Jewish nationalism

On the (im)possibility of Muslim Jews

Authored by: Yair Wallach

The Routledge Handbook of Muslim–Jewish Relations

Print publication date:  June  2016
Online publication date:  June  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415645164
eBook ISBN: 9781315675787
Adobe ISBN: 9781317383215


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Any discussion of Muslim-Jewish relations invites a familiar set of questions about the meaning of these categories. Both Islam and Judaism are understood in a diverse set of terms, such as religion, nationhood, culture, and civilization and, in the case of Jewishness, also ethnicity or “peoplehood.” Depending on their use, Jewish and Muslim are therefore not necessarily similar categories. This simple observation leads to an interesting question when we think of Jewish nationalism and Muslim-Jewish relations. If we think of Jewish as nationality and Muslim as belonging to a faith community, are these two categories necessarily mutually exclusive, or could they overlap? Could a Muslim join the Jewish nation without converting? Could a Jew convert to Islam and remain a Jew in nationality? In short, could Jewish nationalism be inclusive of Muslims?

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