By Sandro Magister. Source L'espresso March 20, 2003.
The old continent's pro-Islamism comes from long ago. It stems from the special protection Muslim conquerors applied to "dhimmi" Jews and Christians
ROMA - In an essay on the war in Iraq titled, "The Rage, the Pride and the Doubt" ? published March 13 in the United States in "The Wall Street Journal" and the following day in Italy in "Corriere della Sera" ? Oriana Fallaci maintains a scandalous thesis:
"Europe is no longer Europe. It is a province of Islam, as Spain and Portugal were at the time of the Moors. It hosts almost 16 million Muslim immigrants and teems with mullahs, imams, mosques, burqas, chadors. It lodges thousands of Islamic terrorists whom governments don't know how to identify and control. People are afraid, and in waving the flag of pacifism ? synonymous with anti-Americanism ? they feel protected."
But this thesis is neither new nor isolated. It was proposed by Enzo Bettiza, a prominent journalist and international politics expert, in a chapter of his latest book, "Viaggio nell' ignoto. Il mondo dopo l'11 settembre" (Journey Into the Unknown. The World After September 11), published by Mondadori in October 2002.
And above all it finds support in the work of a renowned historian of Islam: Bat Ye'or ? his pseudonym ? was born in Egypt, is a British citizen and lives in Switzerland.
In a series of essays published in France and the United States, Bat Ye'or has reconstructed in terms updated by today's models the theory and practice ? from its origins up to today ? of Islamic jihad, or holy war, and above all of "dhimmitude," which is the condition assigned to Christians and Jews by Muslim teaching.
The Arabic word "dhimmi" is translated "protected." And this is what Oriana Fallaci holds: European Christians, in their pro-Islamism, seek protection. Indeed, they live as if they already feel themselves to be "dhimmi."
Enzo Bettiza adds that this feeling of dhimmitude is a trap contrived by the modern Islamist elite to conquer Europe and the world. It's a trap that is already working: Many Europeans, "willingly or not, consciously or not, have already for some time been contributing to their own metamorphosis into 'dhimmi.'"
Bettiza cites an essay by Bat Ye'or published in 2002 in the Paris-based magazine, "Commentaire," founded by disciples of Raymond Aron. The essay is titled, "Jews and Christians Under Islam. Dhimmitude and Marcionism." In it, the author shows how thirteen centuries of protection/submission imposed by Muslims on infidel populations has left a profound trace even in the way today's Europe relates to Islam.
Among the "services" performed by this "hidden dhimmitude" of Europe is a laxity in the face of Muslim immigration. There is Europe's tolerance of cultural separatism on its own territory. There is the concession of financial aid to Muslim governments fiercely hostile to the West. There is the slur against the State of Israel. There is the understanding for Palestinian and Islamist terrorism. There is the human shield offered by the Franciscans to Arab guerrillas taking refuge in the Bethlehem basilica. There is silence about centuries of Islamic jihad substituted by self-flagellation for the Crusades: "Evil is attributed to Jews and Christians for not striking at the susceptibility of the Muslim world, which rejects every criticism of its past conquests."
In short: "The ancient universe of dhimmitude, with its submission and servileness as pledges for survival, has been reconstructed in contemporary Europe."
Further, Bat Ye'or shows that there is also a theological dhimmitude at the roots of the pro-Islamism of many Christians who live in Arab countries. It's a dhimmitude that breathes new life into the teaching of Marcione, a second-century heretic who, to give maximum recognition to the loving God of the Gospel, denied any value to the Hebrew Scriptures, believed to be an expression of an unjust and cruel God.
Today, Marcionism lives again among Eastern Christians in the vision of a Jesus who is Arab-Palestinian and anti-Jewish, in line with the Islamic view of history.
Bettiza does not accept Bat Ye'or's conclusion that Europe is already fully stricken by "dhimmi syndrome." But he holds that this trend is a real danger.
Meanwhile, Oriana Fallaci declares that it's already happened. Whether this judgment is true or not, the fact remains that Europe's and America's current disagreement regarding war in Iraq is born also of an experience of dhimmitude that only the old continent has experienced. Pro-Islamic mimetism/opportunism as protection.
Two noteworthy essays on "dhimmitude" by Bat Ye'or:
"Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide", Dickinson University Press, 2001;
"Les Chretientes d'Orient entre Jihad et Dhimmitude. VII-XX siecle", Les Editions du Cerf, Paris, 1991 ("The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam. From Jihad to Dhimmitude", Associated University Presses, 1996).