Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

Islamic Intolerance

When the storm over Salman Rushdie's novel The Satantic Verses broke in February 1989, government leaders and editorialists throughout Europe and the United States piously trotted out sentimental homilies about communities living together in harmony and so on; they invariably ended by invoking Islam's "traditional tolerance." There followed a spate of articles and books that can only be described as works of "Islamic propaganda" or "Islamic apologetics"; in other words, there was no hint of criticism of Islam, its founder, or its doctrines. The myth of Islamic tolerance was built up during the eighteenth century for reasons I cannot go into here. With more sympathetic appraisals of Islam in the twentieth century, we have a situation whereby, to quote Maxime Rodinson:

The anti-colonial left, whether Christian or not, often goes so far as to sanctify Islam and the contemporary ideologies of the Muslim world.... A historian like Norman Daniel has gone so far as to number among the conceptions permeated with medievalism or imperialism, any criticisms of the Prophet's moral attitudes, and to accuse of like tendencies any exposition of Islam and its characteristics by means of the normal mechanisms of human history. Understanding has given away to apologetics pure and simple.(1)

Here we have the real trahison des clercs. The myth of the Golden Age of Inter-Faith Utopia is just that--a myth. Islam, that is, the Koran, Muhammad and his deeds and words, Islamic law and its interpretation, has always been totally intolerant in theory and in practice of non-Muslims. Christians, Jews, heretics, apostates, unbelievers, and atheists--indeed, as Bernard Lewis has reminded us, tolerance would have been seen not as a merit but as a dereliction of duty.(2) How could it be otherwise, given that Islam is monotheistic? Monotheism is inherently intolerant, as Hume and Schopenhauer clearly saw, and this same thesis provides the philosophical framework for The Satanic Verses. Schopenhauer writes:

Indeed, intolerance is essential only to monotheism; an only God is by nature a jealous God who will not allow another to live. On the other hand, polytheistic gods are naturally tolerant; they live and let live. In the first place, they gladly tolerate their colleagues, the gods of the same religion, and this tolerance is afterwards extended even to foreign gods who are, accordingly, hospitably received and later admitted, in some cases, even to an equality of rights.... Thus it is only the monotheistic religions that furnish us with the spectacle of religious wars, religious persecutions, courts for trying heretics, and also with that of iconoclasm, the destruction of the images of foreign gods, the demolition of Indian temples and Egyptian colossi that had looked at the sun for three thousand years; all just because their jealous God had said "Thou shalt make no graven image," and so on."(3)

Muslim theologians are unanimous in declaring that no religious toleration was extended to the idolators of Arabia at the time of Muhammad. The only choice given them was death or the acceptance of Islam. Similarly, no tolerance is shown to atheists and unbelievers. The Koran is full of lurid descriptions of the punishments awaiting them. Surah XXII.9 states: "As for the unbelievers for them garments of fire shall be cut and there shall be poured over their heads boiling water whereby whatever is in their bowels and skins shall be dissolved and they will be punished with hooked iron rods."

The Koran also enjoins all Muslims to fight and kill nonbelievers: "When you meet the unbelievers, strike off their heads; then when you have made wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives" (Surah XLVII.4).

As Bertrand Russell once asked, can God or Allah be so vain and cruel as to punish someone who does not believe in Him? Apostates do not fare much better. According to Islamic law apostasy is punishable by death. In France alone, between two and three hundred Muslims convert to Christianity each year; however, the real figure is difficult to assess, especially for outside Europe, as, out of fear, the majority of Muslims who convert do so secretly.

Christians are marginally better regarded than the Jews, but the Koran still accuses them of falsifying the Scriptures: "They surely are Infidels who say, 'God is the third of three': for there is but one God; and if they do not refrain not from what they say, a severe punishment shall light on those who are unbelievers" (Surah V.75. See also Surah IV.157 where the crucifixion is denied).

They are also accused of worshiping Jesus as the son of God and, like the Jews, they have been led astray and must be brought back to the true religion, that is, Islam. According to many traditions, Muhammad himself was determined to destroy Christian churches.(4) Lane, in his classic Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, recounts how a young Muslim "receives lessons of religious pride, and learns to hate the Christians, and all other sects but his own, as thoroughly as does the Muslim in advanced age."(5)

According to the Koran, Jews have intense hatred of all true Muslims, and, as a punishment for their sins, some of them had, in the past, been changed into apes and swine, and others will have their hands tied to their necks and be cast into the Fire on Judgment Day. The attitude enjoined upon Muslims toward the Jews can only be described as anti-Semitic, and certainly not conducive to a better understanding, tolerance, or coexistence: "Believers, do not take Jews or Christians as friends. They are but one another's friends. If anyone of you takes them for his friends, then he is surely one of them. God will not guide evil doers" (Surah V.51).

