Religious minorities are being targeted in the secular west and east, only Islam and Khilafah offer hope.
People have been shocked by the bomb blast outside a Coptic Christian Church in Alexandria, Egypt on Saturday 1st January 2011, which killed 21 people. The blast comes in the aftermath of accounts that Christians in Iraq have faced hostility since the US-led occupation.
Similar reports have recently come about the mistreatment of Christians in the West Bank and in Pakistan. Commentators condemn these examples of attacks on Christians in majority Muslim countries as signs of tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims. They are presented as examples of ‘extremism’ and intolerance of non-Muslims by Muslims.
The blame is rarely placed on the secular system administered by autocratic regimes – like that of Hosni Mubarak, Mahmood Abbas, Asif Ali Zardari or Noori al Maliki (nor on their western backers) – under whose watch the security of both Muslims and non-Muslims alike has worsened over the years.
The fact is these regimes care little about ANY of their citizens. They have spent years securing their own interests, the interests of their backers amongst the elites in Muslim countries and western multinational corporations. If the price has been bombs and mayhem for their citizens – Muslim, Christian or otherwise – they could not care less.
Unlike secular states, Islam has a very different approach to non-Muslim citizens. Non-Muslim citizens of the Islamic state (the Caliphate or Khilafah) are called Ahl al Dhimma – people of the contract – which means they enjoy the full rights of citizenship. They are citizens whose life, honour, property and religion are all to be protected under the law of the Shariah, like any other citizen. They pay a tax called jizya but are exempt from paying zakat or from compulsory military service.
The Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “He who abuses a dhimmi [non-Muslim citizen] then I will be his rival and dispute him on the Day of Judgment.”
He صلى الله عليه وسلم also said: “The one who kills a Mu’ahid (people with whom the State has treaties) without right he will not smell the fragrance of jannah (heaven) even if its smell was forty years travelling distance.” [Ahmed]
History is a testament to the Muslims implementing these commands under the Khilafah for over hundreds of years.
Sir Thomas Arnold in his book ‘The Preaching of Islam’ states: “But of any organised attempt to force the acceptance of Islam on the non-Muslim population, or of any systematic persecution intended to stamp out the Christian religion, we hear nothing. ‘ Had the Caliphs chosen to adopt either course of action, they might have swept away Christianity as easily as Ferdinand and Isabella drove Islam out of Spain, or Louis XIV made Protestantism penal in France, or the Jews were kept out of England for 350 years.”
The Caliphate during its reign allowed non-Muslims to have their own courts and judges to settle family law disputes and other matters related to their personal lives and religion.
Imam Qarafi (Classical Islamic Scholar) summed up the responsibility of the Caliphate to the dhimmi when he said: “It is the responsibility of the Muslims to the People of the Dhimma to care for their weak, fulfil the needs of the poor, feed the hungry, provide clothes, address them politely, and even tolerate their harm even if it was from a neighbour, even though the Muslim would have an upper hand. The Muslims must also advise them sincerely on their affairs and protect them against anyone who tries to hurt them or their family, steal their wealth, or violates their rights.”
The Egyptian regime has for decades locked away hundreds of Islamic scholars and thousands of so-called Islamists for nothing more than opposing the regime though little about this is reported in the western press or reported with the gusto as today’s attacks apparently targeting Christians.
Whether it’s the secular intolerance from the democratic systems in the West (note the banning in Europe of Hijabs, Niqabs and minarets) or autocratic regimes in the Middle East, religion and religious peoples are being persecuted today. In contrast, Islam and the Khilafah (Caliphate) system guarantees the rights and protection of minorities, religious or otherwise, as shown by the Islamic texts and proven by Islamic history.