John R. Houk
© November 7, 2013
Lubna Thomas Benjamin writes about the plight of Christians in Pakistan. Ms. Benjamin does not use the word “dhimmi”. The infliction of dhimmitude is a way of life that is imposed on non-Muslims living in an Islamic dominated nation. In fairness most Muslim nations officially do not use the tenets of dhimmitude derived from the Quran, Hadith and Sira in their legal structure. Nonetheless dhimmitude is a practice of humiliating non-Muslims under the poor excuse of protecting their lives from Muslims.
You need to understand dhimmitude before you read Ms. Benjamin’s essay.
Dhimmitude: the Islamic system of governing populations conquered by jihad wars, encompassing all of the demographic, ethnic, and religious aspects of the political system. The word "dhimmitude" as a historical concept, was coined by Bat Ye'or in 1983 to describe the legal and social conditions of Jews and Christians subjected to Islamic rule. The word "dhimmitude" comes from dhimmi, an Arabic word meaning "protected". Dhimmi was the name applied by the Arab-Muslim conquerors to indigenous non-Muslim populations who surrendered by a treaty (dhimma) to Muslim domination. Islamic conquests expanded over vast territories in Africa, Europe and Asia, for over a millennium (638-1683). The Muslim empire incorporated numerous varied peoples which had their own religion, culture, language and civilization. For centuries, these indigenous, pre-Islamic peoples constituted the great majority of the population of the Islamic lands. Although these populations differed, they were ruled by the same type of laws, based on the shari'a.
This similarity, which includes also regional variations, has created a uniform civilization developed throughout the centuries by all non-Muslim indigenous people, who were vanquished by a jihad-war and governed by shari'a law. It is this civilization which is called dhimmitude. It is characterized by the different strategies developed by each dhimmi group to survive as non-Muslim entity in their Islamized countries. Dhimmitude is not exclusively concerned with Muslim history and civilization. Rather it investigates the history of those non-Muslim peoples conquered and colonized by jihad.
Dhimmitude encompasses the relationship of Muslims and non-Muslims at the theological, social, political and economical levels. It also incorporates the relationship between the numerous ethno-religious dhimmi groups and the type of mentality that they have developed out of their particular historical condition which lasted for centuries, even in some Muslim countries, till today.
Dhimmitude is an entire integrated system, based on Islamic theology. It cannot be judged from the circumstantial position of any one community, at a given time and in a given place. Dhimmitude must be appraised according to its laws and customs, irrespectively of circumstances and political contingencies.
For books by Bat Ye'or, see www.dhimmi.org (The Status of Non-Muslim Minorities Under Islamic Rule; © Bat Ye'or 2001-2006; Dhimmitude.org)
The so-called protected status Islam provides via dhimmitude dates back to the second Caliph Umar that designed a pact for the People of the Book (i.e. Jews and Christians). Here is a brief description of the Pact of Umar from retired CIA officer Claire Lopez:
The basis of The Pact of Umar is Muslim supremacism over the populations of non-Muslim “People of the Book” (the dhimmis) whom they had defeated in battle. According to the Pact, the lives and property of vanquished peoples were forfeit by reason of their defeat—but their Muslim overlords would refrain from exacting the penalty of death, nor would they be required to convert to Islam, as long as they kept the terms of surrender laid out for them in the Pact. (‘PACT OF UMAR’ – Religious genocide Mohammedan style; Posted by Bare Naked Islam; 10/12/13)
Bill Warner summarizes how the Pact of Umar was to affect Jews and Christians (but Christians in particular because in Umar’s day Christians made up the majority of the people in land conquered by Islamic Imperialism):
Here is one dhimmi treaty with Christians:
1. We shall not build, in our cities or in their neighborhood, new monasteries, churches, convents, or monks' cells, nor shall we repair, by day or by night, such of them as fall in ruins or are situated in the quarters of the Muslims.
2. We shall keep our gates wide open for passersby and travelers. We shall give board and lodging to all Muslims who pass our way for three days.
3. We shall not give shelter in our churches or in our dwellings to any spy, nor hide him from the Muslims.
4. We shall not teach the Koran to our children.
5. We shall not manifest our religion publicly nor convert anyone to it. We shall not prevent any of our kin from entering Islam if they wish it.
6. We shall show respect toward the Muslims, and we shall rise from our seats when they wish to sit.
7. We shall not seek to resemble the Muslims by imitating any of their garments.
8. We shall not mount on saddles, nor shall we gird swords nor bear any kind of arms nor carry them on our persons.
9. We shall not engrave Arabic inscriptions on our seals.
10. We shall not sell fermented drinks.
11. We shall clip the fronts of our heads. [An Arabic sign of shame, a beaten man]
12. We shall always dress in the same way wherever we may be, and we shall bind the zunar round our waists.
13. We shall not display our crosses or our books in the roads or markets of the Muslims. We shall use only clappers in our churches very softly. We shall not raise our voices when following our dead. We shall not take slaves who have been allotted to Muslims.
