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Posted on Dec 27, 2006 at 08:33 AM

Asslamo Allaikum, Screws are gradually being tightened on the Muslims living under the Non-Muslim regimes throughout the world & it is becoming difficult to practise Islam. Let?s take a quick tour of history to see how things were when it was the other way around i.e. Non-Muslims living under the Islamic rule?Off course it all started from none other then the Messenger of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam), himself? Prophet Muhammad's Charter of Privileges to Christians (Letter to the Monks of St. Catherine Monastery): In 628 C.E. Prophet Muhammad (s) granted a Charter of Privileges to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai. It consisted of several clauses covering all aspects of human rights including such topics as the protection of Christians, freedom of worship and movement, freedom to appoint their own judges and to own and maintain their property, exemption from military service, and the right to protection in war. An English translation of that document is presented here: This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims' houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God's covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world). This charter of privileges has been honoured and faithfully applied by Muslims throughout the centuries in all lands they ruled. Damascus: The Muslim leader Khalid ibn al-Walid signed a treaty which read as follows: This is what Khalid ibn al-Walid would grant to the inhabitants of Damascus if he enters therein: he promises to give them security for their lives, property and churches. Their city wall shall not be demolished, neither shall any Muslim be quartered in their houses. Thereunto we give them the pact of Allah and the protection of His Prophet, the caliphs and the believers. So long as they pay the poll tax, nothing but good shall befall them. Syria & the impact of Damascus Treaty: In Syria, many Christians who had been involved in bitter theological disputes with Byzantine authorities- and persecuted for it- welcomed the coming of Islam as an end to tyranny Egypt: Most of Egypt was made part of the Islamic Empire by signing various peace treaties (except in Alexandria) by 'Amr ibn al-'As (RA) in a daring march across the Sinai Peninsula while simultaneously engaging the Byzantines. The Coptic Christians not only welcomed the Arabs, but enthusiastically assisted them (against the Byzantines) because of their religious tolerance. Jerusalem: The Muslim Caliph Umar bin Khattab (RA) signed a peace treaty (when he had an army ready and opportunity to enter and take the city by force) which read as follows (Summary given): "In the name of Allah the merciful and compassionate, this is the writ of protection [aman] which the servant of God, Omar, commander of the faithful, gives to the people of Aelia [the usual name for Jerusalem in the early Muslim period]... for their souls, their property, their churches, their crosses, the sick and the healthy, and their whole community..." The treaty contained several clauses: (1) security for life and property; (2) security for the churches and for ritual worship; (3) a ban on Jewish residence in the city; (4) obligation to pay tax (jizah); (5) freedom to choose whether to remain in the city and pay the tax as stipulated, or to leave in safety.? Jerusalem & Salahuddin: In 1187 CE, Salahuddin conquered Jerusalem. Thousands of Crusaders were arrested. However, when their mothers, sisters, and wives appealed to Salahuddin, he released them. Many crusaders were ransomed. However, he paid for many of them. In addition, he provided them transport, etc. He allowed neither massacre nor looting. He gave free pardon to all citizens. He even arranged for their traveling. He granted freedom to Christians to leave the city if they paid a small tribute. Salahuddin paid it, himself, for about ten thousand poor people. His brother paid it for seven thousand people. Salahuddin also allocated one of the gates of the city for people who were too poor to pay anything that they leave from there. Spain & Turkey: In Spain under the Umayyads and in Baghdad under the Abbasid Khalifas, Christians and Jews, equally with Muslims, were admitted to the Schools and universities - not only that, but were boarded and lodged in hostels at the cost of the state. When the Moors were driven out of Spain, the Christian conquerors held a terrific persecution of the Jews. Those who were fortunate enough to escape fled, some of them to Morocco and many hundreds to the Turkish empire, where their descendants still live in separate communities, and still speak among themselves an antiquated form of Spanish. The Muslim empire was a refuge for all those who fled from persecution by the Inquisition. When the news of expulsion reached the Ottoman Empire, the Sultan (Emperor) Beyazit II issued a decree to welcome the Jews. A significant portion of those expelled thus came to Ottoman Empire and settled mostly in European parts of the Empire. The Turkish Jews are also identified as Sephardic Jews. This derives from the word Sepharad which in Hebrew means Spain. Until World War I the Land of Israel also known as Palestine, remained under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. During this period the Jewish population in this region lived as loyal subjects of the greater Ottoman Empire. After World War I, the British Empire gained control of Transjordan and Palestine which ended in 1948 with the declaration of independence of the State of Israel. In pre World War II times Turkish government issued a decree prohibiting entry visas to Jews escaping the Nazi regime (for one of the best accounts of this period see Bali's book in the books section). Yet some Turkish diplomats in foreign countries worked hard to help Jews escape from deportation to concentration and death camps. Yad VaShem, Holocaust Memorial Institute in Israel awarded the medal of "The Righteous Among the Nations" to the Turkish ambassador Mr. Selahattin Ulkumen, for saving Jews of the Greek island Rhodes while risking his own life. One of the tragic cases took place in 1942. A ship named Struma carrying 769 Jewish refugees arrived in Istanbul. Its passengers were not granted permit to land and had to sail back to the Black and it was sunk by an explosion probably by a submarine (see full story). In contrast to the policy of entry prohibition against refugees, the Turkish government decree left the doors open to Jewish scientists who came to Turkey. By first hand account I have heard stories of Turkish scientists honoring their German Jewish teachers who escaped to Turkey and taught in universities in Istanbul. During World War II, the Sephardic communities in Turkey and Bulgaria were the only communities that did not suffer the Nazi Holocaust, thanks to the wisdom of the leaders of these countries. In contrast, nearly the entire Sephardic Jewish community of Greece was killed during World War II by the Nazi death machine. After World War II, while the British rule tried to prevent the movement of the Jewish refugees into Israel, the modern day Turkish republic allowed its Jewish citizens freely to emigrate to Israel without punishing the people even though the land now called Israel was ruled by Turks (Muslims)! India: Of all the Muslim rulers who ruled vast territories of India from 712 to 1857 CE, probably no one has received as much condemnation from Western and Hindu writers as Aurangzeb. Historian Shri Sharma states that while Emperor Akbar had fourteen Hindu Mansabdars (high officials) in his court, Aurangzeb actually had 148 Hindu high officials in his court. (Ref: Mughal Government) But this fact is somewhat less known. Interestingly, the 1946 edition of the history textbook Etihash Parichaya (Introduction to History) used in Bengal for the 5th and 6th graders states: "If Aurangzeb had the intention of demolishing temples to make way for mosques, there would not have been a single temple standing erect in India. On the contrary, Aurangzeb donated huge estates for use as Temple sites and support thereof in Benares, Kashmir and elsewhere. The official documentations for these land grants are still extant." A stone inscription in the historic Balaji or Vishnu Temple, located north of Chitrakut Balaghat, still shows that it was commissioned by the Emperor himself. The proof of Aurangzeb's land grant for famous Hindu religious sites in Kasi, Varanasi can easily be verified from the deed records extant at those sites. The same textbook reads: "During the fifty year reign of Aurangzeb, not a single Hindu was forced to embrace Islam. He did not interfere with any Hindu religious activities." (p. 138) Alexander Hamilton, a British historian, toured India towards the end of Aurangzeb's fifty year reign and observed that every one was free to serve and worship God in his own way. I can go on & on & on?But will stop here for the sake of brevity because I just wanted people to read History... Before critic

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