History & Social Studies

What were the Blood libels in the 1840s?


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The Damascus Blood Libel was a notorious blood libel that originated in 1840. Christian and Muslim anti-Semitism increased and came to a head that year, aggravated by the political struggle for influence in the Middle East by European powers.

The Damascus Affair began on February 5, 1840, when the Capuchin friar, Thomas, disappeared with his Muslim servant Ibrahim ʿAmāra. The monk was known to have been involved in shady business. and the two men were likely murdered by the tradesmen Thomas quarreled with. The Capuchins, however, immediately circulated news that both men had been murdered by Jew, so their blood could be used for Passover.