Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude, and Freedom

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude, and Freedom

Article excerpt

The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude, and Freedom. By Mark Durie. Melbourne, Aus.: Deror Books, 2010. 270pp. $38 ($19.95 paper).

Durie, an Anglican pastor and an accomplished scholar of issues involving Christianity and Islam, has produced a reasoned, comprehensive, and well-written book that is particularly apt for readers lacking an extensive background in Islam.

His title comes from the three choices that the classic religious texts of Islam offer "peoples of the book": Convert to Islam, perish by the sword, or accept a second-class status, which modern analysts call dhimmitude. This last choice renders Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians subject to heavy social, legal, and economic discrimination enforced by the ruling Muslims and implying a status of perpetual humiliation.

The book's first half clarifies the theological underpinnings of dhimmitude. Durie debunks some myths about Islam, such as the idea that jihad does not mean war but rather spirituality. He discusses the concept of abrogation in the Qur' an, used by Muslim exegetes to explain away seeming contradictions within the text. …

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