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June 03, 1966 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1966-06-03

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Role of Jews Under Islam Described in Glubb's
Historical Account of 300 Years of Arab Rule

John Bagot Glubb, who was
known as Glubb Pasha, who, as
the British military leader who
commanded the Arab Legion pre-
vented Israel from acquiring the
Old Gity of Jerusalem, became so
deeply immersed in Arab and Mos-
lem historical studies that he has
become one of the major authori-
ties on their history. He is the
author of a series of such works
and the third volume in the history
of the Arab Empire has just been
published by Prentice-Hall, Inc.,
Englewood Cliffs, N.J., under the
title "The Course of Empire—The
Arabs and Their Successors." In
it he deals with the Arab Empire
from the year 860 and its decline
during the - succeeding three cen-
Much historical data, quoting
numerous basic facts as well as
legend, Glubb points out that "in
connection with the area which
we now call the Middle East, some
interesting patterns seem- to
emerge. Thus from the 13th cen-
tury B.C.E. or earlier to Alexander
the Great in the 330s BCE, a
period of a thousand yeari, the
Eastern nations held the leader-
ship. From Alexander in 330 BCE
to Muhammad in C. E. 630, the
West was in the dominant posi-
tion, a period likewise of a thou-
sand years. From the death of
Muhammad in C.E. 632, to the-
failure of the Ottoman Turks at
Vienna in the 1680s, the East en-
joyed the more commanding status,
again for a thousand years. In re-
lation, therefore, to our Middle
East no-man's land, we find the
East and the West supreme with
extraordinary regularity for alter-
nate periods of a thousand years."
In this volume, modern Israel is
referred to only once—in a foot-
note on page 272 which states:
"When Titus captured Jerusalem
from the Jews in C.E. 71, he attack-
ed at exactly the same point as
was chosen by Godfrey (leader of
the Crusaders). In 1948, the Arab
Legion defended the old walls of
Jerusalem against the Israeli
Throughout the volume, however,
there are references to Jews who
were emissaries for Moslem lead-
ers and to Moslem attitude toward
the Jews.
There is much here about the
Crusaders, but only in relation to

their struggles with the Moham-
medans and without reference to
the massacres of Jews along their
route toward the Holy Land. The
only link with Jews mentioned in
dealing with the Crusaders is that
"some extorted money from the
At the very outset, Glubb ex-
plains that the Prophet Muham-
mad, who began to preach in 613,
"alleged that the Patriarch Abra-
ham had taught the true faith,
which had since been corrupted
alike by Jews and Christians. He
claimed that his religion, Islam,
was a return to the pure faith
propagated by Abraham." Glubb
adds: "Before the preaching of
Muhammad, the majority of the
Arabs had been idol-worshippers,
though Judaism and Christianity
were spreading among them. Mu-
hammad learned from both religi-
ons, more especially perhaps from
Judaism. So great, however, was
the enthusiasm produced by the
PrOphet, who had hiniself stated
that to fight against unbelievers
was a duty, that the Arabs set out,
a year after his death, to wage war
simultaneously against Byzantium
and Persia."
Further on, referring to the reli-
gious relations, • Glubb writes:
"Judaism, Christianity and Islam
had all originated in a narrow
strip of territory extending from
Jerusalem to Mecca. Christianity
had grown out of Judaism. Islam
professed to be the direct continu-
ator of the Judaism of Abraham
from which Christianity had de-
viated. The three religions were
closely linked to one another. Dur-
ing the first 125 years of Islam,
the Arab Empire was a Mediter:
ranean power, extending westward
to Spain and southern France and
enjoying complete naval command
of the Mediterranean . . ."
Glubb also states: "Muhammad
had first preached Islam, not to
Christians or to Jews, but to a
people who worshipped idols. He
therefore rigidly prohibited carved
images, statues or pictures depict-
ing the human form. As a result,
the Arabs contemptuously denounc-
ed the Byzantine Christians as
idolaters . . ."
Glubb contends that "in the pe-
riod of Arab military expansion,
Jewish merchants had controlled
international trade. In the 10th cen-


Israeli Stories Serve as Background
for Excellent Armenian Narratives

Wayne State University Press
has issued a magnificent folkoristic
volume. In "100 Armenian Tales—
and Their Folkloristic Relevance,"
collected and edited by Susie Ho-
orasian-Villa, the reader will find
an immense number of tales that
will entertain and will, at the
same time, point to related folklore
among other peoples.
The immense value of this
book, in addition to its entertain-
ing narratives, is its historic value.
The stories were collected by the
editor from friends and relatives
in the Armenian community in De-
troit, and as part of the collection
there is entered into this volume
a history of Delray—background
material that will prove most en-

ber of the education department of
Wayne State University, states
that, in using Noy's folktales as
references, "it became apparent
that the variants of the Detroit
Armenian stories came from Jew-
ish informants whose origins are
the Middle East (with one excep-
tion from Lithuania)."

