Jewish-Muslim Inter-relationship and Christians

by Irshad Alam on Monday, August 20, 2012 at 6:42pm·

My Moroccan-Jewish sister Renee Leavy Kohn wrote on Jewish-Muslim-Christian inter-relationship:

Jews have been expelled 108 times from Christian countries as well as suffering countless genocides, massacres, pogroms, Crusades, Inquisitions and the Holocaust all of which occurred in Christian countries.

In every instance where a Christian country colonized a Muslim country, the beginning of the domination and enslavement of the native population was marked with a pogrom or massacre against the Jews.

Too many Jews do not remember that in the early centuries of the Common Era, after the Roman defeat of the Bar Kokhba revolt in 135 CE, Jews were banned from Jerusalem. Under Constantine I, Jews were given permission to enter the city only once a year, on the ninth day of the month of Av, to lament the loss of the Temple at the wall. An Imperial decree from Rome barred Jews from living in Jerusalem!

In 637 Caliph Omar ibn Khattab made an oath that should he succeed in conquering Jerusalem, he would restore the ruins of the Temple. After his victory, he sought out the ruins, but they had been hidden beneath heaps of rubbish. The king ordered the place be cleared and built a magnificent mosque and left the Western Wall for the Jews, who resorted there to pray.

In 1517, the Turkish Ottoman Empire under Selim I conquered Jerusalem from the Mamluks who had held it since 1250. The Ottomans had a benevolent attitude towards the Jews, having welcomed hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees who had recently been expelled from Spain by Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile in 1492. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent was so taken with Jerusalem and its plight that he ordered a magnificent fortress-wall built around the entire city, today’s Old City wall.

In the second half of the 16th century, Suleiman the Magnificent gave the Jews rights to worship at the Western Wall and had his court architect Mimar Sinan build an oratory for them there.

Throughout the ages, Jews fleeing persecution have sought and been granted refuge in Muslim lands.

During the Holocaust Turkey was Operation Central for the rescue efforts despite Turkey’s former alliance with Germany. The Muslim governments commitment to doing what is right morally under Islam was greater than any political treaty and because of this Turkey saved Jews fleeing Christian Europe during the Holocaust. It is estimated that 500,000 Jews were saved from Hitler by Turkey.

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