Are Muslim-Jewish Relations Improving in the 21st Century?

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 June 2022) | Viewed by 76527

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College of Arts & Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA
Interests: antisemitism; prejudices; perceptions of the Holocaust
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Dear Colleagues,

Muslim-Jewish relations have been discussed throughout the past 1300 years. They are discussed in the Quran and the Hadith as well as in many texts written by Jewish spiritual leaders. The alleged enmity between Islam and Judaism and between Muslims and Jews, proclaimed by some radical voices does not do justice to the rich and complex history and to today’s reality of Muslim-Jewish relations. Generalizing Muslim-Jewish relations as either a relation of mutual hatred and war or as one of harmony in the pre-modern era seem to be largely rooted in politicized views. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has often overshadowed Muslim-Jewish relations and has added to such a politization and polarization. However, there seems to be an increasing interest to look at Muslim-Jewish relations beyond that conflict. Some initiatives of Muslim-Jewish dialogue have been established in the European and American diaspora. More recently, ties between Israel and some Arab countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco, have warmed with signing of agreements aimed at normalizing relations. The latter has been controversial because there is fear that they forego Palestinian interests. However, they have led to new discussions in the Middle East and beyond about improving Muslim-Jewish relations. This might be related to another trend in some Muslim countries to rediscover their Jewish heritage.

We invite scholars to reflect on today’s relations and trends of Muslim-Jewish relations. This issue will be focused on areas where Muslim-Jewish relations seem to be improving but we also welcome submissions that are more skeptical in their outlook. However, we hope to receive well-argued pieces (5,000 to 10,000 words) that help us to identify trends and factors that determine Muslim-Jewish relations today. We especially welcome case studies that look at projects that rediscover the local or regional Jewish or Muslim heritage and case studies of interfaith projects.

Prof. Dr. Gunther Jikeli
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Muslims
  • Jews
  • interfaith
  • Abrahamic Accords

Published Papers (7 papers)

