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Pakistan’s Jewish Connection

With all of the tumult in Pakistan during the last few days, it is interesting to remember the Jewish connection regarding modern Pakistan’s history. A figure who was somewhat involved in the area’s politics in the years before the establishment of Pakistan, and the future Pakistani representative at the UN is Muhammad Asad. Asad was the author of a number of books, among them The Message of the Quran and Road to Mecca. What makes Asad’s biography interesting is that he was born Leopold Weiss in Lvov/Lemberg, and later converted to Islam. For an good description of Weiss/Asad’s life and journey, read this selection from Martin Kramer’s book The Jewish Discovery of Islam. Lastly, before I was familiar with Muhammad Asad, I was exposed to the writings of his son, Talal Asad, the influential anthropologist and author of such works as Genealogies of Religion.

2 Responses to “Pakistan’s Jewish Connection”

  1. 1
    Russell:

    There were Jews living in Pakistan of Bucharian descent, such as my mother and her family. They left Pakistan around 1955.

  2. 2
    mnuez:

    Apparently there are actually a few Jews still living in Pakistan today as well (and I’m not referring to R’ Avichayil’s fantasies – or to Ben Zvi’s for that matter! :-)

    More interestingly, there was a Jewish woman who was apparently venerated as a Goddess among some Southern Indian Hindu sect. If she were a Baghdadi (not to mention a Shaniwar Teli or a Cochini) that wouldn’t be all too amazing but iirc she was in no way connected with any pf these groups, geographically or otherwise. I believe she was in fact of Ashkenazi birth (though I could be mistaken).

    mnuez
    http://www.mnuez.blogspot.com

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