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Under Turkish Rule, Part I Continued By: Andrew G. Bostom
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, July 27, 2007

The Jews of Bosnia and Turkey Under Ottoman Rule

Moritz Levy 81 and Ivo Andric 82 have documented the dress codes, transportation and arms prohibitions, and excessive taxation (or bribes, and outright extortion) imposed upon the Jewish community of Bosnia under Ottoman rule throughout the 17th century and 18th centuries. These observations recall the contemporary experiences of the Jews in Ottoman Palestine during this same period, as described previously. 83


From at least 1579, as decreed by Sultan Murad III, through 1714, the Ottoman authorities applied “strict measures” to prevent Jews and Christians from dressing like Muslims. Particular attention was paid to headdress; distinctions in footwear, while less fastidious, were also required, and violations of the footwear prohibitions became a source of bribery extorted by the Muslim constabulary and religious authorities. 84 Jews and Christians were also forbidden to ride horses in towns and their precincts. Levy describes these prohibitions and cites an example of a bribe required to lift this restriction (transiently) during an early 19th century funeral for a Jew: 85


When Christians or Jews set out on a journey, they had to wait until they were outside the town before mounting their horses. Even outside the town, non-Muslims must not be ostentatious or conspicuous. The harness must be cheap and simple. The saddle must not have fittings of silver or any other metal, or have fringes or any other decoration. The reins must be made exclusively of black leather (not red, white or yellow) and be without tassels or other appendages on the horse’s head, neck or mane, as was customary among the Turks of Bosnia. There is only one brief mention of these matters in the records, from 1804, which states: 22 groschen [coinage of silver or copper] to the Qadi and Mutessellim, for permission to ride horses at the funeral of (the Shasham David).


Predictably, Jews and Christians could not bear guns, sabers, and other “prestigious weapons.” 86 Levy further documents how bribes were required from the Sarajevo Jewish community to allow Jewish women to bathe after menstruation in accord with Mosaic purity laws: 87


…the Qadi forbade Jewish women from visiting the baths after the second hour before sunset, i.e. at precisely the time when Jewish law prescribes the aforementioned ablutions. In this respect we find in the records: 1767 – 53 groschen to the Qadi for permission for women to visit the baths [at the appropriate time]…The same point appears in the records for 1769 and 1778.


Moreover, between 1748 and 1802, payments were extorted from Sarajevo’s Jews by the Muslim Buljukbaša  (i.e., Pasha, who also acted as the public executioner) so that condemned Christians (almost exclusively) would not be hung at the Jewish ghetto gates, thereby averting another form of public humiliation of the Jewish community. 88 Ivo Andric provides two additional 18th century examples of Sarajevo’s Jews as “profitable targets of extortion” by the Muslim ruling elites. The payments Andric documents were required in order for the Jewish community to avoid unpaid, forced labor corveés, and be allowed to rebuild a synagogue destroyed by fire. 89


The Pinakes…the account books of the Sarajevo Jews, offer a true picture in many ways of conditions as they were then. The year 1730 saw a disbursement of 720 puli [90 dinar] for the mutesilim, so as to be spared working Saturdays on the fortification [i.e., in corveés; Andric further indicates that Christians were deployed in such corveés on Sundays]. It was an outlay repeated in the years to come.


…In the year 1794 the Jews of Sarajevo won permission through an imperial firman to rebuild their synagogue, which had recently burned down. It hardly need be said that the usual stipulations applied. “No more than any of the confessions are they allowed to enlarge such a structure by so much as a jot or a tittle in the process of re-erecting it”. And to the imperial firman were attached the usual formalities- permission of the vizier, permission of the kadi, two separate commissions, and so on. All this took more than two years and cost a tidy sum.


The readiness with which the Jews acceded to such extortions was explained by Levy as follows: 90


Acts of violence and extortion by the Pashas against the Jews plunged them into the depths of darkest night…There were many unpleasant run-ins with the authorities from time to time, which, however, were susceptible to settlement by means of money.


