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Medina, the Jewish City

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Sarah
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« on: May 12, 2007, 05:58:18 am »

Mohammed Attacks Jews.

Finally Mohammed began to use actual violence toward the Medina Jews. After the battle of Bedr a woman called Asma, said by some to be a Jewess, wrote satirical verses, and was killed in her sleep, probably with Mohammed's consent. Not long before, Abu 'Afak of the Banu Amr, who had been converted to Judaism, had been assassinated for having displeased Mohammed by writing verses ridiculing the new religion. Mohammed then seems to have decided to get rid of the Jews in a body, since they were a constant menace to his cause. He began with the Banu Ḳainuḳa', who were goldsmiths, and lived by themselves in a fortified suburb. He first summoned them to accept his religion, and they refused. Soon a pretext was found for an open attack. A Moslem girl was insulted by a Jew of the Banu Ḳainuḳa'; the Jew was killed by a Moslem, and the latter in turn was killed by the brothers of the murdered Jew.
Mohammed immediately marched against the Banu Ḳainuḳa' and besieged them in their stronghold. After a siege of fifteen days they surrendered, and their lives were spared only at the urgent request of Abdallah ibn Ubai, the influential leader of the Arab opposition, whose pleading Mohammed dared not ignore. Being allowed to leave the country, they emigrated toward the north. Their departure weakened the Jews, who if they had been united might have withstood Mohammed's attacks.

About a month after the emigration of the Ḳainuḳa', Abu Sufyan, the leader of the Meccan opposition, visited Ḥuyayy of the Banu al-Naḍir, but, being refused admittance by him, spent the night with another influential man of the same tribe and obtained information from him concerning the state of Medina. Another Jewish poet was assassinated about this time at Mohammed's desire. This was Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf of the Banu Naḍir, who had been stirring up the Ḳuraish at Mecca by his verses after the battle of Bedr. Ibn Sanina, a Jewish merchant, was killed on the day after Ka'b; and the Jews now began to fear to leave their houses. In the summer of 625 Mohammed attacked and besieged the Banu al-Naḍir. There appears to have been no satisfactory pretext for the attack. Mohammed claimed that he had received a revelation telling him of the treachery of the Jews. After a siege of fifteen or twenty days Abdallah ibn Ubai prevailed on the Naḍir to surrender. They were exiled, being allowed to take their goods with them, and emigrated toward the north, settling in Khaibar and in Syria.

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