Super interesting piece by Yitzhak Melamed with texts on the history of Hasidic-Muslim relations in Ottoman Palestine.
The first Hasidic masters settled in Palestine in the eighteenth century, even before the movement developed a consciousness of itself as a new life-form of Jewish piety. R. Avraham Gershon of Kitov (d. 1761) — the brother in law of the founder of Hasidism, R. Israel Baal Shem Tov (ca. 1700-1760)— settled in Hebron in 1747, and by the early 1750s he moved to Jerusalem.
In 1781, a group of three hundred Hasidim led by R. Menahem Mendel of Vitebsk (1730-1788) and R. Avrahm of Kalisk (1741-1810) established a community in Tiberias (after a failed attempt to settle in Safed). In Palestine, the Hasidim met not only the local Sefaradi Kabbalists but also the local, non-Jewish residents. This latter encounter is particularly intriguing, but a full account of this would take a monograph.
Here I would like to examine two especially striking episodes from this encounter; the first highlights the relationship between Jews and Muslims in the land during this period, while the second shows how a Hasidic master in Europe viewed the non-Jewish natives of Ottoman Palestine.
It would make for a terrific monograph. You can read the whole thing here.