private schools. You most often get what you pay for, and the ones I am familiar with are very agressive when it comes to bullying.
8.21.2007 11:13pm
Andrew Janssen (mail):

The public school administrators that I know of not only discourage victims of bullies from protecting themselves, they turn a blind eye to the activities of their favorite bullies and are commended by the school board for the fine job they've done.


For an excellent depiction of this, see Jane Haddam's novel, Somebody Else's Music. A bully grows up to become the principal of her high school, and in her turn encourages/protects the bullies of the current generation. She gets her come-uppance when the father of the current bullies' favorite target turns out to be a civil rights lawyer with deep pockets.

Private schools have their problems, too. Haddam's The Headmaster's Wife is an acid portrayal of a second- or third-rate private school.
8.22.2007 1:10am
grackle (mail):
I think Johann Hari's description of Bat Ye'or's work as "a 21st century Protocols of the Elders of Mecca" is particularly apt.
8.22.2007 1:43am
Joel Rosenberg (mail) (www):
Sebastion: Bingo. It isn't just the hatred -- and I think there's a very good argument that many antisemites have a rational hatred of Jews, btw -- but the combination of hatred and perceived vulnerability.

And it's not just the physical violence issue that a perception of a lack of repercussions affects. I've encountered threats of antisemitic violence, from time to time, over the past five decades, but I've never actually been the subject of it.

On the other hand, I find it interesting how little antisemitic nonsense one is confronted with, in person, if one is known to be a carry permit holder, and carry routinely.

(Naturally, I'm not going to threaten -- much less shoot -- an antisemite or other idiot over mere words. But I'm not overly interested in being overly persuasive on that point.)
8.22.2007 11:29am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
And of course in Israel, where the Jews are armed to the teeth and the Arabs are the ones who live, at least theoretically, in a state of dhimmitude, attacks against Jews have ended completely.
8.22.2007 2:53pm
Yankev (mail):

And of course in Israel, where the Jews are armed to the teeth and the Arabs are the ones who live, at least theoretically, in a state of dhimmitude,

Except that Dhimmis cannot own land, enjoy legal protection from murder or rape or theft or assault. Israel prosecutes crimes by Jews against Arabs at least as vigorously as it does crimes by Arabs against Jews.

Dhimmis cannot hold public office. Israel has had Arabs in its legislature every year since the state was founded.

Dhimmis cannot build homes taller than those of a Muslim and cannot build or even repair their houses of worship. Israel puts no such restrictions on its Arabs, and has been more solicitous of Muslim holy sites than of some Jewish holy sites.

No Dhimmi can testify against a Muslim. No Muslim can be punished for murdering (much less assaulting) a Dhimmi. Israel's courts afford the equal weight to the testimony of Arab witnesses as that of Jewish witnesses, and many an Israeli Jew has been convicted and punished based on that testimony.

Your comparisons, sir, are so ill informed and inapt as to be odious.


attacks against Jews have ended completely.

No, but many an attack has been thwarted by armed Jewish civilians. Can any sane and fair minded person doubt that many more Jews would die in these attacks if the Jewish populace were disarmed? You have supported the very thesis that you set out to ridicule.
8.22.2007 5:12pm
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
J. F. Thomas,

Arabs are not equivalent to Muslims. Arabs can be Christian, Jewish, or even atheist.

Muslim Arabs are freer in Israel than they are in their own countries.

If you actually research the history of Israel it becomes quite clear that the Jews have the high moral ground in the dispute on almost every issue.
8.22.2007 7:39pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Muslim Arabs are freer in Israel than they are in their own countries.

While this may be true of Muslim citizens of Israel proper (who after all are in their own country contrary to what you may believe--and your phrasing places them reinforces my point) it is certainly not true of those living in the occupied territories.

Besides, my point was not to criticize the Israeli treatment of their non-Jewish population but to point out that being armed to the teeth does not lower the level of violence in a society regardless of what Dave Kopel may believe.
8.23.2007 8:42am
Yankev (mail):

being armed to the teeth does not lower the level of violence in a society regardless of what Dave Kopel may believe.

Granted. E.g. Gaza and other areas that Israel abandoned are awash in firearms, which are used to murder Arab civilians (both Muslim and Christian) and Jewish civilians, with disturbing frequency. A violent society will be violent with or without firearms.

