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Mar 30

Written by: Diana West
Friday, March 30, 2012 3:39 AM 

On page 330 of the 2002 book Islam and Dhimmitude, the great historian Bat Ye'or writes:

It was in the early 1970s, with the outbreak of Arab Palestinian terrorism worldwide that dhimmitude erupted on European soil through violence and death deliberately inflicted on one category: the Jews, who were singled out as in the Nazi period by their religion. Security precutions and instructions posted on synagogues and Jewish community buildings implied that being Jewish and practicing the Jewish religion in Europe might again incur the risk of death, and that the freedom of religion and freedom of thought had been restricted.

For me, reading this was an epiphany. Let me borrow from my book to explain:

So that's how it started. When I first read that passage a few months after 9/11, something clicked. I remembered a visit to Brussels in December 1990, during which I saw armed guards posted outside a city synagogue. Such security precautions in Europe, as Bat Ye'or writes, were by then routine, but it was the first time I had witnessed them. And it was only after 9/11 that I realized what they really meant: It wasn't that government authorities were preparing to target a specific, limited threat of violence to battle and eliminate it; on the contrary, the authorities were responding to an ongoing threat that reflected the permanent fact that Jewish citizens in Belgium (and elsewhere) were no longer able to exercise their religion freely. And why weren't they able to exercise their religion freely? As in the 1970s, the reason in 1990 was Arab Palestinian terrorists. In retrospect -- namely, post- 9/11 -- it seems odd that these terrorists have always been called "Arab terrorists," or "Arab Palestinian terrorists," and have never been labeled according to the animating inspiration of their religion as "Muslim" terrorists. Such coyness has buried a relevant part of the story: the Islamic context. Just as a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, it was Muslim terrorism that had come to Europe, and, as a result, Jews were worshipping, if they dared, at their own fearsome risk.

And not just Jews. By now, the same fearsome risk extends to whole populations, in houses of worship and the public square alike. After reading Bat Ye'or, I realized that the now-familiar strategies of fearsome risk management -- guns around the synagogue, for example --represents a significant capitulation. The security ring around the synagogue --  or the airport ticket counter, the house of parliament, the Winter Olympics -- is a line of siege, not a line of counterattack. The threat of violence has become the status quo, and, as such, is incapable of speaking outrage, and is certainly not a causus belli. Guns at the synagogue door -- or St. Peter's Basilica, or the Louvre -- symbolize a cultural acquiescence to the infringement of freedom caused by the introduction -- better, the incursion -- of Islam into Western society. Thus, dhimmitude -- institutional concessions on the part of non-Muslim populations to Islam -- arrived in the West.

This video (below) of French Jewish life, circa 2012 -- 20 years after my unforgettable vision of what I came to understand 10 years ago as dhimmitude in the West -- further illustrates what have I described.

Must-viewing from the must-read Vlad Tepes blog:

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