Lastly, regarding the brutal enforcement of dhimmi dress restrictions in the heart of Istanbul itself, British Ambassador James Porter (who served there between1746-1762) recorded two tragic examples from 1758, involving the summary executions of  a Jew and an Armenian: 91


(February 3, 1758) The order against Christians and Jews dress, except in modest Cloaths [clothes], browns, blacks…as to caps and boots…is most rigorously executed in a Manner unknown before which alarms much all those who are not Mahometans, and makes them apprehend the most Rigour; it seems however but natural, when it is considered, that it comes from a self-denying religious Prince [Sultan Mustafa III].


(June 3, 1758) This time of Ramazan [Ramadan] is mostly taken up by day in sleep, by Night in eating, so that we have few occurrences of any importance, except what the Grand Seignor [Sultan Mustafa III] himself affords us he is determined to keep his laws, and to have them executed concerning dress has been often repeated, and with it uncommon solemnity, yet as in former Reigns, after some weeks it was seldom attended to , but gradually transgressed, these people whose ruling Passion is directed that way, thought it was forgot, and betook themselves to their old course, a Jew on his Sabbath was the first victim, the Grand Seignor going the rounds incognito, met him, and not having the Executioner with him, without sending him [the Jew] to the Vizir, had him executed, and his throat cut that moment, the day after an Armenian followed, he was sent to the Vizir, who attempted to save him, and condemned him to the Galleys, but the Capigilar Cheaia [head of the guards] came to the Porte at night, attended with the executioner, to know what was become of the delinquent, that first Minister had brought him directly from the Galleys and his head struck off, that he might inform his Master he had anticipated his Orders.


The messianic career of Shabbetai Zevi (1626-1678)—his rise and ignominious fall in the latter half of the 17th century—engendered discord, and ultimately, despondent apathy in the Ottoman Jewish community. 92 The son of a Jewish commercial agent from the port of Izmir (ancient Smyrna; SW Turkey today), Shabbetai was expelled from his community in 1651 (for pronouncing the name of God publicly), and by 1658 he and his acolytes had begun a campaign of proselytization designed to prepare the Jewish communities of the Ottoman Empire (and beyond) for the looming messianic age. By 1665, Shabbetai declared himself the messiah inspiring numbers of Jews to abandon their regular occupations in anticipation of the onset of his messianic reign. Alarmed at the ferment within these Jewish communities, and the theological-juridical challenge Shabbetai Zevi’s mission posed to Ottoman authority, Sultan Muhammad IV had him imprisoned. 93 Shabbetai was converted to Islam under threat of death (or via other coercive means). The contemporary travelogue of Edward Brown (1644-1708) maintains simply that a Kasim Pasha (a physician married to the Sultan’s sister, who served as Ottoman Governor of Budapest from  April, 1666-May, 1667), 94


            …so handled him [Shabbetai], that he was glad to turn Turk.


A more detailed account is provided from another contemporary historical memoir published by Sir Paul Rycaut in 1680: 95


That having given public scandal to the Professors of the Mahometan Religion, and done dishonor to his Sovereign Authority, by pretending to withdraw from him so considerable a portion as the land of Palestine, his Treason and Crime could not be expiated without becoming a Mahometan Convert; which if he refused to do, the State was ready at the Gate of the Seraglio to impale him. Shabbetai being now reduced to his last game and extremity, not being in the least doubtful what to do; for to die for what he was assured was false was against Nature, and the death of a mad man: replied with much cheerfulness, that he was contented to turn Turk, and that it was not of force, but of choice, having been a long time desirous of so glorious a profession, he esteemed himself much honored, that an opportunity to own it first in the presence of the Grand Signor [Sultan].


Shabbetai Zevi’s conversion to Islam—the Ottoman authorities were loath to execute him at any rate lest he become a martyr 96—demoralized and divided the Jewish community. Zeitlin offers this bleak assessment in the aftermath of the messianic fervor aroused by Shabbetai and his followers: 97


The messianic movement did not collapse entirely because of the conversion of Shabbetai Zevi to Islam. True, many Jews became despondent and lost their worldly possessions and were disillusioned in their ideals when they saw how they had been deceived. But the adventurer Nathan “the prophet” continued his propaganda tinctured with mysticism. Many of those who had been followers of Shabbetai Zevi accepted Islam and became known as Dönme, 98 a Judeo-Muslim sect.


