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City of Christian Love

The History and Importance of Nazareth

Series:

Raouf Abujaber

City of Christian Love provides a detailed history of Nazareth from the dawn of the Christian Era until today with special focus on the religious communities found in this sacred city, including both the periods of tension and the periods of profound interreligious partnership and solidarity.

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Chapter Eight: Christians and Muslims Together: Expressions of Cousinship, A.D. 1700–2016

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Chapter Eight

Christians and Muslims Together

Expressions of Cousinship, A.D. 1700–2016

During the Zayadneh rule (1675–1775), Nazareth enjoyed a period of tranquility and development, which encouraged many people to come and live in it and the villages around it. Shaikh Dhaher, who had a house for one of his wives in the town, had special relations with the inhabitants based on trust and friendship. This encouraged them to have mutual respect between Muslims and Christians, and the common life became the order of the day. Nazareth became known as a Christian town where a few churches were already outstanding while there was not one mosque. The White Mosque was built at a later stage after the rule of Ahmad Pasha Al-Jazzar (1775–1804). Dhaher appears not to have encouraged the building of a mosque in Nazareth as he wanted to maintain its Christian character. He invited the Muslims to pray in a hall of the Saraya-Government house, which he had built.

The story of how this house was built is a most interesting one. A historian of the time, Ibrahim Al-‘Awra, who was chief of the Acre Governorate Divan (or governing chamber), relates that in the year 1805 ‘Ali Pasha, the assistant of Suleiman Pasha Governor of Acre, started the construction of the mosque in Nazareth. Ibrahim, who was 67 years ← 93 | 94 → old when he wrote his book in 1853, could have forgotten some parts...

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