How Some Jews Really Fared Under Muslim Rule: The Misery of the Jews of Morocco, 1805
Sunday was Israel’s national day of commemorating Jewish refugees from Arab lands and Iran.
Muslims like to pretend that they treated Jews in their lands well throughout history. As we have shown a number of times, that is not at all true. In some cases the Jews were treated reasonably, in others they were treated horribly.
Ali Bey al Abbasi was a pseudonym of a European traveler who disguised himself as a Muslim prince in order to explore the Muslim world from Morocco to Mecca between 1803 and 1807.
Here is his account of the Jews of Morocco, from Travels of Ali Bey: In Morocco, Tripoli, Cyprus, Egypt, Arabia, Syria and Turkey : Between the Years 1803 and 1807:
THE Jews in Morocco are in the most abject state of slavery; but at Tangier it is remarkable that they live intermingled with the Moors, without having any separate quarter, which is the case in all other places where the Mahometan religion prevails. This distinction occasions perpetual disagreements; it excites disputes, in which, if the Jew is wrong, the Moor takes his own satisfaction; and if the Jew is right, he lodges a complaint with the judge, who always decides in favour of the Mussulman. This shocking partiality in the dispensation of justice between individuals of different sects begins from the cradle; so that a Mussulman child will insult and strike a Jew, whatever be his age and infirmities, without his being allowed to complain, or even to defend himself. This inequality prevails even among the children of these different religions; so that I have seen the Mahometan children amuse themselves with beating little Jews, without these daring to defend themselves.
The Jews are obliged, by order of the Government, to wear a particular dress – composed of large drawers, of a tunic, which descends to their knees, Of a kind of burnous or cloak thrown on one side, slippers, and a very small cap; every part of their dress is black except the shirt, of which the sleeves are extremely wide, open, and hanging down very low.
When a Jew passes before a mosque, he is obliged to take off his slippers, or sandals; he must do the same when he passes before the house of the Kaid, the Kadi, or of any Mussulman of distinction. At Fezami [and] in some other towns they are obliged to walk barefoot.
When they meet a Mussulman of high rank they are obliged to turn away hastily to a certain distance on the left of the road, to leave their sandals on the ground several paces off, and to put themselves into a most humble posture, their body intirely bent forward, till the Mussulman has passed to a great distance; if they hesitate to do this, or to dismount from their horse when they meet a Mahometan, they are severely punished. I have often been obliged to restrain my soldiers or servants from beating these poor wretches, when they were not active enough in placing themselves in the humble attitude prescribed on them by the Mahometan tyranny.
Notwithstanding these inconveniencies, the Jews carry on a considerable trade at Morocco, and have even several times farmed the custom-house; but it happens almost always that in the end they are plundered by the Moors, or by the Government. On my arrival, I had two Jews amongst my servants: when I saw that they were so ill treated and vexed in different ways, I asked them why they did not go to another country; they answered me, that they could not do so because they were slaves of the sultan.