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The Yellow Badge

The image you see above is entitled “Yellow star from occupied France” and is a photograph taken by Olve Utne (CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=822921). The yellow star is a cloth patch that, up close, appears to have been cut off some garment or article of clothes. The word in the center of the patch, “Juif,” is a Jewish word in French for a Jewish male.


The history behind this yellow badge (or patch) starts with the German occupation of France during World War II. Initially introduced in 1939 in Poland, the German Reich made the yellow patch obligatory in 1941 that Jews were to wear the yellow Jewish star while in any territory occupied by the German Reich. They used the badge to humiliate, segregate, and control the movement of all Jews over seven years old. As the Germans conquered more territory, the Jews were deported to ghettos and concentration camps. To this day, the yellow badge is regarded as a symbol of the Holocaust.


So, why do I bring this topic up now? Just a few days ago, May 28, 2021, to be exact, the owner of a hat shop in Nashville, Tennessee, posted on her Instagram account that they now had yellow patches with the words “NOT VACCINATED” in the center of the patch. Many people believe the Covid 19 vaccines are dangerous and lack sufficient testing; thus, a significant underground populace refuses to get vaccinated. The yellow patches were for people not afraid to be recognized as not taking the vaccine. As it turns out, the yellow patches were identical to the yellow Star of David above but with different wording. Several people responded that the yellow patch desecrated the memory of all victims of the Holocaust. People even picketed the store. The store’s owner deleted the original Instagram post and, in a later post, apologized for her “insensitivity.” Using that particular design was probably insensitive to people who had experienced the Holocaust. However, more than likely, most young people today are unfamiliar with the yellow badge and its history.


Most people may not even know that the Germans “borrowed” this method of intimidation from another ruler who used it on the Jews. Forcing people to wear large badges of ethnic identification goes back almost 1,300 years to Muhammad. Here is an excerpt from my unpublished manuscript, Muslim Mechanics, explaining how the yellow badge evolved.


In most countries that are predominately Islamic, there are communities of non-Muslims. This mixing of religions has been the case since Islam began spreading its message in the last half of the seventh century. A 1,000 years later, in the late seventeenth century, the Ottoman Empire was more significant than the Roman Empire ever was, ranging from Austria in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Central, and South Asia, and beyond. Islamic armies rolled through these areas seizing land and people. When they came, the people were either killed, became slaves, became regular citizens by converting to Islam, or became second-class citizens who refused to change religions. Not all the population of these countries accepted Islam, but their rulers allowed them to stay and continue with their lives if they assumed the rules of Dhimmitude.


The concept of Dhimma started in AD 627 when Muhammad and his army overtook Jewish refugees at the oasis of Khaybar, north of the city of Medina. Since the Jews were monotheists, Muhammad offered them an alternative to death. If they would submit without resistance and pay tribute to the Muslim community, they could continue to live as Jews. After Muhammad’s demise, the Dhimmi principle expanded as more and more cities and territories capitulated to Islam. It became embedded in Islamic law when the second caliph, Umar, offered the inhabitants of Jerusalem a pact upon capturing that city in 638. Under sharia, captured civilians and their offspring are considered prisoners of war. They can be designated as Dhimmi only if they conform to the terms and conditions of Dhimmitude. If they breach the agreement, they revert to prisoner status. Dhimmis were free to worship in their manner but could not proselytize, build new houses of worship, make a public display of their religion, rule over Muslims, or own Muslim slaves. They could not ride horses or camels but could ride mules; the local government prohibited them from owning guns, and they had to wear distinctive clothing so Muslim citizens could recognize them and not mix with them. An eleventh-century chronicler wrote that “the Caliph of Baghdad… imposed that each male Jew should wear a yellow badge on his headgear.” Nazi Germany eerily reintroduced Star of David badges for Jews in 1939 as the Third Reich spread across Europe.



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