Global Connections . Religion | PBS
But I think it's more useful to understand Islam as a religion that is self-conscious about its relationship to Judaism and Christianity and explicitly. While a number of verses in the Qur'an call for treating Christians and Jews with Understanding the history of Muslim-Christian relations, as well as current. Muslim-Jewish relations in the Middle Ages. However, like Christians, they qualified as “people of the book,” possessors of a prior revelation from God that.
Leopold WeissAbdallah Schleifer b. More than Israeli Jews converted to Islam between and However, certain rulers did historically enact forced conversions for political reasons and religious reasons in regards to youth and orphans. A number of groups who converted from Judaism to Islam have remained Muslim, while maintaining a connection to and interest in their Jewish heritage.
These groups include the anusim or Daggataun of Timbuktu who converted inwhen Askia Muhammed came to power in Timbuktu and decreed that Jews must convert to Islam or leave,  and the Chala, a portion of the Bukharan Jewish community who were pressured and many times forced to convert to Islam.
Inan Islamic edict was issued overturning these forced conversionsand the Jews returned to practicing Judaism openly. Jews in Yemen also had to face oppression, during which persecution reached its climax in the 17th century when nearly all Jewish communities in Yemen were given the choice of either converting to Islam or of being banished to a remote desert area, and which later became known as the Mawza Exile.
Similarly, to end a pogrom inthe Jews of Mashhad were forced to convert en masse to Islam. They practiced Judaism secretly for over a century before openly returning to their faith. At the turn of the 21st century, around 10, lived in Israelanother 4, in New York City, and 1, elsewhere.
Christians and Jews Under Islam
In Turkeythe claimed messiah Sabbatai Zevi was forced to convert to Islam in Conversion of Muslims to Judaism Judaism does not proselytize, and often discourages conversion to Judaism; maintaining that all people have a covenant with God, and instead encourages non-Jews to uphold the Seven Laws which it believes were given to Noah.
Conversions to Judaism are therefore relatively rare, including those from the Islamic world.A Jew, a Christian, a Muslim and a Jim - The Jim Jefferies Show
One famous Muslim who converted to Judaism was Ovadyahfamous from his contact with Maimonides. Iran's Jewish community is officially recognized as a religious minority group by the government, and, like the Zoroastriansthey were allocated a seat in the Iranian parliament. In it was estimated that at that time there were still 30,—35, Jews in Iran; other sources put the figure as low as 20,—25, A Jewish businessman was hanged for helping Jews emigrate.
Christian missionaries proselytize all over the world, and there are large populations of Christians on every continent on Earth, although the forms of Christianity practiced vary. The tradition of asceticism denial of physical pleasures in order to come closer to God developed first in the Middle East, and the monastic tradition has its roots there. These groups have different liturgical languages, rituals, and customs, and different leaders who direct their faith.
The Coptic Church, the dominant form of Christianity in Egypt, arose from a doctrinal split in the Church at the Council of Chalcedon in The Egyptian government supports the Copts' rights to worship and maintain their culture, but there has been some violence against the community by extremist Muslims. The establishment of Lebanon as an independent state is announced on the steps of a Maronite church, Lebanon, The Maronite Patriarch, based in Lebanon, guides his followers in the teachings of Maroun and other saints.
Maronites are still one of the most powerful political communities in Lebanon. There are also Christian communities of different sects living today in Syria 10 percent of the populationJordan 6 percentthe West Bank 8 percentand Iraq 3 percentwith smaller percentages in other Middle Eastern countries.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, many Christians from what is now Syria and Lebanon then the Ottoman Empire emigrated to the United States and other countries. Although Christians are a minority in the Middle East today, more than 75 percent of Americans of Arab descent are Christian. What Christians believe Christianity developed out of the monotheistic tradition of Judaism; Jesus, its founder, was a member of the Jewish community in Roman Palestine.
Its holy scriptures are the Old Testament the Jewish Torah with additionsand the New Testament written by the followers of Jesus after his death and containing the life story of Jesus and other early Christian writings. Jesus is considered the son of God, born to the virgin Mary and come to Earth to offer redemption for mankind's sins. After Jesus was crucified and executed by the Romans, he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.
This event is celebrated at Easter, while the birth of Jesus is celebrated at Christmas. Christians believe in an afterlife where those who have lived a good life will reside in heaven with God, and those who have lived an unrepentant life of sin will be punished in hell. Instead, they believe that the ritualistic Jewish law was abrogated in favor of a universal gospel for all of humanity and the Christian teaching, "Love thy neighbor as thyself.
