Archive for guilty

Kuala Lampur War Crimes Tribunal: George W. Bush and Co. Guilty of ‘War Crimes’

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2012 by loonwatch

George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and their legal advisers have been convicted of war crimes by a tribunal in Malaysia. (h/t: Al)

(via. Information Clearing House):

In what is the first ever conviction of its kind anywhere in the world, the former US President and seven key members of his administration were today (Friday) found guilty of war crimes.

Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.

The trial held in Kuala Lumpur heard harrowing witness accounts from victims of torture who suffered at the hands of US soldiers and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They included testimony from British man Moazzam Begg, an ex-Guantanamo detainee and Iraqi woman Jameelah Abbas Hameedi who was tortured in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

At the end of the week-long hearing, the five-panel tribunal unanimously delivered guilty verdicts against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their key legal advisors who were all convicted as war criminals for torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.

Full transcripts of the charges, witness statements and other relevant material will now be sent to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, as well as the United Nations and the Security Council.

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission is also asking that the names of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Yoo, Bybee, Addington and Haynes be entered and included in the Commission’s Register of War Criminals for public record.

This verdict does not currently have any sort of enforcement power behind it but the hope is that it will be taken up by the International Court,

War crimes expert and lawyer Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law in America, was part of the prosecution team.

After the case he said: “This is the first conviction of these people anywhere in the world.”

While the hearing is regarded by some as being purely symbolic, human rights activist Boyle said he was hopeful that Bush and Co could soon find themselves facing similar trials elsewhere in the world.

“We tried three times to get Bush in Canada but were thwarted by the Canadian Government, then we scared Bush out of going to Switzerland. The Spanish attempt failed because of the government there and the same happened in Germany.”

Boyle then referenced the Nuremberg Charter which was used as the format for the tribunal when asked about the credibility of the initiative in Malaysia. He quoted: “Leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit war crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any person in execution of such a plan.”

The US is subject to customary international law and to the Principles of the Nuremberg Charter said Boyle who also believes the week-long trial was “almost certainly” being monitored closely by both Pentagon and White House officials.

Professor Gurdial Singh Nijar, who headed the prosecution said: “The tribunal was very careful to adhere scrupulously to the regulations drawn up by the Nuremberg courts and the International Criminal Courts”.

He added that he was optimistic the tribunal would be followed up elsewhere in the world where “countries have a duty to try war criminals” and he cited the case of the former Chilean dictator Augustine Pinochet who was arrested in Britain to be extradited to Spain on charges of war crimes.

“Pinochet was only eight years out of his presidency when that happened.”

The Pinochet case was the first time that several European judges applied the principle of universal jurisdiction, declaring themselves competent to judge crimes committed by former heads of state, despite local amnesty laws.

Throughout the week the tribunal was packed with legal experts and law students as witnesses gave testimony and then cross examination by the defence led by lawyer Jason Kay Kit Leon.

The court heard how
· Abbas Abid, a 48-year-old engineer from Fallujah in Iraq had his fingernails removed by pliers.
· Ali Shalal was attached with bare electrical wires and electrocuted and hung from a wall.
· Moazzam Begg was beaten, hooded and put in solitary confinement.
· Jameelah was stripped and humiliated, and was used as a human shield whilst being transported by helicopter.

The witnesses also detailed how they have residual injuries till today.

Moazzam Begg, now working as a director for the London-based human rights group Cageprisoners said he was delighted with the verdict, but added: “When people talk about Nuremberg you have to remember those tried were all prosecuted after the war.

“Right now Guantanamo is still open, people are still being held there and are still being tortured there.”

In response to questions about the difference between the Bush and Obama Administrations, he added: “If President Bush was the President of extra-judicial torture then US President Barak Obama is the President of extra judicial killing through drone strikes. Our work has only just begun.”

The prosecution case rested on proving how the decision-makers at the highest level President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, Secretary of Defence Rumsfeld, aided and abetted by the lawyers and the other commanders and CIA officials – all acted in concert. Torture was systematically applied and became an accepted norm.

According to the prosecution, the testimony of all the witnesses exposed a sustained perpetration of brutal, barbaric, cruel and dehumanising course of conduct against them.
These acts of crimes were applied cumulatively to inflict the worst possible pain and suffering, said lawyers.