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42 pages, 3076 KiB  
Article
How Do Muslims and Jews in Christian Countries See Each Other Today? A Survey Review
by Gunther Jikeli
Religions 2023, 14(3), 412; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030412 - 17 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 37819 | Correction
Abstract
Muslim–Jewish relations have a long and complex history. However, notions that all Jews and Muslims are eternal enemies are proven wrong both historically and by today’s survey data. A comprehensive review of the available survey data from the last two decades provides a [...] Read more.
Muslim–Jewish relations have a long and complex history. However, notions that all Jews and Muslims are eternal enemies are proven wrong both historically and by today’s survey data. A comprehensive review of the available survey data from the last two decades provides a glimpse into the views of Muslims and Jews of each other in countries where both communities are a minority. It is based on 52 surveys from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the U.K., and the U.S. 39 surveys include samples of Muslim respondents (38,000 in total) and 18 surveys include samples of Jewish respondents (52,000 in total). Five of these surveys include both Muslim and Jewish subsamples. Many Muslims and Jews acknowledge that the other community suffers from discrimination, albeit to varying degrees. Jews often see Islam and Muslim extremists as a threat to Jews, but most Jews, more than society in general, seem to distinguish between Muslim extremists and Muslims in general. Antisemitic attitudes are significantly higher among Muslims than among the general population in all surveys, even though the majority of Muslims in most European countries and in the United States do not exhibit antisemitic attitudes. The differences in anti-Jewish attitudes between Muslims and non-Muslims do not disappear when controlling for sociodemographic factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Are Muslim-Jewish Relations Improving in the 21st Century?)
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21 pages, 387 KiB  
Article
“We Are Cousins. Our Father Is Abraham…”: Combating Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism with the Abraham Accords
by Miriam F. Elman and Raeefa Z. Shams
Religions 2022, 13(10), 901; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13100901 - 26 Sep 2022
Viewed by 3342
Abstract
This article addresses how the Abraham Accords, a series of agreements that are normalizing relations between Israel and a growing number of countries in the Arab world, could be harnessed to counter antisemitic discourses outside of the Middle East region. In particular, we [...] Read more.
This article addresses how the Abraham Accords, a series of agreements that are normalizing relations between Israel and a growing number of countries in the Arab world, could be harnessed to counter antisemitic discourses outside of the Middle East region. In particular, we argue that interfaith activities under the framework of the Abraham Accords demonstrate that hostility is not an inevitable response to Israel’s presence in the region. This article highlights the unique framework for peacebuilding that underpins the Abraham Accords and discusses how it has generated a new flourishing of Jewish life in its signatory countries, including unprecedented efforts to address antisemitism and an acknowledgement of the centrality of Zionism to contemporary Jewish identity. We juxtapose these positive developments with the growing ostracism and demoralization of those Jews in the diaspora who identify with Israel and highlight how the Abraham Accords offers a different narrative for fruitful dialogue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Are Muslim-Jewish Relations Improving in the 21st Century?)
10 pages, 377 KiB  
Article
Muslim-Jewish Harmony: A Politically-Contingent Reality
by Mohammed Ibraheem Ahmed
Religions 2022, 13(6), 535; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13060535 - 10 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3160
Abstract
This paper argues that Muslim-Jewish relations are largely contingent upon politics. Through the examination of Muslim and Jewish populations and their interaction with the state, this article demonstrates that at times of constructive political engagement, day-to-day Muslim-Jewish encounters are positive. Likewise, at times [...] Read more.
This paper argues that Muslim-Jewish relations are largely contingent upon politics. Through the examination of Muslim and Jewish populations and their interaction with the state, this article demonstrates that at times of constructive political engagement, day-to-day Muslim-Jewish encounters are positive. Likewise, at times of political conflict, Muslim-Jewish harmony ceases. This article juxtaposes two distinct eras, along with two opposite case studies within them: Islamic Spain in the eleventh century and Israel in the twentieth/twenty-first century. In this manner, both eras demonstrate that the political reality between Muslims and Jews is the contingent factor that determines Muslim-Jewish relations in general. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Are Muslim-Jewish Relations Improving in the 21st Century?)
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13 pages, 709 KiB  
Article
Kurds, Jews, and Kurdistani Jews: Historic Homelands, Perceptions of Parallels in Persecution, and Allies by Analogy
by Haidar Khezri
Religions 2022, 13(3), 253; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030253 - 17 Mar 2022
Viewed by 6354
Abstract
This article highlights the positive relations between the Jewish and the Kurdish nations, maintained mainly by Kurdistani Jews until their displacement to Israel in the mid-20th century. These positive relations have been transmitted through their oral traditions, documented by both communities and travelers [...] Read more.
