December 7, 2008, - 8:35 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
There might be a reason some Hispanic people like matzoh or other Jewish foods. A study shows that, in the Iberian Peninsula, 20%–or one in five–Spanish (and Portuguese) men has DNA showing Jewish heritage. Since I’ve written about the Secret Jews or “crypto Jews” living in the U.S. Hispanic community, this interests me, as well. It shows that many, many Jews–more than originally thought–were forcibly converted to Christianity around the time of the Inquisition and forcibly converted to Islam before that by the Umayyad Muslim dynasty.
As I’ve written for years, it’s thought that Al-Umayyads’ mass killings and forcible conversions of Jews were greater in number than the Holocaust.
Also, as I’ve noted before, Hispanic women in America show a greater likelihood of having the breast cancer gene, BRCA1, than any other group besides Ashkenazic Jewish women. I surmised then that this may be due to Jewish roots. This study may provide some confirmation of that, although most of the Jewish roots shown here are Sephardic (Oriental/Mideast) Jewish roots:
The genetic signatures of people in Spain and Portugal provide new and explicit evidence of the mass conversions of Sephardic Jews and Muslims to Catholicism in the 15th and 16th centuries after Christian armies wrested Spain back from Muslim control, a team of geneticists reports.
Twenty percent of the population of the Iberian Peninsula has Sephardic Jewish ancestry and 11 percent have DNA reflecting Moorish ancestors, the geneticists have found. Historians have debated how many Jews converted and how many chose exile. “One wing grossly underestimates the number of conversions,” said Jane S. Gerber, an expert on Sephardic history at the City University of New York. . . .
The study, based on an analysis of Y chromosomes, was conducted by biologists led by Mark A. Jobling of the University of Leicester in England and Francesc Calafell of the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. They developed a Y chromosome signature for Sephardic men by studying Sephardic Jewish communities in places where Jews migrated after being expelled from Spain in 1492 to 1496. They also characterized the Y chromosomes of the Arab and Berber army that invaded Spain in A.D. 711 from data on people living in Morocco and Western Sahara.
After a period of forbearance under the Arab Umayyad dynasty, Spain entered a period of religious intolerance, with its Muslim Berber dynasties forcing Christians and Jews to convert to Islam, and the victorious Christians then expelling Jews and Muslims or forcing them to convert. The new genetic study, reported online on Thursday in the American Journal of Human Genetics, indicates there was a high level of conversion among Jews.
Because most of the Y chromosome remains unchanged from father to son, the proportions of Sephardic and Moorish ancestry detected in the present population are probably the same as those just after the 1492 expulsions. A high proportion of people with Sephardic ancestry was to be expected, Dr. Ray said. “Jews formed a very large part of the urban population up until the great conversions,” he said. . . .
The issue is one that has confronted Dr. Calafell, an author of the study. His own Y chromosome may be of Sephardic ancestry – the test is not definitive for individuals – and his surname is from a town in Catalonia; Jews undergoing conversion often took surnames from place names.
It’s interesting that so many Hispanics in our hemisphere and Spanish natives back on Spanish soil are converting to Islam, the religion that once oppressed many of their Jewish ancestors and forcibly converted them (along with Christians who later controlled Spain during the inquisition). Interesting . . . and sad.
Read more on crypto-Jews–Hispanics (mostly in America’s Southwest) who live outwardly as Catholics and secretly as Jews, dating back to their traditions during the inquisition.