The president of the tribunal Tan Sri Dato Lamin bin Haji Mohd Yunus Lamin, found that the prosecution had established beyond a “reasonable doubt that the accused persons, former President George Bush and his co-conspirators engaged in a web of instructions, memos, directives, legal advice and action that established a common plan and purpose, joint enterprise and/or conspiracy to commit the crimes of Torture and War Crimes, including and not limited to a common plan and purpose to commit the following crimes in relation to the “War on Terror” and the wars launched by the U.S. and others in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

President Lamin told a packed courtroom: “As a tribunal of conscience, the Tribunal is fully aware that its verdict is merely declaratory in nature. The tribunal has no power of enforcement, no power to impose any custodial sentence on any one or more of the 8 convicted persons. What we can do, under Article 31 of Chapter VI of Part 2 of the Charter is to recommend to the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission to submit this finding of conviction by the Tribunal, together with a record of these proceedings, to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, as well as the United Nations and the Security Council.

“The Tribunal also recommends to the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission that the names of all the 8 convicted persons be entered and included in the Commission’s Register of War Criminals and be publicised accordingly.

“The Tribunal recommends to the War Crimes Commission to give the widest international publicity to this conviction and grant of reparations, as these are universal crimes for which there is a responsibility upon nations to institute prosecutions if any of these Accused persons may enter their jurisdictions”.

More proof that Robert Spencer is an intellectual huckster, part 2; Spencer digs himself into a deeper sh*% hole

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2010 by loonwatch

In part 1, I refuted Robert Spencer‘s outlandish claim that the Arabic word dhimmi means “guilty person.” In specific, I quoted p.49 of his book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), in which he says:

The dhimmi

The Qur’an calls Jews and Christians “People of the Book;” Islamic law calls them dhimmis, which means “protected” or “guilty” people–the Arabic word means both…Jews and Christians are “guilty” because they have not only rejected Muhammad as a prophet, but have also distorted the legitimate revelations they have received from Allah.  Because of that guilt, Islamic law dictates that Jews and Christians may live in Islamic states, but not as equals with Muslims.

Robert Spencer has completely fabricated this from his own mind and attributed it to Islam, passing it off as “scholarship.”  In reality, the word dhimmi does not mean “guilty person” and no Arabic dictionary says this.  I reproduced the definition of the word as found in Lisan al-Arab, the most authoritative source used in the classical times of Islamic jurisprudence.  And I challenged Spencer to provide an Arabic dictionary that translates the word to mean “guilty person.”

Of course, Spencer could not meet this challenge, proving that he cannot defend his own writing.  (Spencer’s book is used by the Islamophobic world as an “authoritative” and “scholarly” source for understanding Islam, yet it cannot withstand even cursory critical analysis.)  Of course, most of Spencer’s gullible audience does not speak Arabic and choose to unquestioningly believe him, mostly because they desperately want to believe him.

Robert Spencer was forced to respond to my article, and amusingly he refused to take my name or mention the site I work for.  He has responded to me several times in the past, and I am forever “he whose name shall not be mentioned.”  I’m glad I bother him so much that he can’t even take my name! In any case, it would have been better for Spencer if he had chosen not to reply, because he ended up digging himself deeper into the sh*% hole he created for himself. Spencer’s reply reads as follows:

Christians are also by definition guilty people. As I noted in my book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), “The Qur’an calls Jews and Christians ‘People of the Book;’ Islamic law calls them dhimmis, which means ‘protected’ or ‘guilty’ people-the Arabic word means both.” While the classic Islamic laws regarding dhimmis are not in force in Egypt today, they’re still part of Islamic law, and as such Islamic clerics regard them as the proper status that Christians and other “People of the Book” should assume in the Islamic state. The Arabic word ذمي‎ (dhimmi) is derived from ذمة‎ (dhimma), “‘protection, custody’”), and from ذم‎ (dhamma), which means “to blame.” Thus the dhimmis are the blamed, or guilty ones.

How is it that “protection” and “custody” can be related to “blame” and “guilt”? Dhimmidoes indeed mean “protected,” “guaranteed,” and “secured,” but the semantic connotations of the word pertain to “indebtedness” and “liability.” That’s according to the online Sakhr dictionary, which is not by any stretch of the imagination an “Islamophobic” publication — for example, it translates the word “Israel” into “a Jewish country set up on the Palestinian land.” So when it says that dhimmi has to do with guilt, it is not reflecting some anti-Muslim bias!

