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Posts tagged ‘Muslims’

Contents: Jewish-Muslim Relations in South Asia (Issue 21)

Contents: Jewish-Muslim Relations in South Asia (Issue 21)

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Guest-Editorial: Jewish-Muslim Relations in South Asia: An Introduction

By Navras Jaat Aafreedi
The only places in the world where Jews were not in a predominantly Christian or Muslim society were China and India, which are also the only two countries in the world where they never suffered persecution and discrimination. Chinese Jewry ceased to exist long ago as a result of their complete and total assimilation. However, Indian Jews not only managed to exist, but thrived in India and came to enjoy superbly cordial relations with their non-Jewish neighbours including Muslims.

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Religious Syncretism and Jewish-Muslim Dialogue in India and Beyond

By Amit Ranjan
The Jew-Muslim conflict is the talk of the time. It needs to be probed, however, whether it is a religious conflict or a geopolitical one. Often, in the modern world, terms are easily conflated by vested interests to fan prejudices and form alliances on some other lines than what the real issues at hand are. A direct counterpoint to the conflict mentioned above is the Jewish-Muslim relations in South Asia.

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South Asian Holocaust Educator: A Personal Journey

By Mehnaz M. Afridi
As a first generation Pakistani, a child of Indian refugees, I was raised with pride to be a Muslim and a Pakistani – Pak-istan, literally translated as “the land of the pure”. My experience of the partition is limited, even non-existent, but my parents’ memories remain engraved in my mind for better or worse. The story of my paternal grandfather who lost his clothing business in Aligarh, India and when he arrived in Karachi, Pakistan, his small saved fortune was stolen from his room.

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A Story of the Holocaust and the AIDS Epidemic: The romance of an Indian Muslim Freedom Fighter and a Lithuanian Jewish Woman

By Kenneth X. Robbins & John Mcleod
The horrors of the Holocaust were to touch Hamied and Luba directly. In June 1941, Nazi troops occupied Wilno, and almost immediately began the extermination of the city’s Jews. Luba’s siblings survived: her brother Zorach was working for Hamied in Bombay, and her Communist sisters had escaped to Moscow before the coming of the Germans.

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Transcending Worlds: Jewish and Muslim Ideas in the Art of Siona Benjamin

By Ori Z. Soltes
Siona Benjamin’s world is transcultural and transnational. She grew up as a Jew in India, in Mumbai (Bombay), a region dominated by Hinduism and Islam—each with its own artistic sensibilities and conflicts—and attended Catholic and Zoroastrian schools. She was also a girl, of course, in a culture still finding its way toward healthy treatment of women.

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Impressions from the Visit of the First Ever Pathan/Pashtun Delegation to Israel

By Eyal Be'eri
Throughout the course of history, there are moments that are hidden by fog, so to speak, moments when more is unknown than is known, and the future is beyond our visibility. So too, when the Pathan delegation first landed in Israel in the middle of November, the weather in Tel Aviv was grim, and like a cloud of flour dust in a bakery, a great question mark loomed over the nature of this visit.

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The Only Hebrew Language Teacher in Indian Academia: A Devout Muslim

By Navras Jaat Aafreedi
The only Hebrew language teacher who holds a position in Indian academia, Dr. Khurshid Imam, Assistant Professor, School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, in his conversation with Dr. Navras Jaat Aafreedi discloses the secret of Ben Gurion Mosque and tells us about a hadīth according to which Prophet Muhammad encouraged Muslims to learn Hebrew.

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The Story of Mariam

By Charles Solomon
Mariam was a free spirited person. She made close friends with a wide circle of members of our Jewish community. She was always kind, supportive, helpful and sympathetic. She was loved by everyone.

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Muslim-Jewish Relations in Sidi Janjira

By Anuradha Bhattacharjee
The tiny Sidi state of Janjira in the Konkan coast of India, saw Shalom Bapuji Israel (Wargharkar), a Jew become the Karbhari (prime minister) from 1891 to 1896, under Nawab Sidi Ahmed Khan, a Muslim ruler of Abyssinian origin.

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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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