O Believers, do not take as your friends the infidels or those who received the Scriptures before you and who scoff and jest at your religion, but fear God if you are believers. Nor those who when you call them to prayer, make it an object of mirth and derision. This is only because they are a people who do not understand.

People of the Book: isn't it true that you hate us simply because we believe in God, and in what He has sent down to us, and in what He has revealed to others before; and because most of you are evil doers?

Why don't their rabbis and doctors of law forbid them from uttering sinful words and eating unlawful food? Evil indeed are their works.

The hand of God is chained up, claim the Jews. Their own hand shall be chained up--and they shall be cursed for saying such a thing. (Surah V.56-64)

Jews are often accused, in the Koran, of perverting the scriptures, and of holding doctrines they never held:

Declare war upon those who the Scriptures were revealed but believe neither in God nor the Last Day, and who do not forbid that which God and His Apostle have forbidden, and who refuse to acknowledge the True Religion |i.e., Islam~ until they pay the poll-tax without reservation and are totally subjugated.

The Jews claim that Ezra is a son of God, and the Christians say, "The Messiah is a son of God."

Those are their claims which do indeed resemble the sayings of the Infidels of old. May God do battle with them! How they are deluded! (Surah IX.29-30)

And they deserve fully any punishment they get:

Wretchedness and baseness were stamped upon them |that is the Jews~ and they drew on themselves the wrath of God. This was because they |the Jews~ disbelieved the signs of God and slew the Prophets unjustly, and because they rebelled and transgressed." (Surah II.61)

Because of the wickedness of certain Jews, and because they turn many from the way of God, we have forbidden them good and wholesome foods which were formerly allowed them; and because they have taken to usury, though they were forbidden it, and have cheated others of their possessions, we have prepared a grievous punishment for the Infidels amongst them. (Surah IV.160-161)

Such are some of the sentiments expressed in the Koran, which remains for all Muslims, and not just fundamentalists, the word of God Himself. It is valid for all times and places; its ideas are, according to all Muslims, absolutely true and beyond any criticism. Muslims are unwilling to accept any criticisms of Muhammad, which for them would constitute blasphemy and are punishable by death in many Islamic countries. Such punishment was applied in October 1992 in Saudia Arabia. But, unfortunately, the Prophet himself is not above reproach in his treatment of the Jews.(6) All the men of the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayzah (between 600 and 900 men), unjustly accused of helping the enemy, were cold-bloodedly executed, in batches of fives and sixes, on the edges of trenches especially dug for the occasion. The women and children were taken prisoners. Muhammad declared that this was none other than Allah's decision. Where was compassion and mercy?

A little later, a defenseless delegation of Jews hoping to negotiate with the Prophet set off with a Muslim escort. On the way, the Muslims turned upon the unarmed Jews, killing all but one. In 624, Muhammad either commanded or approved of, and certainly did not punish, the assassination of two pagan poets--one an old man and the other a woman with an infant at her breast--for having written satirical verses about Him. The precedent had been set long ago for Khomeini.

The Muslim army was defeated at the Battle of Uhud in 625 C.E. Muhammad desperately needed a victory and so decided to attack the Jewish tribe of Nadir. He very conveniently received a divine message saying that the Nadir were planning to kill him. The Nadir did not put up much resistance and surrendered on the condition that they be allowed to leave with their goods except their arms, and go and join their coreligionists at Khaybar. But the Nadir won only a temporary respite. A few years later, in 628, Muhammad also attacked the Khaybar, which after a brief resistance also capitulated. Though the Jews of Khaybar were spared, all the Jews of Nadir were massacred. Later all Jews and Christians were driven from the Arabian Peninsula, in accordance with Muhammad's wish, for he famously said that there was no room for two religions in Arabia.(7)

The years after Muhammad's death in 632 saw the extraordinary expansion of Islam northward to Palestine, Mesopotamia, Syria, Anatolia, and further west to Egypt and North Africa. This rapid rise of Islam is a sad story of, to quote Professor Bosworth, "human intolerance and fanaticism." The subsequent treatment of the Jews and the Christians has been described in two extremely courageous books by Bat Ye'or, The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam (1985) and Les Chretientes D'Orient Entre Jihad Et Dhimmitude (1991). Bat Ye'or had the courage to tell the unvarnished truth. Reading these two books, can anyone ever again talk of Islamic tolerance? What follows relies heavily on them.

