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Posts tagged ‘Jews’

Muslim families look after Kolkata synagogues

By Priyanka Borpujari
Generations of Muslim families have been taking care of the maintenance of three synagogues in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community. The city's Jewish population has dwindled over the decades to just about 20 as compared to 3,000 at its peak before the country became independent from British rule in 1947.

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For India’s Largest Jewish Community, One Muslim Makes All the Tombstones

By Rachel Delia Benaim
Even though the Jewish population in Mumbai has declined dramatically over the past several decades—from a peak of 30,000 in the late 1940s to some 3,500 today, due in large part to mass aliyah—it is still the largest Jewish community in India. But for decades there was only one person in Mumbai, and the entire state of Maharashtra of which Mumbai is a part, who engraved Jewish tombstones: a devout Muslim named Muhammad Abdul Yassin.

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Photo-Essay: Hebrew-Arabic Calligraphy from God’s Own Country

By Paul Rockwer
Down in the heart of "God's Own Country," as the Indian state of Kerala is affectionately known, an Indian Muslim calligrapher is using his skills in the art of the ink flourishes to bridge Jewish and Muslim communities. Thoufeek Zakriya is an Indian Muslim from the city of Cochin who does calligraphy in a number of languages, including Arabic, Samaritan, Syriac and Sanskrit. More interestingly, he is a Muslim who does masterful Hebrew calligraphy.

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A Changing Heritage

By Jael Silliman
The Jewish Girls School (JGS) is among the oldest schools for girls in the Kolkata. Today 90% of the student body of the school is Muslim, many first generation learners. Equipped with an English medium education, scoring well in the school-leaving exams (ICSE), skilled in extra-curricular activities, the graduates of JGS are equipped and have taken their place in the professions. The school’s graduates are an asset to their families, their community, and the country.

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Jews and I in this beautiful world…

By Moinuddin Ahmad
The person who introduced me to the word Yahūdi was Hajara Khatoon, my Nāni (maternal grandmother). I remember her telling me the stories of the prophets of Islam, most of whom were Biblical prophets as well, and hence, the stories from Canaan and Egypt were repeated almost every day during summers, when we used to visit her. Beginning with Adam, the stories of Noah, Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Joseph, Jonah, Moses, David, Solomon and others, told by Nāni, still resonate in my memory.

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Muslim-Jewish Relations in India: A Perspective

By Nathaniel Jhirad
Devout and faithful to their respective religions, Jews and Muslims in India share a common identity and loyalty as citizens of India. In my opinion, the welcoming environment that India has been able to provide those that call it ‘home’ has also provided the foundation for a society where people of different faiths can practice their beliefs and exercise the shared sense of identity, not exclusive of each other, rather inclusive.

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Jews, Muslims, Caste, and Israel

By Yulia Egorova
When I visited the community a few months after the Mumbai attacks, I was shown faint traces of the Star of David and other Jewish symbols on the huts of the Bene Ephraim that had to be washed off for some period of time. This was explained as a strategy to avoid a possible terrorist attack on Jewish houses.

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Perceptions of Jews among Lucknawi Shias

By Saira Mujtaba
When one talks about perceptions of Jews among Lucknawi Shias, the observations become more interesting. Lucknawi Shias, like any other community, have people from diverse socio-economic and educational backgrounds, while some youth move to bigger cities in search of better jobs and education, the older lot stays behind.

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Malihabadi Pathan Response to Academic Interest in the Tradition of their Israelite Origins

By Yusra Husain
It was my assignment to visit Malihabad that December afternoon to report the interaction over a very controversial study that has been doing the rounds of Lucknow and Israel for several years. As a journalist, it was my duty to report how the research on finding alleged links between Afridi Pathans and Jews had moved forward after many years of continuous research. When I reached there however, a little late so to say, the tables had clearly turned.

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Pashtun Muslims of Malihabad: Israelite, not Jewish, connection

By Ari Z. Zivotofsky & Ari Greenspan
Of the 16,000 residents in Malihabad, about half are Pashtun Muslims of the Afridi tribe. The greatest wave of Afridi Pathans arrived about 250 years ago led by Faqeer Muhammad Khan, alias Goya Malihabadi, who led the tribe out of their native land by horseback in search of wealth on the Afghani-Hindustan border.

