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    Default Photographer reveals how Muslims saved Jews from the Nazis

    Photographer reveals how Muslims saved Jews from the Nazis

    by Martin Shipton - Jan 26 2011

    An audience in Wales will be told tonight of one of the most extraordinary acts of humanitarianism seen anywhere in wartime Europe – the rescue of 2,000 Jews from Nazi persecution by a group of Albanian Muslims. Martin Shipton reports

    AN extraordinary and largely forgotten piece of history will be commemorated tonight when two Welsh communities come together to hear about a group of Muslims who rescued Jews from Nazi persecution.

    American photographer Norman Gershman will be at Cardiff University to talk about his investigation into how the lives of 2,000 Jews were saved by Muslims in Albania in 1942 and 1943.

    The event, hosted jointly by the Muslim Council of Wales and the university’s Jewish Society, is being seen as an historic occasion aimed at creating greater understanding between adherents of the two faiths in Wales.

    Gershman’s book Besa is named after the Albanian honour code which obliges individuals to protect anyone in danger, regardless of all religious and political affiliations.

    He said: “When I first learned of the WWII rescue of Jews in Muslim Albania and Kosovo my reaction was visceral. Muslims who saved Jews?

    “I must record this forgotten event with my camera and tell the story through the various family histories I was to meet.

    “As a Jew and a Sufi, my spiritual connection with the beauty of Islam and Judaism is seamless.

    “The old adage of a picture is worth a thousand words is manifested in our photographic project.

    “For over six years I have been travelling to Muslim Albania and Kosovo documenting and doing portraits of Muslim families that saved Jews in World War Two.

    “Although Besa is a traditional Albanian code of honour, many Muslim families have incorporated Besa into their religious beliefs and often were inspired by their faith in saving Jews from the Nazis.

    “The rescue of Jews in Albania was a unique experience in Holocaust history, as Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler were welcomed not as refugees but as guests.

    “I always made it a point to thank those Muslim families I photographed for the saving of Jews during those harrowing times.”

    One of the survivors, Dr Scarlett Epstein, spoke at an event in the House of Lords on Monday. She said: “I owe my survival to Albania and the generosity of its Muslim people.

    “No country was prepared to offer my family and I asylum from the horrors of the Holocaust, except Albania.

    “The Muslim Albanians welcomed us warmly which came as an extraordinary relief after having experienced the excesses of Nazi persecution.”

    The reason the story has only emerged recently is because Albania was cocooned for 50 years by a xenophobic dictatorship that permitted its citizens no contact with the outside world.

    Remona Aly, campaigns director of the Exploring Islam Foundation, which is helping promote Gershman’s book, said: “We want to show how Islam promotes diversity and co-existence and has no tolerance of anti-Semitism. The message of this project is more vital now than ever before.

    “Tensions in the Middle East need to be separated from the common shared theological heritage and values of the two faiths, and history of peace and solidarity between Islam and Judaism. Denying the Holocaust undermines the principles of Islam and through this campaign we hope to voice our solidarity with the aims and objectives of Holocaust Memorial Day.”

    Gershman’s book documents the stories of many Muslim Albanians who looked after Jews.

    Albanians gave them clothes and Muslim names, and rather than hiding them in the attic treated them as part of the family.

    One of the Albanians photographed by Gershman, Rifat Hoxha, said: “I was born after the war. My father only told me of his rescue of a Jewish family shortly before he died, when I was 17.

    “In 1944, under the German occupation, my parents sheltered the family of Nesim Hallagyem, his wife Sara and their son Aron.

    “They were refugees from Bulgaria who stayed with my parents for six months.

    “There were times of great danger when Germans went from house to house seeking Jews.

    “Towards the end of the occupation my father escorted Nesim and his family to the port city of Durres, where they embarked as refugees hopeful of gaining access to Palestine.

    “Just before leaving, Nesim entrusted to my father three beautifully bound books in Hebrew to keep for him until he could retrieve them.

    “After the war my father did receive a letter from Nesim saying he and his family were safely in Palestine.

    “This was during the Communist period in Albania when any correspondence from abroad was considered a crime subject to arrest.

    “My father was prohibited from answering the letter and that was the last time there was any communication.”

    Saleem Kidwai, secretary of the Muslim Council of Wales, said: “This is a very important piece of history that shows how people will selflessly help others out of pure humanity.”

    Danielle Morashti, joint president of the Jewish Society at Cardiff University, said: “Until contacted by the Muslim Council of Wales, I had no idea this happened.

    “It deserves to be much better known.”

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    This is a really great story, thank you for sharing!
    Last edited by islamirama; Feb-3-2018 at 04:57 PM. Reason: removed post quote

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    Default Jews and Islam

    Expulsion of Jewish Tribe Bani An-Nadir from Madina

    The End that Bani An-Nadir suffered

    Allah said: "He it is Who drove out the disbelievers among the People of the Scripture" referring to the Jewish tribe of Bani An-Nadir, according to Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Az-Zuhri and several others. When the Messenger of Allah migrated to Al-Madinah, he made a peace treaty with the Jews stipulating that he would not fight them and they would not fight him. They soon betrayed the treaty that they made with Allah’s Messenger. Therefore, Allah sent His torment down on them; it can never be averted, and His appointed destiny touched them; it can never be resisted.

