When Amroz, the grinning Bali bomber, entered the courtroom for sentencing last week, he was shouting: “Jews, remember Khaibar. The army of Muhammad is coming back to defeat you.” Although none of the 202 slaughtered foreigners and Indonesians last October were Jews, there was no media reaction to this reminder by the Islamist killer of a historical precedent of great interest for all dhimmi minorities, and those here concerned with prevention of discrimination and protection of minorities.
In the time of Muhammad, Khaibar was a fertile oasis in the Arabian desert, populated and cultivated by Arab Jews before it was conquered by the newly converted Arab Muslims in 628. The conditions of their surrender after a siege were that they could remain to farm their lands as tenants, ceding half their harvest, but they were allowed to retain their Jewish faith.
After the Jews of Khaibar and elsewhere, it was the turn of the Christians of Najran in Arabia, and finally all Jews and Christians were cleansed from the Hijaz in 640, justified by the well-known hadith: “Two religions shall not remain together in the peninsula of the Arabs.” We should all remember Khaibar, for it was a turning point in Muslim and world history. And this well-known fact links up with that traditional saying in the Middle East: “After Saturday comes Sunday!”
The conquest of Khaibar was later to become a milestone in Islamic law, known as the dhimma (the ‘pact of protection’) for the treatment of non-Muslims who yielded to the jihad-war without fighting. From this defeat of the Jews of Khaibar, there developed a whole system of laws under which millions of non-Muslims have lived since the Islamic conquests, including vast Christian populations.
In many parts of the Islamic world today discrimination against dhimmis, traditionally based on the dhimma pact, still applies in one form or another, whether it be for the remnant Jewish community of Iran, the Copts in Egypt, Africans in the Sudan, as well as Pakistani Christians, and others.
Amrosi bin Nurhasin’s triumphant reminder of Khaibar’has great significance today for all of us, Muslims and non-Muslims. For the Islamists — and like-minded ulemas and mullahs— it means the defeat of infidel enemies, and their humiliation and subjugation. For non-Muslims it stands for centuries of obliterated history and oppressive discrimination as indigenous populations – first as majorities, then as minorities, which historian Bat Ye’or has analyzed and documented using the term "dhimmitude" [Islam and Dhimmitude, Where Civilizations Collide (2002), pp. 37-38].
Madam, the World Union wishes to recall last year’s Petition to the former High Commissioner [April 11, 2002] by the Christian Barnabas Fund (UK). Signed by over 123,000 persons from 70 countries, it was a request for indigenous “Christian minorities in Muslim-majority countries to be given the same rights and freedoms as those enjoyed by Muslim minorities in Western countries.” A UN truism!
Gravely concerned at this shameful collective blindness by the international community, we call on the Acting High Commissioner, this Sub-Commission and the CERD, now in session, and all UN bodies – as well as church leaders (Catholic & Protestant), and particularly Muslim spiritual and lay leaders: “to see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart” [Isaiah 6:10] the lamentations of the remnant Christian dhimmi communities who often endure persecutions and discrimination as an inferior, indigenous, religious minority.
And then there is the modern Jewish exodus from Middle East countries since the 1940s – that "forgotten million," who had to leave Arab countries, now virtually Judenrein, whether by violent means, or otherwise! They and their progeny now number about 3,000,00, of whom 2,500,000 make up nearly 50 percent of Israel’s Jewish population of over 5,000,000. Our updated written statement [E/CN.4/Sub. 2/2003/NGO/35] provides precise facts and figures: Historical Facts and Figures: the Forgotten Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries. [Also available, a page article of the New York Times, dated May 16, 1948 – the day after five Arab armies invaded Israel. Its title is clear: “Jews in Grave Danger In All Muslim Lands”; and another page on the projected genocide (and The Forgotten Millions: The Modern Jewish Exodus from Arab Lands, (1999)].
It is an historical fact that the tragic double exodus of Arab and Jewish refugees happened because of the Arab League’s refusal of "international legality" – the 1947 Partition Plan – and their unashamed aim of eliminating the nascent State of Israel, a policy maintained for 40 years till 1988, and reactivated since by some states and Islamist groups. The new dire hardships suffered by these ancient Jewish communities, who managed to survive from time immemorial, was never examined by the United Nations nor the loss of their inestimable historic heritage going back to early recorded history, and their private property. Their property compensation should also be taken seriously at this Sub-Commission.
Worse, everything is simply denied – even their condition of dhimmitude for over 13 centuries –alongside their fellow dhimmi Christians. Our text contains the words of the then representative of Iraq [Saad Hussain, at the 58th meeting, April 24, 2002] on this typical denial:
“The Arab history, the Arab and Muslim history for fourteen centuries, has not witnessed any harm to the Jews, quite the contrary. The Jews have, and continue to live in peace...they live in Arab countries today in perfect safety....”
He even added that they had been protected in Iraq during the Second World War despite the Baghdad massacres in early June1941 (Farhud) when thousands of Jews were attacked, pillaged and up to 180 slaughtered. In 1969, eleven Iraqi Jews were publicly hanged and scores more tortured by the now-hated Ba’ath regime. Today, barely 30 Jews remain in Iraq out of a former population of about 140,000 In Egypt, there are under 100 from 90,000 in 1945, and not a Jew in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, or Libya – all judenrein.
Less than 5,000 Jews now remain (half of 1 percent) in all the ‘Arab world’ from the "forgotten millions."
These are the historical facts and figures. When will the international community recognise this aspect? When will this Sub-Commission act? When will the much-acclaimed "even-handedness" prevail in these marble halls?
When "jihadist-matyrdom" bombers assassinate innocent civilians indiscriminately in Israel, the Jewish refugees from Arab countries, and their descendants, are inevitably among the slaughtered victims, and that number, over 800 since October 2000, is constantly rising – to the quasi-indifference of the United Nations.
Bearing in mind the words of Amrozi last week in Bali, and the mindset of all these jihadist killers, we shall conclude with a pertinent line by Albert Camus in the hope that it will be understood here: “The day on which crime adorns itself with the effects of innocence, by a strange reversal...innocence is summoned to provide its own justification.”