But you have mis-stated DK's hypothesis. He posited that disarming a portion of the population leaves that portion defenseless. And indeed the disarmed Arab Christians of Gaza, Bethlehem other PA- controlled areas cannot defend themselves against the various Muslim groups that have persecuted and terrorized them ever since Israel handed these areas over to the murderers and extortionists. The plight of the Christian Arabs has intensified with the rise of Hamas. These events illustrate DK's point.

Firearms give the physically weak the chance to defend themselves against the physically stronger. They give the law abiding and peace loving the chance to defend themselves against the lawless and the violent.

Not long ago a member of Israel's non-Jewish population walked into a supermarket with his AK-47 set to full automatic, intent on murdering as many shoppers as he could. He was stopped by an ordinary Israeli housewife with a concealed carry permit. When she saw him preparing to fire, she drew the pistol from her handbag and killed him with one well-placed shot. Did this lower the level of violence?

Contrast this with last year's attack at the JCC in Seattle, where one aggrieved American Muslim shot six unarmed women, killing one, with no one to stop him. Did disarming his victims lower the level of violence? What about the Egyptian man who shot and killed two unarmed civilians at LAX until he was shot and killed not by police but by armed guards working for El Al? Did this lower the level of violence?

Only fools thing there are guarantees of safety. Being armed is no guaranty. But disarming everyone guaranties the would be murderers will not be stopped by their potential victims. People who think that disarming the law abiding will stop the lawless are dangerously deluded. Once again, citing Israel as an example supports DK's hypothesis.


Besides, my point was not to criticize the Israeli treatment of their non-Jewish population

Thank you for clarifying that your snide attempt to draw a facile, ill-informed, historically inaccurate. despicably and demonstrably false case of moral equivalence was just an aside, and not your main point.
8.23.2007 10:50am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
J.F. Thomas writes:


Muslim Arabs are freer in Israel than they are in their own countries.


While this may be true of Muslim citizens of Israel proper (who after all are in their own country contrary to what you may believe--and your phrasing places them reinforces my point) it is certainly not true of those living in the occupied territories.
Oh? Israel executes homosexuals?

Part of how you can tell a liberal is their willingness to pretend that Israel is worse than the Palestinian thugocracy. Israel's treatment of the occupied territories isn't going to win any human rights awards--but it compares very favorably to anything under the Palestinian disaster.
8.24.2007 3:43am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

The public school administrators that I know of not only discourage victims of bullies from protecting themselves, they turn a blind eye to the activities of their favorite bullies and are commended by the school board for the fine job they've done.
It isn't just bullies. A friend worked as a security guard for a local drug store that developed film. (This was some years ago.) The film developer asked him to look at some pictures--lots and lots of pictures focused on the rear ends of little girls at the elementary school his daughter (and my daughter) attended. There was nothing unlawful, just creepy. He made sure to see who picked up the pictures.

A few days later, he goes to pick up his daughter at school--and Mr. Creepy is on the school grounds, taking pictures of little girls whenever they leaned over. So John (who stands about 6'4", built like a football player), grabs Mr. Creepy by the arm, and takes him into the principal's office, and tells him about the pictures, and what this guy has been doing. The principal's first response was, "John, you didn't force this man to come in here?" Finally, the principal asks, why is he on school grounds, and why is he taking pictures?

The excuses keep flying. He's working for an architectural firm. Which one? He doesn't remember. What's their phone number? He doesn't remember. Can he pick them out of the phone book? No.

So the principal tells him not to come back. But doesn't call the police to have them find out if the guy has a criminal record, or some limitation that prohibits him from being on school grounds. (Remember that being present without having checked in with the office is trespassing in this particular setting.)

I keep thinking of the line in Ghostbusters when the EPA bureaucrat shows up and releases the ghosts. Remember it? It's too crude to quote, but it sure describes plenty of administrators--at least, if it might involve the physical safety of their students.
8.24.2007 3:51am
Yankev (mail):

Part of how you can tell a liberal is their willingness to pretend that Israel is worse than the Palestinian thugocracy.

Speaking as a former liberal and without drawing any conclusions about JF Thomas, not every liberal engages in that particular pathology. And not everyone who engages in that pathology is necessarily a liberal -- David duke, Mohammed Abbas and Sareeb Erekat, y'mach sh'mam, can hardly be called liberal. There are sometimes other motives at work. As to which ones are driving the comments above, I cannot say.
8.24.2007 10:24am