    The Prophet forced them to evacuate and abandon their fortified forts that Muslims did not think they would ever control. The Jews thought that their fortifications will save them from Allah’s torment, but they did not help them against Allah in the least. Then, that which they did not expect came to them from Allah, and Allah’s Messenger forced them to leave Al-Madinah. Some of them went to Adhri`at in the area of Ash-Sham, which is the area of the grand Gathering and Resurrection, while others went to Khaybar. The Prophet allowed them to evacuate their forts and take whatever their camels could carry. They destroyed the property that they could not carry. This is why Allah the Exalted said: "they demolished their own dwellings with their own hands and the hands of the believers; Then take admonition, O you with eyes" meaning, “Contemplate the end of those who defied Allah’s command, contradicted His Messenger and denied His Book. See how Allah’s humiliating torment struck them in this life, as well as, the painful torment that Allah has reserved for them in the Hereafter.”

    Abu Dawud recorded that `Abdur-Rahman bin Ka`b bin Malik said that one of the Prophet’s Companions said, “The Quraysh idolators wrote to `Abdullah bin Ubayy and those who were still worshiping idols among the tribes of Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj. The Messenger of Allah was in Al-Madinah at the time, before the battle of Badr occurred. They wrote: `You have given refuge to our citizen. We swear by Allah, you should fight him, or we will expel you or gather all our forces, until we kill your soldiers and take your women captive.’ When the news of this threat reached `Abdullah bin Ubayy and the idolators of Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj, they prepared to fight the Prophet . The news of this reached the Prophet and he went to them saying: "The threat of the Quraysh has caused you extreme anxiety! The Quraysh cannot cause you more harm than what you will cause yourselves by your actions. Do you want to fight your children and brethren" When they heard these words from the Prophet , they dispersed and the news of what happened reached the Quraysh idolators.

    After the battle of Badr, the Quraysh idolators wrote to the Jews of Al-Madinah, `You have armor and forts! You should fight our citizen or we will do such and such to you, and nothing will prevent us from acquiring your women.’ The news of this letter also reached the Prophet and Bani An-Nadir intended to betray their treaty. Bani An-Nadir sent a message to the Prophet asking him to come with thirty of his Companions to meet thirty of their rabbis half way, from either side. They said that the rabbis would listen to the Prophet and if they believe in him, the rest of Bani An-Nadir would believe. They intended to kill the Messenger, and Allah informed His Messenger of this plot before they could harm him. The next day, the Prophet gathered his forces and laid siege to their area, saying to them: "By Allah ! You will not be safe until and unless you renew your peace treaty with me." They refused to do so, and the Prophet fought them the rest of that day. The next morning, the Prophet laid siege to the tribe of Bani Qurayzah and left Bani An-Nadir alone that day.

    The Prophet ordered Bani Qurayzah to sign a new treaty of peace, and they accepted. The Prophet left Bani Qurayzah and went back to Bani An-Nadir with his forces and fought them until they agreed to surrender in return for safe passage out of Al-Madinah. Bani An-Nadir evacuated Al-Madinah and took with them all whatever their camels could carry from their furniture, including even the wood and the doors to their houses. The date trees of Bani An-Nadir were granted to the Messenger by Allah when He said "And what Allah gave as booty to His Messenger from them — for this you made no expedition with either cavalry or camelry"that is, what you earned without a fight. The Prophet divided most of their trees between the emigrants and gave to only two men who were poor from Al-Ansar. He did not give the Ansar any of it, except for these two men. The Prophet kept a part of the war booty for himself and that part of charity of the Prophet was transferred to the administration of his daughter’s children, i.e., children of Fatimah.” However, let us summarize the battle of Bani An-Nadir here. From Allah alone we seek help.

    The Reason behind the Battle of Bani An-Nadir

    After the seventy Companions whom the Prophet sent to teach the Qur’an were killed at the area of Bi’r Ma`unah, excluding `Amr bin Umayyah Ad-Damri, who killed two men from the tribe of Bani `Amir on his way back to Al-Madinah. He did not know that these two men had a promise of safe passage from Allah’s Messenger. When he went back to Al-Madinah, he told the Prophet what happened and the Prophet said: "You have killed two men, I shall pay the blood money for them." Bani An-Nadir and Bani `Amir were allies and had treaties. The Prophet asked Bani An-Nadir to help pay the blood money for the two dead men. The area of Bani An-Nadir was in a suburb of Al-Madinah, a few miles to the east. In his book of Sirah, Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar said; “Then the Messenger of Allah went to Bani An-Nadir to ask them for financial help to pay the blood money of the two men from Bani `Amir, who were killed by `Amr bin Umayyah Ad-Damri. They had a promise of safe passage from the Prophet according to the (subnarrator) Yazid bin Ruman. Bani An-Nadir and Bani `Amir had a treaty and were allies.

    When Allah’s Messenger went to Bani An-Nadir asking them for help to pay the blood money for the two men, they said, `Yes, O Abu Al-Qasim! We will help you, since you asked us for help.’ Yet, when they met each other in secret, they said, `You will not find a better chance with this man than this,’ while the Messenger of Allah was sitting next to a wall of one of their houses. They said, `Who will ascend this wall and drop a stone on this man and rid us of his trouble’ `Amr bin Jihash bin Ka`b volunteered and ascended the wall of the house to drop a stone on the Messenger .

    The Messenger of Allah was sitting with several of his Companions, such as Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Ali. The news of this plot was conveyed to the Prophet from heaven, and he stood up and went back to Al-Madinah. When the Companions thought that the Messenger was absent for a long time, they went to see where he was and saw a man coming from Al-Madinah. They asked him, and he said that he saw the Prophet enter Al-Madinah. The Messenger’s Companions went to him, and he told them the news of the betraying plot that the Jews planned against him. He ordered them to prepare for war and to march forth to Bani An-Nadir.

