Memoranda for Submission to the Chief Ministers of the Two Telugu States.


Expulsions & Ethnic Cleansing


Dt:  22/6/20


Expulsions & Ethnic  Cleansing


Dr T H Chowdary*



Persecution and expulsion of minority ethnic and religious groups by the ruling majority is a  tragic  part of human history.  The world is too familiar with Hitler’s Germany putting six million Jews to death in gas chambers .(This event is memorialized in the  Yad Vashim  Museum in Jerusalem, capital of Israel) .  We are less familiar with Stalin’s ( Communist ruler of the  former USSR; 1922-53) persecution of Tartars of Crimea, their  exile and dispersion and eventual rehabilitation by  Khruschev (1953-64) .  The persecution and exile of non- Arab black Muslims of Darfur region of  Sudan is a recent event. So is the squeezing out  of Rohingyas of Bangla Desh origin (infiltrator-settlers) from Myanmar.  We in India, have 400,00 Kashmiri’s Hindu Pundits, expelled by the Muslim majority  ( 90% converts from Hinduism over a period of 500 years)  in a  frenzy  of intolerance.  What however is generally not known is the  expulsion and partial extermination of Jews from the areas in and around Medina by Prophet Mohammad.


2.Prophet Mohammed started propagation of Islam in his native Mekka in Arabia. The Mekkans ridiculed and insulted him; life became unbearable.  Some of  his followers  emigrated to Abyssinia.  He emigrated in July 622  AD with a few followers to Yathirb (Madina) the birth place of his late mother, Amina.  Around Medina, there were Jewish settlements.  From the Jews, the Prophet picked up knowledge of the Jewish Prophets of the Old Testament of the Bible.  He told the Jews that  he is the Messiah foretold by the Judaic Prophets .  The Jews did not believe this. 




But the monotheism   and  denunciation of idolatry preached by Prophet Mohammed disposed the Jews favourably to the Prophet.  But what would be the attitude of the  prosperous Jews in the  Prophet’s struggle, his battles with the Mekkan Koreish, the  non-believers and foes?  That was  what determined the fate of the three Jewish tribes in the  area over which Prophet Mohammad  established his mastery, both as Prophet and law-giving ruler.  The Medinese who accepted Islam were called “Helpers” and  the Meccans who came with their Prophet were called “Refugees”  (Mohazzirs  in Sindh).


3. Once  the Prophet had to pay blood money to the tribe which he unsuccessfully raided.  He  was approaching the rich Jewish  tribe  Banu Nadir  for a gift of that amount he needed to pay the tribe he wronged.  But  a  voice from  heaven told him that Banu Nadir was plotting to kill him.  He told the Medinese that “he was escaping  from a treacherous  assault and  summoned his  followers to besiege  the Banu Nadir”. (P 314). Mohammed had the date trees of.  Banu Nadir cur or burnt.  The Nadirs  were under siege for three weeks. They capitulated.  They were exiled. “The Prophet’s victory was bloodless”  He distributed the land and properties of the  Banu Nadir Jews to  the Refugees: that is, the Meccans who migrated with him to Medina.  The confiscation of the  exiles’ property and wealth, is the precursor of the  waqf’s lands and wealth in India.


