A Dhimmi is a historical term referring to a non-Muslim member of a Muslim society. Under Islamic (Sharia) law non-Muslims living in Muslim majority societies were given a special status of “residency in exchange for taxes.”

For Jews living in Muslim societies as Dhimmi, they were afforded a protected status provided they recognized the supremacy of Islam expressed in the payment both of poll taxes and obedience to  a series of restrictions.  These restrictions usually involved the clothing worn by Jews, the animals they were allowed to ride and the prohibition of their ability to bear arms. Synagogues were not permitted to be built higher than the mosques nearby.

An example of a restriction put on a Jewish community due to it’s Dhimmi status was the first yellow stars worn by the Jews of Baghdad in the 9th century imposed on them by a local Caliph, or Muslim ruler.

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