Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Les Talibans sont-ils issus de l’une des tribus perdues?


lessakele.over-blog.fr, January 19, 2010

Le Times of India a indiqué la semaine dernière que le gouvernement israélien avait demandé à une généticienne indienne de rechercher un éventuel lien entre la tribu indo-européenne des Pathans et certaines tribus d’Israël.

La généticienne Shahnaz Ali a été priée d’étudier le rapport entre les Pathans Afridi qui vivent dans la région du Lucknow en Inde et les tribus d’Israël perdues qui furent exilées en Asie il y a des milliers d’années.

Ali travaille à Haïfa en collaboration avec l’université du Technion, où elle analyse génétiquement des échantillons de sang prélevés chez des Pathans Afridi de Malihabad pour vérifier leurs origines juives. Certains analystes pensent qu’Israël a décidé de financer une telle recherche, à cause de la théorie soutenant que les combattants pachtounes d’Afghanistan, dont sont issus la plupart des Talibans, sont des descendants des Pathans Afridi.

Ce n’est pas la première fois que l’on parle d’une origine juive des Pathans, mais le ministère des Affaires étrangères n’avait encore jamais décidé de financer ce genre de recherches.

Un scientifique pathan Dr Navras Jaat Aafreedi a déjà fait une étude génétique sur 1 500 de ses homologues et a trouvé quelque 650 membres porteurs d’un matériel génétique spécifique reconnu déjà parmi 40% des Juifs du monde. Aafreedi a déclaré dans une interview accordée au Times of India : « L’étude de Shahnaz sera importante si elle établit un lien génétique entre les Pathans et les Juifs.

On aurait alors une preuve scientifique de la croyance populaire de l’origine juive des Pathans. Cette étude a une implication importante sur les relations entre d’une part les Musulmans et d’autre part les Juifs en particulier et le monde en général. » Certains affirment que les Pathans sont des descendants de la tribu d’Ephraïm, exilée par les Assyriens en 721 avant l’ère commune. Certains descendants des dix tribus perdues se seraient installés en Inde entre 1202 et 1761 de l’ère commune.

Les Pathans Afridi de Malihabad pourraient faire partie de ces tribus. « Malihabad dans le district du Lucknow est le seul territoire où se trouvent des Pathans – ou Pachtouns – qui est accessible à ceux qui veulent vérifier les origines juives de ces derniers.

Il est bien sûr impossible de prélever des échantillons d’ADN en Afghanistan ou au Pakistan, où la plupart des Pathans vivent », explique Aafreedi. Il reste en fait peu de Pathans en Inde, essentiellement à Malihabad et à Qayamganj en Farrukhabad, lesquels ont déjà été étudiés par Aafreedi. Mais, les Pathans Afridi d’Inde, s’ils se réclament d’origine juive, sont tout aussi hostile à l’égard d’Israël que les Musulmans de n’importe où ailleurs.

Monday, 18 January 2010

The 2,700 year old Pashtun link to Israel


The Dawn, 18 January, 2010

A genetic study to investigate a connection between the lost tribes of Israel and the Pashtuns of Afghanistan and northern Pakistan will be funded by Israel, according to a report in The Observer.

Israeli anthropologists have claimed that the Pashtuns may be one of the 10 lost tribes of Israel in light of longstanding historical and anecdotal evidence. No scientific proof has ever been able to demonstrate a conclusive link.

However, an Indian researcher based at the National Institute of Immuno-haemotology in Mumbai will now spend time at a leading Israeli institute, Technion to study the findings of her research. Shahnaz Ali collected the blood-samples from members of the Pashtun Afridi tribe living near Lucknow, India. Previous research in a similar area failed to determine a link either way.

According to the report, 10 of the original 12 tribes of Israel were pushed into exile 2,730 years ago when the Assyrians conquered the kingdom of Israel. Modern-day Jews belong to the two remaining tribes of Benjamin and Judah, according to Jewish history. Ever since, speculation has centered on the exact whereabouts of the lost tribes. Claims of their traces in China, Burma, Nigeria and Central Asia have been offered in the past. It is believed that the tribes settled in Justify Fullareas around latter-day Northern Iraq and Afghanistan therefore making the Pashtun link the most compelling.

Navras Aafreedi, an academic at Lucknow University said, "Pathans, or Pashtuns, are the only people in the world whose probable descent from the lost tribes of Israel finds mention in a number of texts from the 10th century to the present day, written by Jewish, Christian and Muslim scholars alike, both religious as well as secularists."