The totalitarian nature of Islam, to use Professor Bousquet's phrase, is nowhere more apparent than in the concept of Jihad, the Holy War, whose ultimate aim is to conquer the entire world and submit it to the one true religion, to the law of Allah. Islam has always claimed for itself universal and exclusive truth--the possibility of salvation outside it is inconceivable. Indeed it is the sacred duty--an incumbent religious duty established in the Koran and in the Traditions--of all Muslims to bring it to all humanity. Jihad is a divine institution and enjoined specially for the purpose of advancing Islam. It is the religious duty of all Muslims to fight and kill in the name of Allah:

Kill those who join other gods with God (i.e. idolators) wherever you may find them. (Surah IX.5-6)

Those who believe fight in the cause of God.... (Surah IV.76)

I will instill terror into the hearts of the Infidels. Strike off their heads, then, and strike off from them every fingertip. (Surah VIII.12)

It is a grave sin for a Muslim to shirk the battle against the unbelievers; those who do, will roast in Hell:

Believers, when you meet the unbelievers preparing for battle do not turn your backs to them. Anyone who does - shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home: an evil dwelling indeed! (Surah VIII.15-16)

If you do not fight, He will punish you severely, and put others in your place. (Surah IX.39)

Those who die fighting for the only true religion, that is, Islam, will be amply rewarded in the life to come.

Let those fight in the cause of God who barter the life of this world for that which is to come; for whoever fights on God's path, whether he is killed or triumphs, We will give him a handsome reward. (Surah IV.74)

It is abundantly clear from many of the above verses that the Koran is not talking of metaphorical battles or of moral crusades; it is talking of the battlefield. Mankind is divided into two groups--Muslims and non-Muslims. The Umma possess territories in the Dar Ul Islam, the Land of Islam, where the edicts of Islam are fully promulgated. The non-Muslims are the Harbi, people of the Dar Ul Harb, the Land of Warfare, any country belonging to the infidels that has not been subdued by Islam but which, nonetheless, is destined to pass into Islamic jurisdiction either by conversion or by war (Harb). All acts of war are permitted in the Dar Ul Harb.

Once the Dar Ul Harb has been subjugated, the Harbi become prisoners of war. The imam can do what he likes to them according to the circumstances: have them massacred, sold into slavery, exiled, or treated as dhimmis who are tolerated as second-class subjects as long as they pay regular tribute.

At the death of the Prophet, the caliph Abu Bakr organized the invasion of Syria. During the campaign of 634, the entire region between Gaza and Caesarea was devastated; four thousand peasants, Christians, Jews, and Samaritans who were defending their land, were massacred. During the campaigns in Mesopotamia, between 635 and 642, monasteries were sacked and the monks killed, Monophysite Arabs executed or forced to convert; in Elam the population was put to the sword; at Susa all the dignitaries suffered the same fate.

In Egypt at Nikiou the entire population was destroyed. In Armenia the entire population of Euchaita was wiped out. In 642, it was the turn of the town of Dvin to suffer. It was the same ghastly spectacle in North Africa: Tripoli was pillaged in 643; Carthage was razed to the ground and most of its inhabitants killed. So many communities were destroyed that one runs out of expressions to render all the carnage--sacked, devastated, massacred, looted, pillaged, put to the sword, razed, ravaged, burnt, etc.

As Bat Ye'or says, apart from the killing and looting, the whole history of Islamic conquests is punctuated with forced conversions. For example, in August 1198, the Jews of Aden were ordered before the Caliph, and any Jew who failed to turn up was killed. Those who appeared as ordered were humiliated and forced to convert; anyone who defected from Islam later was beheaded. Tavernier, the seventeenth-century French traveler, describes how in Anatolia, "il y a quantite de Grecs qu'on force tous les jours de se faire Turcs" ("There are numerous Greeks who are forced every day to become Turks").