Those Jews who opposed Shabbetai Zevi before his conversion either were passive or weer afraid of being persecuted, but some like Rabbi Jacob Sasportas and Rabbi Jacob Cagiz who did not accept Shabbetai Zevi as the messiah and fought against the movement were persecuted. After the conversion those who were suspected of being adherents of the messianinc movement were condemned. Those who were persecuted previously for their disbelief in Shabbetai Zevi now became the persecutors. Some rabbis adopted the role of inquisitors; anyone who did not conform to theuir point of view was branded a heretic, a follower of the Shabbetai movement, and was persecuted. A reign of suspicion prevailed among the Jewish people who were divided into hostile groups, issuing anathemas against each other.


The rabbis had been greatly venerated during the Middle Ages and the Jews always considered them their spiritual leaders; now the rabbis of the seventeenth century failed them; they did not lead them during this “messianic” movement. They followed the masses. Either through fear or lack of courage they failed to fight this movement as being dangerous and deceptive. Thus the Jews lost their faith in the rabbis and spiritual leaders. The consequences of this movement…were tragic in every respect. The price the Jewish people paid for mysticism was tragic.


Perlmann summarized the legacy of the Dönme, the Judeo-Islamic converts, as follows: 99


On the whole the Muslims were indifferent to the sect’s existence, but from time to time there was a spurt of inquiry, or persecution (e.g., in 1720, 1859, and 1875). Imputing Dönme origin to undesirables is not unknown.


Accounts from European travelers to Ottoman Turkey throughout the 18th and 19th centuries are quite uniform in their depiction of the prevailing negative Muslim attitudes towards Jews. The objects of hatred and debasement, Jews reacted with servile pusillanimity. Despite the financial success of a small elite (an observation which dates back to the Jews first integration into the Ottoman Empire) 100, the majority of Ottoman Jews lived in penury, and attendant squalor. 101 Carsten Niebuhr (1733-1815), the German traveler who reached Constantinople (Istanbul) in (February) 1767, observed that Turkish Jews were routinely insulted by the local Muslims, who addressed them as, 102


Tschefied [“dirty Jew’, colloquially] which is still more opprobrious than Dsjaur [giaour; “infidel”]


Charles McFarlane who visited Istanbul in 1828 wrote that the Jews were “…the last and most degraded of the Turkish Rayahs [minorities].” 103 McFarlane contrasted the resulting obsequious attitudes of the Jews in Turkey with those of their European British co-religionists: 104


Throughout the Ottoman domains, their pusillanimity is so excessive, that they will flee before the uplifted hand of a child. Yet in England the Jews become bold and expert pugilists, and are as ready to resent an insult as any other of His Majesty’s liege subjects. A striking proof of the effects of oppression in one country, and of liberty, and of the protection of equal laws, in the other.


A confirmatory description was provided by Julia Pardhoe in her 1836 eyewitness account of conditions for Istanbul’s Jews: 105


I never saw the curse denounced against the children of Israel more fully brought to bear than in the East; where it may truly be said that “their hand is against every man, and every man’s hand against them.”—Where they are considered rather as a link between animals and human beings, then as men possessed of the same attributes, warmed by the same sun, chilled by the same breeze, subject to the same feelings, and impulses, and joys, and sorrows, as their fellow-mortals.


There is a subdued and spiritless expression about the Eastern Jew, of which the comparatively tolerant European can picture to himself no possible idea until he has looked upon it…It is impossible to express the contemptuous hatred in which the Osmanlis [Ottoman Turks] hold the Jewish people; and the veriest urchin who may encounter one of the fallen nation on his path, has his meed [recompense] of insult to add to the degradation of the outcast and wandering race of Israel. Nor dare the oppressed party revenge himself upon this puny enemy, whom his very name suffices to raise up against him.


