Malaysiakini News

Pope Benedict, Islam and violence

Dr Mazeni Alwi  |  Published:  |  Modified:

When the Christians of Jerusalem decided to give in to the Muslim army that had been laying siege to the city under the command of Amr bin Al As (RA), they set a condition that Caliph Umar (RA) must come in person to sign the peace treaty.

Umar and his attendant had only one camel and they took turns to ride from Medina to Jerusalem. He approached the city peacefully and by foot, to be cordially received by its Christian guardian, Bishop Sephronious.

Umar signed the peace treaty with the rulers of Jerusalem which reads: "This is the protection which the servant of God, Umar, the Ruler of Believers, has granted to the people of Jerusalem. The protection is for their lives and property, their churches and crosses, their sick and healthy and for all their co-religionists.

"Their churches shall not be used for habitation, nor shall they be demolished, nor shall any injury be done to them. There shall be no compulsion for these people in the matter of religion, nor shall any of them suffer any injury on account of religion. The people of Jerusalem must pay the poll tax like the people of other cities and they must expel the Byzantines and the robbers."

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