In any case, the Arabic root-word “Z-M-M” (from which “dhimmi” issues) means “the opposite of praise,” that is, to “censure,” “dispraise too much,” “blame,” “criticize,” “find fault with,” “accuse,” “obligate,” “hold liable,” “hold in bad conscience,” “accuse,” and “hold guilty,” etc. And that’s not a semantic connotation, that is the meaning, according to the Elias Modern Arabic Dictionary.

Notice here that Spencer has moved the goalposts, as he always does.  In his response, Spencer has tried to prove that the two words–”dhimmi” and “guilty”–are related or connected to each other.  But his initial claim (found on p.49 of his book), the one I refuted, was that the word dhimmi means“guilty person.”  It does not.  The authoritative Hans Wehr Arabic dictionary defines the word “dhimmi” as “a free non-Muslim subject living in a Muslim country.”

In fact, the very sources that Spencer has invoked support this.  For example, Spencer cites theonline Sakhr dictionary as a proof for his claim; yet, when we look up the word “dhimmi” in this dictionary, we find that it simply says: “a free non-Moslem under Moslem rule, adherent of a revealed religion.”  It does not mean “guilty people” as Spencer explicitly claims on p.49 of his book, nor does it mean “guilty ones” as he implies in his response.  The same is the case if we look up the Elias Modern Arabic Dictionary.  Neither dictionary that Spencer cites says the word dhimmi means “guilty person”.  Nor is “dhimma” defined with the word “guilty.”

If two words are related or connected to each other, they do not mean the same thing.  They are two separate words entirely.  Let’s say that dhimmi is related to the word “guilt”; in that case, why did Spencer claim that the word means “guilty person” or even “guilty”?  Is this the level of Robert Spencer’s academic integrity and scholarship that he would use the word “means” when in fact he should have said “related (or connected) to”?  There is a world of difference between the two.  And this cannot be understood as a mere typo, since Spencer writes (emphasis is mine): “dhimmis, which means ‘protected’ or ‘guilty’ people–the Arabic word means both.”  Whatever he meant by the word “means” is the same for “protected” and “guilty,” as we equates them both.  In other words, the word “dhimmis” translates to “protected people”, and it equally translates to “guilty people.”  He didnot say: “dhimmi, which means ‘protected’ people, but is also related to the word ‘guilty.’”

All of this of course begs the question why the Prophet Muhammad didn’t simply refer to these non-Muslims as sha’ab mudhnib (which literally means “guilty people”) as opposed to “dhimmis” (which means “protected people”)?  Does that not seem more straightforward and logical?  Why use the word “protected people” if the intent was to cast them as “guilty people”?

I’ve quite clearly established that Robert Spencer’s claim that the word “dhimmi” means “guilty person” is complete fabrication.  I will not, however, belabor this point and instead choose to move on.  So if the word “dhimmi” does not mean “guilty person”, is it at least related to the word “guilty”?  Yes, it is.  Case closed?  Not so fast.  The two words are connected, but in a way that actually punches Spencer in the mouth and proves that he only dug himself into a deeper sh*% hole.  The root letters dh-m-m do in fact have the meaning of “blame” or “censure”.  But although dhimmi/dhimma is related to this root, the blame or censure in this word is not meant in the sense Spencer is using it.

The authoritative Lane’s Lexicon explains the sense in which “dhimma” (which means “compact, covenant or contract”) is related to dh-m-m: “because the breaking thereof necessitates blame” (Volume 3 p. 976). The larger Arabic dictionaries from which Lane’s is derived–such as Taj al-Arusand al-Muhit–say the same. In other words, the blame (or “guilt”) involved in the term “dhimma” is related to breaking the covenant of security, and the blame/guilt is ascribed to the Islamic statenotthe non-Muslim resident.  An Islamic state would be guilty/blameworthy if it did not uphold and protect the “sanctity” of the covenanted non-Muslim’s life and property.