I remember, on the occasion of the great festival at Kahaitchana (Kâthane), seeing a Turkish boy of perhaps ten years of age, approach a group of Jewesses, and deliberately fixing upon one whose delicate state of health should have been her protection from insult, gave her so violent a blow as to deprive her of consciousness, and level her to the earth. As I sprang forward to the assistance of this unfortunate, I was held back by a Turk of my acquaintance, a man of rank, and I had hitherto believed, divested of such painful prejudices; who bade me not agitate, or trouble myself on the occasion, as the woman was only a Jewess! And of the numbers of Turkish females who stood looking on, not one raised a hand to assist the wretched victim of gratuitous barbarity.


Two decades later (1856), the Turcophilic Italian traveler Ubicini, echoing the observation 70 years earlier of  Niebuhr  106 that the Ottoman Muslims, “..despise the Jews, and freely apply to them the epithet tchîffut (çıfıt; mean, avaricious; colloquially, “dirty Jew”)…,” 107 also recorded these poignant characterizations of the Ottoman Jews plight, which emphasized their resigned degradation (tinged with patient faith in their deliverance), and extreme poverty: 108


Patient, industrious, and resigned to their fate, they wore without apparent sense of humiliation the colored beneesh [jehoudane; a cloak with open sleeves] which the ancient sumptuary [denoting restrictions, in this case, regarding dress] laws of the empire enjoined as a mark to distinguish them from the Mussulman, and took as much pains to withdraw from notice as the Greeks to put themselves forward. United by an indissoluble bond of common faith and common interest, which gathers strength from their isolation and the contempt with which they are regarded, whilst they appear to be occupied only with their commerce and indifferent to all beyond, secretly cherish the hope of one day regaining possession of Jerusalem, and therefore with patient assiduity continue the uninterrupted series of their annals up to the day marked as the end of the great captivity. This indeed is the central point of their union; this is rather their faith than their hope; and for this reason Jews are seldom found engaged in the cultivation of soil, which for them is always the “land of the stranger, and house of bondage.” Here they may have been born—here perhaps they may die: but still they may be called upon to depart at a moment’s warning, and, holding themselves, therefore, in readiness for the long expected signal, they await its arrival with that patient and submissive faith from which oppressed races derive their strength and consolation.


Rarely do we see the Jews of Turkey in any elevated position, or following any of the liberal professions; and such of the nation as are distinguished by their wealth as merchants, or their skill as medical practitioners, 109 or whose science and talents shed luster on their community. Will generally be found to belong to the colonies of European Jews already mentioned. Thus, as we perceive, the Jews are the poorest of all the subjects of the Porte. To form any idea of their poverty it is only necessary to ride, on any day of the week, through the quarter of Balata, where the Jews of the capital chiefly dwell. Few more filthy places can be found; the observer is afflicted by an appearance of misery, resulting not from design, as in the neighboring quarter of the Fanar, but from real poverty: whilst in the street his path is constantly crossed by men in ragged garments, with haggard countenances, wearing an anxious expression. The half-opened windows of the low, damp houses reveal glimpses of women of small stature, thin, wan-looking, and of a livid paleness, wearing no veil, but a coarse linen cloth round the head; and surrounded by a swarm of meager, dropsical, rickety children, the whole forming a sad and depressing spectacle…Poverty in turn engenders uncleanly habits…and the effect is a proportionate mortality. Thus, when the cholera was raging in Constantinople in 1848, the deaths from October to the end of December were 16 percent among the Jews; whilst among the Greeks the ratio was only 7 ½ ; among the Armenians 4 ½ ; and among the Mussulmans scarcely 4 [percent].


Reports from the Alliance Israelite Universále 110 during the late 19th century and early 20th century reiterate the findings of Ubicini (above) from the mid-19th century. Descriptions of the Jewish communities make repeated references to their “poverty, misery, and distress.” 111 Although Istanbul—a city of nearly one million in 1900, including a Jewish community of some 50,000—included a small affluent elite of Jews inhabiting comfortable quarters, their living conditions were clearly exceptional. 112


…the two most characteristic Jewish suburbs of the Ottoman capital, Haskoy and Balat, looked like a network of half-ruined hovels and there misery was more hideous than anywhere else. Balat, whose narrow alleys sheltered some ten thousand Jews, had even the dubious distinction of being one of the foulest smelling localities of the Golden Horn [an estuary which divides Istanbul].


