In this study, newly translated into English, Bat Ye'or provides a lucid analysis of the dogma and strategies of jihad, offering a vast panorama of the history of Christians and Jews under the rule of Islam. A pioneer in a virgin field of research for which she coined the word "dhimmitude," the author has included in this essential work a documentary section illuminating the decline of Eastern Christianity.
In two waves of Islamic expansion the Christian and Jewish populations of the Mediterranean regions and Mesopotamia, who had developed the most prestigious civilizations of the time, were conquered by jihad. Millions of Christians from Spain, Egypt, Syria, Greece, and Armenia; Latins and Slavs from southern and central Europe; as well as Jews were henceforth governed by the shari'a (Islamic law). Knowledge of this historical background is essential in order to understand contemporary events and developments so that future challenges can be faced within a context of positive religious dialogue and reconciliation.
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Bat Ye'or is a recognized specialist on the dhimmis and “dhimmitude.”Review:
Ye'or's books on dhimmitude and jihad have an essential place in the ecumenical world. (James E. Biechler, Journal of Ecumenical Studies (Philadelphia) Journal of Ecumenical Studies)
[I]t must be allowed that behind Muslim thinking was the distinction between dar al-islam and dar al-harb; and while this may have had little effect on the actual course of events, it seems to have been present in the background. It is at this point that the basic question raised by Bat Ye'or’s book—the condition of the Peoples of the Book under Muslim rule—ties up with contemporary problems...It is of the utmost importance that Muslim jurists should consider whether such treatment of non-Muslims is in accordance with the Shari’ah or contrary to it. More generally, does the Shari’ah allow Muslims to live peaceable with non-Muslims in the ‘one world’ or must they regard it as dar al-harb? To have an answer to these questions may be a matter of urgency in a few years times. (William Montgomery Watt, Journal of Semitic Studies (London))
It seems likely that in the new century of clashing civilizations there will either be heightened conflict or a breakthrough to something like the beginnings of a dialogue... A good place to start is to understand the history that brought us where we are, and to that end I warmly recommend a careful and critical reading of Bat Ye’or’s The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam. (Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, First Things)
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