The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

Lee Smith: Middle East Expert

Lee Smith has not read Ussami Makdisi’s excellent book “Culture of Sectarianism” it seems. From his piece in Tablet:

“Nor did sectarianism begin, as many believe it did, with the age of European colonialism, or with the Ottomans. While the French, the British, and the Ottomans hardly played constructive roles in taming the region’s sectarian furies, the problem goes back much further, at least to the Arab conquest of what we have come to call the Arabic-speaking Middle East.

The pact of Omar, named for Omar ibn al-Khattab, the second caliph after Muhammad, stipulated the various laws and restrictions under which non-Muslims would be allowed to conduct their affairs. Their relative freedom, or burden, depended on the disposition of the particular caliph or the local authorities, but their legal status was never equal to that of Muslims. They were protected people, known as dhimmis”

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Written by nickbiddlenoe

July 4, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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