Kinana of Khaybar, a loyal fan of JihadWatch.org, tries to defend Robert Spencer’s claim that dhimmi means “guilty person” by claiming that the dhimmi (non-Muslim resident) would be “guilty” if he/she broke the covenant.  In other words, Kinana is ascribing the guilt to the dhimmi, not the Islamic state.  Of course, Kinana’s claim is not true at all, but let’s for argument’s sake pretend it is.  Let us suppose then that it is the dhimmi who is “guilty” if he breaks the covenant.  Even if we were to concede this (which we don’t–but let’s just say we do), this still does not disprove that Robert Spencer is guilty of wholesale fabrication.  Spencer did not just claim that the dhimmis are guilty; he told us why they are called “guilty people.”  Here are Spencer’s words from p.49 of his book (emphasis is mine):

The dhimmi

The Qur’an calls Jews and Christians “People of the Book;” Islamic law calls them dhimmis, which means “protected” or “guilty” people–the Arabic word means both…Jews and Christians are “guilty” because they have not only rejected Muhammad as a prophet, but have also distorted the legitimate revelations they have received from Allah.  Because of that guilt, Islamic law dictates that Jews and Christians may live in Islamic states, but not as equals with Muslims.

In other words, Spencer has wholly imagined the claim that the word “dhimmis” means “guilty people” because they are guilty of “reject[ing] Muhammad as a prophet” or because they have “distorted the…revelations.” According to Kinana’s own argument, the word “dhimmi” is related to “guilt” not because of any of this but for breaking the covenant.  Again, even if we were to grant Kinana his fantastic defense, it still wouldn’t answer how it is that Spencer’s shoddy scholarship is such that he doesn’t mind completely fabricating the bolded part above.

Secondly, and more importantly, Kinana is guilty of wholesale fabrication himself (which is why he fits right into the JihadWatch crew).  The word “dhimma” is related to “guilty” not because the dhimmi is a “guilty person” but because the one granting the dhimma (protection) would be guilty if he/she violates it.  Said in a clearer way, it is the Islamic state (not the non-Muslim resident) that would be guilty of violating the sanctity of the dhimmi’s life and property.

Lane’s Lexicon reads:

Dhimma: A compact, a covenant, a contract, a league, a treaty, an engagement, a bond, or an obligation; because the breaking thereof necessesitates blame: and a right, or due, for the neglect of which one is to be blamed: [an inviolable right or due:]… a thing that should be sacred, or inviolable; or which one is under an obligation to reverence, respect, or honour, and defend.

The sacred and inviolable right that must be respected, honored, and defended is the safety (amaan) of the non-Muslim resident.  As Lane’s Lexicon says:

dhimma signifies also amaan [as meaning security, or safety; security of life and property; protection or safeguard; a promise, or an assurance, of security, safety, protection, or safeguard…]

But Kinana knew this quite well, evidenced by his deceitful half-quoting of another source.  Says Kinana:

Thanks for addressing this Robert.

Also from T. P. Hughes’ A Dictionary of Islam,

1) “ZIMMAH. , pl. zinam, from the root zamm, “to blame.” A compact, covenant, or contract, a league or treaty, any engagement or obligation, because the breaking thereof necessitates blame; and a right or due, for the neglect of which one is to be blamed. […]“

and

2) “ZIMMI. , a member of the Ahlu ‘z-Zimmah, a non Muslim subject of a Muslim government, belonging to the Jewish, Christian, or Sabean creed. who, for the payment of a poll— or capitation-tax, enjoys security of his person and property in a Muhammadan country. […]“

Note: Zimmah = dhimma, zimmi = dhimmi.

The T. P. Hughes dictionary is available free online courtesy of Answering-Islam, see their Index to Islam. The section on the zimmi goes into considerable detail.

Notice how Kinana cites (the horribly outdated) T.P. Hughes’ A Dictionary of Islam, and yet he purposely places ellipses […] in the definition of the word “zimmah” in order to hide the fact that the “blame” (or “guilt”) is attributed to the Islamic state, not the non-Muslim resident.  This cannot be a mere mistake on the part of Kinana; it is academic deceit of the highest order.  T.P. Hughes’ A Dictionary of Islam reads (emphasis is mine):

Zimmah, pl. zinam, from the root zamm, “to blame.” A compact, covenant, or contract, a league or treaty, any engagement or obligation, because the breaking thereof necessitates blame; and a right or due, for the neglect of which one is to be blamed.The word is also synonymous with aman, in the sense of security of life and property, protection or safeguard, and promise of such; hence ahlu ‘z-zimmah[dhimmis], or , with suppression of the noun ahlu, simply az-zimmah, the people with whom a compact or covenant has been made, and particularly the Kitabis, or the people of the book, i.e. Jews and Christians, and the Majusi or Sabeans, who pay the poll-tax called jazyah. [JAZYAH.] An individual of this class–namely, a free non-Muslim subject of a Muslim Government, who pays a poll- or capitation-tax, for which the Muslims are responsible for his security, personal freedom, and religious toleration–is called zimmi (see the following article).

