Persecutions and conversion to Islam in eleventh-century Egypt

Yaacov Lev

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Examines the significance of conversions to Islam for the Islamization of medieval Egypt. Mass conversions occurred during the 11th century persecution of dhimmis in the reign of al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah (996-1021). The persecutions reached a peak in 1012-13. Dhimmis (Christians and Jews) were forced to wear distinctive dress, expelled from their quarters, harassed by mobs, and their community life was threatened due to confiscation of their economic base, the "awqaf" (pious endowments). Synagogues were destroyed or converted to mosques. The cumulative effect was conversion to Islam, mainly in Cairo. The extent of Jewish conversion is not known. From 1020 on, there was a reversal of policy; dhimmis were permitted to return to their religion and permission was granted to rebuild churches and synagogues which had not been converted to mosques.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Medieval Levant
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 1988

RAMBI Publications

  • RAMBI Publications
  • Muslim converts from Judaism -- Egypt
  • Antisemitism -- Egypt
  • Jews -- Egypt -- History -- Middle Ages, 500-1500


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