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1996

The Black Jews of Timbuktu (Mali)

The Black Jews of Timbuktu (Mali)

Source: Shavei.org (Shavei Israel) There are approximately 1,000 people with alleged Jewish roots in Timbuktu, Mali. They arrived in the 14th century fleeing persecution in Spain, and migrated south to the Timbuktu area, at that time part of the Songhai Empire. Among them was the Kehath (Ka’ti) family, descended from Ismael Jan Kot Al-yahudi of Scheida, Morocco. Sons of this prominent family founded three villages that still exist near Timbuktu—Kirshamba, Haybomo, and Kongougara. In 1492, Askia Muhammed came to power in the previously tolerant region of Timbuktu and decreed that Jews must convert to Islam or leave; Judaism became illegal…
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