by Jerry Gordon (October 2011)
I first encountered Gisèle Littman, better known as “Bat Ye’or,” through her book, The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam while browsing through a Judaica section of a Barnes & Noble book store in Westport, Connecticut in 1985. Reading it opened my mind to the historical evidence of the subjugated treatment of Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims under shari’a in the wake of Islamic Jihad over conquered lands. Her book threw into considerable doubt the then fashionable medievalist commentary that Jews and Christians had been well treated in Al Andaluz, Muslim Spain and in the far reaches of the Caliphate of the Ottoman Empire. Bat Ye’or’s penetrating historical analysis in The Dhimmi was followed by further investigations into the plight of Christians under the system of Islamic shari’a “dhimmitude.” Dhimmitude as an historical concept, was coined by Bat Ye’or in 1983 to describe the legal and social conditions of Jews and Christians subjected to Islamic rule. The word dhimmitude comes from dhimmi, an Arabic word meaning “protected.” Bat Ye’or, through her latter writings plumbed the depths of Islamization of Europe with her major work, Eurabia: The Euro Arab Axis and the recently published, Europe Globalization and the Coming Universal Caliphate. See our review in this edition.