There are many anecdotes,
numerous stories so charming
that the reader will be greatly
compensated for his acquisition
of this large work. It has the
added element of serving as
reading material whenever time
permits because of the brevity of
the stories—so that the reader
can leave off when necessary and
return to the folklore at will.

this book: "boy buys Jewish bones
(dead man who owed money to
Gentile), gives them Jewish burial.
Later boy is joined by companion
whO kills robbers, helps boy gain

And there is the added attraction

of parallels in other works, includ-
ing the Israeli: In this sphere the

editor uses as reference Dov Noy's
"Folktales of Israel." Miss Hoogasi-

an-Villa who is a part-time - mem-

20—Friday, June 3, 1966

One of the references to Noy
the Israeli is about a Yemenite:
"boy saves serpent who enters his
mouth, then makes him weak. Boy
marries princess being punished by

father. She cuts, sells wood; they
live. Snake leaves boy's stomach;

he regains health. The two dig,

find snake's treasure, become
Another Noy reference as a

source for a story states; among
the explanatory notes appended to

fortunes.' Roy marries landlord's
daughter, must divide wife who
screams; snake falls out of mouth.

Companion was grateful bones."
Many of the other stories have
Jewish backgrounds which are in-
dicated in the section of compara-

tive studies.
The history of Armenia appended
to this work, the evaluation of
Armenian folklore and narratives
and similar historic and literary
material, added to the splendid col-

lection of stories, makes this an
outstanding and creative work.

tury, however, when imperial de-
cline had already set in, the Arabs
themselves had become the world's
leading traders . . ."
Among the Jewish advisers to
Arab rulers was a plenipotentiary
of Abdul Rahman, towards the end
of the 10th century. He held the
post of Inspector General of Cus-
Glubb also maintains that "the
slave trade at the time was largely
in the hands of Jews, who alone
were able to do business in both
Christian and Muslim countries."
It is Glubb's contention that
during the early years of Moslem
rule there was generosity and
broadmindedness in dealing with
defeated peoples, that "the same
terms had been offered to the
Christian and Jewish inhabitants
of Spain on the occasion of the
first, Arab conquest in 712."
, Describing a massacre by Chris-
tians of the inhabitants of the Con-
quered city of Barbastro in 1063,
Glubb writes: "A Jewish, and there-
fore a more or less neutral witness
of these barbarities, has left an
account in the pages of the Arab
historian, Ibn Hayyan. He describes
haw, after the fall of Barbastro,
he called upon a Christian count,
whom he found lying half-drunk,
surrounded by a crowd of young
captured girls, whom he had ac-
quired as concubines. When they
tired of these orgies, the .Normans

Problems in Acquiring
Hebrew Teachers Topic
of Brandeis Colloquium

WALTHAM, Mass. (JTA) —
Methods for improving the quality
of Jewish education and Of meet-
ing the teacher shortage in Jewish
schools in this country were among
the principal topics discussed at a
two-day colloquium that concluded
Monday. The colloquium was held
under the auspices of the Philip
W. Lown Graduate Center of
Brandeis UniVersity.
Dr. Abraham L. Sachar, presi-
dent of the university, announced
Monday that Lown, a philan-
thropist particularly interested in
Jewish education, has provided a
$50,000 fund for graduate fell4*-
ships in Jewish education. The
fund, he said, will be adminis-
tered jointly by the university and
the Institute of Contemporary
Jewish Studies of the Hebrew
University, Jerusalem. •
Some of the most prominent
Jewish educators in the United
States participatedin the col-
loquium. Among th
e scholars
who presented papers' and took
part in the discussions were
representatives of all religiOus
branches of Judaism, Hebrevi
and Yiddish educators and the
heads of Jewish teachers col-
leges and bureaus of Jewish
education from many principal
Jewish centers in the United
In addition to tackling the prob-
lem ofjeacher shortages and im-
proVement of the quality of ,Tewish
education, the discussions Cen-
tered on accreditation of JeWish
teachers Colleges,. the curricula of
those colleges and the courses of
Judaic and Hebrew studies in
American colleges and universities.
New insights for the improve-
ment of Jewish education have
emerged from the discussions, ac-
cording to Dr. Oscar JanowskY,
professor of • history at City Col-
lege of the.City University of New
York, general chairman of the col-
loquium. Brandeis will make the
results of the conference available
to the Jewish. community by pub-
lishing the proceedings of the col-
loquium •in book form.

`Not a Through Street'

Phoenix, Ariz., has changed a
street sign from "Dead End" to
"Not a Through Street." The for-
mer previously appeared near the
city's Jewish cemetery and a pro-
test against it brought a change
by the city traffic engineering de-

withdrew from Spain, laden with
plunder, and Barbastro was left
in the charge • of a garrison of
French and Spaniards. Next year,
in April 1065, Muqtadir ibn Hood,
the King of Saragossa, aletlook
Barbastro by a coup de main, the
Christian garrison being massacred

in its turn."
Another incident relating to a
Jew, recorded by Glubb, deals with
Alfonso VI who declared himself
King of Leon, Castille and Gelicia
and set out to capture the Penin-
sula. He sent his representatives to
collect ransom from Mutamin ib n,

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