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Jews, Christians, and the Abode of IslamModern Scholarship, Medieval Realities$
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Jacob Lassner

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226471075

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226471099.001.0001

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Accommodating “Others”: Tolerance and Coercion in Medieval Islam

Accommodating “Others”: Tolerance and Coercion in Medieval Islam

(p.175) 7 Accommodating “Others”: Tolerance and Coercion in Medieval Islam
Jews, Christians, and the Abode of Islam
University of Chicago Press

This chapter describes the concept of “tolerance” in discussing medieval Islam. Jewish-Christian relations in the medieval West varied from time to time and from region to region. Medieval Muslims considering the “others” in their midst viewed the world through a rather different set of lenses. Samhah, tasamuh, and samahah took a different route before becoming synonymous with Western notions of tolerance. There were instances of Jewish converts serving in the administration of the state, but the extent of this phenomenon cannot be gauged. For Jews converting to Islam who were not figures at court or positioned within the religious establishment, there were questions of social space. Even in modern Europe, many Jewish converts looking for social space originally traveled in circles with other converts, an environment they found mutually comforting.

Keywords:   tolerance, medieval Islam, medieval Muslims, Samhah, tasamuh, samahah, Jewish converts, social space

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