𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗝𝗘𝗪𝗜𝗦𝗛 𝗚𝗢𝗟𝗗𝗘𝗡 𝗔𝗚𝗘, 𝗨𝗡𝗗𝗘𝗥 𝗠𝗨𝗦𝗟𝗜𝗠 𝗥𝗘𝗜𝗚𝗡
𝘔𝘶𝘴𝘭𝘪𝘮 𝘌𝘮𝘱𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘴 𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘑𝘦𝘸𝘪𝘴𝘩 𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘦𝘴....
Nothing could be more historically inaccurate. In fact, the Jewish community experienced their golden age under Muslim reign, serving as Ministers, Scholars, Physicians, Jurists and Financiers under several powerful Islamic empires from the Almoravids through to the Ottomans.
There is perhaps no greater testament to this historical fact other than that of Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon, most commonly known as 𝗠𝗮𝗶𝗺𝗼𝗻𝗶𝗱𝗲𝘀 (Rambam), who is undoubtedly one of Judaism's most famous and prominent thinkers, ideologues and scriptural scholars.
Born in Cordova during the reign of the Almoravids, Maimonides spent his entire life living among Muslims and was not compelled to renounce his faith or embrace Islam in order to progress in his career, which permitted him to lead an exemplary and awe inspiring life, having even been elected to official posts across the Muslim realms, particularly in Morocco and Egypt. The following testament was written on his tombstone:
"𝑭𝒓𝒐𝒎 𝑴𝒐𝒔𝒆𝒔 (𝑷𝒓𝒐𝒑𝒉𝒆𝒕 𝑴𝒖𝒔𝒂) 𝒕𝒐 𝑴𝒐𝒔𝒆𝒔 (𝑴𝒐𝒔𝒉𝒆)
𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒏𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝑴𝒐𝒔𝒆𝒔 (𝑴𝒂𝒊𝒎𝒐𝒏𝒊𝒅𝒆𝒔)"
Rabbi Moshe's writings influenced Jewish communities across the known world, from North Africa down to Yemen, where Jewish communities have long been welcomed and accommodated by the native Muslim majorities. As a testament to his genius but also illustrating the spirit of tolerance and meritocracy that flourished under Muslim reign, Rabbi Moshe eventually occupied the exclusive and high post of personal physician to one of the most influential and powerful Muslim emperors in all of history.
𝗦𝘂𝗹𝘁𝗮𝗻 𝗦𝗮𝗹𝗮𝗵𝘂𝗱𝗱𝗶𝗻 𝗮𝗹-𝗔𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗯𝗶 employed Rabbi Moshe (Rambam) as his personal physician, serving as the chief medic and personal doctor for the Sultan himself. No antisemitism or intolerance there. But this was not an anomaly or exception because the Ottomans had welcomed Jewish people fleeing from oppression in Europe several times, offering them refuge and opportunities to participate in the economy and state affairs. In fact, the Ottoman parliament even discussed whether or not it was possible to have a Jewish or Christian Prime Minister!
𝗦𝘂𝗹𝘁𝗮𝗻 𝗕𝗮𝘆𝗲𝘇𝗶𝗱 𝗜𝗜 welcomed tens of thousands of Jews seeking refuge from persecution in Spain following the fall of Granada and the final Muslim Sultanate in Europe.They settled in various cities such as Salonika (Thessaloniki), Smyrna (İzmir) and Constantinople in particular.
Elsewhere, Jewish exiles from France found solace and safety with the Ottomans during the reign of 𝗦𝘂𝗹𝘁𝗮𝗻 𝗠𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗱 𝗜𝗜, while they were being persecuted and in France by the Duke of Bavaria, Louis IX in 1470.Likewise, groups of Jews who managed to escape massacres in Poland and Ukraine in 1660 settled in the Ottoman Empire, as well.