The Martyrdom of Sol Hachuel
Ridda in Morocco in 1834
This chapter is a case in point, focusing on the problem of Jewish conversion under Islam. In 1834, Sol Hachuel, a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl from Tangier, was beheaded, having been charged by a Shari'ah court in Fez with accepting Islam and then reverting back to Judaism—an accusation which she denied. Backed by source material in French, Judeo-Arabic, and Hebrew, hitherto untapped, this study analyzes Judeo-Muslim relations based on the concept of ridda (apostasy). It defines Hachuel's execution as martyrdom in the collective memory of Moroccan Jewry, while myths about her abounded. Thereafter, Jews in significant numbers regarded the Muslim court judges, Muslim witnesses who incriminated her, and even the Sharifian Sultan Abd al- Rahman as “losers,” “immoral men,” and “dishonest.” Whereas this chapter does not rule out that her sources may well be regarded as “apologetic literature” favoring Hachuel, there can be no doubt that her beheading affected Jewish-Muslim relations adversely in precolonial Morocco with long-range consequences.
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