The Saladin Days 2015

The Jews in the Islamic World

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The Jews in the Islamic World

While terrorism is killing innocent people and causing fear from Paris to Peshawar, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are spreading in Europe. Syria, Iraq, and Egypt are dominated by civil war and authoritarian regimes, and a group of terrorists known as ISIS claim that they have created a new caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq. This is the backdrop for this year’s International Saladin Days, which will focus on what we today often refer to as the Muslim world, and what for many is an unknown chapter in the history of the people living there.

Judaism is older than both Christianity and Islam, and the Jewish people have a much longer history in the Middle East than in Europe. In Iraq, the history of the Jews goes back more than 2,000 years, while countries such as Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Syria have also long housed large Jewish populations – many Jews went to these countries after being persecuted and thrown out of Spain in the 15th century. What has characterised Jewish-Muslim relations over the years and what does being a Middle Eastern Jew mean today? How has the situation of the region’s Jews been affected by Arab nationalism and the creation of the state of Israel? And what is the relevance of the history of the Jews in the Muslim world for us here in Norway today?

The program is developed with support from the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre and Oslo World Music Festival, and with financial support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


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