This article highlights the positive relations between the Jewish and the Kurdish nations, maintained mainly by Kurdistani Jews until their displacement to Israel in the mid-20th century. These positive relations have been transmitted through their oral traditions, documented by both communities and travelers to Kurdistan, and validated by several scholars who studied the Jews of the region, Kurdistan, and Jewish-Kurdish relations. The dearth of historical documentation of both societies has resulted in a ‘negative myth’ used by the enemies of the Kurds and the Jews to dehumanize them before the 20th century, and therefore delegitimizing their right to statehood in modern times. From the 16th century onward, there is more solid evidence about the Kurdistani Jews and their relations with Kurdish neighbors. There are considerable and certain parallels between the two nations in terms of their oral traditions as well as linguistic and literary practices. The historical ties between the Jews and their neighbors in Kurdistan formed a fruitful ground for the relations between the Jewish people of Israel and the Kurds since 1948. Despite the exodus of almost the entire Kurdistani Jewish population to the State of Israel, Kurdistani Jews have largely retained their identity, culture, and traditions and have effectively influenced Israel’s policy towards the Kurds. The often-secret relations between the Kurdish movement in Iraq and Israel since 1960 played an important role in the global security policy of the Jewish nation in the Middle East, and in effect served to keep Baghdad from becoming involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict on one hand, and allowed the Kurdish liberation movement in Southern/Iraqi Kurdistan to survive on the other. These ties were reinforced by the sense of a common fate and struggle for statehood, persecution and genocides, feeling of solidarity, mutual strategic interests, humanitarian and economic dimensions, in post-1988 Halabja Massacre, the operation of the US led coalition against Iraq in 1991, and 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Since the Arab Spring, the military interventions against the self-proclaimed caliphate, Islamic State (IS), and the referendum for an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq in 2017, this relationship allegedly has extended to include the relationships between Israel and the Kurds in Western/Syrian and Eastern/Iranian Kurdistan as well. Notably, Israel was the only state that publicly supported the creation of an independent Kurdish state. With all the development the Kurdish question has paved in the 21st century, the article concludes that the majority of the Kurds of the 21st century can be described as a ‘pariah people’ in Max Weber’s definition and meditation of the term and Hannah Arendt’s ‘rightless’, who ‘no longer belong to any community’, while describing the different aspects of the political, economic, and cultural calamity of Jews, refugees, and stateless people at the beginning of the 20th century. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Are Muslim-Jewish Relations Improving in the 21st Century?)
13 pages, 426 KiB  
Article
Pan Arabism 2.0? The Struggle for a New Paradigm in the Middle East
by Nir Tuvia Boms and Hussein Aboubakr
Religions 2022, 13(1), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010028 - 29 Dec 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 5253
Abstract
The Abraham Accords, signed in September 2020 have helped shed a light on a new discourse emerging from the Gulf that seeks to challenge some of the old dogmas that have dominated the region in the last few decades. A decade of turmoil [...] Read more.
The Abraham Accords, signed in September 2020 have helped shed a light on a new discourse emerging from the Gulf that seeks to challenge some of the old dogmas that have dominated the region in the last few decades. A decade of turmoil that followed what was once dubbed as the “Arab Spring” finds a divided region, full of ethnic and religious conflict, ungoverned territories, and the growing reality of failed states. An “axis of resistance”, led by radical elements from both the Shi’a and the Sunni world, is perceived as a growing challenge to a group of actors led by a number of Gulf countries who identify radicalization as an existential threat. Facing the “axis of resistance”, a new “axis of renaissance” is coming of age with an alternative vision that seeks to change the face of the Middle East. In parallel to the rapid decline of the traditional Arab capitals, the Gulf is emerging as a more significant voice in the region due to its economic, political, and media influence. This article seeks to capture and explain the rise of this new Gulf-led axis and the early formulation of a new agenda of a more tolerant Middle East through a radical reshuffling of the order of priorities in the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Are Muslim-Jewish Relations Improving in the 21st Century?)
21 pages, 841 KiB  
Article
Jews and Muslims in Dubai, Berlin, and Warsaw: Interactions, Peacebuilding Initiatives, and Improbable Encounters
by Marcela Menachem Zoufalá, Joanna Dyduch and Olaf Glöckner
Religions 2022, 13(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010013 - 24 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 5623
Abstract
What is the nature of interactions between Jews and Muslims in contemporary Dubai, Berlin, and Warsaw? The purpose of the three presented case studies is to evaluate the state of affairs and identify newly emerging trends and patterns in the given trans-urban context. [...] Read more.
What is the nature of interactions between Jews and Muslims in contemporary Dubai, Berlin, and Warsaw? The purpose of the three presented case studies is to evaluate the state of affairs and identify newly emerging trends and patterns in the given trans-urban context. The methodology is based on qualitative anthropological research, emphasising an emic perspective that centralises respondents’ own lived experiences and worldviews. The main research’s findings made evident that interactions between Muslims and Jews in each examined location are, to various extents, acknowledged, and in some cases, also embody a formative part of public discourses. Perhaps the most visible manifestations of these relations are represented by the ambitious interfaith projects that were recently established in each geographical area in focus. The Abrahamic Family House (UEA), The House of One (GE), and The Community of Conscience (PL) reveal the aspirations of multi-faith religious leaders to overcome polarising dichotomies and search for common ground. One of the conclusive outcomes of the study is a somewhat diminishing impact of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict on the Jewish–Muslim relations; however, the extent differs in each destination in focus. Finally, an unpredicted observation can be made. A surfacing inclination towards embracing a joint Muslim–Jewish Middle Eastern identity was perceived. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Are Muslim-Jewish Relations Improving in the 21st Century?)
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7 pages, 373 KiB  
Correction
Correction: Jikeli (2023). How Do Muslims and Jews in Christian Countries See Each Other Today? A Survey Review. Religions 14: 412
by Gunther Jikeli
Religions 2023, 14(6), 698; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14060698 - 25 May 2023
Viewed by 837
Abstract
In the original publication (Jikeli 2023), there were mistakes in Table 8 as published [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Are Muslim-Jewish Relations Improving in the 21st Century?)
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