"Muslim conquerors, while granting Jews and Christians religious freedom and autonomy, relegated these tolerated "Peoples of the Book" to the status of dhimmi, "dependent peoples."
Muslim rulers forbade Jews and Christians the honor of riding a horse or camel, conducting religious ceremonies in public, carrying weapons, converting Muslims to Judaism or Christianity and building places of worship. Jews and Christians had to pay a special tax to signify their status of inferiority for rejecting Muhammad as the final prophet of Allah's revelation.
"While there were certainly periods in which Muslim rulers ignored the dhimmi status and provided Jews and Christians with a modicum of power and influence - the best examples are medieval Spain and the later Ottoman Empire - the inferiority of Jews and Christians was and still is an important component of Muslim theology and identity. In Yemen and in the Iranian Safavid Empire, Jews were more harshly treated than in Muslim Spain and the empire of the Turks. Wherever Jews and Christians lived in the Muslim world, they were at a legal disadvantage that was almost always degrading and even sometimes lethal.
"It should, therefore, come as no surprise that there are some Muslims, especially those in the fundamentalist world, who cannot live in peace with Israel. The existence of Jews in a democratic state of proud independence - not the dhimmi state of humiliating dependence - poses a threat to a centuries-old Islamic theology that proclaimed the legal, social and religious superiority of Muslims over non-Muslim infidels. The fact that the State of Israel with its capital in Jerusalem resides in the heart of what was once Islam's greatest empire - that of the Ottoman Turks - is a constant reminder to Muslims that the glory days of their religion's military and political power is over.
"The reality of 10,000 American companies doing business with or in the Jewish state, helping Israel forge an economy the size of a small European nation, infuriates some Muslims who are envious of a small country with its share of Nobel Prize winners and global entrepreneurs. Israel, despite its size, its crises and the plagues of war and terrorism, is no Third World nation. It is a modern success story.
"Fundamentalists in Islam yearn for a return to a time when Jews knew their place. Too bad for them that the dhimmi finally tired of inferiority and humiliation, choosing independence and sovereignty. This fact will remain a factor in Muslim attitudes toward Israel whether Jews and Palestinians make peace or remain in a perpetual state of war."