Sunday, July 24, 2016

Jews and Muslims in 19th century Palestine 
 (known as Southern Syria under the Ottoman Empire system):
 

"A mid-19th century eyewitness account from Jerusalem by the missionary Gregory Wortabet, (published in 1856) captures these routine sentiments, which Wortabet attributes to Koranic verses referring to the Jews as apes and pigs (Koran 2:65, 5:60, and 7:166), as well as the canonical hadith about Muhammad's reputed poisoning by an ancient Khaybar Jewess:

The Jew is still an object of scorn, and nowhere is the name of "Yahoodi (Jew)"more looked down upon than here in the city of his fathers. One day, as I was passing the Damascus gate, I saw an Arab hurrying on his donkey amid imprecations such as the following:"Emshi ya Ibn-el-Yahoodi (Walk, thou son of a Jew)! Yulaan abuk ya Ibn-el-Yahoodi (Cursed be thy father, thou son of a Jew)!"


I need not give any more illustrations of the manner in which the man went on. The reader will observe, that the man did not curse the donkey, but the Jew, the father of the donkey. Walking up to him, I said, "Why do you curse the Jew? What harm has he done you?"

"El Yahoodi khanzeer (the Jew is a hog)!", answered the man.

"How do you make that out?", I said. "Is not the Jew as good as you or I?"

"Ogh!", ejaculated the man, his eyes twinkling with fierce rage, and his brow knitting.

By this time he was getting out of my hearing. I was pursuing my walk, when he turned round, and said, "El Yahoodi khanzeer! Khanzeer el Yahoodi! (The Jew is a hog! A hog is a Jew!)"

Now I must tell the reader, that, in the Mahomedan vocabulary, there is no word lower than a hog, that animal being in their estimation the most defiled of animals; and good Mahomedans are prohibited by the Koran from eating it. The Jew, in their estimation, is the vilest of the human family, and is the object of their pious hatred, perhaps from the recollection that a Jewess of Khaibar first undermined the health of the prophet by infusing poison into his food. Hence a hog and a Jew are esteemed alike in the eye of a Moslem, both being the lowest of their kind; and now the reader will better understand the meaning of the man's words, "El Yahoodi khanzeer!"

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