However, Ali remains cautious. "The theory has been a matter of curiosity since long ago, and now I hope a scientific analysis will provide us with some answers about the Israelite origin of Afridi Pathans. We still don't know what the truth is, but efforts will certainly give us direction," she told The Times of India last year.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Pashtun clue to lost tribes of Israel


Genetic study sets out to uncover if there is a 2,700-year-old link to Afghanistan and Pakistan

Rory McCarthy, Jerusalem
The Guardian, Sunday 17 January 2010

Israel is to fund a rare genetic study to determine whether there is a link between the lost tribes of Israel and the Pashtuns of Afghanistan and northern Pakistan.

Historical and anecdotal evidence strongly suggest a connection, but definitive scientific proof has never been found. Some leading Israeli anthropologists believe that, of all the many groups in the world who claim a connection to the 10 lost tribes, the Pashtuns, or Pathans, have the most compelling case. Paradoxically it is from the Pashtuns that the ultra-conservative Islamic Taliban movement in Afghanistan emerged. Pashtuns themselves sometimes talk of their Israelite connection, but show few signs of sympathy with, or any wish to migrate to, the modern Israeli state.

Now an Indian researcher has collected blood samples from members of the Afridi tribe of Pashtuns who today live in Malihabad, near Lucknow, in northern India. Shahnaz Ali, from the National Institute of Immunohaematology in Mumbai, is to spend several months studying her findings at Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, in Haifa. A previous genetic study in the same area did not provide proof one way or the other.

The Assyrians conquered the kingdom of Israel some 2,730 years ago, scattering 10 of the 12 tribes into exile, supposedly beyond the mythical Sambation river. The two remaining tribes, Benjamin and Judah, became the modern-day Jewish people, according to Jewish history, and the search for the lost tribes has continued ever since. Some have claimed to have found traces of them in modern China, Burma, Nigeria, Central Asia, Ethiopia and even in the West.

But it is believed that the tribes were dispersed in an area around modern-day northern Iraq and Afghanistan, which makes the Pashtun connection the strogest.

"Of all the groups, there is convincing evidence about the Pathans than anybody else, but the Pathans are the ones who reject Israel most ferociously. That is the sweet irony," said Shalva Weil, an anthropologist and senior researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The Pashtuns have a proud oral history that talks of descending from the Israelites.

Their tribal groupings have similar names, including Yusufzai, which means sons of Joseph; and Afridi, thought by some to come from Ephraim. Some customs and practices are said to be similar to Jewish traditions: lighting candles on the sabbath, refraining from eating certain foods, using a canopy during a wedding ceremony and some similarities in garments.

Weil cautioned, however, that this is not proof of any genetic connection. DNA might be able to determine which area of the world the Pashtuns originated from, but it is not at all certain that it could identify a specific link to the Jewish people.

So far Shahnaz Ali has been cautious. "The theory has been a matter of curiosity since long ago, and now I hope a scientific analysis will provide us with some answers about the Israelite origin of Afridi Pathans. We still don't know what the truth is, but efforts will certainly give us direction," she told the Times of India last year.

Some are more certain, among them Navras Aafreedi, an academic at Lucknow University, himself a Pashtun from the Afridi tribe. His family traces their roots back to Pathans from the Khyber Agency of what is today north-west Pakistan, but he believes they stretch back further to the tribe of Ephraim.

"Pathans, or Pashtuns, are the only people in the world whose probable descent from the lost tribes of Israel finds mention in a number of texts from the 10th century till the present day, written by Jewish, Christian and Muslim scholars alike, both religious as well as secularists. ," Aafreedi said.

The implications of any find are uncertain. Other groups that claim Israelite descent, including those known as the Bnei Menashe in India and some in Ethiopia, have migrated to Israel. That is unlikely with the Pashtuns.

But Weil said the work was absorbing, well beyond questions of immigration. "I find a myth that has been so persistent for so long, for 2,000 years, really fascinating," she said.

ISRAEL BUSCA UNA DE SUS TRIBUS PERDIDAS EN AFGANISTÁN


RT.com, 15 de enero 2010

Una genetista india recibió una subvención del Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores de Israel para investigar si el pueblo de los pastunes, el principal grupo étnico de Afganistán, tiene raíces hebreas.

