Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands

Article excerpt

In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands BY MARTIN GILBERT YALE, 448 PAGES, $35

In his book In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands, the prolific British historian Martin Gilbert ventures into the political minefield of historical subjects - the relation of Jews and Muslims in the Middle East - and offers a helpful survey of the schism between them from Muhammad until the present.

Seeking to correct both the myth of Islam as a peaceful haven for Jews and the counter-myth of incessant Jewish persecution under Islam, he highlights historical instances of Jewish persecution, giving specific attention to the legal basis for the status of Jews as a dhimmi., a tolerated though subjugated minority, but tempers this story by repeatedly noting the positive aspects of Jewish and Muslim coexistence. …

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