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Research & Thoughts

History Lesson #11: History of Conflict between Judaism and Islam

When Spain kicked out the Jews and Muslims in the late 1400s, The Ottoman Turks in Constantinople took them in because they felt they were great people and merchants who could help them rebuild the city shortly after they captured it. The city had been in decline.


Why the friendliness? When Islam broke out under Mohammed in the 7th Century, they felt they had more in common with Judaism, as in not believing Jesus as a godhead. They adopted Moses as one of their most important, and perhaps first, prophets.


Here's an interesting timeline:


Muslims believe the Quran was verbally revealed by God to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel over approximately 23 years, beginning on 22 December 609 CE, when Muhammad was 40, and concluding in 632, the year of his death.  It is regarded as a proof of his prophethood.  In the sixth century the Arabs were desert nomads, in the seventh century they were conquerors on the march, in the eighth century they were masters of an empire that made the Mediterranean a Mohammedan lake, and in the ninth century they were the standard-bearers of a dazzling civilization, leaders in art, architecture, and science, while Western Europe was sinking deeper and deeper into a dark morass of its own making. Damascus fell to them in 635. Palestine in 638, Syria in 640. Egypt in 641 and the Sassanid Empire in 636.


There were periods of political persecution of the Jews, or any non-Muslim, after this, but that dissipated so that by the time of the Ottoman Empire, which consolidated under Osman I in 1299 and continued to conquer through 1500 CE. They had developed ways of working together, again, because of political expediency, as noted above.


"The British Vice Consul in Mosul, wrote in 1909: The attitude of the Muslims toward the Christians and the Jews is that of a master towards slaves, whom he treats with a certain lordly tolerance so long as they keep their place. Any sign of pretension to equality is promptly repressed."


In 1916 the British and French split the weakened Ottoman Empire; this would be during World War I, with Palestine governed by the British, per League of Nations. This led to the growth of Jewish and Arab nationalism, and as we've all noted by now, nationalism means an attitude of us against them. The United Nations split Palestine between the Muslims and the Jews, which must have led at times to conflict.


It's a fallacy, however, to believe they cannot get along.  Here's another excerpt:


Jews and Muslims live side by side not only in the Middle East but in many metropolitan centers. Relations between the two communities are often overshadowed by the specter of the Middle East, occasionally extending violence well beyond the confines of the Middle East. This situation is thus a significant concern for common life in most parts of the Western world.


Jerusalem and THE GAZA STRIP:  


The Ottoman Empire ruled the area for 400 years, until 1917. Just recently Donald Trump recognized Israel as the ruler of Jerusalem. Islam actually held the later claim to it, and a lesser degree of occupancy, so by all rights should give up its desire to rule there. Even better, they should be able to learn to accept each other's presence with respect. But is that even possible anymore? (Personally I do not think of it as US territory and Trump had no right interfering.)


As you can see by the map, the fight in the Gaza is not over Jerusalem. Israel captured the Gaza in 1967, when it was inhabited by well over a million Muslims. Israel removed its citizens later, in 2005. Because everything I thought I knew about the conflict was wrong, I'm sharing this excerpt:


"In June 2007, Hamas took full control of the Gaza Strip. The Islamic resistance movement wants to 'liberate' Palestine from Israel and establish its own Palestinian state. Because Hamas is a threat to Israel, the country set up a blockade around the area in 2006. Imports of goods have been strictly monitored since that time. From the coast, the Israelis check ships from the outside. With these measures, Israel wants to protect its inhabitants. Egypt has also hermetically closed its border with Gaza."


Today, according to a 2021, Gaza has constant problems including missile attacks by Israel.  This tragic story has been going on for years, noted one source, and it appears there was no solution in sight. Is it because religious leaders there are unable to talk to each other? Who's really at fault? The Islam empire fell apart also due to internal issues, such as the inability of Sufism to accept the Ottoman empire from the start.


What are Hamas? They formed in the 1980s as a Palestinian offshoot of the Muslim brotherhood. It appears that Islam itself cannot unite its followers. But then, there are moderates and conservatives in ALL these major religions, as well as in our political structures. We know, for instance, that Trump's followers are inherently Christian, and many considered him appointed by God, which is why he's been able to protest the 2020 election and get away with it.


This is perhaps a topic for another time, but I'm researching a book I call "Scourge of the Soul," and the following information will definitely be expanded on there:


"The Crusades, The Spanish Inquisition, The St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in 1572, that slaughtered 20-30,000 French Protestants during the French Wars of Religion, and the thirty year war in 17th century Germany which killed one third of the civilian population, were bloodier than all the polytheistic religious conflicts in Asia, Africa and the Americas prior to the 20th century. How can this be explained?"


What's needed is more media focus on where they are living and doing great things together, than on a small piece of land they can't seem to share in common. A final comment from a source I completely agree with - if the religion is not a part of the solution, it is part of the problem:


"If religion is not to be utilized to further the conflict, it must play a constructive role in shaping, presenting and developing an alternative to it, namely more positive relations between the two communities."



Ottoman Turk Empire - Great Course series lecture







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