The Divergence of Judaism and Islam. Interdependence, Modernity, and Political Turmoil

(Joyce) #1

6 · Michael M. Laskier and Yaacov Lev

the Muslims in their exuberance for imperial causes, much to the con-
sternation of Jewish communal leaders who worried that the behavior
of their coreligionists might have a negative effect on their interactions
with Greek Orthodox Ottomans in the midst of the empire’s war with
Greece. Indeed, some observers suggested that the solidarity Ottoman
Jews expressed with Muslims during the conflict came at the expense of
Greek Orthodox–Jewish relations.
Turan’s study is quite on par with Cohen’s, except that his work
adopts a macro approach and crosses from modern to contemporary his-
tory. He covers central Balkan cities like Edirne and Salonica in the hey-
day of Ottoman rule and subsequently Romania and parts of Yugoslavia
before and after its disintegration in the 1990s. Turan paints a somber
picture of Jewish persecution by Christians and their rescue by Muslims.
In post-Ottoman attacks by Christian nationalists on both Muslims and
Jews, common fate becomes significant. The consequences of the Serbian
nationalist tides in the final decade of the twentieth century—the killing
of hundreds of thousands of Bosnian Muslims and the departure of Jews
from Sarajevo to other lands—are cases in point.
“‘We Don’t Want to Be the Jews of Tomorrow’: Jews and Turks in
Germany after 9/11,” by Gökçe Yurdakul and Y. Michal Bodemann, and
“Jews and Muslims ‘Downunder’: Emerging Dialogue and Challenge,”
by Suzanne Rutland, exemplify the problems Jews and Muslims con-
tend with in the Western world. The chapter on Germany is more in line
with the preceding studies on the former Ottoman Empire and the Bal-
kans accentuating commonalities, shared destinies, and the necessity for
The Judeo-Muslim connection in Germany, a member-state of the
European Union, centers on the large Turkish-Muslim community that
seeks to emulate German Jewry of the past and present. Turkish Mus-
lim immigrants in the new geography familiarize themselves with the
German-Jewish narrative of historic sufferings and associate their own
concerns over racism with the ostracizing of Jews under the Third Reich.
Muslim communal leaders compare the Holocaust with the fire bombing
by German rightist extremists of Turkish houses in Mölln (1992); they use
today’s Jewish community organizations as examples of how to organize
as a minority; and Turkish immigrant associations claim minority rights
identical to those of German Jews from the authorities.
Simultaneously, Muslim leaders evinced some solidarity with their

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