Notice quite clearly that both A Dictionary of Islam as well as Lane’s Lexicon equate the word “dhimma” with the word “amaan”.  Amaan means “safety” and is related to the word amaanat which means “trust, keepsake.”  If, for example, a person gives his property to you to keep it safe until he returns from a business trip, then his wealth is an amaanat (i.e. given in trust) to you.  If you violate the sanctity of that trust by failing to safeguard his wealth, then you would be blameworthy/guilty for doing that.  It would be absolutely absurd to claim that the person who entrusted his wealth to you is blameworthy/guilty.

Likewise, the word “amaan” means “safety” and refers to “safe passage” granted to a person by the state.  The state promises to safeguard the person’s life, and would be blameworthy/guilty for not upholding this.  For example, ambassadors from other empires would visit the Islamic caliph, and be granted amaan (safe passage) to travel in the Islamic lands without fear of being harmed.  This amaan was granted without any payment or other obligation on the ambassador, so it cannot be said that the ambassador is the one blameworthy/guilty of breaching the covenant of security.  Rather, it is the state that would be blameworthy/guilty should it harm the ambassador.

Kinana’s own source, A Dictionary of Islam, says:

The word [zimmah] is also synonymous with aman, in the sense of security of life and property, protection or safeguard, and promise of such…the Muslims are responsible for [the zimmi’s] security, personal freedom, and religious toleration.

There is absolutely no doubt that it is the Islamic state that is blameworthy/guilty if it violates the dhimma.  It therefore cannot at all be said that dhimmi means (or even implies) “guilty people” or “guilty ones.”  Even if Robert Spencer or Kinana of Khaybar were to claim that it could also refer to the dhimmi if he breaks the contract (which does not at all seem to be true, but let’s just say it is for argument’s sake), then this is an incredibly weak polemical point, since the Islamic state is also “guilty” in the same way then!

Furthermore, as I mentioned in my previous reply, the word “dhimma” was used for Muslims as well:

…The exact same word–dhimma–is used for both Jews and Muslims in theConstitution of Medina.  This document declares that all who uphold the pledge–Jew and Muslim alike–are granted dhimma (protection).  If the word meant or implied “guilt”, why did the Prophet Muhammad include the Muslims under this?  As I said before, it is complete fabrication on the part of Robert Spencer to claim that the word means “guilty”.

But to completely shatter Spencer and Kinana’s argument, I will reproduce the words of the Prophet Muhammad himself, who said in a hadith narrated in Sahih al-Bukhari:

Whoever prays our [Islamic] prayer, faces our Qiblah [Mecca], and eats our slaughtered meat [Zabiha] is a Muslim who is under the dhimma [protection] of God and His Messenger.

If we say “dhimma” also means “guilt”, then the saying makes no sense, as it would read “a Muslim…is under the guilt of Allah and His Messenger.”  Complete nonsense.  Rather, the word means “protection,” and in the above quote the meaning is that God and His Messenger promise the believers to uphold the sanctity of the Muslim’s life.  Clearly, the word “dhimma” cannot mean something negative if it is equally applied to the Muslim believers.  As I have said repeatedly, Spencer’s entire claim is complete fabrication.

Spencer and Kinana then try to obfuscate the issue by claiming that non-Muslims in general are “guilty” of sins such as shirk.  This seems like a strong point to the uninitiated, until of course you think about it.  If Muslims believe that non-Muslims are “guilty” of shirk, then what of Hindus who believe that unbelievers are “guilty” of eating beef?  Or what of Christians who believe that unbelievers are “guilty” of not taking Christ as their Lord and Savior?  For that matter, Christians believe that whoever is guilty of this cannot attain salvation and will thus burn in Hell.  Yes, unbelievers would be–by definition–guilty of unbelief!  This is not something unique to Islam.

Furthermore, Muslims are also “guilty” of many sins, and Islamic theology states that no human being–not even the best Muslim–could be completely blameless of sin.  So if non-Muslims are guilty of shirk, Muslims are guilty of other sins.  But none of this has anything to do with the word “dhimmi” or “dhimma.”  Of course, both Spencer and Kinana know this very well and are just desperately trying to obfuscate the issue.