    The Prophet gathered his forces and marched to the area of Bani An-Nadir, who had taken refuge in their fortified forts. The Messenger ordered their date trees be cut down and burned. The Jews heralded at the Prophet, `O Muhammad! You used to forbid mischief in the earth and blame those who did it. Why is it that you had the date trees cut down and burned’ Meanwhile, `Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul, Wadi`ah, Malik bin Abi Qawqal, Suwayd, Da`is and several other men who all belonged to the tribe of Al-Khazraj bin Bani `Awf, sent a message to Bani An-Nadir saying, `Be firm and strong. We will never abandon you. If you are fought against, we will fight along with you and if you are forced to leave Al-Madinah, we will accompany you.’ The Jews waited for this claim of support, but the hypocrites did not deliver. Allah cast terror in the hearts of the Jews. They asked the Messenger to allow them safe passage out of Al-Madinah and to spare their lives. In return, they would only take what their camels could carry, except for weapons. The Prophet agreed.

    The Jews collected all the wealth their camels could transport. One of the Jews would demolish his own house around its door, so that he could carry the door on the back of his camel. Bani An-Nadir moved to Khaybar, and some of them went to Ash-Sham. They left all that remained behind for the Messenger of Allah, who had control over how it was to be divided.

    The Prophet divided it between the emigrants and none of Al-Ansar got a share, except for Sahl bin Hunayf and Abu Dujanah Simak bin Kharashah. They said that they were poor and the Messenger of Allah gave them their share. Only two men from Bani An-Nadir embraced Islam, Yamin bin Umayr bin Ka`b bin `Amr bin Jihash and Abu Sa`d bin Wahb and they saved their wealth due to their acceptance of Islam.” Ibn Ishaq continued, “Some of the offspring of Yamin narrated to me that the Messenger of Allah said to Yamin: "Have you not heard what your cousin plotted to do against me". Yamin bin `Umayr promised someone a reward if he killed his cousin `Amr bin Jihash, and someone killed him, according to their claim” Ibn Ishaq then said, “All of Surat Al-Hashr was revealed about Bani An-Nadir. ” A similar story was recorded by Yunus bin Bukayr from Ibn Ishaq.

    Allah’s statement: "He it is Who drove out the disbelievers among the People of the Scripture" refers to Bani An-Nadir, (from their homes at the first gathering). Allah said: "You did not think that they would get out." i.e., within the few days you laid siege against them. The Companions had surrounded their forts for only six days, and their forts were fortified and formidable. This is why Allah the Exalted said: "And they thought that their fortresses would defend them from Allah! But Allah reached them from a place where they expected it not." meaning, there came to them from Allah what they did not expect or anticipate.

    Allah said in another Ayah: "Those before them indeed plotted, but Allah struck at the foundation of their building, and then the roof fell down upon them, from above them, and the torment overtook them from directions they did not perceive." (16:26)

    Allah said: "and He cast terror into their hearts" means, Allah cast fear, terror and fright in their hearts, and why would that not happen to them He who was given victory, by Allah frightening his enemies the distance of a month, laid siege to them. May Allah’s peace and blessings be on the Prophet. As in Ibn Ishaq’s explanation — which preceded; (that they demolished their own dwellings with their own hands and the hands of the believers) the Jews brought down what they wanted to transport from their roofs and doors, so that they could carry them on camels. Similar was said by `Urwah bin Az-Zubayr, `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam and several others.

    Allah’s statement: "And had it not been that Allah had decreed exile for them, He would certainly have punished them in this world"; meaning, if it was not for the fact that Allah had already decreed that they would evacuate Al-Madinah, leaving behind their homes and wealth, He would have sent another type of punishment upon them, such as being killed and captured. This was said by Az-Zuhri. `Urwah, As-Suddi and Ibn Zayd said that Allah decreed that the Jews would be punished in the life of this world and face the torment of the fire of Hell He prepared for them in the Hereafter.

    Allah said: "and in the Hereafter theirs shall be the torment of the Fire"; meaning, it is a matter ordained that they will surely face, "That is because they opposed Allah and His Messenger"; means, Allah prepared this specific punishment and sent His Messenger and his Companions against them, because they defied Allah and His Messenger and denied the good news that Allah sent forth in the Books of previous Messengers regarding the coming of Muhammad. The Jews knew these facts about Muhammad just as they knew their own children. Allah said: "And whosoever opposes Allah, then verily, Allah is Severe in punishment."

    The Prophet Cut down the Date Trees of the Jews by the Leave of Allah

    Allah said: "What you cut down of the Linah, or you left them standing on their stems, it was by leave of Allah, and in order that He might disgrace the rebellious." Linah is an especially good type of date tree. Abu `Ubaydah said that Linah is a different kind of dates than `Ajwah and Barni. Several others said that Linah refers to every type of date fruits, except for the `Ajwah (ripen dates), while Ibn Jarir said that it refers to all kinds of date trees. Ibn Jarir quoted Mujahid saying that it also includes the Buwayrah type. When the Messenger of Allah laid siege to Bani An-Nadir, to humiliate them and bring fear and terror to their hearts, he ordered their date trees to be cut down. Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Yazid bin Ruman, Qatadah and Muqatil bin Hayyan said, “Bani An-Nadir sent a message to the Messenger, saying that he used to outlaw mischief in the earth, so why did he order that their trees be cut down. Allah sent down this honorable Ayah stating that whatever Linah was felled or left intact by the Muslims, has been done by His permission, will, leave and pleasure to humiliate and disgrace the enemy and degrade them.” Mujahid said, “Some of the emigrants discouraged others from chopping down the date trees of Jews, saying that they were war spoils for Muslims. The Qur’an approved of the actions of those who discouraged and those who approved of cutting these trees, stating that those who cut them or did not, did so only by Allah’s leave.”

