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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

May 16, 2003

The Pact of Umar, and the status of non-Muslims in Muslim lands


The next time someone tells you that Islam has a long tradition of being tolerant of non-Muslims, ask them to explain this.
From domini.org, here is the text of the Pact of Umar, which spelled out exactly the "tolerance" granted (note the term "granted") to Christians (and Jews) in Muslim lands, and was the guideline for dhimmitude, the "pact of protection" Jews and Christians were bound to live under, or face death. It is commonly attributed to the second caliph, Umar ibn al-Khattab (reigned 634-644), but for a number of reasons that seems too early; it is more likely to be a product of the reign of Umar II (717-720), who was considered to be a pious and good caliph (unlike those other corrupt, impious Umayyad caliphs, the later Abbasid histories sniffed). Needless to say, he was not known for his tolerance and lassiez-faire attitudes! For that matter, his predecessor Umar I was infamous for his fanatical zeal for Islam and desire to destroy the unbelievers.click for the document