To maintain their safety and the right to worship, non-Muslims had to pay a poll tax and a land tax, which proved such a crushing burden that many villages were abandoned as the villagers fled to the hills or tried to lose themselves in the anonymity of large towns to escape the tax-collector. In Lower Egypt, for example, the Copts, utterly ruined by the taxes, revolted in 832. The Arab governor ruthlessly suppressed the insurrection, burning villages, vineyards, gardens, and churches. Those not massacred were deported.

The Koran expressly excludes all dhimmis from taking any public office (Surah III.27, 114-115; V.56). Various Hadith (traditions) also forbid a Christian or a Jew to exercise any authority of a Muslim. In the Middle Ages, any appointment of a dhimmi to a high public office often resulted in public outcries, fanaticism, and violence.

Muslims were convinced of their own superiority over all non-Muslims, and this was enshrined in law. In litigation between a Muslim and a dhimmi, the validity of the oath or testimony of the dhimmi was not recognized. Any fine imposed on a Muslim for a crime was automatically halved if the victim was a dhimmi. No Muslim could be executed for having committed any crime against a dhimmi. Accusations of blasphemy against dhimmis were quite frequent and the penalty was capital punishment. Since his testimony was not accepted in court, the dhimmi was forced to convert or die.

Some of the disabilities of the dhimmis are summarized in the "Pact of Umar":(10)

We shall not build our cities or in their vicinity any new monasteries, churches, hermitages, or monks' cells. We shall not restore, by night or by day, any of them that have fallen into ruin or which are located in the Muslims' quarters.

We shall keep our gates wide open for passersby and travelers.

We shall not shelter any spy in our churches or in our homes, nor shall we hide him from the Muslims.

We shall not teach our children the Koran.

We shall not hold public religious ceremonies. We shall not seek to proselytize anyone. We shall not prevent any of our kin from embracing Islam if they so desire.

We shall show deference to the Muslims and shall rise from our seats when they wish to seat down.

We shall not attempt to resemble the Muslims in any way. ...

We shall not ride on saddles.

We shall not wear swords or bear weapons of any kind, or ever carry them with us.

We shall not sell wines.

We shall clip the forelocks of our head.

We shall not display our crosses or our books anywhere in the Muslims' thoroughfares or in their marketplaces. We shall only beat our clappers in our churches very quietly. We shall not raise our voices when reciting the service in our churches, nor when in the presence of Muslims. Neither shall we raise our voices in our funeral processions.

To which was added, "anyone who deliberately strikes a Muslim will forfeit the protection of this pact."

Even in their religious affairs, non-Muslims were not entirely free. Muslims often blocked the appointment of religious leaders. The dhimmis were in constant danger of being made into slaves. For example, when in 643 Amr conquered Tripoli, he forced the Jews and Christians to hand over their women and children as slaves to the Arab army. Between 652 and 1276, Nubia was forced to send an annual contingent of slaves to Cairo. The treaties concluded under the Umayyads and the Abbasids with the towns of Transoxiana, Sijistan, Armenia, and Fezzan (modern northwest Africa) all stipulate an annual tribute of slaves of both sexes. The principle source of the reservoir of slaves was the constant raids on the villages in the Dar Ul Harb and the more disciplined military expeditions that mopped up more thoroughly the cities of the unbelievers. All the captives were deported en masse. In 781, at the sack of Ephesus, seven thousand Greeks were deported in captivity. After the capture of Amorium in 838, the Caliph Al Mutasim ordered the captives, as there were so many of them, to be auctioned in batches of five and ten. At the sack of Thessalonica in 903, 22,000 Christians were divided among the Arab chieftains or sold into slavery. In 1604, the Seljuk Sultan, Alp Arslan, devastated Georgia and Armenia. Those he did not take as prisoners, he executed. Records for Palestine, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Armenia, and later Anatolia and Safavid Persia reveal that those families who could not pay the crushing jizya or poll tax were obliged to hand over their children and to "deduct" their value from the jizya.

Christians, for at least three hundred years, suffered one other humiliation not often discussed: a process known as devshirme.(11) It was introduced by the Ottoman Sultan Orkhan (1326-1359) and consisted of periodically taking a fifth of all Christian children in the conquered territories. Converted to Islam, these children aged between fourteen and twenty were trained to be janissaries or infantry men. These periodic abductions eventually became annual. Children were taken from among the Greek aristocracy, Serbs, Bulgarians, Armenians, and Albanians, and often included children of priests. At a fixed date, all the fathers were ordered to appear with their children in the public square. The recruiting agents chose the most sturdy and handsome children in the presence of a Muslim judge. Any father who shirked his duty to provide children was severely punished. The recruiting agents often took more than the prescribed number of children and sold the "surplus" back to their parents. Those unable to buy back their children had to accept their being sold into slavery. This institution was abolished in 1656, though a parallel system where young children between six and ten were taken to be trained in the seraglio of the sultan continued until the eighteenth century.