    There is also a Hadith narrated from the Prophet with this meaning. An-Nasa’i recorded that Ibn `Abbas said about Allah’s statement: "What you cut down of the Linah, or you left them standing on their stems, it was by leave of Allah, and in order that He might disgrace the rebellious". “They forced them to come down from their forts and were ordered to cut their trees cut down. So the Muslims hesitated, and some of them said, `We cut down some and left some. We must ask Allah’s Messenger if we will earn a reward for what we cut and if we will be burdened for what we left intact.’ Allah sent down this Ayah: "What you cut down of the Linah, or you left them standing on their stems, it was by leave of Allah." Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah ordered that the date trees of Bani An-Nadir be cut down and burned. The Two Sahihs collected a similar narration. Al-Bukhari recorded that `Abdullah bin `Umar said "Bani An-Nadir and Bani Qurayzah fought (against the Prophet), and the Prophet exiled Bani An-Nadir and allowed Bani Qurayzah to remain in their area until later, when the Prophet fought against Qurayzah. Their men were executed and their women, children and wealth were confiscated and divided among Muslims. Some of them, however, were saved because they returned to the Prophet’s side, who granted them asylum, and they embraced Islam. All of the Jews of Al-Madinah, Bani Qaynuqa`, the tribe of `Abdullah bin Salam, Bani Harithah and the rest of the Jewish tribes in Al-Madinah were exiled." The Two Sahihs also recorded from Ibn `Umar that the Messenger of Allah burned down the date trees of Bani An-Nadir and had them cut down the date palms of Al-Buwayrah. Allah the Exalted and Most Honored revealed this Ayah: "What you cut down of the Linah, or you left them standing on their stems, it was by leave of Allah, and in order that He might disgrace the rebellious."” Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that the battle of Bani An-Nadir occurred after the battles of Uhud and Bi’r Ma`unah.

    Source: Tafseer Ibn Katheer. From Surah A Hashr


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    How Islam Saved the Jews

    by Professor of Jewish Studies David J Wasserstein

    Islamophobes and rabid Islam haters driven by ideological and political motives often cite the fate of one or two Jewish tribes during the era of Prophethood - such as Banu Quraydhah - [who were guilty of clear violation of contract, treachery and treason and meted out justice in accordance with their own law, the Torah] in order to attack and vilify the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Islam. These are academically dishonest individuals and often they are in the pockets of big-money players who help to shape public opinion against Islam and Muslims for wider, geopolitical goals. However, the relationship of the Prophet with other Jews remained on normal terms and the rapid spread of Islam provided favorable conditions for Jews to flourish and thrive. Had the attitude of Islam towards the Jews been what the rabid Islam haters claim it was, Jews would have become extinct much quicker than they were already becoming extinct under Christianity by the time Islam came in the 7th century. However, the reality is the opposite, they survived, thrived and grew.

    The following is an article published in the Jewish Chronicle (24 May 2012) - original link - based upon a lecture (see here) given as SOAS on 14 May 2012. This piece is republished here for information purposes only and we may or may not agree with every little detail. However, one can see a different picture from learned, objective, unbiased academics and this is welcome.


    Islam saved Jewry. This is an unpopular, discomforting claim in the modern world. But it is a historical truth. The argument for it is double. First, in 570 CE, when the Prophet Mohammad was born, the Jews and Judaism were on the way to oblivion. And second, the coming of Islam saved them, providing a new context in which they not only survived, but flourished, laying foundations for subsequent Jewish cultural prosperity - also in Christendom - through the medieval period into the modern world.

    By the fourth century, Christianity had become the dominant religion in the Roman empire. One aspect of this success was opposition to rival faiths, including Judaism, along with massive conversion of members of such faiths, sometimes by force, to Christianity. Much of our testimony about Jewish existence in the Roman empire from this time on consists of accounts of conversions.

    Great and permanent reductions in numbers through conversion, between the fourth and the seventh centuries, brought with them a gradual but relentless whittling away of the status, rights, social and economic existence, and religious and cultural life of Jews all over the Roman empire.

    A long series of enactments deprived Jewish people of their rights as citizens, prevented them from fulfilling their religious obligations, and excluded them from the society of their fellows.

    This went along with the centuries-long military and political struggle with Persia. As a tiny element in the Christian world, the Jews should not have been affected much by this broad, political issue. Yet it affected them critically, because the Persian empire at this time included Babylon - now Iraq - at the time home to the world's greatest concentration of Jews.

    Here also were the greatest centers of Jewish intellectual life. The most important single work of Jewish cultural creativity in over 3,000 years, apart from the Bible itself - the Talmud - came into being in Babylon. The struggle between Persia and Byzantium, in our period, led increasingly to a separation between Jews under Byzantine, Christian rule and Jews under Persian rule.

    Beyond all this, the Jews who lived under Christian rule seemed to have lost the knowledge of their own culturally specific languages - Hebrew and Aramaic - and to have taken on the use of Latin or Greek or other non-Jewish, local, languages. This in turn must have meant that they also lost access to the central literary works of Jewish culture - the Torah, Mishnah, poetry, midrash, even liturgy.

