Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

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(896 words)

Chala (Tajik: half-finished, incomplete) was a derogatory designation in Bukhara for Jews converted to Islam by force (and their descendants). Since the Chala often secretly practiced Jewish rites and maintained links with the Jewish community, they are somewhat comparable to the Jadīd-i Islām of Mashhad, the Marranos of Spain, and other anusim. Forced conversions occurred throughout the period of Muslim domination of Central Asia despite the Jews' status as ahl al-dhimma (Ar. protected people), but were more numerous in periods of heightened religious fanaticism.…

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Albert Kaganovitch, “Chala”, in: Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Consulted online on 26 February 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1878-9781_ejiw_SIM_0005210>
First published online: 2010

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