Dean's Blog

The Jewish Diaspora in the Muslim World

Stuart EdelmanOn Sunday evening 18th November we welcomed Stuart Edelman, Foreign Policy Advisor to the Commander of US Naval Forces, Central Command, US Fifth Fleet to our Living Room Dialogue. He and his wife Aylin graciously joined us for Evensong beforehand. His subject was The Jewish Diaspora in the Muslim World and highlighted the fact that in so many cases Islam came to the Jews rather than the other way round. As an example of this Jews in Baghdad can date their ancestry back to the Babylonian exile in 587BC and in the 1930’s made up 25% of the population of Baghdad. In recent years the situation has changed dramatically with the establishment of the state of Israel and the growth of Zionism. As one example of the change he highlighted Bahrain which has seen its Jewish population drop from 800-900 to just 36 and the inevitable closure of the synagogue.

He recommended a few books:
The History of the Jews by Paul Johnson
The Jews of Islam by Bernard Lewis
In Ishmael’s House by Martin Gilbert
From our Beginning to the Present Day by Nancy Khedouri  (a study of Jewish families in Bahrain).