    The loss of the unifying force represented by language - and of the associated literature - was a major step towards assimilation and disappearance. In these circumstances, with contact with the one place where Jewish cultural life continued to prosper - Babylon - cut off by conflict with Persia, Jewish life in the Christian world of late antiquity was not simply a pale shadow of what it had been three or four centuries earlier. It was doomed.

    Had Islam not come along, the conflict with Persia would have continued. The separation between western Judaism, that of Christendom, and Babylonian Judaism, that of Mesopotamia, would have intensified. Jewry in the west would have declined to disappearance in many areas. And Jewry in the east would have become just another oriental cult.

    But this was all prevented by the rise of Islam. The Islamic conquests of the seventh century changed the world, and did so with dramatic, wide-ranging and permanent effect for the Jews.

    Within a century of the death of Mohammad, in 632, Muslim armies had conquered almost the whole of the world where Jews lived, from Spain eastward across North Africa and the Middle East as far as the eastern frontier of Iran and beyond. Almost all the Jews in the world were now ruled by Islam. This new situation transformed Jewish existence. Their fortunes changed in legal, demographic, social, religious, political, geographical, economic, linguistic and cultural terms - all for the better.

    First, things improved politically. Almost everywhere in Christendom where Jews had lived now formed part of the same political space as Babylon - Cordoba and Basra lay in the same political world. The old frontier between the vital centre in Babylonia and the Jews of the Mediterranean basin was swept away, forever.

    Political change was partnered by change in the legal status of the Jewish population: although it is not always clear what happened during the Muslim conquests, one thing is certain. The result of the conquests was, by and large, to make the Jews second-class citizens.

    This should not be misunderstood: to be a second-class citizen was a far better thing to be than not to be a citizen at all. For most of these Jews, second-class citizenship represented a major advance. In Visigothic Spain, for example, shortly before the Muslim conquest in 711, the Jews had seen their children removed from them and forcibly converted to Christianity and had themselves been enslaved.

    In the developing Islamic societies of the classical and medieval periods, being a Jew meant belonging to a category defined under law, enjoying certain rights and protections, alongside various obligations. These rights and protections were not as extensive or as generous as those enjoyed by Muslims, and the obligations were greater but, for the first few centuries, the Muslims themselves were a minority, and the practical differences were not all that great.

    Along with legal near-equality came social and economic equality. Jews were not confined to ghettos, either literally or in terms of economic activity. The societies of Islam were, in effect, open societies. In religious terms, too, Jews enjoyed virtually full freedom. They might not build many new synagogues - in theory - and they might not make too public their profession of their faith, but there was no really significant restriction on the practice of their religion. Along with internal legal autonomy, they also enjoyed formal representation, through leaders of their own, before the authorities of the state. Imperfect and often not quite as rosy as this might sound, it was at least the broad norm.

    The political unity brought by the new Islamic world-empire did not last, but it created a vast Islamic world civilization, similar to the older Christian civilization that it replaced. Within this huge area, Jews lived and enjoyed broadly similar status and rights everywhere. They could move around, maintain contacts, and develop their identity as Jews. A great new expansion of trade from the ninth century onwards brought the Spanish Jews - like the Muslims - into touch with the Jews and the Muslims even of India.

    All this was encouraged by a further, critical development. Huge numbers of people in the new world of Islam adopted the language of the Muslim Arabs. Arabic gradually became the principal language of this vast area, excluding almost all the rest: Greek and Syriac, Aramaic and Coptic and Latin all died out, replaced by Arabic. Persian, too, went into a long retreat, to reappear later heavily influenced by Arabic.

    The Jews moved over to Arabic very rapidly. By the early 10th century, only 300 years after the conquests, Sa'adya Gaon was translating the Bible into Arabic. Bible translation is a massive task - it is not undertaken unless there is a need for it. By about the year 900, the Jews had largely abandoned other languages and taken on Arabic.

    The change of language in its turn brought the Jews into direct contact with broader cultural developments. The result from the 10th century on was a striking pairing of two cultures. The Jews of the Islamic world developed an entirely new culture, which differed from their culture before Islam in terms of language, cultural forms, influences, and uses. Instead of being concerned primarily with religion, the new Jewish culture of the Islamic world, like that of its neighbours, mixed the religious and the secular to a high degree. The contrast, both with the past and with medieval Christian Europe, was enormous.

    Like their neighbors, these Jews wrote in Arabic in part, and in a Jewish form of that language. The use of Arabic brought them close to the Arabs. But the use of a specific Jewish form of that language maintained the barriers between Jew and Muslim. The subjects that Jews wrote about, and the literary forms in which they wrote about them, were largely new ones, borrowed from the Muslims and developed in tandem with developments in Arabic Islam.

    Also at this time, Hebrew was revived as a language of high literature, parallel to the use among the Muslims of a high form of Arabic for similar purposes. Along with its use for poetry and artistic prose, secular writing of all forms in Hebrew and in (Judeo-)Arabic came into being, some of it of high quality.

    Much of the greatest poetry in Hebrew written since the Bible comes from this period. Sa'adya Gaon, Solomon Ibn Gabirol, Ibn Ezra (Moses and Abraham), Maimonides, Yehuda Halevi, Yehudah al-Harizi, Samuel ha-Nagid, and many more - all of these names, well known today, belong in the first rank of Jewish literary and cultural endeavor.