There, Jewish communities were often subject to discrimination and violence at the hands of Christians. Christians do not accept Muhammad as a prophet. While many Christians in the Middle East converted to Islam during and after the seventh century, the Church hierarchy in Rome and Constantinople considered Islam to be both a political and theological threat. The Crusades were an unsuccessful attempt to reverse the Islamic conquest of the eastern Mediterranean and the holy places of all three monotheistic religions.
A brief history of Islam Pilgrims surround Kaaba, the holiest temple in Islam, at the center of the ancient shrine of Mecca. It developed from both the Judeo-Christian tradition and the cultural values of the nomadic Bedouin tribes of Arabia. Islam expanded into areas controlled by the Byzantine Empire largely Greek-speaking and Orthodox Christian, but with a diverse population and the Sassanian Empire officially Zoroastrian and Persian-speaking, but also diverse.
As Islam expanded, the new Islamic societies adapted and synthesized many of the customs they encountered. As a result, Muslims in different areas of the world created for themselves a wide array of cultural traditions.
Dhimmis had the right to practice their religion in private and to govern their own communities. Special dress was required and new church buildings could not be constructed. The Christian church as a whole was divided into five apostolic sects at the beginning of Islam, located in Rome, Antioch, Constantinople, Jerusalem, and Alexandria.
The resulting sectarian divisions had significant consequences for the spread of Islam. Many oriental Christians actually welcomed Muslim political authority as a relief from Byzantine oversight, and they cooperated with their new Muslim rulers. From the beginning Christians were nervous about the growth of a new religion that they saw as a Christian heresy and which invaded and took over many of their lands.
Certain periods in world history reflected harmonious interactions among the three Abrahamic faiths. Medieval Andalusia, for example, provided a venue for Muslims and Christians, along with Jews, to live in proximity and even mutual appreciation.
It was a time of great opulence and achievement, and social intercourse at the upper levels was easy.
Muslim-Christian Relations: Historical and Contemporary Realities
It was also a period during which a number of Christians chose to convert to Islam. Medieval Andalusia has often been cited as an ideal place and time of interfaith harmony. To some extent that claim may be justified. If so, however, it was fairly short and was soon supplanted by the tensions, prejudices, and ill treatment of minorities by both Muslims and Christians that more often have characterized relationships between the communities.
Other encounters, such as those experienced through the centuries of the Crusades, have left both Christians and Muslims bitter and angry. The question of sovereignty over the city of Jerusalem remained an ongoing issue. Many complex factors went into the call of Pope Urban II for a crusade against Muslims inprimary among them the recapture of Jerusalem for Christianity.
Religious zeal carried Christian forces well into Muslim territories, and early efforts actually led to the capture of the prize of Jerusalem, which they held for some years. Western Christians, generally ignorant of the lands of the East, whether Christian or Muslim, vented their ire against their Eastern Christian brethren almost as much as toward Muslims.
The two centuries in which Christians occupied Palestine witnessed a constant pattern of shifting alliances. The Crusades lasted for several centuries, ending finally in victory for Islam. By the close of the Middle Ages hostilities between Islam and Western Christendom once again were intense, with active warfare for several centuries. A number of events served as a kind of transition from the Middle Ages to a new era of international engagement.
The fall of Constantinople in the middle of the 15th century and the final expulsion of Muslims from Andalusia at the end of that century illustrate this transition. For some eleven centuries Constantinople had stood as the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Its fall to the invading Turks in signaled a dramatic change in the power relationships between Islam and Christendom.
The specter of a Muslim takeover of all of Europe was raised anew. In the 15th and succeeding centuries Muslim navies roamed the Mediterranean, attacking European ships and coastal towns. Raids were carried out as far north as England and Ireland. Muslim fortunes, however, were reversed in Spain, where, after centuries of glory, they suffered a steady loss of territories under the Christian Reconquista.
Initially under Christian rule Muslims were the recipients of a policy of toleration. Gradually, however, the two communities became completely segregated, and a rising tide of anti-Semitism had consequences for both Muslims and Jews. By the turn of the 15th century Muslims in Spain had to choose between conversion, emigration, or death.
Yet, another shift in relations soon set in. The rise of rationalism, a fascination on the part of the West with the cultural trappings of the East, and the necessities of international political and economic exchange soon drew the worlds of Islam and Christendom closer together. At the same time, under the influence of Western missionary agencies, a very negative perception of Islam continued to develop in Europe.