14. We shall not build houses higher than the houses of the Muslims. (The Dhimmi; By Bill Warner; Political Islam; 7/25/11)
I want you to understand dhimmitude as you read Lubna Thomas Benjamin description of how Christians live and experience life in Pakistan. Even if you are a person that is more secular than an observing Christian you must be outraged. BE OUTRAGED!
The Persecution of Christian in Pakistan
By Lubna Thomas Benjamin
Journalist, Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow 2011-12
Sent: 11/6/2013 2:06 PM
It was just like any other Sunday of September 22, 2013 in the lives of all my Christian brothers and sisters in Peshawar, city located in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province of Pakistan, who went to church to offer prayer and worship the Lord and were unaware of what would happen with them afterwards. Twin suicide blasts happened when the people were coming out of church after the service ended.
The people who came to attend the church service in Peshawar had never even thought for a moment that it was their last time to worship, hearing the sermon, reading the Holy Bible and saying the congregational and personal prayer. The contentment and peace they had attained during the service would leave their families in a never-ending discomfort and pain as what would take place after the service.
I remember when I came to the US for the first time and the first observation I had outside the church that how it was different from my church in Pakistan. I had my friend from Fiji Island accompanied me and she asked me, “Why is [it] that you are looking so confused?” I told her that I was not confused but thinking that how would it feel to go inside the church and to perform the full service without security guards. “You have guards outside your church in Pakistan,” she asked me. “Yes, I replied, the guards are almost outside every church in Pakistan.”
Whatever happened in Peshawar has jolted every Christian [and other] minorities in Pakistan. I remember some of my friends would always relate any bad stuff with minorities with this justification that: “Oh, you know this happens with [the] majority too, so when they do [this] with us how would we expect them to be nice with you?”
Christians constitute 1.5 percent of total population of Pakistan as 98% of the population are Muslims. Ever since the inception of Pakistan in 1947, the Christians have been entangled in blasphemy cases mostly made on the basis of personal animosity. It goes like this - when a Muslim person goes to the police and just says that a Christian man or woman has said indecent remarks against prophet Mohammad, that is the end of life [for] many Christians as usually the case goes for a long time and sometimes the Judge gets shot or the accused is killed. This case brings ends [to] the lives of the families [after] accused mostly on the basis of personal vendetta. Unfortunately everyone around gets associated with it so emotionally, that no justification can support the victim as the religious affiliation of the people goes to extreme in such cases.
In Last August, when a minor Christian girl was charged with blasphemy and I was working on this story, at so many stages during the coverage I was asking myself what was my identity and honor in this country. That one day someone would charge me with blasphemy just because they don’t like me. How easy it is for any person to entangle a Christian on the basis of blasphemy case.
The Christians living in Pakistan have been paying a heavy price to live in the country they respect as their motherland. We have always served with [the] same enthusiasm and urge in every field of life. Again never do we [Christians] think that this is not our land. We serve our country considering it our home but the term we are associated with is [as a] minority. Our men have sacrificed their lives serving in the army; women serve the sick and teach the best values to children.
Despite all the services and sacrifices the discrimination against the Christians is soaring. From work to home and then to localities. I remember when we were searching for homes back in Pakistan for rent. We were denied just on the basis that we were Christians. The people hated Christians to live in their homes. To me, that was the extent of humiliation and rejection, which I will never forget during my whole lifetime.
Whatever happens with Christians is a big picture of what they have to go through every day in their lives in Pakistan. The humiliation, disrespect and now killings have raised the question for the Christians in Pakistan that how peace will come in their lives. If the land they are born in is no more giving them the place to live then where would they go?
Understand Dhimmitude to Understand Persecuted Christians in Pakistan
John R. Houk
© November 7, 2013
The Persecution of Christian in Pakistan
© Lubna Thomas Benjamin
Edited by John R. Houk
I am a broadcast journalist with seven years of working experience in Pakistan. I have started my career in journalism with Geo Television, Pakistan’s leading news channel in 2006 and have done research, reporting, coordination and production. There are several reports I have made while working with Geo TV, which has created great impact and led to the solution of the addressed problems.
In production, I have produced the documentary on the assassination of the former prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto.
I have also conducted an investigation on Rimsha, a Christian girl who was accused of blasphemy charges in August 2012.
I have also produced talk shows on the issues of youth highlighting the problems faced by them.
When the differences between Jamia Hafsa (religious extremist group) and the government got intensified, I was the first journalist to report from inside their territory.
With Pakistan Television Channel, I have worked for five months and have made numerous reports mostly on the political issues.
Besides, broadcast journalism I have also written articles and news stories both in Urdu and English.
Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship 2011-12