    Where did these Jews produce all this? When did they and their neighbors achieve this symbiosis, this mode of living together? The Jews did it in a number of centers of excellence. The most outstanding of these was Islamic Spain, where there was a true Jewish Golden Age, alongside a wave of cultural achievement among the Muslim population. The Spanish case illustrates a more general pattern, too.

    What happened in Islamic Spain - waves of Jewish cultural prosperity paralleling waves of cultural prosperity among the Muslims - exemplifies a larger pattern in Arab Islam. In Baghdad, between the ninth and the twelfth centuries; in Qayrawan (in north Africa), between the ninth and the 11th centuries; in Cairo, between the 10th and the 12th centuries, and elsewhere, the rise and fall of cultural centres of Islam tended to be reflected in the rise and fall of Jewish cultural activity in the same places.

    This was not coincidence, and nor was it the product of particularly enlightened liberal patronage by Muslim rulers. It was the product of a number of deeper features of these societies, social and cultural, legal and economic, linguistic and political, which together enabled and indeed encouraged the Jews of the Islamic world to create a novel sub-culture within the high civilization of the time.

    This did not last for ever; the period of culturally successful symbiosis between Jew and Arab Muslim in the middle ages came to a close by about 1300. In reality, it had reached this point even earlier, with the overall relative decline in the importance and vitality of Arabic culture, both in relation to western European cultures and in relation to other cultural forms within Islam itself; Persian and Turkish.

    Jewish cultural prosperity in the middle ages operated in large part as a function of Muslim, Arabic cultural (and to some degree political) prosperity: when Muslim Arabic culture thrived, so did that of the Jews; when Muslim Arabic culture declined, so did that of the Jews.

    In the case of the Jews, however, the cultural capital thus created also served as the seed-bed of further growth elsewhere - in Christian Spain and in the Christian world more generally.

    The Islamic world was not the only source of inspiration for the Jewish cultural revival that came later in Christian Europe, but it certainly was a major contributor to that development. Its significance cannot be overestimated.



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    Jan 2007


    When the Islamic State Saved 150,000 Jews

    In July 1492, the new state of Spain expelled its Jewish and Muslim populations as part of the Spanish Inquisition. As a response, the Caliph of the Islamic state, Sultan Bayezid II, sent out the Ottoman Navy under the command of Admiral Kemal Reis to Spain in order to evacuate them safely to Ottoman lands. More than 150,000 Jewish refugees had sought refuge with the Ottoman Empire. The Sultan had sent out fermans (Imperial Edicts) throughout the Empire that the refugees were to be welcomed.

    Sultan Bayezid II

    In his proclamation, the Sultan told the Jews that it was God’s command to take care of the descendants of the Prophets Abraham and Jacob, to see that they had food to eat and to take them under his protection. They should come and settle in Istanbul and live in peace in the shade of the fig tree where they could engage in free trade and own property.

    Sultan Bayezid addressed a ferman to all the governors of his European provinces, ordering them not only to refrain from repelling the Spanish refugees, but to give them a friendly and welcome reception. He threatened all those who treated the Jews harshly or refused them admission into the Empire.

    The Ottoman Caliph welcomes Jewish refugees on their arrival from Spain.

    The Sultan ridiculed the conduct of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castilian for expelling an entire class of people.

    Editor’s note: The Ottoman empire which lasted more than 600 years and controlled a vast geographical area including Palestine, Iraq and Syria was the last of a succession of Islamic states from the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and history bears witness to the justice and humanity found within the caliphates. The caliphate would cater for the economical and social needs of the people – that of both Muslims and non Muslims – and allowed education, Science and arts to flourish.

    Though empires like the Ottomans had their shortcomings the narrative of a caliphate or an Islamic state being only about violence, death and terrorism is dishonest and we mustn’t let a small group hi-jack a part of Islam which is an aspiration of Muslims worldwide.


  6. #6
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    Jan 2007


    The Dönmeh: The Middle East’s Most Whispered Secret (Part I)

    by Wayne MADSEN - 10/25/2011

    There is a historical “eight hundred pound gorilla” lurking in the background of almost every serious military and diplomatic incident involving Israel, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Greece, Armenia, the Kurds, the Assyrians, and some other players in the Middle East and southeastern Europe. It is a factor that is generally only whispered about at diplomatic receptions, news conferences, and think tank sessions due to the explosiveness and controversial nature of the subject. And it is the secretiveness attached to the subject that has been the reason for so much misunderstanding about the current breakdown in relations between Israel and Turkey, a growing warming of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and increasing enmity between Saudi Arabia and Iran…

    Although known to historians and religious experts, the centuries-old political and economic influence of a group known in Turkish as the “Dönmeh” is only beginning to cross the lips of Turks, Arabs, and Israelis who have been reluctant to discuss the presence in Turkey and elsewhere of a sect of Turks descended from a group of Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain during the Spanish Inquisition in the 16th and 17th centuries. These Jewish refugees from Spain were welcomed to settle in the Ottoman Empire and over the years they converted to a mystical sect of Islam that eventually mixed Jewish Kabbala and Islamic Sufi semi-mystical beliefs into a sect that eventually championed secularism in post-Ottoman Turkey. It is interesting that “Dönmeh” not only refers to the Jewish “untrustworthy converts” to Islam in Turkey but it is also a derogatory Turkish word for a transvestite, or someone who is claiming to be someone they are not.