Each century has its own, full account of the horrors of Muslim intolerance.

In the ninth, there were the massacres of Spanish Christians in and around Seville; in the tenth, the persecutions of non-Muslims under the Caliph al-Hakim are well known; in the eleventh, the entire community of Jews (about three thousand people) in Grenada was exterminated and a further five thousand were killed in Fez in 1033; in the twelfth, the Almohads of North Africa spread terror everywhere they went.

In the thirteenth century, the Christians of Damascus were killed or sold into slavery; their churches burnt to the ground. In the fourteenth, we have the terror spread by the infamous Timur the Lame, otherwise known as Tamerlane or the "Bloody and insatiate Tamburlaine" of Marlowe's play. As Rene Grousset put it in his Empire des Steppes, in Timur we had a symbiosis of Mongolian barbarism and Muslim fanaticism; Timur killed out of "Koranic piety." Timur systematically destroyed the Christians, and as a result the Nestorians and Jacobites of Mesopotamia have never recovered. At Sivas, 4,000 Christians were buried alive; at Tus there were 10,000 victims. Historians estimate the number of dead at Saray to be 100,000; at Baghdad 90,000; at Isfahan 70,000; at Delhi under the pretext that the 50,000 Indian prisoners presented a grave risk to his army, Timur ordered their execution in cold blood. He killed thousands and had victory pillars or towers of their heads and skulls built.

So far we have been concentrating on the fate of the People of the Book, that is to say, on the Jews and Christians. In their encounter with "heathens and idolators," the Muslims were merciless, with their implacable moral certainty, arrogance, encouraged by the ferocious words of God Himself, as given in the Koran, to kill unbelievers. In the ninth century, the persecutions of the Zoroastrians of Persia pushed them to migrate to the more tolerant lands of Hindu India, where to this day they form a respected minority known as Parsis.

We shall now turn to the spread of Islam beyond Persia, and its arrival in the land of "idolators," India.

The Muslim conquest of Sind was masterminded by Hajjaj, the governor of Iraq, and effected by his commander Muhammad Bin Qasim in 712 C.E. After the capture of the port of Debal, the Muslim army took three days to slaughter the inhabitants. When Hajjaj received Bin Qasim's report of his victory, he wrote: "My dear cousin, I have received your life-augmenting letter. On its receipt my gladness and joy knew no bounds.... But the way of granting prescribed by the law is different from the one adopted by you.... The Great God says in the Koran: 'O true believers, when you encounter the unbelievers, strike off their heads.' The above command of the Great God is a great command that must be respected and followed...." Later, he wrote: "My distinct orders are that all those who are fighting men should be assassinated, and their sons and daughters imprisoned and retained as hostages."(12)

Obedient to a fault, Bin Qasim, on his arrival at the town of Brahminabad, "ordered all the men belonging to the military classes to be beheaded with swords. It is said that about 6,000 fighting men were massacred on this occasion; some say 16,000."

The real conquest of India by the Muslims dates from the beginning of the eleventh century. In 1000 C.E. the head of a Turco-Afghan dynastic, Mahmud of Ghazmi, first passed through India like a whirlwind, destroying, pillaging, and massacring. He was, as one historian put it, a "zealous Muslim of the ferocious type ... who felt it to be a duty as well as a pleasure to slay idolators."(13) Mahmud was also after booty, and he certainly derived a handsome profit from his holy wars. In the course of seventeen invasions, Mahmud, in the words of the great Arab scholar Alberuni, who had been brought to India by Mahmud, "utterly ruined the prosperity of the country." He destroyed Hindu temples in his lust for gold. In the holy Hindu city of Mathura, he gave orders that all the temples be burned to the ground. In his iconoclastic fury, Mahmud destroyed irreplaceable works of ancient Hindu art, and at the same time sowed the sees of hatred of all things Muslim in the minds of Hindus. And yet, Muslim historians see him as one of the glories of Islam. He was an avaricious bandit little deserving of admiration.

