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Persian word, commonly used in Iraq to refer to the anti-Jewish rioting of June 1941.

After the defeat of Rashid Ali al-Kaylani's pro-Nazi coup and his flight from Baghdad on 1 and 2 June 1941, Jewish life and property were attacked in what came to be called in Baghdad the Farhud. The looting was started by Iraqi soldiers who had been allowed to roam the streets of Baghdad carrying their weapons. On the second day, when bedouin started pouring into the city across the unguarded bridges, authorities began to worry that the attacks would spread beyond the Jewish community; order, however, was finally restored.

The looting and killing had continued for two days while the British army sat on the outskirts of the city, prevented from intervening by order of the British ambassador, Sir Kinahan Cornwallis. Hundreds of houses and businesses were looted. Accounts vary from 120 Jews killed to more than 600; 2,118 injured; and more than 12,000 who lost part or all of their property. An official committee of inquiry reported the lowest figure; but the text of the secret report was published by the chronicler Abd al-Razzaq al-Hasani, who said that a member of the committee reported the largest figures, and orders were given to reduce this figure.

No attempt was made by Iraq to seek out and punish the perpetrators, but some token compensation to the victims was promised.

See also Kaylani, Rashid Ali al-.


Kedourie, Elie. "The Sack of Basra and the Farhud in Baghdad." In Arabic Political Memoirs and Other Studies. London: Cass, 1974.

Twena, Abraham. Jewry of Iraq: Dispersion and Liberation. Ramla, Israel, 1977, 1979.

Udovitch, A. L., and Cohen, Mark R. Jews among Arabs: Contacts and Boundaries. Princeton, NJ: Darwin Press, 1988.

sylvia g. haim