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Volume 9, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1751-2867
  • E-ISSN: 1751-2875



In the late nineteenth century the French–Jewish Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU) established and administered primary schools for Jewish communities throughout the Muslim world, with a focus on North Africa and the Ottoman Empire. The AIU’s actions in the territories that later became Iraq have been seldom studied compared to the schools in other geographic areas and have been almost totally ignored with regard to Basra. This article utilizes the letters of the Archives of the Alliance Israélite Universelle (AAIU) and other select primary sources to explore the AIU’s, and to a lesser extent its sister organization’s, the Anglo-Jewish Association’s (AJA), relationship with the Jewish community in Basra in the 1890s and early 1900s leading to the AIU’s takeover of the Basra Jewish School in 1903. In doing so it provides a foundation for future scholars to more fully examine both the AIU’s subsequent work in the city and also the history of Basra’s Jewish community in the first half of the twentieth century.


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