Jews and Muslims have lived together in the Indian subcontinent for many centuries, and have often had close ties. India’s only Hebrew scribe, for instance, is a Muslim, as is the country’s only tombstone engraver in Hebrew. A devout Muslim is responsible for reviving the study of Hebrew at Indian universities. Elsewhere, however, there has been a rise in anti-Semitism, especially in Pakistan, and violent attacks, though rare, have not been limited to the murder of Daniel Pearl or the 2008 Mumbai attack. Anti-Semitism has also had diplomatic implications, writes Navras Jaat Aafreedi:
The Muslim antagonism toward Jews has also been a major influence on foreign policy in South Asia. It is for this reason that the policy has often been one of having relations with Israel secretly, not publicly, lest it provoke the general Muslim masses. Pakistan and Bangladesh still do not have diplomatic relations with Israel, though the Pakistani state has actually always maintained secret ties with Israel just as India did before the establishment of open diplomatic relations between the two states. While the Muslim factor alone would not suffice to explain Indian policy toward the Middle East, it did play a considerable role in some critical decisions taken by India. . . . It took India two years to recognize Israel and it did so only after both Shiite and Sunni countries had recognized Israel (Iran and Turkey). Former Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh was candid enough to admit during a state visit to Israel in July 2000 that Indian Muslim sentiment against Israel kept India from establishing diplomatic relations with Israel until 1992.
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