Pero la científica Shahnaz Ali no tendrá que desplazarse al peligroso suelo afgano donde son frecuentes los ataques de los talibanes, que son pastunes en su mayoría. Tampoco irá al noroeste de Pakistán. Trabajará en Haifa con sus colegas israelíes estudiando el ADN de las muestras de sangre de los pastunes de estirpe afridi, que habitan el distrito de Lucknow en el norte de la India. Es el único lugar donde se pueden obtener las muestras sin arriesgar la vida.

El noroeste de Pakistán, otra región que cuenta con una población extensa de pastunes -y campamentos de talibanes-, tampoco sirve para los estudios científicos, y mucho menos realizados bajo el patrocinio hebreo.

El estudio tiene el próposito de confirmar la hipótesis de que los pastunes son descendientes de la tribu israelita de Efraím, una de las diez que fueron expulsadas de sus tierras por los invasores asirios en el norte de Israel, en el siglo VIII a.C., y se asentaron en la India unos centenares de años más tarde.

Otro científico indio, Navras Aafreedi, uno de los principales partidarios de la teoría, comentó que la investigación puede tener unas “ramificaciones interesantes para las relaciones entre los musulmanes y los judíos, así como para el resto del mundo”. Matizó que, aunque los afridi se consideran de origen israelí, son igual de hostiles hacia Israel que los otros musulmanes. Eso parece una paradoja, pero el caso es que el antiguo reino de Israel en el norte tenía enemistad con el reino de Judá en el sur, del que se originó el gentilicio judío.

Pastunii, principalul grup taliban, ar putea fi descendenti ai evreilor



Pastunii, grupul etnic care formeaza nucleul talibanilor din Afganistan si Pakistan, ar putea fi descendenti ai dusmanilor lor evrei, sustin cercetatori indieni, citati de ziarul britanic Telegraph. Experti de la Institutul National de Imuno-hematologie din Mumbai au declarat ca grupul pastunilor ar putea fi unul dintre cele zece "Triburi disparute ale Israelului".

Guvernul israelian finanteaza in prezent un studiu genetic care sa stabileasca daca exista o dovada a legaturii intre pastuni si evrei.

Un genetician indian a recoltat probe de sange de la tribul de pastuni Afridi din Lucknow, in nordul Indiei. Probele au fost recoltate din aceasta regiune deoarece a fost considerata singura unde se poate face, in siguranta, un proiect atat de controversat pentru musulmani.

Shanaz Ali urmeaza sa-si petreaca urmatoarele 12 luni la Institutul de Tehnologie Technion din Tel Aviv, unde va compara probele de sange cu cele ale evreilor israelieni. Navras Aafreedi, un cercetator al "Triburilor disparute ale Israelului", a declarat ca studiul ar putea avea "repercusiuni moderne majore" precum si "ramificatii interesante pentru relatiile dintre musulmani si evrei in particular, dar si in plan global".

Telegraph precizeaza ca in lume traiesc in prezent circa 42 de milioane de pastuni, din care 14 milioane se afla in Afganistan si peste 28 de milioane in Pakistan.

Multi dintre pastuni au crescut auzind povesti despre neamul lor ca fiind "Copiii lui Israel". Potrivit legendei, ei sunt urmasi din tribul Efraim, care a fost alungat din Israel de invazia asirienilor, in jur de 700 i.Cr.

In Herat, la granita dintre Afganistan si Iran, au fost descoperite morminte insciptionate in ebraica, dovada a existentei unor vechi asezari evreiesti in zona. In plus, in Kabul exista o sinagoga veche de cateva secole, care acum este abandonata.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Taliban may be descended from Jews


The ethnic group at the heart of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan may have descended from their Jewish enemy, according to researchers in India.

By Dean Nelson, Telegraph, 11 January, 2010

Experts at Mumbai's National Institute of Immeunohaematology believe Pashtuns could be one of the ten "Lost Tribes of Israel".

The Israeli government is funding a genetic study to establish if there is any proof of the link.

An Indian geneticist has taken blood samples from the Pashtun Afridi tribe in Lucknow, Northern India, to Israel, where she will spend the next 12 months comparing DNA with samples with those of Israeli Jews.

The samples were taken in Lucknow's Malihabad area because it was regarded as the only place safe enough to conduct such a controversial project for Muslims.

Shahnaz Ali, a senior research fellow, will lead the study at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology in Tel Aviv.