…it sufficed to wander through a Jewish quarter to be aware of the extent of extreme destitution of its inhabitants. Dark and tortuous alleys, dilapidated houses, cramped and unsanitary living quarters, such was at the end of the nineteenth century the characteristic aspect of most of the [Jewish] ghettoes of Turkey. In certain Anatolian towns, in Izmir [Smyrna] and Aydin for instance, an important part of the Jewish population lived in cortijos, vast enclosed yards where dozens of families were herded together. Sometimes these families, each confined to a single small room, comprised ten to fifteen members…For example, one of the numerous rabbis of the city of Aydin lived with his wife, their children, and the family of his married son in a slum of three-by-four meters, with a single room, at once bedroom, kitchen and washroom…The situation was very similar in the cortijos of Izmir. And when each Friday the Muslim landlord came with his suitcase to collect the rent, numerous lodgers could but sob and implore for a delay in payment of the debt.


Jewish ghettoes meant misery, but also overpopulation. In the correspondence of the [Alliance] schoolmasters, poverty and proliferation of the species appear practically always together, closely related to each other. It would seem that families of eight, ten, or even fifteen people living under the same roof, were not exceptional, especially in smaller towns, such Silivri [in Thrace], Aydin, or Tire.


Such abject poverty, and concomitant malnutrition and overcrowding, made the Jewish communities especially vulnerable (as also described earlier by Ubicini) to the epidemics of the era: cholera, smallpox, diptheria, typhoid, and puerperal ("childbed") fever [a post-partum septicemia]. 113


In large cities, such as Izmir or Istanbul, such epidemics were more frequent and more deadly than elsewhere. The "suspect illness" that broke out in Izmir in 1893—the word cholera was carefully avoided—was doomed to remain in the memory of local Jews, like the great plague of 1865, as one of the most terrible calamities that ever struck their community. Neither were small localities immune from danger. The cholera epidemic which broke out in Bursa in 1894 was, it would seem, just as deadly as that of Izmir. In this same city, in November 1900, four to five children died of smallpox every day in the Jewish community.


Not surprisingly, in order to escape these conditions, at the onset of the 20th century Turkish Jews began emigrating to North (and South) American, European, and African cities. 114 Thus according to the American Jewish Yearbook, 115 almost 8000 Jews emigrated from Turkey to the United States between 1899 and 1912.


The Alliance reports further indicate that Jews living in rural eastern Anatolia suffered severely throughout this period due (primarily) to Muslim Kurdish depredations. 116


In Diyarbarkir, Urfa, Siverek, Mardin, and several other cities of this region, Kurds continuously attacked Jewish communities, forcing them to pay taxes and contributions in addition to those already exacted by the Turkish authorities. The slightest tendency to resist was immediately suppressed with blood. Jews were crushed with scorn and had to accept all sorts of humiliations. Thus, for instance, when rains were delayed in spring or late in autumn, Kurds went to Jewish graveyards, dug up newly buried corpses, cut off the heads and threw them in the river to appease Heaven's wrath and bring on rain. In spite of the complaints of Jews to Turkish authorities, the perpetrators of such misdeeds remained, as was to be expected, undiscovered.


Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the insecurity of the Kurd[ish] country was so great that Jewish peddlers could not longer venture outside the cities. The communities of the vilayet [province] of Diyarbarkir fell into misery and diminished year after year. Thus, whilst in 1874 the town of Siverek situated on the Urfa road counted about fifty Jewish families, three decades later Joseph Niego, entrusted with a mission in Asia Minor by the Jewish Colonization Association, found only twenty-six household, totaling about 100 persons. Similarly, the 500 Jews who, according to Vital Cuinet, constituted the community of Mardin toward the end of the nineteenth century, were all gone by 1906. At that time, there remained in this town only one Jew, who had the task of guarding the synagogue.


The conclusion to "Under Turkish Rule" will be published in next weekend's edition August 3-5. --The Editors.




1. Bernard Lewis. “Islamic Revival in Turkey”, International Affairs, Vol. 28, p. 48.

2. Mercedes Garcia-Arenal. “Jewish Converts to Islam in the Muslim West”, Israel Oriental Studies, 1997, Vol. 17, p. 239.

