CRYPTO-JEWS, persons who while secretly remaining faithful to Judaism practiced another religion which they or their ancestors were forced to accept. Groups of Crypto-Jews came into existence after the forced conversions under the *Visigoths in Spain (7th century) and the *Almohads in North Africa and Spain (12th century). Other such groups were the neofiti in southern Italy from the end of the 13th to the 16th century, the *Conversos or *Marranos (Heb. *anusim) in Spain after the persecutions of 1391 and the expulsion of 1492, as well as in Portugal after 1497. In Majorca these Jewish converts were known as the *Chuetas. A group coerced to adopt Islam were the *Jadīd al-Islām in *Meshed, Persia, in the 19th century. A different type of Crypto-Jew were the members of the *Doenmeh sect in Turkey and Salonika.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.