There are an estimated 40 million Pashtuns around the world, including more than 14 million in Afghanistan and 28 million in Pakistan, mainly in the North West Frontier Province and Tribal areas, but also with a strong presence in Karachi.

Many have grown up with stories of their people being "Children of Israel". According to legend, they are descended from the Ephraim tribe which was driven out of Israel by the Assyrian invasion in around 700 BC.

Evidence of ancient Jewish settlement has been found in Herat, close to afghanistan's border with Iran, where a graveyard contains tombs inscribed in Hebrew. The Afghan capital Kabul also has centuries-old synagogue which has long been abandoned.

Navras Aafreedi, a leading researcher on the Lost Tribes of Israel, said the DNA investigation could have major repercussions.

"It could be seen as scientific validation of traditional belief about the Israelite origin of [Pashtuns] and can have interesting ramifications for Muslim-Jew relations in particular and the world at large," he said.

Could the Taliban be genetically linked to the Jews?


By Haaretz Service, 14 January, 2010

Israel has asked an Indian geneticist to study the link between the Indian Pathans tribe and certain tribes of Israel, the Times of India reported this week.

Geneticist Shahnaz Ali has been asked to study the link between the Afridi Pathans, based in the Lucknow region of India, and certain tribes of Israel who migrated across Asia thousands of years ago.

Ali is based in Haifa where she is working in collaboration with Israel's prestigious university the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology.

Some experts attribute Israel's decision to fund the research to a theory supported by many that Afghanistan's Pashtun fighters, the community from which the Taliban draw their strength, are descendants of Afridi Pathans.

This is not the first time speculations of a deep rooted connection between the two seeemingly unrelated people have been raised, yet this is the first time Israel's Foreign Ministry has decided to fund the research.

Ali has been genetically analyzing blood samples of the Afridi Pathans of Malihabad which she collected earlier to confirm their Jewish origin.

In an interview with the Times of India, Dr. Navras Aafreedi, a researcher in Indo-Judaic studies and one of the first proponents of the common origin theory in India said, "Shahnaz's research would be important if it does establish the genetic link between Pathans and Jews, as it could be seen as a scientific validation of a traditional belief about the Israelite origin of Pathans and can have interesting ramifications for Muslim-Jew relations in particular and the world at large."

The Pathans in India are believed to be descendants of the Ephraim tribe, one of the 10 Israelite tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel who were exiled by Assyrian invaders in 721 BCE.

Some descendants of these tribes lost tribes are said to have settled in India between 1202 C.E. and 1761 C.E., Afridi Pathans of Malihabad being one of them.

"Malihabad in Lucknow district is the only Pathan, or Pashtun, territory safely and easily accesible to those interested in the probable Israelite origins of Pathans. It is certainly not possible to collect DNA samples in Afghanistan or the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, where most of the Pathans or Pashtuns live," Aafreedi said.

There are few Pathans left in India, primarily at places like Malihabad near Lucknow and Qayamganj in Farrukhabad, all of who Aafreedi appoached for the academic research.

According to Aafreedi, the Afridi Pathans in India, even though they claim Israeli origin, are just as hostile and antagonistic towards Israel as Muslims anywhere else in the world.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Israelis and Taliban Separated at Birth?


Israel Finances Study About Pashtun Bloodlines

Simon McGregor-Wood, ABC News, Jan. 12, 2010

Don't tell the Taliban, but their ancestors may be Jewish.

Israel's foreign ministry is funding research into whether members of the ethnic tribe from which the Taliban draws its manpower have Jewish ancestors.

Pashtuns are the largest ethnic community in Afghanistan. It is widely believed they are an offshoot of the Pathans whose members are scattered across northern India and Pakistan. Both are today exclusively Muslim. Neither has any sympathy for modern Israel.

Scientists are now trying to determine whether the Pathans themselves are directly descended from the tribe of Ephraim which was exiled from the land of Israel by the invading Assyrians in 721 B.C. Pathan folklore and culture are filled with references to an Israelite past.

The last king of Afghanistan Zahir Shah who reigned in Kabul until 1973 reportedly claimed his family was descended from what he called the tribe of Benjamin.

The Taliban spare no effort in expressing their hatred for Israel. Any genetic link they may have with people of Jewish descent would be a dark irony.

Last year, a Persian blog item set off rumors suggesting that Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is of Jewish descent. Several global news outlets picked up the story and examined the notion of a Jewish Ahmadinejad, rooted in the claim that his original family name of "Sabourjian" links him to weavers of the Jewish prayer shawl.

