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Jews and Muslims in Cyprus: Positive Aspects of Coexistence

  • Areti Demosthenous
Chapter
Part of the Wiener Beiträge zur Islamforschung book series (WSI)

Abstract

Cyprus is not only the island of Aphrodite and love, it is also a meeting place for many people and cultures. There is evidence of a Jewish presence in Cyprus since the Hellenistic period dating back to the third century BCE, when there were trade relations established between Cyprus and the Land of Israel. The Jews had close relationships with many of the other religious groups on the island and were perceived favourably by the first Muslims who arrived here in seventh century CE. This chapter endeavours to present Jewish-Muslim relations, emphasising the past three centuries, including Ottoman and British rule, to the present day. Jews as adherents of a religion revealed by God, possessed a scripture, and were given a better status than those who were non-monotheistic given by Muslim authorities. Conversely, Jews suffered greatly after World War II when they traveled to Palestine via Cyprus, as it became a safehaven, where Jews, aided by Muslim and Christians were kept in refugee camps before being transported to Israel. This study examines historical conditions that led to friendship and intercultural understanding, which has been the foundation of positive modern coexistence, trade, and exchanges of ideas in the present day. In addition, it answers the following questions: Were Jews able to keep their religion and be treated equally? How did Ottoman Muslims treat the Jews and how do Turkish Cypriots, an important population group on the island today treat Jews? How do cultural and religious differences influence interethnic, intercultural and interreligious relations today?

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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Areti Demosthenous
    • 1
  1. 1.NicosiaCyprus

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