Skip to content


Jewish Muslims

Uncovering the hidden history of Islamophobia and its surprising connections to the long-standing hatred of Jews.

Hatred of Jews and hatred of Muslims have been intertwined in Christian thought since the rise of Islam. In Jewish Muslims, David M. Freidenreich explores the history of this complex, perplexing, and emotionally fraught phenomenon. He makes the compelling case that, then and now, hate-mongers target “them” in an effort to define “us.”

Analyzing anti-Muslim sentiment in texts and images produced across Europe and the Middle East over a thousand years, the author shows how Christians intentionally distorted reality by alleging that Muslims were just like Jews. They did so not only to justify assaults against Muslims on theological grounds but also to motivate fellow believers to live as “good” Christians. The disdain premodern polemicists expressed for Islam and Judaism was never really about these religions. Rather, they sought to promote their own visions of Christianity—a dynamic that similarly animates portrayals of Muslims and Jews today.

“Engaging and accessible, Jewish Muslims will fascinate readers who seek to understand the history and workings of Islamophobia and antisemitism, offering new perspectives on these pernicious dynamics and stimulating novel approaches to dismantling them.”—Paola Tartakoff, Professor of History and Jewish Studies, Rutgers University

“David Freidenreich’s incisive and learned book explores the long history of the relationship between Judaism and Islam in Christian thought, illuminating an enduring and powerful intersectionality that continues to shape our world.”—David Nirenberg, author of Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition

Purchase from AmazonUniversity of California Press, or your preferred bookseller.

Related Articles

“Muhammad, the Monk, and the Jews: Comparative Religion in Versions of the Baḥīrā Legend,” Entangled Religions 13.2 (2022). [link to pdf]

“‘What is That to Us?’: The Eucharistic Liturgy and the Enemies of Christ in the Beam of the Passion,” co-authored with Véronique Plesch, Studies in Iconography 41 (2020): 104–30. [link to pdf]

“ ‘You Still Believe Like a Jew!’: Polemical Comparisons and Other Eastern Christian Rhetoric Associating Muslims with Jews from the 7th–9th Centuries,” Entangled Religions 11.4 (2022). [link to pdf]