Jews of a Saharan Oasis: Elimination of the Tamantit Community
John Hunwick's concise but poignant study of a single Jewish community in the North-Western Sahara provides an African-based refutation to the myth of a pre-Zionist ""Golden Era"" between Muslims and Jews. Thoroughly exploiting the extant (if scant) Arabic writings on the subject, Hunwick examines the rise and purge of a Jewish communal outpost of Tlemcen (now Algeria), which lay in the Touat oasis more than a third of the way to Timbuktu (where Jews also participated in the trans-Saharan trade).Muhammad al-Maghili was a Tlemcen-born cleric who, sometime in the mid-1400s, took violent exception not only to the prosperity of the Jews, but also to their very presence in the midst of Touat. Hunwick implies that al-Maghili's enmity stemmed from economic envy or rage...Al-Maghili then went on to counsel, successfully, banishment of Jews from the Songhay Empire.
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