But Meir Javednafar, an Iranian Jewish scholar on the Middle East, dismissed the idea, telling ABC News that the political vetting process would make it nearly impossible for someone to reach the post of president of the Islamic Republic without solid Muslim credentials.

Until now the supposed link between Pathans and Jews has only been discussed on the fringes of the academic and anthropological worlds. But now Shahnaz Ali, an Indian researcher from the National Institute of Immunohaematology in Mumbai has received a grant from Israel to test the theory with DNA samples she collected from Pathans in India. She will conduct her research at the prestigious Technion Institute in Haifa.

Research Into Taliban's Jewish Roots to Take Months

Dr. Navras Aafreedi from the University of Lucknow is himself a Pathan and believes his distant ancestors were Jews from the tribe of Ephraim. He has been studying the link for years.

"It's great news that my research would be analyzed scientifically. I also hope that such effort will have positive ramifications and will bring the Muslims and Jews close and enable them to forget historical animosity," he wrote on his blog.

The Afghan people are a mix of tribes and ethnicities. For years scientists have been investigating a group of Afghans living in the north of the country. They are blonde and are thought to be the descendents of the soldiers of Alexander The Great.

The research into the Taliban's Jewish roots will take many months. Long-lost family reunions are not being planned.

Lara Setrakian contributed to the reporting of this story.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Lucknow Pathans have Jewish Roots?


Israel Govt Has Asked Indian Geneticist To Study Link Between Afridis And The Lost Tribes

Sachin Parashar, The Times of India, New Delhi, January 11, 2010

New Delhi: Despite their animosity, do Jews and the Pathans in India come from the same ancestral stock — the biblical lost tribes of Israel? A subject of speculation among academicians in the past, the Israeli government has now asked an Indian geneticist, Shahnaz Ali, to study the link between the Afridi Pathans based in the Lucknow region and certain tribes of Israel who migrated from their native place to all over Asia a few thousand years ago.

Ali, who has been granted a scholarship by Israel’s foreign ministry to work on the project, is genetically analysing blood samples of the Afridi Pathans of Malihabad near Lucknow which she collected earlier to confirm their Israeli origin. Ali is based in Haifa where she is working in collaboration with the prestigious Technion — Israel Institute of Technology.

‘‘Shahnaz’s research would be important if it does establish the genetic link between Pathans and Jews, as it could be seen as a scientific validation of a traditional belief about the Israelite origin of Pathans and can have interesting ramifications for Muslim-Jew relations in particular and the world at large,’’ Dr Navras Aafreedi, a researcher in Indo-Judaic studies and one of the first proponents of the common-origin theory in India, told TOI.

It is believed that the Pathan are descendants of the Ephraim tribe, one of the 10 Israelite tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel who were exiled by Assyrian invaders in 721BC. Some descendants of these lost tribes are said to have settled in India between AD1202 and AD1761, Afridi Pathans of Malihabad being one of them.

According to experts, Israel’s decision to facilitate the research could also be because of the theory supported by many that Afghanistan’s Pashtun fighters, the community from which the Taliban draw their strength, are descendants of Afridi Pathans.

‘‘Malihabad in Lucknow district is the only Pathan, or Pashtun, territory safely and easily accessible to those interested in the probable Israelite origins of Pathans. It is certainly not possible to collect DNA samples in Afghanistan or the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan, where most of the Pathans or Pashtuns live,’’ Aafreedi said.

India has only a sprinkling of Pathans, primarily at places like Malihabad near Lucknow and Qayamganj in Farrukhabad, predominantly of the Afridi tribe. But these were the only Pathans, said Aafreedi, who could be approached for academic purposes.

According to Aafreedi, the Afridi Pathans in India, even though they claim Israeli origin, are just as hostile and antagonistic towards Israel as Muslims anywhere else in the world.

Who Are The Lost Tribes?

The term 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. The tribes were named Asher, Dan, Ephraim, Gad, Issachar, Manasseh, Naphtali, Reuben, Simeon, and Zebulun. Two other tribes, Judah and Benjamin, had set up the Kingdom of Judah. The descendants of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin have survived as Jews.

The belief persists that one day the Ten Lost Tribes would be found. Many groups claim descent from specific lost tribes. The Pashtuns – ethnic Afghans – are one such group.

Are Taliban descendants of Israelites?


