Well, it was not my intent to engage anyone in a discussion about which religion is most intolerant, but if that's what you want, we can go there
My intent was, as I said, simply to disprove the statement made by Thomas earlier.
Anyway, if you think Islam is bad by historical
standards, you are very mistaken. While their customs are definitely not in line with modern
ideas about equality, they were very progressive at the time, and gave outsiders more rights than almost all the European states.
Islam guaranteed the right to life for the 'people of the book' (Jews and Christians). The Jews had no such right in Europe. Dhimmi status is
cruel compared to modern institutions, but compared to the treatment Jews were used to in Europe, Dhimmi status was incredibly welcoming and a nice
change of pace from all the torture and burning and expulsions they had suffered for so long.
Islam also guaranteed the right to property for the Dhimma, another right that was not in place in Europe - in old Europe, Christians were allowed to
take the property of Jews with no recourse. How many times did the kings, princes, and church authorities of Europe steal Jewish property? Countless
times. How many times did Islam do this? None to my knowledge.
I'll say it again, if you want to compare traditional Islam with modern values - they are quite obviously lacking, but if you want to compare
traditional Islam with traditional Christianity, you'll see the former offered more rights, less persecution, and was generally more welcoming to
Why do you think Jews fled Europe for the Middle East? Because the crusaders didn't care how tall their houses were, or whether they were praying
loudly, they were interested in one thing and one thing only - genocide; the complete and utter extermination of Jews wherever they were found. Jews
were expelled from Europe on multiple occasions by force, thrown out or tortured and killed simply for being Jewish.
There were a few places in medieval Europe where they were more or less accepted and free to live and worship as they chose, but those safe havens
were few and far between.
Muslims saw Jews as fellows (second-class citizens yes, but citizens
nonetheless, brothers in submission before God, not slaves to the state),
whereas Christians saw Jews as the devil incarnate. Big difference.
You think Muslims were more intolerant than medieval Christians? Under Islam, Jews had rights - you can't say the same for Medieval Europe, where
Jews and non-Christians in general had NO RIGHTS! Islam guaranteed that Jews had protection from violence and theft, they were allowed to worship in
their own way (with exceptions intended to stop them from converting others), they were alowed to pursue the vocation of their choice, and they were
allowed to appoint their own community leaders.
If you want to continue this argument, I'd be happy to do so, but there's not much point to it, really. Saying medieval Europe was tolerant of Jews
is like claiming the sky is neon green.
Once again, Dhimmi status is not in line with modern ideas of equality, but at the time it was the equivalent of the emancipation proclamation - it
was a huge leap forward as far as the Jews were concerned. If I was a Jew living in medieval times, I would most certainly prefer Dhimmi status over
being robbed, tortured, chased around the sub-continent, before finally being burned alive in a giant pit with the rest of my community.
[edit on 31-12-2006 by WyrdeOne]