3. Ibid., p. 239.

4. Benzion Netanyahu. The Origins of the Inquisition, New York, 1995, p. 3; For  discussions of the persecutions of this 50-year period, i.e., 1367-1417, see pp. 116, 142-164, and 191-196.

5. For the numbers of Marranos of Spain, see Benzion Netanyahu. The Marranos of Spain, Ithaca, New York, 1999 edition, pp. 238-248, and 255-270; See also, Netanyahu. The Origins of the Inquisition, pp. 1095 ff. Netanyahu concludes (p. 248, Marranos of Spain) that the 1480 census of Marranos was 600,000-650,000.

6. Netanyahu. The Origins of the Inquisition, pp. 3; 1048-1092.

7. Henry Kamen, “The Mediterranean and the Expulsion of Spanish Jews in 1492”, Past and Present, 1988 (May), Vol. 119, pp. 30-55.

8. Ibid., p. 44.

9. Ibid., pp 39,44.

10. For Ottoman attitudes toward the Jews of the conquered Byzantine Empire, including Salonika, see Joseph R. Hacker. “Ottoman policy toward the Jews and Jewish attitudes toward the Ottomans during the fifteenth century” in Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire: the functioning of a plural society. Edited by. Benjamin Braude and Bernard Lewis, New York , 1982, Vol.I, pp. 117-126; For the devastating nature of the Ottoman jihad campaigns of the fifteenth century, see Dimitar Angelov“Certain aspects de la conquete des peuples balkanique par les Turcs” in Les Balkans au moyen age. La Bulgarie des Bogomils aux Turcs, London: Variorum Reprints, 1978, pp. 220-275; full English translation as, “Certain phases of the conquest of the Balkan peoples by the Turks” in Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, pp. 462-517.

11. Paul Wittek. The Rise of the Ottoman Empire. London, p. 14. Wittek (also p. 14) includes this discussion, with a block quote from Ahmedi’s text,


The chapter Ahmedi devotes in his Iskender-name to the history of the Ottoman sultans, the ancestors of his protector Sulayman Tshelebi, son of Bayazid I, begins with an introduction in which the poet solemnly declares his intention of writing a Ghazawat-name, a book about the holy war of the Ghazis. He poses the question” “Why have the Ghazis appeared at last?” And he answers: “Because the best always comes at the end. Just as the definitive prophet Mohammed came after the others, just as the Koran came down from heaven after the Torah, the Psalms and the Gospels, so also the Ghazis appeared in the world at the last, “ those Ghazis the reign of whom is that of the Ottomans. The poet continues with this question: “Who is a Ghazi?”. And he explains: “A Ghazi is the instrument of the religion of Allah, a servant of God who purifies the earth from the filth of polytheism (remember that Islam regards the Trinity of the Christians as a polytheism); the Ghazi is the sword of God, he is the protector and refuge of the believers. If he becomes a martyr in the ways of God, do not believe that he has died- he lives in beatitude with Allah, he has eternal life”.


12. Sonia Anderson. An English Consul in Turkey: Paul Rycaut at Smyrna, 1667-1678. Oxfoed, 1989, 323 pp.

12a. Sir Paul Rycaut. The Present State of the Ottoman Empire, London, 1686, [electronic version], pp. 200, 201.

12b. The Ottoman Office of the Mufit and Shaykh al-Islam were synonymous. J.H. Karmers, R.C. Repp. “Shaykh al-Islam”. Encyclopedia of Islam. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2006/2007.

12c. Babinger, Fr “Khosrew, Molla” Encyclopaedia of Islam. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2006/2007.

12d. Molla Khosrew. Il Kitab Al-Gihad. Italian translation (Trattato Sulla Guerra) by Nicola Melis, Cagliari, Italy, 2002, pp. 95-96. English translation by Ughetta Lubin

13. Halil Inalcik. The Ottoman Empire-The Classical Age, 1300-1600, London, 1973, p. 6.

14.  A.E. Vacalopoulos. Origins of the Greek Nation- The Byzantine Period, New Brunswick, New Jersey,  1970, p. 66.

15. Speros Vryonis. “The Experience of Christians under Seljuk and Ottoman Domination, Eleventh to Sixteenth Century”, in Conversion and Continuity: Indigenous Christian Communities in Islamic lands, Eighth to Eighteenth Centuries, edited by Michael Gervers and Ramzi Jibran Bikhazi, Toronto, 1990, p. 201.