The word “dhimmi” is derived from “dhimma”, a word that was used for Muslims as well!  If the non-Muslims are to be “under dhimma” because of their shirk, then why are Muslims also “under dhimma” (as quoted in the hadith above)? In fact, by definition, a Muslim is automatically under the dhimma (protection) of the Islamic state.  So when Kinana feigns to be perplexed by me, saying:

Interesting that Danios thinks the dhimma is something positive.

I respond by saying: your ignorance is profound.  We know for a fact that “dhimma” is something positive, because it is granted to Muslim believers, as the Prophet Muhammad declared:

Whoever prays our [Islamic] prayer, faces our Qiblah [Mecca], and eats our slaughtered meat [Zabiha] is a Muslim who is under the dhimma [protection] of God and His Messenger.

And this same dhimma–or protection (a good thing!)–was granted to non-Muslim “citizens” in the Constitution of Medina (as I mentioned in part 1) and to non-Muslim “non-citizens” via the jizya.

To conclude, Robert Spencer is an intellectual huckster.  His writings are full of wholesale fabrications, and he has become too accustomed to nobody spending the time to thoroughly debunk his nonsense.  Unfortunately for him, that time has come to an end.

Spencer’s claim that “dhimmi” means “guilty person” is completely false, and no Arabic dictionary supports this.  Blame/guilt is related to “dhimma”, but Spencer is incorrect to claim that the dhimmi (non-Muslim resident) is the “guilty one” for disbelieving in the Prophet Muhammad or distorting the scriptures.  Rather, the blame/guilt is attributed to the Islamic state should it violate the inviolable rights of the non-Muslim residents.  This, according to the most authoritative Arabic dictionaries, including those cited by Spencer and Kinana.  We see that Robert Spencer completely flipped reality on its head.  As for Kinana of Khaybar, he too is an intellectual huckster, evidenced by his deceitful half-quoting of a passage of T.P. Hughes’ A Dictionary of Islam, the entirety of which negates his claim and supports mine.

As I said before, Spencer has, by replying to me, dug himself into a deeper sh*% hole.

Update: If you turn to page 133 in the Hans Wehr Arabic dictionary, you will find that cowardice (jubn) and cheese (jubna) share the same root: j-b-n.  Are these two words related in such a way that a man who is a coward is also a…cheese?  Or does eating cheese make you a coward?  Using Spencer’s logic, probably.  (hat tip to Ibksi for this humorous but effective point)

 

More proof that Robert Spencer is an intellectual huckster

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2010 by loonwatch
This is still my favorite picture of Robert Spencer.

This is part of my continuing (and epic) rebuttal of chapter four of Robert Spencer‘s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades).  In this chapter, Spencer vilifies Islam by sensationalizing the topic of dhimma, (or “dhimmitude” as he says).  I’ve already taken a massive sledgehammer to this fundamental pillar of his hateful paradigm, and you can see the catastrophic damage I’ve done by reading thisthisthisthisthis, and this.

Then I came across this golden nugget, from p.49 of his book:

The dhimmi

The Qur’an calls Jews and Christians “People of the Book;” Islamic law calls them dhimmis, which means “protected” or “guilty” people–the Arabic word means both…Jews and Christians are “guilty” because they have not only rejected Muhammad as a prophet, but have also distorted the legitimate revelations they have received from Allah.  Because of that guilt, Islamic law dictates that Jews and Christians may live in Islamic states, but not as equals with Muslims.

Wow.  Just wow.  Usually Spencer dresses his lie up in half-truths, obfuscation, and sensationalism before he peddles it to his hate-mongering audience.  But here we have a case of complete fabrication.

Dhimmi means “protected person” and in no way, shape, or form means “guilty.”  One can simply open up an Arabic dictionary to prove that this has absolutely no basis in the reality-based world.  For example, here’s what Lisan al-Arab (considered the most reliable Arabic dictionary in the classical age of Islam) says:

ورجل ذِمِّيٌّ: معناه رجل له عهد

(Dhimmi: A person with whom there exists a treaty)

والذِّمَّةُ العهد

(And ‘dhimmah’ means treaty)

قال الجوهري: الذِّمَّةُ أَهل العقد.

