2. Theoretical Framework
3. Main Research Questions
5. “Cousins’ Meetup“ in the New Middle East: Muslim–Jewish Encounters in Dubai
5.1. Jews in Dubai: From Inconspicuousness to High Public Visibility
5.2. Research Background
5.3. Jewish Community Division
5.4. We Remember
5.5. Discussing Uncomfortable Questions
5.6. Abrahamic Cousins
6. Berlin as a the European “Urban Laboratory” of Jewish—Muslim Encounters
6.1. The House of One—A Laboratory for Jewish–Christian–Muslim Encounters
6.2. Muslim–Jewish Encounters in Berlin’s Public Sphere—Right at the Beginning
6.3. There Are Opportunities to Burst This Vicious Circle
7. Warsaw’s Multiculturalism: Coexisting without a Relationship
7.1. Research Background
7.2. Jews in Warsaw
7.3. Muslims in Warsaw
7.4. Warsaw’s Multicultural Global Neighbourhood
7.5. Jews and Muslims in Warsaw—From Interactions to Relationship
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
The first steps and the coordination of the initiative have been undertaken by dr Sebastian Rejak, acting director of the American Jewish Committee Central Europe, based in Warsaw.
The research questions and the questionnaire that was in use for the anthropological fieldwork in Dubai, Berlin, and Warsaw are based on a project “United in Diversity”—An Interdisciplinary Study of Contemporary European Jewry and Its Reflection, which was awarded a multiyear grant under the Erasmus+ program, Key Action 2: Strategic Partnerships, by The Czech National Agency acting under delegation of the Education, Audiovisual, and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the EU. The project is carried out by Charles University, as a coordinating institution, The Moses Mendelssohn Center for European Jewish studies at the University of Potsdam, Comenius University, and Tel Aviv University. The main research topic is to study crucial questions of contemporary Jewish life, focusing on the nature of relations between Jews and non-Jews in Germany, Czechia, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary. The present paper rests on the findings of the previous, yet unpublished, study.
The case study of Dubai was carried out by Marcela Menachem Zoufalá, the case study of Berlin by Olaf Glöckner, and the case study of Warsaw by Joanna Dyduch.
The primary intention was to contact key figures from both sides (purposive sampling), followed by exponential non-discriminative snowball sampling.
Challenging social desirability bias is one of the major obstacles faced by the researchers. Many techniques (e.g., strictly neutral way of questioning, unbiased, carefully selected wording, researcher’s openness and honest introspection) can prevent a large portion of desirability bias from interfering with the final analyses and meaningfully changing the course of accounts.
The term of theoretical saturation was initially coined in the renowned grounded theory (Glaser and Strauss 1967). In qualitative methodology, saturation commonly represents a criterion to determine whether the research was sufficiently supplied (saturated) with data, and it is possible to cease gathering information and analyses. There is a widespread consent, aptly captured e.g., by Given, that saturation is the point at which “additional data do not lead to any new emergent themes” (Given 2016, p. 135).
Interview partner number 1.
According to the postulates of the reflexive methodology, authors of this study prefer to address the specific interviewees as “interview partners”, rather than “respondents”, to emphasize their active role and significant contribution to the research. Taking into account several ethical considerations which differed for each research location, it was judged that keeping parts of the accounts anonymised would be more sensitive. However, in Berlin our interview partners were exceedingly open-minded about being quoted by full name, especially in the context of their own projects on Muslim-Jewish cooperation.
The Jews of Dubai are on the map, 2019, https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5458305,00.html (accessed on 2 September 2021).
Shul is a Yiddish term for synagogue.
UAE—figures: Religions: Muslim (official) 76%, Christian 9%, other (primarily Hindu and Buddhist, less than 5% of the population consists of Parsi, Baha’i, Druze, Sikh, Ahmadi, Ismaili, Dawoodi Bohra Muslim, and Jewish) 15% (2005 est.); Ethnic groups: Emirati 11.6%, South Asian 59.4% (includes Indian 38.2%, Bangladeshi 9.5%, Pakistani 9.4%, other 2.3%), Egyptian 10.2%, Filipino 6.1%, other 12.8% (2015 est.) https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/countries/united-arab-emirates/ (accessed on 2 September 2021).
United Arab Emirates Population Statistics 2021, Posted 1 July 2021, https://www.globalmediainsight.com/blog/uae-population-statistics/ (accessed on 2 September 2021).
This is not a unique case, as a few interview partners mentioned having several Emiratis friends learning or even speaking fluent Hebrew. Considering the fact that in both countries overwhelming majority speak English, this could be rather seen as an expression of deeper interest than a pure communication tool.
The interview partners‘ selection is unfortunately not gender-balanced. There was only one female interview partner in the whole group. This issue is considered highly problematic and will receive the deserved focus in the follow-up research.
Interview partner number 2.
Interview partner number 3.
It is pointless to emphasize that Abraham accords, in general, are sometimes portrayed as a merely pragmatic reaction to the commonly perceived threat represented by Iran. Whether the discussed interfaith efforts are of diplomatic nature or rather an authentic sign of mutually developing attitudes will for now remain unanswered.
