The Dec. 6 murder of three U.S. soldiers at the Pensacola Naval Air Station by a Saudi Islamic terrorist was independent of U.S. policy in the Middle East and beyond, as indeed all previous cases of anti-U.S. and anti-Western Islamic terrorism have been.
For instance, Iran’s ayatollahs launched an anti-U.S. terror wave in 1979, while the United States supported the ayatollahs’ ascension to power and betrayed the shah of Iran. Another example: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s intense support of Muslim Brotherhood terrorism, which has targeted the United States and all pro-U.S. Arab regimes, is aimed at advancing Erdoğan’s vision of reestablish the Ottoman Empire and undermining U.S. interests. This in spite of Turkey’s NATO membership and the multi-year, mega-billion dollar U.S. investment in Turkey’s national security since 1947.
Neither are Islamic rage and anti-Western terrorism driven by economic, social, or educational goals.
The roots of the Islamic rage against Western culture in general, and against the United States in particular, lie in a worldview which precedes American declaration of independence in 1776, and also the 1620 landing of the early Pilgrims in New England.
According to proffesor Bernard Lewis, a world-leading expert on Islam and the Middle East, the anti-Western Islamic rage represents the current edition of a clash of civilizations: “Muslims from an early date recognized a genuine rival – a competing world religion. … This was Christendom. … The struggle between these rival systems has now lasted for some 14 centuries. It began with the advent of Islam, in the 7th century. … It has consisted of a long series of attacks and counterattacks, Jihads and crusades, conquests and re-conquests. … America had become the archenemy, the incarnation of evil, the diabolic opponent of all that is good, and specifically, for Muslims, of Islam.”
The roots of the religious, cultural, political, legal and military Islamic treatment of the “infidel,” especially the dhimmi (the infidel under Islamic rule), derive from the Koran-based Pact of Umar, the second Caliph (following Muhammad), who has been a role model of Islamic leadership. The Pact of Umar was extended to infidels in areas conquered by Muslims. It ensured the “protected”—inferior—status of infidels, who paid a special tax (jizya—“safety tax”) and submitted themselves to the rule of Islam, which is, supposedly, the only legitimate religion, divinely-ordained to rule humanity.
Among the Pact’s list of restrictions on—and privileges of—the “protected” dhimmi:
• Dhimmi structures (homes or churches) may not overtop Muslim structures.
• No erection of new monasteries, churches, convents or monks’ cells, and no repair of such houses of worships in Muslim quarters.
• No public display of crosses and dhimmi books (Bibles) and symbols.
• No public manifestation of the dhimmi religion.
• Only low-volume clappers may be used in churches.
• Dhimmis must show respect toward Muslims, rising from seats when Muslims wish to sit.
• No possession of weapons.
• No Arabic inscriptions on dhimmi seals.
• Dhimmis may not imitate Muslim dress or manner of speaking.
• Dhimmis must wear the zunar (a wide belt or girdle), which distinguishes them from Muslims. For Christians, blue belts or turbans, for Jews, yellow belts or turbans (the origin of the “yellow badge”).
• Striking a Muslim removes a dhimmi‘s “protection.”
• By violating any of these restrictions and privileges, dhimmis forfeit their “protected” status, making them liable to penalties for sedition and contumacy.
The Pact of Umar serves as a major guideline for contemporary Islamic authorities, as documented by Egypt’s Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood (the largest Islamic terrorist organization in the world today, with political subsidiaries in the Middle East, Europe and the United States), who is considered the most influential Islamic scholar alive and whose sermons are broadcast live throughout the globe.
Sheikh Qaradawi referred to the Pact of Umar as a cardinal Islamic legacy in his 2012 book “Jerusalem: the concern of every Muslim.”
In an October 2000 Cairo Arab Summit speech, Yasser Arafat stated that “the Palestinian struggle is in accordance with the Pact of Umar,” which he said was violated by Israel’s claim of sovereignty over Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem.
The text of the Pact of Umar is featured on a marble plate in the courtyard of the Umar Mosque in Jerusalem’s Christian Quarter, and is displayed in many Arab shops and during demonstrations in Judea and Samaria.
While the vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists, most Middle Eastern Muslim societies are non-democratic, ruled by rogue regimes which suppress the voice of the majority, employing terrorism as a tool to advance their worldview.
Islamic terrorism has been a systematic feature of intra-Arab and intra-Muslim politics—domestically and regionally—since the 7th century. Its toll has dramatically exceeded the toll of anti-Western Islamic terrorism.
Western democracies cannot expect Islamic terrorism to be kinder to the infidel than it has been to fellow believers.
Yoram Ettinger is a former ambassador and head of Second Thought: A U.S.-Israel Initiative.
This article was first published by the Ettinger Report.