Middle East studies in the News
A Muslim Yellow Badge of Moral Cretinism [on Bahar Davary]
by Andrew Bostom
Bahar Davary, an Iranian-American associate professor of theology and religious studies at the University of San Diego, doth protest far too much.
The good professor blithely ignores readily discernible contemporary U.S. trends, i.e., FBI data that for over a decade have consistently shown that anti-Semitic "hate crimes" occur at least five times more often than alleged "anti-Muslim hate crimes." A purported "scholar," Davary compounds this offense by heinously expropriating the Nazi yellow Star of David, imposed upon Jews in Hitler's Germany, as part of an orchestrated "silent protest" with some 100 students and faculty donning yellow stars enclosing a crescent moon and marked "Muslim."
What it symbolizes is that there have been people who have been made to be the "other" throughout history.
"Made to be the other," by Islam, indeed. At least 1100 years before the Nazi era, Jews -- and other non-Muslims -- were victimized by aggressive jihad wars which expropriated their lands and replaced their governing systems with Sharia. Those who survived these mass murderous conquests were subjugated under the Sharia, per Koran 9:29, and "humbled/subjected/brought low." Perhaps the clearest outward manifestations of this mandated, "sacralized" inferiority of the vanquished non-Muslim "dhimmis" (per the "dhimma," or "pact" of submission, violated on pain of death by renewed jihad) were the prohibitions regarding dhimmi dress codes and the demands that distinguishing signs be placed on the entrances of dhimmi houses.
During the Abbasid Caliphates of Harun al-Rashid (r. 786-809 A.D.) and al-Mutawwakil (r. 847-861 A.D.), Jews (and Christians) were required to wear yellow patches attached to their garments. Subsequently, to differentiate further between Christians and Jews, the Christians were required to wear blue.
In 850, consistent with Koranic verses associating them with Satan and Hell (5:72;16:63; 58:19), al-Mutawwakil decreed that Jews and Christians attach wooden images of devils to the doors of their homes to distinguish them from the homes of Muslims.
But of especial relevance to Iranian-American professor Davary's morally cretinous hypocrisy are the practices of Shiite Iran, which extended into the modern era. From the advent of the Iranian Shiite theocracy in 1501, the profoundly influential Shi'ite clerical elite have emphasized the notion of the spiritual and physical uncleanliness (najis) of Jews in particular, but also of Christians, Zoroastrians, and others as the cornerstone of inter-confessional relationships towards Iran's non-Muslims. Non-Muslims' spiritual impurity was linked in concrete and indelible ways to their physical impurity.
Professor Laurence Loeb's seminal 1977 analysis of dhimmi Jews in Shiiite Persia/Iran documented the social impact of najis regulations, beginning with the implementation of:
... a badge of shame [as] an identifying symbol which marked someone as a najis Jew and thus to be avoided. From the reign of Abbas I [1587—1629] until the 1920s, all Jews were required to display the badge.
With regard to dress, specifically, the stipulations of Al-Majlisi (d. 1699) -- the Ayatollah Khomeini of his era, and most influential Shiite cleric of the Safavid theocracy in Persia -- from his late 17th century treatise on non-Muslims (revealingly entitled, "Lightning Bolts Against the Jews"), are consistent with these millennial trends:
[I]it is appropriate that the ruler of the Muslims imposed upon them clothing that would distinguish them from Muslims so that they would not resemble Muslims. It is customary for Jews to wear yellow clothes while Christians wear black and dark blue ones. Christians [also] wear a girdle on their waists, and Jews sew a piece of silk of a different color on the front part of their clothes.
A compilation of late 19th through early 20th century American diplomatic actions (and related correspondence) affecting the Jews independently confirms the prevailing conditions for Persian Jews, which persisted over the intervening three centuries and included the odious imposition of najis-inspired "Jew-badging" in Iran:
[F]or centuries, the Persian Jews had been kept at such a low condition as to have become inarticulate. They did not dare to complain against the ruling authorities for fear of aggravating a condition already bad enough. As late as 1894 the Jews of Persia had to wear a patch on their clothes to signify their origin. Jews who, as a result of continuous persecution, changed their religion and were converted to Mohammedanism or Christianity, soon discovered that their situation did not improve because of their conversion. And it is because of the continued discrimination against Jewish converts that the Jewish question in Persia first appeared in the United States diplomatic correspondence.
Following a relatively brief hiatus under the Pahlavi reign (marked by efforts at both secularization and pre-Islamic revival from 1925-1979), the Khomeini-inspiredrestoration of a Shi'ite theocracy in Iran has been accompanied, predictably, by a revival of najis regulations.
Ayatollah Khomeini stated explicitly: "Non-Muslims of any religion or creed are najis." The so-called reformist Green Movement's spiritual leader, Iranian Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri (d. 2009), further elaborated that a non-Muslim's (kafir's) impurity was "a political order from Islam and must be adhered to by the followers of Islam, and the goal [was] to promote general hatred toward those who are outside Muslim circles."
This "hatred" was to assure that Muslims would not succumb to corrupt, i.e., non-Islamic, thoughts.
The dehumanizing practical impact of najis regulations was again observable at points of contact between Muslims and non-Muslims -- wherever non-Muslims owned or operated businesses or manufacturing facilities whose personnel or products might "pollute" Muslims. For example (see this), shops that sold sandwiches or bakery goods (foodstuffs associated with minorities) were forced to display signs stating "especially for minorities."
Eliz Sanasarian's important study of Iranian non-Muslim religious minorities during the first two decades after 1979 provides a striking illustration of the practical impact of this renewed najis consciousness:
In the case of the CocaCola plant, for example, the owner (an Armenian) fled the country, the factory was confiscated, and Armenian workers were fired. Several years later, the family members were allowed to oversee the daily operations of the plant, and Armenians were allowed to work at the clerical level; however, the production workers remained Muslim. Armenian workers were never rehired on the grounds that non-Muslims should not touch the bottles or their contents, which may be consumed by Muslims.
Thus, if formal badging requirements for Iran's non-Muslims were ever re-implemented, these measures would simply mark the further retrogression of Iran's non-Muslim religious minorities, completing in full their descent to a pre-1925 status.
Professor Davary's reprehensible campaign wantonly negates this ongoing, chronic Jewish and broader non-Muslim oppression under Islam while cynically expropriating Holocaust symbolism. Her revolting actions are abetted by the ignorance, sheer stupidity, and moral turpitude of our sorry media, academic, political, and religious elites.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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