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(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.

The Religion Book: Places, Prophets, Saints, and Seers © 2004 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
During the rule of Caliph Ali (RA), a Muslim murdered a zimmi, and when the charge was proved, the Caliph ordered the execution of the murderer.
There were rules in this game that everyone, even sultans and grand viziers, much less zimmi (non-Muslim) tax farmers, had to respect.
In Islamic terminology, such non-Muslims are called Zimmis (the covenanted), implying that the Islamic state has entered into a covenant with them and guaranteed their protection.
So far we have referred to those inalienable rights which must necessarily be bestowed upon the Zimmis by an Islamic State, as they have been conferred upon them by the Islamic Shariah.
The Zimmis will never be compelled to adopt a belief contrary to their conscience and it will be perfectly within their constitutional rights if they refuse to act against their conscience or creed, so long as they do not violate the law of the land .
Religious leaders rejected it as an untenable break with the zimmi tradition.
It means remaining silent about the anti-democratic nature of forced veiling and other restrictions on non-Muslim women, who together with men are treated as zimmi in the laws of the Islamic Republic.
The word zimmi (the Persian variant of the Arabic dhimmi), was used in early Islam to refer to a non-Muslim subject who paid capital tax to the Muslim ruler in exchange for protection and safety.