As of several days ago, there are no Jews left in Afghanistan: Zabulon Simantov, 62, has departed from his home in Kabul and is headed for the United States. According to the Jerusalem Post, “despite the recent takeover of Afghanistan by the extremist Taliban movement, Simantov had refused to leave the country and had said he was not worried by the new regime. In recent days however, he became increasingly concerned by the threat to his life from the Afghan branch of Islamic State and other terrorist groups, and finally decided to leave.” With his departure, the 1500-year presence of Jews in Afghanistan has come to an end.
That the Islamic State, and possibly also the Taliban, despite Simantov’s insouciance regarding the group, would target an aging lone Jewish man is no surprise. The Jews in the Qur’an are called the strongest of all people in enmity toward the Muslims (5:82); they fabricate things and falsely ascribe them to Allah (2:79; 3:75, 3:181); they claim that Allah’s power is limited (5:64); they love to listen to lies (5:41); they disobey Allah and never observe his commands (5:13). They are disputing and quarreling (2:247); hiding the truth and misleading people (3:78); staging rebellion against the prophets and rejecting their guidance (2:55); being hypocritical (2:14, 2:44); giving preference to their own interests over the teachings of Muhammad (2:87); wishing evil for people and trying to mislead them (2:109); feeling pain when others are happy or fortunate (3:120); being arrogant about their being Allah’s beloved people (5:18); devouring people’s wealth by subterfuge (4:161); slandering the true religion and being cursed by Allah (4:46); killing the prophets (2:61); being merciless and heartless (2:74); never keeping their promises or fulfilling their words (2:100); being unrestrained in committing sins (5:79); being cowardly (59:13-14); being miserly (4:53); being transformed into apes and pigs for breaking the Sabbath (2:63-65; 5:59-60; 7:166); and more. They are under Allah’s curse (9:30), and Muslims should wage war against them and subjugate them under Islamic hegemony (9:29).
Of course, the Qur’an has been in Afghanistan since the seventh century, and Jews have been there even longer than that, so how can I say that Zabulon Simantov has had to flee the country now because of Qur’anic dictates? How did Jews live peacefully in the country (there were over 5,000 there as late as 1948) for so long even while it was ruled and dominated by believers in the Qur’an, and only now have been completely driven out of the country?
As The History of Jihad explains, the answer lies in the Islamic legal system of dhimmitude—the second-class status mandated for non-Muslims under the rule of Islamic law. The “People of the Book,” that is, primarily Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians, are allowed to continue practicing their religions under Sharia rule as long as they submit to the Muslim rulers and accept various humiliating and discriminatory regulations: they cannot hold authority over a Muslim, or build their houses of worship higher than those of the Muslims; they must get off a sidewalk to allow a Muslim to pass; they may not criticize Islam or even bemoan their own plight; and more. If the subjugated people, the dhimmis, do not obey these restrictions, their “contract of protection” (dhimma) is revoked, and they can lawfully be killed.
Jews in Afghanistan adhered to these rules for centuries, but after the Ottoman Empire abolished them under Western pressure in the mid-nineteenth century, they fell into abeyance in many other areas of the Islamic world. The Islamic State, however, is determined to reimpose the fullness of Islamic law everywhere it can; if Zabulon Simantov was not disposed to submit to them, as appears likely, then he had to be killed.
The History of Jihad illustrates how the dhimmi laws gradually wore down and extinguished the non-Muslim majorities in countries such as Egypt, Syria, Iran, and others. In all of those countries, there is a tiny remnant of what once had been large and dominant non-Muslim communities. Faced with the strictures and institutionalized harassment of dhimmitude, many of these non-Muslims opted to convert to Islam. In most cases, conversion immediately removed all the humiliation and discrimination the convert had had to live with as a non-Muslim, and opened the way to all manner of personal and professional advancement that would not otherwise have been possible. That’s how Egypt went from being a Christian country, and Iran a Zoroastrian country, to being overwhelmingly majority Muslim countries with tiny non-Muslim populations.
Zabulon Simantov always had the option of converting to Islam and continuing to live in Afghanistan. He chose instead to leave the country and live out his days as a Jew. His departure from Afghanistan is a silent witness to the nature of Islamic law, which Western analysts have lied to themselves and to the world about for twenty years now, and continue to do so. Meanwhile, Western leaders are bringing into their countries tens of thousands of Afghans, many of whom would likely be happy to do violence to Zabulon Simantov for the crime of being a Jew. Once again: what could possibly go wrong?