(Al-Jawhari says: Dhimmah refers to the people with whom there is a treaty)

وقال أَبو عبيدة الذِّمّةُ الأَمان

(Abu Ubaydah says: Dhimmah means protection/security)

وقوم ذِمَّةٌ: مُعاهدون أَي ذوو ذِمَّةٍ

(A Nation of Dhimmah: The people who sign a treaty, i.e. the people of ‘responsibility’)

You can check any other Arabic dictionary to prove that “dhimmi” does not mean “guilty.”  The word “madhmum” shares the same root as “dhimmi”, but so do many other words. To imply that there is a necessary connection between the two is pure idiocy, and proof of one’s ignorance of Arabic.  They are quite simply two separate words entirely.

If the Prophet Muhammad and early Muslims wanted to refer to the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) as “guilty” people, why not just use the word for that?  That seems much more straightforward.  Of course, this nonsense just reflects the demagoguery of the dhimmi system that the anti-Islam elements engage in.

To illustrate the absurdity of the claim that “dhimmi” means “guilty”, let us look at the word used in the nefarious Pact of Umar, as reproduced on p.50 of Spencer’s academic (ha!) book:

If we break any of these promises that we set for your benefit against ourselves, then our Dhimmah (promise of protection) is broken and you are allowed to do with us what you are allowed of people of defiance and rebellion.

So if the Christians broke the conditions in the Pact of Umar, then their guilt is broken?  How nonsensical!  We see quite clearly from the above quote that “dhimma” is something positive; it is protection.  In fact, the exact same word–dhimmah–is used for both Jews and Muslims in theConstitution of Medina.  This document declares that all who uphold the pledge–Jew and Muslim alike–are granted dhimma (protection).  If the word meant or implied “guilt”, why did the Prophet Muhammad include the Muslims under this?  As I said before, it is complete fabrication on the part of Robert Spencer to claim that the word means “guilty”.

To add another layer to the absurdity that is Spencer’s book, there is in fact a great irony in what he is saying.  Robert Spencer is a Catholic apologist, who starts his book invoking the Crusader call of “Deus Vult!” (God wills it!) and ends his book calling for a Crusade against Islam.  As he foams at the mouth about the heathen faith of Islam, he doesn’t realize the irony in the fact that he attributed to Islam a doctrine alien to it but which actually is part of Catholic doctrine.

The Church debated about what to do with the Jews.  After mulling around the idea of slaughtering them outright, it was decided that they ought to be allowed to survive but only so that they could serve as living proof of the defeat and humiliation of those who rejected, defied and killed Christ.  Accordingly, the Jews were to live in Perpetual Servitude to the Christians, so as to serve as a constant reminder of the victory of Christ over them.  This was the Doctrine of Witness, and its associated belief of Perpetual Servitude.  Prof. Steven Bayme writes in his book Understanding Jewish History (pp.120-121):

Augustine and the other Church Fathers wrestled with this question of why Judaism continued if it had apparently lost its purpose?  Augustine’s answer lay in the “Doctrine of the Witness.”  This doctrine suggested that the continuing physical presence of the Jews was desirable because the Jews themselves provided testimony to the truth of Christianity in two ways: First, the Jews possessed Scriptures, thereby proving that Scriptures were no means invented retrospectively by Christians to predict the coming of Jesus…

Secondly, the physical status of the Jews provided testimony to the truth of Christianity.  The Jews existed in a subjugated, second-class status as a defeated people…The perpetual servitude of the Jews reminded the world that the Jews are being punished for their rejection of Jesus.  Therefore it was desirable that the Jew remain in Christian society.  As long as Jews retained their second-class status, they would remind the world of their crime in rejecting Jesus and their validity of Jesus’s teachings…

Although the Jews’ status would always be second-class, the Church Fathers decreed that the Jews must be protected and not eliminated.  In this context medieval Christian anti-Semitism provided a protective mechanism against the elimination of the Jews.  Or, as Duns Scotus, a thirteenth century Christian theologian, put it, the Jews could be persecuted and virtually eliminated, but some of them would have to be kept alive on a deserted island until the Second Coming.

As we see, not only does Robert Spencer’s claim have no basis in the Arabic language, but his own argument comes to bite him in the ass.  The question remains: is this a result of Spencer’s lying nature or merely a consequence of his profound ignorance?  Let me know which one you think it is in the comments below.

UPDATE:

More proof that Robert Spencer is an intellectual huckster, part 2; Spencer digs himself into a deeper sh*% hole