Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

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Damascus Affair (1840)
(831 words)

In February 1840, an Italian Capuchin monk named Padre Tomaso and his servant disappeared in Damascus. Local Christians, abetted by the French consul Benoît Ulysse-Laurent-François de Ratti-Menton (a rabid antisemite himself), accused Jews of murdering Tomaso and using his blood to bake matza for Passover. Blood libels of this kind were not uncommon in medieval Christian Europe, but only found their way to Syria in later centuries, possibly brought there by European priests or missionaries. The incident in Damascus was probably influenced as much by economi…

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Moshe Ma'oz, “Damascus Affair (1840)”, in: Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Consulted online on 23 July 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1878-9781_ejiw_COM_0006070>
First published online: 2010

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