For a long period Western scholarly research on Islam was dominated by the desire to convert Muslims to Christianity, resulting in analyses of Islam that were apologetic and highly polemical. Before leaving the historical context it is important to note some of the nonmilitary, cultural, and intellectual ways in which East and West encountered each other.
Much has been made of the interchange between the Crusaders and the Arabs. In some cases each side found in the other chivalry and respect worthy of admiration and even emulation.
For the most part, however, European thinking had little influence on Arab culture. Conversely, the West found great benefit from early Islamic thought in the fields of culture and science. Westerners learned from their encounters with Islamic civilizations in all major scholarly and scientific fields, including philosophy, astronomy, chemistry, medicine, and mathematics as well as the arts and music.
It is well known that ancient Greek philosophy and science came to the West through the medium of Arab translation. Arab-Islamic medical science had a great influence on the development of the disciplines of medicine in Europe. Unfortunately, since the Middle Ages it has been politics that has dominated thinking on both sides, and a legacy of confrontation, distrust, and misunderstanding has prevailed until the present day.
Anti-Islamic stereotypes in both Europe and America today reflect early vitriolic sentiments expressed by ignorant and uninformed Christians aghast at the rise of Islam and by their descendants who suffered defeat by Muslims in the Crusades and beyond. Christian-Muslim Relations in the Early 21st Century The Ottoman Empire, at its height during the 16th and 17th centuries under Suleiman the Magnificent, suffered gradual decline in succeeding centuries, culminating in its defeat as an ally of Imperial Germany during World War I.
Having already lost most of its European territories before the war, the empire suffered a breakup into what is now Turkey and the countries of the Middle East, whose boundaries were drawn by the victorious Western allies. It was also at this time that the seeds were sown for the establishment of the state of Israel in the heart of the Middle East, with statehood emerging in These events of the first half of the 20th century were pivotal for determining the subsequent relations between Muslims and the West Christians and Jews, and now secularists.
Comparison Table between Christianity, Islam and Judaism
Meanwhile in other parts of the Muslim world, especially Africa and South Asia, colonialists wreaked havoc, supplanting Islamic educational systems with secular or Christianity-based systems. By more than 90 percent of sub-Saharan Africa was already under European control. Inhumane behavior has never been limited to either Christians or Muslims. Turkey during and after World War I carried out one of the worst genocides in history with the massacre of more than 1 million Armenians.
Muslim-Christian relations in Europe today are inevitably affected by centuries-old fears of Islamic violence. These fears, of course, are exacerbated by the terrorist events that have occurred in various parts of the world since the turn of the 21st century.
Concern over the rising tide of immigrants coming into Europe from various parts of the Muslim world also has served to raise European nervousness about the presence of Islam. Today some 70 percent of all refugees in the world are Muslim. On the psychological level fear and mistrust tap into a long history of mutual aggression.
On the practical level, Europeans fear that they will lose jobs, a fair cut of social services, and the cultural integrity of their respective countries. For their part many Muslims are experiencing what they see as a new form of international colonialism. The West has long been known for supporting corrupt dictators so as to foster its own economic needs. Muslims, not surprisingly, question the sincerity of Western belief in justice and democracy.
Selected areas of the world are highlighted in the following subsections as examples of the problems that bear on Christian-Muslim relations. Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa Many areas of Africa, of course, are suffering greatly today as a result of deteriorating conditions and relations between Muslim and Christian groups. One obvious example is Nigeria. Since conflicts between Muslims and Christians in northern Nigeria have become violent and often deadly.
The full picture is complex and related directly to the British colonialist venture in Nigeria. Thus, relations between the two communities are based not only on religion, but also more specifically are a combination of economic, political, and religious factors.
The British captured the Sokoto Caliphate inafter which it became known as the Northern Protectorate, which, inbecame part of the independent Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Hausa-Fulani, the dominant leadership, were Muslim, and the ethnic minorities were primarily Christian.
This racial-ethnic divide remains as the major identifier of groups today, even though issues of conflict may have nothing specifically to do with religion. Interfaith conflict in Nigeria in the contemporary period took a more serious turn when, insome Muslims objected to Christian evangelization efforts and fighting broke out.
These troubles have continued regularly, often with orgies of killing and looting, much of it unrelated to religion or ethnicity.