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Related to Dhimma: Fatimid caliphate, Saadia Gaon


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

When Muhammad launched his aggressive push to spread Islam throughout the world, his armies were instructed to allow people in conquered cities the freedom to continue their religion, especially if they were "people of the book"—Jews and Christians.

Theoretically, non-Muslims still have the right to practice their religion in Muslim-controlled societies. These people are called dhimmi (pronounced de-hem-ee).

With the resurgence of radical, fundamentalist Islam in some Near Eastern countries, however, dhimmi have sometimes found it difficult to insist on their legal rights when faced by angry mobs, cultural pressures, or repressive regimes. With Muslim rulers focusing their rhetoric on the "devil" of American materialism and imperialism, it becomes difficult to control the actions of fervent, religious zealots who consider it their duty to defend their faith and way of life by focusing their anger on targets close at hand.

This problem is not limited to Islam. Jews, especially, have been victims of similar cultural forces, and witches and American Indians can attest to the same kind of persecution at the hands of Christians.