4. The next affair of the Prophet with Jews was gruesome.  This was in March 626 AD.  After besieging Mohammed and his armed followers  for 15 days, the Mekkan army under the command of Abu Sufyan withdrew from the Battle of the Ditch,  Jews of Beni Koreiza did not join the ranks of the  Prophet’s army against Abu Subyan’s Meccan invaders. Gabriel (Allah’s messenger) brought  the command  to  the Prophet   to proceed against the Jews of Beni Koreiza.  The Jews’ fortress was invested.  “They sought to capitulate  on condition of quitting the  neighbour-hood even empty handed”.  The Prophet accepted the judgement of the Chief of the Arab tribe  Aus,  allies of the Prophet in Medina  that the  men shall be put to death, the women and children sold into slavery and the  spoil divided among the  army”. Trenches were dug in the market place of the  city (Medina). Mohammed himself, a spectator of the  tragedy commanded the male captives to be brought  forth . 800 male Jews in batches of five to six were brought, “each batch made to sit in a row on the brink of the trench destined for his grace, there beheaded and the bodies cast there in”. (p318) .   The butchery  began in the morning, lasted all day and continued by torchlight till the  evening” (329).  During the  butchery,  one Jewess  sallied forth and demanded of Mohammed that she might share her husband’s fate.  The Prophet granted. “She met her death with cheerful countenance. (Like  Rajaputni’s jauhar) . Mohammed invited her to be his wife; but “she declined and chose to remain his slave, concubine…She also declined the summons to conversion” (p319).  1000 women  and children were presented as slaves and  servants to Muslims and some sold to Badawie tribes.  Some property was divided among the 3000 soldiers of Medina, as were  women. (It is this prospect of gaining wealth, women and slaves that  the  Arab converts to Islam, went out for  the conquest of whole of Arabia, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, North Africa and Spain, led first by the four properly guided Caliphs  (Abu Bekr, Omar, Othman and Ali) and later, Sultans and Kings.



5.The third  conquest and expulsion  (ethnic cleansing) of the Jews by the Prophet was from their rich settlement in Khaibar  on the way to Syria, in  Aug/September 628AD.  The Jews here committed no offence. Their fertile fields , nice houses, forts and wealth were coveted by the Prophet.   After fierce fight, the Jews’ citadel of Al-Kamus surrendered.  Their Chief, Kinana was accused of not  divulging where all the treasures were hidden.  He was  “subjected to cruel torture – fire being placed on his breast, until he died.  By command of the Prophet, his head was severed from his body.  Mohammed commanded Billal, his Muezzin, to bring the  beautiful, 17-year young , wife of the beheaded Chief of the Jews and took her as wife. (Duryodhana commanded brother Dussashan to bring the beautiful Draupadi to the  assembly and signalled  her to sit on his thighs) .


 The sixty year old  Prophet Mohammed took the 17 years young  widow Saffia , as wife that very day her husband was beheaded.  The plunder of Kheibar was rich beyond experience.  The Prophet and his Muslims no longer depended upon the hospitality  of the Medinese helpers. One half of all villages and lands embracing all places which surrendered without fighting became a crown domain ( like Sarf-e-Khas of the Nizam of Hyderabad).  The Prophet had ample revenue to himself from which he made assignments to all his eight wives. He distributed the confiscated treasures  among his soldiers.  The Jews of Kheibar were not slaughtered but allowed to live as dhimmis, surrendering  half the produce of their  lands (just as  the unconverted Hindus in India  were allowed to live under Muslim rule by paying  Zezia).


6. Gandhiji  once said, “ Muslims are bullies and Hindus are  cowards”.  About the atrocities of rape, forced conversion and desecration of temples by the rebellious Moplahs in Malabar in 1921, “Gandhiji did not  condemn the Moplah’s vandalism and demoniac acts against Hindus. He described the Moplahs as “god-fearing” people and declared that “they are fighting for what they consider as religion and in a manner they consider as religious” . 


The scant respect for animal as well as human life, polygamy; beheading ( Akbar beheaded Hemu, the defeated and captured  the Hindu warrior), torture to death (Guru Arjun Dev by Jahangir; burying Guru Tegh Bahadur  alive by Aurangzeb,  keeping numerous concubines; appropriation of the properties and wealth of defeated people for sustenance and welfare of the  conquering and converted hordes (Wakf) , assassinations (three of the four Prophet Mohammed’s successor Caliphs fell to assassins), expulsion and  ethnic cleansing of non- believers (The Prophet said, “no  faith other than Islam should exist in Arabia) as in  the Indian territory of Kashmir, Pakistan and Bangladesh, all seem to have their sanction and origin during the life- time of Prophet Mohammed and practised by him.



Note:  This article is based on the contents of the  books 


1.       Mohammad and the Rise of Islam by D S  Margoliouth   and

2.      The Life of Mahomet (from original sources) by Sir William Muir


The quotations in para (3) are  from Margoliouth and in paras - 4 and 5 are from Muir


(1,306 words)