Jews of a Saharan oasis: elimination of the Tamantit community

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Markus Wiener Publishers, 2006 - History - 91 pages
John Hunwick translated this important medieval text from Arabic with commentary. It is a fatwa (Islam-based argument) that was used to justify the destruction of a synaguoge in a Saharan oasis and expulsion of its Jewish population.Jews spread out from Israel into northern Africa after the Romandestruction of much of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. and settled in Saharan oases. Although there was no love for Jews after the birth of Islam five centuries later, Muslim Arabs accepted Jews right to retain their own religion in lands they occupied, enabling many Jews to remain in North Africa after Arab conquest of the region. However, after Jews living in Tlemcen (Algeria) or the oasis of Touat became involved in trans-Saharan trade, strong opposition to them arose.Tlemcen, seen by Jews as Jerusalem of the West, was primarilyMuslim-occupied, and for economic reasons, the Jews living therebecame greatly resented for their success in the trans-Saharan gold trade.A Tlemcen scholar, Muhammad al-Maghili, spent time in Touat,and used Islam-based arguments to justify the destruction of theirsynagogue there and expel them. He also got Jews excluded fromthe Songhay Empire. This book examines the whole process, withtranslations of Arabic Islamic writings on Jews and their rights topursue their religion. About John Hunwick:John Hunwick, Northwestern University, is the author of Religion and National Integration in Africa and several other books on Islamic Africa.He is co-editor with Eve Trout Powell of The African Diaspora in the Mediterranean Lands

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AlMaghili and His Views on the Jews
Fatwa Judgments on the Jews of Tamantit
Degradation and Diaspora of the Tamantit Jews

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