In the article “The Other 1492: Jews and Muslims in Columbus’s Spain” Fouad Ajami describes the sad story of exile of the Jews from Spain in 1492. During this time Ferdinand and Isabella signed a verdict that all Jews should live the country leaving all their possessions behind them. The Jews traveled to the regions where the Jewish religion was still accepted – in Portugal, the Netherlands and Italian city-states.
The last ship with the Jews left the country on the 2nd of August and just a day later another famous ship left the shores of Spain – ship with Christopher Columbus on board. Months before these two events Boabdil, the last Muslim King of Granada, has also departed. The Muslims who left were offered to convert or leave the country and later even those who have chosen to convert were forced to leave.
The 10th and 11th centuries were times of prosperity for Jews and Muslims – these were times when literacy spread and economy developed, culture and philosophy were on their rise. The Jews lived well in Muslim Spain, however, the author describes as well anti-Jewish riot in 1066. Soon Muslims lost all their Spanish cities and with the Christian absolutist monarchy the life became unbearable for the local Jews. According to the author, around 25,00o people were killed in the massacres in 1391 and many had to convert. Those who converted could occupy important positions in the country. That also has aggravated the church and now it wanted to destroy the Jews completely. Many Jews escaped to the Ottoman Empire. The author calls the Muslim world of those times quite tolerant, but this tolerance was quite controversial. Now the Jewish quarters in the Muslims buy zithromax no prescription cities are empty.
The writer mentions that Columbus did not want the Jews to settle in the new lands he was going to discover. This shows how unpredictable sometimes the history is. The Muslims used to be much more tolerant towards Jews then the Christian world and in our days, the Jewish and Arab societies are the biggest enemies. Historically, Jews and Arabs have always been quite close to each other but even this did not help to remain in peace. Religion has always played a bad joke with the Jews, Christian and Arabs. Unfortunately, religions makes many people intolerant and blind, sometimes even inhumane. Religion may bring peace for a human sole, but it also has caused wars, inquisition, deaths and hatred throughout the centuries.
The New World Columbus can discovered became a symbol of religious freedom and tolerance, but even this new world is not completely free from nationalism and racism in its worse form. But, perhaps, the common history and centuries of suffering can bring Arabs and Jews closer to each other and closer on the way to peace and understanding. It is very important both for Jews and for Arabs to remember the sad lessons of the common history and not to repeat mistakes that have caused already many lives in the past.
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