Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Bat Ye'or driven by hardships of exile

On a tour to promote her new book Eurabia, the Egyptian-born historian and researcher Bat Ye'or gave an interview at the US Rutherford Institute recently.

“I wrote these books,” said Bat Ye’or, “because I had witnessed the destruction, in a few short years, of a vibrant Jewish community living in Egypt for over 2,600 years and which had existed from the time of Jeremiah the Prophet. I saw the disintegration and flight of families, dispossessed and humiliated, the destruction of their synagogues, the bombing of the Jewish quarters and the terrorizing of a peaceful population. I have personally experienced the hardships of exile, the misery of statelessness− and I wanted to get to the root cause of all this. I wanted to understand why the Jews from Arab countries, nearly a million, had shared my experience.”

"Bat Ye’or’s wide historical research details the inferior condition accorded to Jews and Christian “dhimmis” (non-Muslim subjugated people) in Muslim lands, where they have survived through hardships and persecution ever since the rise of Islam in the 7th century. She pioneered the study of “dhimmitude” and the history and conditions of life of non-Muslims in their own lands, conquered by jihad and Islamized. According to Ye’or, “The conditions of Jews varied, but in general it was one of insecurity, humiliation and degradation for over 1,300 years, particularly in their own country, the Land of Israel.”

In 1997, Ye’or testified at a U.S. Congressional Hearing and the Human Rights Caucus on the subject “Past is Prologue: The Challenge of Islamism Today−An Historical Overview of the Persecution of Christians Under Islam.” “I discovered in my research that the Christian condition under Islam is similar and remarkably parallel to that of the Jews,” said Ye’or. “A historical tragedy has been going on for both religious groups. I realized that the fight for freedom from jihad and dhimmitude concerns us all, especially now in the 21st century. My research demonstrates that this is a very old problem, and it must be confronted now.” Read interview in full

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