The initial incident story is as appalling and horrifying as any you’ll read this week: according to Australia’s The Age, “a 12-year-old Jewish student was forced to kneel down and kiss the shoes of a Muslim classmate,” as the children around them took video that circulated widely on social media. Even worse, “no disciplinary action has been taken against the group of boys involved in the incident, which took place in a public park.” Maybe the school authorities who did nothing about this were aware that to do so would be “Islamophobic,” because this wasn’t just a simple act of bullying: it was an act in full accord with Islamic law.
The Qur’an mandates that the “People of the Book” – that is, primarily Jews and Christians – must be made to “pay the jizya [poll tax] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (9:29). This submission had to be acted out. According to the pioneering historian of dhimmitude, Bat Ye’or, “the poll tax was extorted by torture. The tax inspectors demanded gifts for themselves; widows and orphans were pillaged and despoiled.”
In line with this, there is a famous story from early Islamic history, in which the Bedouin commander al-Mughira bin Sa’d said to the Persian leader Rustam: “I call you to Islam or else you must pay the jizya while you are in a state of abasement.”
Rustam replied, “I know what jizya means, but what does “‘a state of abasement’ mean?”
Al-Mughira explained: “You pay it while you are standing and I am sitting and the whip hanging is over your head.”
Similarly, the renowned mainstream Qur’an commentator Ibn Kathir says that the dhimmis must be “disgraced, humiliated and belittled. Therefore, Muslims are not allowed to honor the people of Dhimmah or elevate them above Muslims, for they are miserable, disgraced and humiliated.”
The seventh-century Muslim jurist Sa’id ibn al-Musayyab stated: “I prefer that the people of the dhimma become tired by paying the jizya since He says, “‘until they pay the jizya with their own hands in a state of complete abasement.’” As-Suyuti elaborates that this verse “is used as a proof by those who say that it is taken in a humiliating way, and so the taker sits and the dhimmi stands with his head bowed and his back bent. The jizya is placed in the balance and the taker seizes his beard and hits his chin.” He adds, however, that “this is rejected according to an-Nawawi who said, ‘This manner is invalid.’” Another Islamic scholar, Zamakhshari, however, agreed that the jizya should be collected “with belittlement and humiliation.”
Now that belittlement and humiliation has come to a playground in Australia, and since it is a hallowed element of Islamic law, we will be seeing a great deal more of it in Oz and in the United States as well. The fact that it is part of Islamic law that Muslims must belittle and humiliate non-Muslims may explain why the Cheltenham Secondary College, which these boys in Australia attended, and the Education Department did nothing. After all, they don’t want to offend Australia’s Muslims.
The Age reported that “the school and the department have denied having responsibility for the incident, because it did not take place on school grounds, the mother said.” The mother herself said: “I took such offence with the Education Department, because there was nothing they did to protect my son at all, at any point in time – that’s what’s cut me up.”
The mother decided to take matters into her own hands: she “sought out the parents of the Muslim boy, who were horrified by their son’s actions. ‘We sat down, his parents, the two boys and myself, around the table and explained the velocity of [the bullying] and what it meant to us as parents as far as building bridges between Jews and Muslims in society and not creating division like that photo does.’”
That all sounds wonderful, but where did this Muslim boy get the idea to make the Jewish boy kiss his shoes in the first place? What has he learned at home? The artist Bosch Fawstin, the winner of our 2015 Muhammad Cartoon Contest, grew up in a non-observant Muslim home, but explained on the night he received the Cartoon Contest prize (and Islamic State gunmen, egged on by the FBI, attacked the event) that even though his family was not religious, everyone in his family and every other Muslim he knew was anti-Semitic. It was part of the culture.
Australian authorities need to recognize that fact, and understand that if they do not act now, this is going to be the first of many, many similar incidents. And they should ask themselves whether it is really wise to bring into the country large numbers of people among whom a significant number believe they have a divine mandate to humiliate and debase those who believe differently. But that, of course, would be “Islamophobic.”
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His new book is The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.
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