KHANAQIN (Khaniqin, Khanikin), town in Diyāla province of E. Iraq; on the ancient Baghdad-Hamadan road, N.E. of Baghdad. In the middle of the 19th century there were about 20 Jewish families residing in Khanaqin; a century later the Jewish community numbered 700 people, most of whom were Arabic-speaking – about a quarter of them spoke Mountain Aramaic. The Jews were cloth and iron merchants, shopkeepers, itinerant money changers, innkeepers, etc. In 1911 the *Alliance Israélite Universelle established a coeducational school in the town which had an attendance of 181 pupils. In the 1920s Zionist activities were introduced. In August 1949, the police arrested the head of the community, accusing him of organizing an illegal Zionist organization; many other Jews were arrested at the same time. In the early 1950s the community left Khanaqin for Israel.
A. Ben-Jacob, Yehudei Bavel (1965), 317.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.