Chapter

Jewish-Muslim Relations in Libya

Rachel Simon

in The Divergence of Judaism and Islam

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780813037516
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813042107 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813037516.003.0010
Jewish-Muslim Relations in Libya

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The tumultuous atmosphere clouding Muslim–Jewish coexistence in Libya was especially pronounced during Italian colonization (1911–43), during the British Military Administration (1943–52), and in independent Libya. Under Italy, Jews benefited from modernization; the more successful ones slowly adapted to Italian language and culture. Nonetheless, as Italy promoted fascist ideologies, the Jews, more than the Muslims, became vulnerable to sanctions that in 1938 included anti-Semitic racial legislation. Temporary Italian-German control of Libya from 1940 to 1943 exposed Jews there to dangers almost as severe as those facing European Jewry at the time. While the British Military Administration eliminated these dangers, the tenuous circumstances of the Jews were revived in November 1945 and June 1948. On both occasions—driven by economic, nationalist, and religious factors, as well as the intensification of the Arab–Israeli conflict—Muslim-inspired anti-Jewish violence erupted into pogroms, and by 1952, most Jews had left Libya. Though unharmed, those who remained there between 1952 and the beginning of the June 1967 War were marginalized and denied Libyan citizenship. The 1967 War revived anti-Jewish violence that led to the departure of most of the remaining Jews to Italy and Israel.

Keywords: Libya; Italy; dhimmis; jizya; Ottoman Rule; Tanzimat; fascism; British Military Administration; Libyan nationalism; Zionism

Chapter.  10351 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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