As everyone knows, there is no love lost between Muslims and Jews. Islam’s Prophet Mohammed referred to Jews as maghdhoob, which translates as hated by God. Therefore, it may come as a shock to some members of both religions to learn that they have a common ancestor.
According to a report by Sachin Parashar of the Times of India, an Indian geneticist, Shahnaz Ali, has been commissioned by the Israeli government to study a probable genetic link between the Afridi Pathans based in the Lucknow region and certain tribes of Israel who left their native land to wander all over Asia a few thousand years ago. Ironically, Pathans are ethnically related to the Pashtuns, the tribe that provides the maximum recruits to the ultimate Jew-haters, the Taliban.
Shahnaz Ali, is based in Haifa where she is working in collaboration with the prestigious Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. She has been granted a scholarship by Israel’s foreign ministry to work on the project of genetically analyzing blood samples of the Pathans, which she had collected earlier, to confirm their Israeli origin.
The Pathans are believed to descendants of the Ephraim, one of the 10 Israelite tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel, who were exiled by Assyrian invaders in 721 BC. Some descendants of these lost tribes are said to have settled in India between AD 1202 and AD 1761. For the uninitiated, the Ten Lost Tribes refers to the ancient Israeli tribes that disappeared from the Biblical account after Assyrians overran the Kingdom of Israel in 722 BC and sent them into exile.
So why is the Israeli government interested in this? The Pashtuns of Afghanistan are generally accepted to be the descendants of Afridi Pathans. One theory is that if it could be established that the Taliban Pashtuns – who consider Jews as infidels it is their religious duty to slaughter – come from the same stock as their hated enemies, it could provide a powerful propaganda weapon for the Israelis.