Retired CIA officer, Clare Lopez, explains the Pact of Umar, Islam’s contribution to religious tolerance…or rather, religious intolerance.
Clarion Project The basis of The Pact of Umar is Muslim supremacism over the populations of non-Muslim “People of the Book” (the dhimmis) whom they had defeated in battle. According to the Pact, the lives and property of vanquished peoples were forfeit by reason of their defeat—but their Muslim overlords would refrain from exacting the penalty of death, nor would they be required to convert to Islam, as long as they kept the terms of surrender laid out for them in the Pact.
The rules are very specific and include stipulations that new churches, monasteries, and synagogues may not be built and existing ones may not be repaired. Bells may not be rung, the Jewish shofar may not be sounded, and prayers and singing must not be heard by Muslims. Specifics about clothing, shoes, and hair style were enforced to mark non-Muslims with a distinctive look. This is where the yellow star for Jews came from. Dhimmis were not permitted to ride a noble animal like a horse, but only a donkey. They were barred from owning weapons. It is forbidden to offer them the Muslim greeting of peace. Dhimmis were forbidden to read, or study, or teach their children the Qur’an.
Under Islamic law, repairing a dilapidated or damaged church is viewed by Muslims as a flagrant provocation that violates the ordained second-class status of dhimmis in a Muslim-dominated society like Egypt’s. Such provocation, according to the fiery sermons preached in the mosques, automatically revokes the Christians’ right to exist in a Muslim land and gives Muslims the right to “uphold their honor” by attacking the churches and killing the “offending” Christians.