Considering that the assailant Kobili Traoré, Muslim of Malian origin, shouted Allahu akbar during the attack and afterward proclaimed, “I killed the Shaitan,” it is a shocking fact that the French government was for several months reluctant to acknowledge the antisemitic nature of the killing. Eventually, Traoré was declared insane and therefore not criminally responsible due to long-term cannabis consumption. (BBC 2021).
Interview partner number 4.
The slogan of “Cousins Meetup” was used, for example, to capture the atmosphere of the trip of young Israeli influencers to Dubai, where they met their Emiratis counterparts. In the lexicon of Israeli Jews, the word “cousins” often represents Arabs. The trip was organized by Israel-is in coordination with the Israeli Strategic Affairs Ministry and sanctioned by the Emirati government. https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/cousins-meetup-bringing-young-israelis-emiratis-together-664605 (accessed on 22 December 2021).
Statistical Populations Report of the City of Berlin, 30 June 2019, especially page 17. https://download.statistik-berlin-brandenburg.de/b4aeb23c1313184d/27c6b0c93f0a/SB_A01-05-00_2019h01_BE.pdf (accessed on 9 October 2021). Most Berliners with an Arab migration background come from Syria (43,304 people), followed by Lebanon (29,561 people).
According to Amt für Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg, 30 June 2019. See also: https://russkij.berlin/ (accessed on 9 October 2021).
Holocaust Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/germany-jewish-population-in-1933 (accessed on 3 October 2021)
A global survey of the Anti Defamation League in 2014, followed up by surveys in 2015, 2017 and 2019, revealed that more than 70% of the Middle East population had significant Antisemitic attitudes. https://global100.adl.org/map (accessed on 3 October 2021). Understandably, some Jewish representatives expressed their fear that enmity against Jews in Germany could increase. According to previous statistics, Antisemitic crimes in Germany were mainly carried out by right-wing extremists. Alongside other voices, some scholars have postulated a new, more nuanced system of recording Antisemitic hate crimes. The idea is currently discussed by a commission in the Germany Ministry of the Interior. It is assumed that a significant portion of hate crimes are committed by other groups (not only by far-right fanatics), including Muslims and far left extremists. The assumption is supported by the results of FRA surveys conducted in 2013 and 2017 among Jews in several EU member states. The FRA studies provide an important piece to the overall picture of individual Jewish experiences with Antisemitic hate crimes in contemporary Europe.
Interview with Osman Örs (Berlin) on 4 June 2021, by Zoom.
Interview with Kübra Dalkilic on 4 July 2021, in Berlin (personal meeting).
Interview with Seda Kolac on 6 July 2021, in Berlin (personal meeting).
Interview with Seda Kolac on 6 July 2021, in Berlin (personal meeting).
Interview with Kübra Dalkilic on 4 July 2021, in Berlin (personal meeting).
Interview with Ruth Fischer on 10 July 2021.
Interview with Susanne Krause-Hinrichs, 8 July 2021, in Potsdam.
Interview with Kadir Sanci, 3 July 2021, by Zoom.
Interview with Seda Kolac on 6 July, in Berlin (personal meeting).
https://shalom-rollberg.de/ (accessed on 7 July 2021)
Interview with Yonatan Weizman in Berlin, 9 July 2021.
Interview with Yonatan Weizman in Berlin, 9 July 2021.
Regarding the initiative “Salaam-Schalom” see: (Heins 2020).
The Muslim League in the Republic of Poland was established on 14 April 2001 on the initiative of Polish Muslims in response to the growing number of Muslims in Poland and due to the great needs of the Muslim community. The League was officially registered on 6 January 2004 at the Department for Religious Denominations, National and Ethnic Minorities at the Ministry of the Interior and Administration and officially entered into the Register of Churches and other religious associations.
Nevertheless, it is worth noting that there is a long lasting, fruitful and quite well visible in the urbane space cooperation between Muslims and Jews in few other Polish cities as for instance Katowice or Poznan. Annual initiatives as joint publication of Calendar of three Religions: Jews, Christians and Muslims or a joint organisation of Days of Judaism and Christianity in Muslims community and vice versa, may serve as a representative examples.
Among those 12 there were key representatives of Warsaw’s Jewish and Muslim communities: Imam Rafał Berger (Common Council of Catholics and Muslims, Co-President from the Muslim side), Rabinka Małgorzata Kordowicz (Jewish Community of Warsaw), Prof. Stanisław Krajewski (Polish Council of Christians and Jews, Jewish Co-Chair), Mufti Tomasz Miśkiewicz (Muslim Mufti in the Republic of Poland), Dr Sebastian Rejak (Acting Director, AJC Central Europe), Rabin Michael Schudrich (Chief Rabbi of the Republic of Poland).
Mission Statement https://wspolnotasumienia.pl/mission-statement-en.pdf (accessed on 30 August 2021).
The Danube Institute for Dialogue is a non-profit organization with the primary aim of contributing to building bridges between communities, promoting cooperation, partnership and service to society through intercultural dialogue and discussion. The Danube Institute for Dialogue operating in Warsaw (Poland) serves as an umbrella for Hizmet Movement (known also as a Gülen’s Movement) operation. https://www.dialoginstytut.pl/o-fundacji/ruch-hizmet/ (accessed on 30 August 2021).
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