    The Donmeh sect of Judaism was founded in the 17th century by Rabbi Sabbatai Zevi, a Kabbalist who believed he was the Messiah but was forced to convert to Islam by Sultan Mehmet IV, the Ottoman ruler. Many of the rabbi’s followers, known as Sabbateans, but also “crypto-Jews,” publicly proclaimed their Islamic faith but secretly practiced their hybrid form of Judaism, which was unrecognized by mainstream Jewish rabbinical authorities. Because it was against their beliefs to marry outside their sect, the Dönmeh created a rather secretive sub-societal clan.

    The Dönmeh rise to power in Turkey

    Many Dönmeh, along with traditional Jews, became powerful political and business leaders in Salonica. It was this core group of Dönmeh, which organized the secret Young Turks, also known as the Committee of Union and Progress, the secularists who deposed Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II in the 1908 revolution, proclaimed the post-Ottoman Republic of Turkey after World War I, and who instituted a campaign that stripped Turkey of much of its Islamic identity after the fall of the Ottomans. Abdulhamid II was vilified by the Young Turks as a tyrant, but his only real crime appears to have been to refuse to meet Zionist leader Theodore Herzl during a visit to Constantinople in 1901 and reject Zionist and Dönmeh offers of money in return for the Zionists to be granted control of Jerusalem.

    Like other leaders who have crossed the Zionists, Sultan Adulhamid II appears to have sealed his fate with the Dönmeh with this statement to his Ottoman court: “Advise Dr. Herzl not to take any further steps in his project. I cannot give away even a handful of the soil of this land for it is not my own, it belongs to the entire Islamic nation. The Islamic nation fought jihad for the sake of this land and had watered it with their blood. The Jews may keep their money and millions. If the Islamic Khalifate state is one day destroyed then they will be able to take Palestine without a price! But while I am alive, I would rather push a sword into my body than see the land of Palestine cut and given away from the Islamic state.” After his ouster by Ataturk’s Young Turk Dönmeh in 1908, Abdulhamid II was jailed in the Donmeh citadel of Salonica. He died in Constantinople in 1918, three years after Ibn Saud agreed to a Jewish homeland in Palestine and one year after Lord Balfour deeded Palestine away to the Zionists in his letter to Baron Rothschild.

    One of the Young Turk leaders in Salonica was Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey. When Greece achieved sovereignty over Salonica in 1913, many Dönmeh, unsuccessful at being re-classified Jewish, moved to Constantinople, later re-named Istanbul. Others moved to Izmir, Bursa, and Ataturk’s newly-proclaimed capital and future seat of Ergenekon power, Ankara.

    Some texts suggest that the Dönmeh numbered no more than 150,000 and were mainly found in the army, government, and business. However, other experts suggest that the Dönmeh may have represented 1.5 million Turks and were even more powerful than believed by many and extended to every facet of Turkish life.
    One influential Donmeh, Tevfik Rustu Arak, was a close friend and adviser to Ataturk and served as Turkey’s Foreign Minister from 1925 to 1938.

    Ataturk, who was reportedly himself a Dönmeh, ordered that Turks abandon their own Muslim-Arabic names.
    The name of the first Christian emperor of Rome, Constantine, was erased from the largest Turkish city, Constantinople. The city became Istanbul, after the Ataturk government in 1923 objected to the traditional name. There have been many questions about Ataturk’s own name, since “Mustapha Kemal Ataturk” was a pseudonym. Some historians have suggested that Ataturk adopted his name because he was a descendant of none other than Rabbi Zevi, the self-proclaimed Messiah of the Dönmeh! Ataturk also abolished Turkey’s use of the Arabic script and forced the country to adopt the western alphabet.

    Modern Turkey: a secret Zionist state controlled by the Dönmeh

    Ataturk’s suspected strong Jewish roots, information about which was suppressed for decades by a Turkish government that forbade anything critical of the founder of modern Turkey, began bubbling to the surface, first, mostly outside of Turkey and in publications written by Jewish authors. The 1973 book, The Secret Jews, by Rabbi Joachim Prinz, maintains that Ataturk and his finance minister, Djavid Bey, were both committed Dönmeh and that they were in good company because “too many of the Young Turks in the newly formed revolutionary Cabinet prayed to Allah, but had their real prophet [Sabbatai Zevi, the Messiah of Smyrna].” In The Forward of January 28, 1994, Hillel Halkin wrote in The New York Sun that Ataturk recited the Jewish Shema Yisrael (“Hear O Israel”), saying that it was “my prayer too.” The information is recounted from an autobiography by journalist Itamar Ben-Avi, who claims Ataturk, then a young Turkish army captain, revealed he was Jewish in a Jerusalem hotel bar one rainy night during the winter of 1911. In addition, Ataturk attended the Semsi Effendi grade school in Salonica, run by a Dönmeh named Simon Zevi. Halkin wrote in the New York Sun article about an email he received from a Turkish colleague: “I now know – know (and I haven’t a shred of doubt) – that Ataturk’s father’s family was indeed of Jewish stock.”

    It was Ataturk’s and the Young Turks’ support for Zionism, the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, after World War I and during Nazi rule in Europe that endeared Turkey to Israel and vice versa. An article in The Forward of May 8, 2007, revealed that Dönmeh dominated Turkish leadership “from the president down, as well as key diplomats . . . and a great part of Turkey’s military, cultural, academic, economic, and professional elites” kept Turkey out of a World War II alliance with Germany, and deprived Hitler of a Turkish route to the Baku oilfields.” In his book, The Donme: Jewish Converts, Muslim Revolutionaries and Secular Turks, Professor Marc David Baer wrote that many advanced to exalted positions in the Sufi religious orders.