Amir Mizroch , The Jerusalem Post, January 9, 2010

Are the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan descendants of an Israelite tribe that migrated across Asia after it was exiled over 2,700 years ago?

This intriguing question has been asked by a variety of scholars, theologians, anthropologists and pundits over the years, but has remained somewhere between the realms of amateur speculation and serious academic research.

But now, for the first time, the government has shown official interest, with the Foreign Ministry providing a scholarship to an Indian scientist to come to the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa and determine whether or not the tribe that provides the hard core of today's Taliban has a blood link to any of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, and specifically to the tribe of Efraim.

Shahnaz Ali, a senior research fellow at the National Institute of Immunohaematology, Mumbai, has joined the Technion to study the blood samples that she collected from Afridi Pathans in Malihabad, in the Lucknow district, Uttar Pradesh state, India, to check their putative Israelite origin.

Shahnaz, an expert in DNA profiling and population genetics, will be supervised by Prof. Karl Skorecki, director of Nephrology and Molecular Medicine at the Technion Faculty of Medicine. Skorecki is famous for his breakthrough work on Jewish genetic research.

Shahnaz's research, which is expected to last anywhere between three months and a year, will be supported by a scholarship from the Foreign Ministry for the 2009-2010 academic year.

Shahnaz, who is staying in Haifa for the duration of her research, earlier worked at the prestigious Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). While the scholarship only provides her with $600 per month (excluding travel to and from India), her work will be followed closely by many here and abroad.

While the vast majority of Afghan Taliban are Pashtun, the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, the theory that they are descendants of the Afridi Pathans is widespread in the area. The theory is based on a variety of ancient historical texts and oral traditions of the Pashtun people themselves, but no scientific studies by any accredited organizations have upheld the claim. It continues to be believed by many Pashtuns, and has found advocates among some contemporary Muslim and (to a lesser extent) Jewish scholars.

Official confirmation of the link by the Technion would lend immense weight to the argument. Afridi Pathans have an age-old tradition of Israelite origin, which finds mention in texts dating from the 10th century to the present day, written by Jewish, Christian and Muslim scholars.

According to some researchers, members of the tribe still observe many Israelite customs in their native places in eastern Afghanistan and in the federally administered tribal areas of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, though they have lost all these traditions of theirs in India. In Afghanistan and Pakistan they are all Muslim today and form the core of the Taliban.

In his 1957 The Exiled and the Redeemed, Itzhak Ben-Zvi, Israel's second president, wrote that Hebrew migrations into Afghanistan began "with a sprinkling of exiles from Samaria who had been transplanted there by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria (719 BC)."

Zahir Shah, the last king of Afghanistan, when asked about his ancestors, claimed that the royal family descended from the tribe of Benjamin.

On the academic level, British researcher Dr. Theodore Parfitt has been conducting research on genetic effects and chromosome Y among numerous tribes around the world. In India he is assisted by a young researcher from the University of Lucknow - Dr. Navras Aafreedi - who claims that his ancestors were Afreedi, descendants of the tribe of Efraim, and that many of the Pathans and other tribes are descendants of the Ten Tribes. Afreedi did his post-doctoral work at Tel Aviv University, titled "Indian Jewry and the Self-professed Lost Tribes of Israel in India."

Shahnaz's genetic research would examine Navras's theory that Afridi Pathans are descendants of the tribe of Ephraim, which was exiled in 721 BCE. The research uses DNA analysis to trace shared ancestries and origins of certain populations of interest in the eastern provinces of India, to map the cause of a certain disorder that is very frequent in the large populations of those provinces, and to see if the DNA mutations originate in a certain "founder event."

Shahnaz traveled to Malihabad and collected blood samples from the tribal population there. It is thought that the Afridi Pathans migrated from the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, areas that are now "ground zero" in the war on terror. Shahnaz herself, while aware of the possible connection, is cautious to jump to conclusions.

"The research itself will take some three months, and after that we'll see what happens. It could take a huge amount of time to analyze all the data, as it was taken from tribal people in India, and we will need to examine how much the men from this tribe mixed in with the local population," she said.

Navras welcomed Shahnaz's research grant. "It's a great news that now my research would be analyzed scientifically," he said on his blog.

"I don't know what would be the outcome of the DNA analysis, but it would provide us a direction to resolve the complex issue. I also hope that such effort will have positive ramifications and will bring the Muslims and Jews close and enable them to forget historical animosity," Navras wrote.