How the Jews Saved Islam

I was hoping that title would get someone’s attention.

More specifically:

I was reading The Hundred Thousand Fools of God: Musical Travels in Central Asia (And Queens, New York) and learned quite about the relationship between Bukharan Jews and Muslims in Transoxiana (modern day Uzbekistan and Tajikistan). In brief, Muslims started giving up aspects of their musical heritage and the Bukharan (here, basically meaning Central Asian) Jews took up the craft and helped preserve Islamicate music, especially the shash maqām. It’s a good read, and I highly recommend it.

While it’s also a bit late for Diaspora Month, the last chapter that takes place in Queens is priceless. Emigre Jews from Central Asia are being denied their musical heritage by Ashkenazi religious authority because it’s not Jewish. The parallels and discussions you could have with that last chapter in an inter-faith setting and how traditions are lost in an attempt to create a unified community.

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