    Israel has always been reluctant to describe the Turkish massacre of the Armenians by the Turks in 1915 as “genocide.” It has always been believed that the reason for Israel’s reticence was not to upset Israel’s close military and diplomatic ties with Turkey. However, more evidence is being uncovered that the Armenian genocide was largely the work of the Dönmeh leadership of the Young Turks. Historians like Ahmed Refik, who served as an intelligence officer in the Ottoman army, averred that it was the aim of the Young Turks to destroy the Armenians, who were mostly Christian. The Young Turks, under Ataturk’s direction, also expelled Greek Christians from Turkish cities and attempted to commit a smaller-scale genocide of the Assyrians, who were also mainly Christian.

    One Young Turk from Salonica, Mehmet Talat, was the official who carried out the genocide of the Armenians and Assyrians. A Venezuelan mercenary who served in the Ottoman army, Rafael de Nogales Mendez, noted in his annals of the Armenian genocide that Talat was known as the “renegade Hebrew of Salonica.” Talat was assassinated in Germany in 1921 by an Armenian whose entire family was lost in the genocide ordered by the “renegade Hebrew.” It is believed by some historians of the Armenian genocide that the Armenians, known as good businessmen, were targeted by the business-savvy Dönmeh because they were considered to be commercial competitors.

    It is not, therefore, the desire to protect the Israeli-Turkish alliance that has caused Israel to eschew any interest in pursuing the reasons behind the Armenian genocide, but Israel’s and the Dönmeh’s knowledge that it was the Dönmeh leadership of the Young Turks that not only murdered hundreds of thousands of Armenians and Assyrians but who also stamped out Turkey’s traditional Muslim customs and ways. Knowledge that it was Dönmeh, in a natural alliance with the Zionists of Europe, who were responsible for the deaths of Armenian and Assyrian Christians, expulsion from Turkey of Greek Orthodox Christians, and the cultural and religious eradication of Turkish Islamic traditions, would issue forth in the region a new reality. Rather than Greek and Turkish Cypriots living on a divided island, Armenians holding a vendetta against the Turks, and Greeks and Turks feuding over territory, all the peoples attacked by the Dönmeh would realize that they had a common foe that was their actual persecutor.

    Challenging Dönmeh rule: Turkey’s battle against the Ergenekon

    It is the purging of the Kemalist adherents of Ataturk and his secular Dönmeh regime that is behind the investigation of the Ergenekon conspiracy in Turkey. Ergenekon’s description matches up completely with the Dönmeh presence in Turkey’s diplomatic, military, judicial, religious, political, academic, business, and journalist hierarchy. Ergenekon attempted to stop the reforms instituted by successive non-Dönmeh Turkish leaders, including the re-introduction of traditional Turkish Islamic customs and rituals, by planning a series of coups, some successful like that which deposed Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan’s Refah (Welfare) Islamist government in 1996 and some unsuccessful, like OPERATION SLEDGEHEMMER, which was aimed at deposing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2003. Some Islamist-leaning reformists, including Turkish President Turgut Ozal and Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, died under suspicious circumstances. Deposed democratically-elected Prime Minister Adnan Menderes was hanged in 1961, following a military coup.

    American politicians and journalists, whose knowledge of the history of countries like Turkey and the preceding Ottoman Empire, is often severely lacking, have painted the friction between Israel’s government and the Turkish government of Prime Minister Erdogan as based on Turkey’s drift to Islamism and the Arab world. Far from it, Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) seem to have finally seen a way to break free from the domination and cruelty of the Dönmeh, whether in the form of Kemalist followers of Ataturk or nationalist schemers and plotters in Ergenekon. But with Turkey’s “Independence Day” has come vitriol from the Dönmeh and their natural allies in Israel and the Israel Lobby in the United States and Europe. Turkey as a member of the European Union was fine for Europe as long as the Dönmeh remained in charge and permitted Turkey’s wealth to be looted by central bankers like has occurred in Greece.

    When Israel launched its bloody attack on the Turkish Gaza aid vessel, the Mavi Marmara, on May 31, 2010, the reason was not so much the ship’s running of the Israeli blockade of Gaza. The brutality of the Israelis in shooting unarmed Turks and one Turkish-American, some at point blank range, according to a UN report, indicated that Israel was motivated by something else: vengeance and retaliation for the Turkish government’s crackdown on Ergenekon, the purging of the Turkish military and intelligence senior ranks of Dönmeh, and reversing the anti-Muslim religious and cultural policies set down by the Dönmeh’s favorite son, Ataturk, some ninety years before. In effect, the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara was in retaliation for Turkey’s jailing of several top Turkish military officers, journalists, and academics, all accused of being part of the Ergenekon plot to overthrow the AKP government in 2003. Hidden in the Ergenekon coup plot is that the Dönmeh and Ergenekon are connected through their history of being Kemalists, ardent secularists, pro-Israeli, and pro-Zionist.

    With tempers now flaring between Iran on one side and Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United States on the other, as the result of a dubious claim by U.S. law enforcement that Iran was planning to carry out the assassination of the Saudi ambassador to the United States on American soil, the long-standing close, but secretive relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia is coming to the forefront. The Israeli-Saudi connection had flourished during OPERATION DESERT STORM, when both countries were on the receiving end of Saddam Hussein’s Scud missiles.


    The Jewish Genocide of Armenian Christians

    book (pdf): http://www.jrbooksonline.com/pdf_boo...shgenocide.pdf


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