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Muslims in Indian-Jewish Fiction

By Anna Guttman
Relations between Muslims and non-Muslims do not have the thematic centrality for Indian Jewish writers that they have had for other 20th and 21st Century Indian writers. Often Muslim characters are at the fringes of Jewish writers’ fictional world; their faith indicated by their name, but of little significance to the plot.

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Jews in the Discourses of the Indian Muslim Televangelist, Zakir Naik

By Shehnaz Haqqani
Zakir Naik is a Mumbai-born Muslim Televangelist who enjoys immense authority particularly among South Asian Muslims, including in the diaspora. Although a problematic figure for various reasons (including because of his misogynistic teachings, his anti-non-Sunni positions and his reductionist attitudes towards all religions), Naik has a large fan-base particularly among the youth.

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Jews in Indian Urdu Press

By Md. Muddassir Quamar
Portrayal of Jews in Indian Urdu press is largely prejudiced and at times even abusive exhibiting the extent to which conflicts can affect perceptions about an “enemy” group or community. The problem lies in the lack of resolution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the unwillingness on both sides to find a solution has further complicated the situation.

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Indian Jews and Muslims on Palestine and Zionism between World War I and World War II

By Joan G. Roland
The development of attitudes of Indians, Muslims and Hindus, towards the Palestine issue not only attracted the attention and response of Indian Jews but also became a primary focus of concern for the Jewish Agency for Palestine, the organization responsible for Jewish immigration and settlement in Palestine. This article focuses on Indian Muslim and Jewish concerns in the 1920s and 1930s.

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A Tale of Two Brothers: History of Estrangement and the Birth of two Religions

By Ambreen Agha
The history of mutual existence, toleration and cooperation shared between the Jews and Muslims who, today, stand against each other, hardened with negative perceptions that have percolated beyond the borders of political-territorial dispute between Israel and Palestine, is the cornerstone of recognizing the myth and reality that has come to dominate this hostile relationship.

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Holocaust Denial in Pakistan: An Appraisal

By Fawad Javaid
Any study mapping the incidence of Holocaust Denial in Pakistan should be cognizant of the sociological and Politico-historical context of its occurrence in the country. It is by identifying the social, political and historical context of Holocaust Denial in the country that we can learn about its causes and point to the quarters that propagate it.

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Renewed Interest in the Jews of Pakistan

By Shalva Weil
When India and Pakistan were one country, before the partition in 1947, the Jews were treated with tolerance and equality. In the first half of the 20th century, there were approximately 1,000 Jewish residents in Pakistan living in different cities: Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, and Lahore. The largest Jewish community lived in Karachi, where there was a large synagogue and a smaller prayer hall.

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The Jews of Pakistan: A Pakistani Perspective

By Zeba T. Hashmi
With a general lack of recognition of religious identities, the minorities here suffer unchecked verbal and violent onslaught by the puritanical clergy. Such is the story of the Jews in Pakistan, a majority of whom had to go into exile or change their names to Muslim nomenclatures so as to protect themselves from widespread anti-Semitic sentiments here.

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Karachi’s ‘Yahoodi Masjid’

By Akhtar Balouch
After Pakistan’s independence, we changed the names of the buildings, streets and roads named after prominent personalities from the days of the British Raj, who played a vital role in Karachi’s development. The practice has not ended yet.

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The Unknown Jews of Bangladesh: Fragments of an Elusive Community

By Shalva Weil
It often comes as a surprise that there was once a thriving Jewish community in Pakistan. This is well documented. The real mystery and surprise is the fact that there was also once a Jewish community in East Pakistan, today Bangladesh, of which little is known.

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The Attitudes of Lucknow’s Muslims towards Jews, Israel, and Zionism

By Navras Jaat Aafreedi
While a Holocaust film retrospective, the first ever in South Asia, was in progress at two universities in Lucknow - the Bābāsāhéb Bhīmrāo Ambédkar University and the University of Lucknow - in September – October 2009, the two most popular Urdu daily newspapers there, Rāshtriya Sahāra and Aag, published stories denying the Holocaust. The articles were largely based on the arguments made by the well-known Holocaust deniers, viz., David Irving, Harry Elmer Barnes, David Hoggan, Paul Ressinier, and Arthur R. Butz.

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