The Jizya, Part III

November 1, 2009

Having laid out the moral depravity of the jizya and the jizya’s basis in Islamic texts, some readers may question whether the jizya isn’t a mere historical artifact, or a bogey man manufactured by war-on-terror hawks, that plays no real role in the world today.

The new 2009 Report on International Religious Freedom issued by the U.S. State Department last Monday should remove any doubts about the modern jizya push around the globe.  I pulled relevant passages for several countries.  These are all sad accounts which speak for themselves:


In April 2009 the Taliban began to extort money under the guise of a jizya tax (traditionally a tax on non-Muslims paid in exchange for government protection) in Orakzai Agency, FATA. In response to extortion and attacks, some members of the Sikh community fled the area after paying approximately $240,000 (20 million rupees) as jizya tax after the Taliban forcibly occupied their homes and kidnapped a Sikh leader, Kalyan Singh.

On April 22, 2009, a mob attacked a Christian locality, Tiaser Town, in Karachi, Sindh, after threatening signs were posted on the walls of a church stating that Christians should either convert or pay the jizya tax. One person, Irfan Masih, was killed and three others injured in the attack; several houses belonging to Christians, shops, and three churches were ransacked. The attacks came amid fears of growing Talibanization in Karachi, where minority groups had been subjected to violence in the past.


Christians living in Baghdad’s Doura district and in the city of Mosul also reported that Islamic extremists threatened to kill them unless they converted, left, or paid a jizya (a tax on non-Muslims).

During a 10-day period in the beginning of October 2008, 14 Christians were killed in Mosul, prompting more than 2,000 families to flee their homes for villages in the Ninewa Plain north of the city. The attacks followed protests in which hundreds of Christians demonstrated for greater representation on the country’s local provincial councils. Leaflets were distributed in predominantly Christian neighborhoods threatening families to convert to Islam, pay the “jizyah” tax, leave the city, or be killed. Gunmen then set up checkpoints in several parts of the city, stopping vehicles in search of residents who could be identified as Christians. Local security forces did little to stop the killings, but Prime Minister Maliki sent two additional brigades of police to reassert control of the city.

In a symbolically significant event, the Chaldean archbishop of Mosul, Paulus Faraj Rahho, was kidnapped on February 29, 2008, for failing to pay protection money or “jizya” to Islamic insurgents. The archbishop died while in captivity.


In July 2008 Catholic Bishop Martin Jumoad of Isabela, Basilan and other Catholics reportedly received letters from self-described ‘Muslim warriors’ possibly linked to the ASG [Abu Sayyaf Group], threatening harm if the Catholics did not convert to Islam or pay “Islamic taxes.”

Two final notes: 

  1. Clearly, the report was not compiled by anti-jihad stalwarts like Tom Tancredo, Robert Spencer, and Geert Wilders, but by government employees in the Obama administration.  Like many government reports, the language tends to be guarded and understated.  Also, it is likely that only fully documented instances or complaints of religious persecution made their way into this report.  The prevalence of the jizya—or threats to pay the jizya—is even more widespread, more frequent, more virulent, and more humiliating than laid out in this report.
  2. What’s so striking about almost all the accounts is the common thread of threats against non-Muslims to convert to Islam, pay the jizya, or be killed.  As Money Jihad laid out yesterday, that is precisely the same formulation set forth in the canonical Hadith Sahih Muslim Book 19, Number 4294.  In many respects it is unfortunate that the State Department report is divided into countries rather than themes, because the convert-pay-die formulation is not a Pakistani, Iraqi, or Philippino formulation; it is an Islamic one.

The jizya of the Koran and Hadith, which has been imposed throughout the history of the Islamic caliphates, is alive and resurgent today.  The jizya is quite possibly the foulest tax on earth, and it must be exposed, condemned, and refused at every turn.

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