In 1351, Firuz Shah ascended the throne and became ruler of the north of India. Though in many ways an enlightened man, when it came to religion he was a bigot of the first order. Once he went in person to a village where a Hindu fair was being held. He himself wrote:

I ordered that the leaders of these people and the promoters of this abomination should be put to death. I forbade the infliction of any severe punishment on the Hindus in general, but I destroyed their idol temples and instead thereof raised mosques.

Later a brahman was burnt alive for practicing his rites in public. Firuz Sha was simply carrying on the tradition of the early Muslim leaders, and, to quote Vincent Smith,(14) "believed that he served God by treating as a crime the public practice of their religion by the vast majority of his subjects |i.e. Hindus~."

Buddhists fared no better than the Hindus. Indeed most historians attribute the disappearance of Buddhism from India, in part at least, to the intolerance of the Muslim invaders of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. For example, in the sack of Bihar by Muhammad Khilji, in 1193, thousands of Buddhist monks were put to the sword, a great library destroyed, and many ancient monuments irretrievably wrecked. These Muslim invasions were fatal to the existence of Buddhism in northern India. The monks who escaped massacre fled to Nepal, Tibet, and the south.

Intolerance in Islam extends even to other Muslims. Right from the beginning of Islam, there were rivalries, often bloody, between sects, groups, and factions, with each group convinced of its own, exclusive "truth." For instance, a subsect of the Kharijites, known as the Azraqites, developed a puritanical theology that became a justification for terrorism and numerous massacres. They themselves were exterminated at the end of the seventh century by Umayyad armies.

At the beginning of the ninth century, Islam had its own Inquisition, mihna. In 827 C.E., the Abbasid caliph, al-Manum, gave his allegiance to a doctrine about the origin of the Koran. Henceforth, officials throughout the empire were obliged to publicly confess their agreement. This policy was violently pursued under al Mamun's successor, al Mutasim. Any challenge was brutally suppressed.

In modern times, Pakistan's treatment of its Ahmadi sect is a disgrace. The Ahmadi sect was founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (born 1835) in 1889. He came to believe that he was the Mahdi or the Promised Messiah, an idea that is deeply abhorrent to most Muslims, who believe that Muhammad was the final Prophet. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, then prime minister, to win over the Mullahs, the Muslim clergy, and because of pressure from Arab leaders declared all Ahmadis non-Muslims in 1974. Then in 1984, the military dictator, Zia ul Haq, began the systematic persecution of Ahmadis who were denied their civil rights--they were denied the freedom of religion; they were continuously harassed and arrested; their mosques were demolished. Zia himself vowed to exterminate the "cancer" of Ahmadism. "The teachings of Ahmadiyat were misrepresented so as to create hatred among the members of the community. The mullahs were let loose by the government and they roamed about in cities and villages, using the pulpits of mosques to incite the people to kill the Ahmadis and burn their property. This situation continues to this day. The Bahais in Iran have suffered similarly.

As the story of Islamic intolerance moves to modern times, it is increasingly a story of massacres, fanaticism, hostility, and intolerance. Even Islam's staunchest supporters will testify to the uneasy and precarious position of non-Muslims in the Muslim states of today--the Copts of Egypt, the Jews in Syria, the Christians, and Hindus in Pakistan.


1. Maxime Robinson, ed., The Legacy of Islam (Schacht & Bosworth: Oxford, 1974), p. 59.

2. Bernard Lewis in the New York Review of Books, March 26, 1992. Though Lewis agrees that discrimination against non-Muslims in the Islamic world was "structural, universal, imposed by doctrine and enforced by popular consent," he in my view, always minimizes the actual persecution of non-Muslims.

3. Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena, vol. 2, O.U.P., p. 358-359.

4. Dictionary of Islam, p. 57.

5. Ibid., p. 106.

6. See in general The Jews of Arab Lands, N. Stillman.

7. Bat Ye'or, Les Chretientes D' Orient Entre Jihad Et Dhimmitude, p. 27.

8. G. H. Bousquet, L'Ethique Sexuelle de L'Islam, p. 10.

9. Dictionary of Islam, p. 243f.

10. Quoted in Stillman, op. cit., pp. 157-158.

11. Bat Ye'or, op. cit., p. 128.

12. Quoted in V. S. Naipaul, Among the Believers, p. 131.

13. V. Smith, The Oxford History of India, p. 205.

14. Ibid., p. 259.


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Ibn Warraq is the author of Why I Am Not a Muslim and the editor of The Origins of the Koran, The Quest for the Historical Muhammad, and What the Koran Really Says.

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