16. Angelov, “Certains Aspects de la Conquete Des Peuples Balkaniques par les Turcs”, pp. 220-275; Vacalopoulos. Origins of the Greek Nation- The Byzantine Period, pp. 69-85.

17. Angelov, “Certains Aspects de la Conquete Des Peuples Balkaniques par les Turcs”, pp. 236, 238-239.

18. Joseph Hacker,  “Ottoman Policy Toward the Jews and Jewish Attitudes toward the Ottomans during the Fifteenth Century”,  in, Christians and Jews in the Ottoman empire : the functioning of a plural society, edited by Benjamin Braude and Bernard Lewis, New York, 1982, pp. 117-126; Joseph Hacker, “The Sürgün System and Jewish Society in the Ottoman Empire during the 15th—17th Centuries” [Hebrew], Zion 1990, Vol. 55, pp. 27-82 and re-published in English translation in Ottoman and Turkish Jewry—Community and Leadership, edited by Aron Rodrigue, Bloomington, Indiana, 1992, pp. 1-65.

19. Jane Gerber. “Towards an Understanding of the Term: ‘The Golden Age’ as an Historical Reality”, in The Heritage of the Jews in Spain, Tel-Aviv, Israel, Aviva Doron, Editor, p. 15, 20-21.

20. Hacker, “The Sürgün System and Jewish Society in the Ottoman Empire”, pp. 7-8. Hacker elaborates (note 21, p. 44) on this point maintaining that, “…the approach adopted by nineteenth and twentieth century historians to the question of the Jewish-Ottoman encounter in the fifteenth century”, including “H. Graetz, S. Dubnow, S. Rozanes, M. Franco, A. Galanté, S. Baron, and H.Z. Hirschberg” was unduly influenced by “…the romantic picture sketched by the sixteenth-and seventeenth-century writers”.

21. Ibid, pp. 23, 22; See also The Jewish Encyclopedia.com “Capsali” by Louis Ginsberg, and “Joseph Ben Isaac Sambari” by Joseph Jacobs, M. Franco.

22. For the overall impact of the jihad conquests see references 542-545, above, and 556 below. For a discussion of jihad enslavement by the Ottomans in the Balkans, especially Romania, see M.M. Alexandrescu-Dersca Bulgaru. “The Roles of Slaves in Fifteenth Century Turkish Romania”. Byzantinische Forschungen 1987, Vol. 11, pp. 15-22. English translation in Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, pp. 566-572.

22a. For the impact of Ottoman policies of sürgün on Christian populations see Doukas. Decline and Fall of Byzantium to the Ottoman Turks. Annotated translation of Historia Turco-Byzantia, by Harry J. Magoulias, Detroit, Michaigan, 1975, pp. 241, 243, 257-258. Doukas mentions deportations of Christian populations from Anatolia and Rumelia, the Balkans, and the Peloponnesus.


After 5000 families were registered from both the eastern and western provinces [Anatolia and Rumelia], Mehmed [II] instructed them and their households to take up residence in the City [Constantinople] by September on penalty of death.


Mehmed [II] returned to Adrianople with the booty [from Serbia, outside Smederovo] by way of Sofia. There he awarded one half to his officials and the troops who labored with him. After claiming half of the captives for himself, he sent them to populate the villages outside Constantinople. His allotted portion was four thousand men and women.


Aftre taking all of the Peloponnesus, the tyrant [Mehmed II] installed his own administrators and governors. Returning to Adrianople, he took with him Demetrios [Paleologus?] and his entire household, the palace officials and wealthy notables form Achaia [northern Peloponnesus] and Lakedaimonia [southern Peloponnesus] and the remaining provinces. He slaughtered all the nobles of Albania and then allowed no fortress to remain standing with the exception of Monemvasia [southeast Peloponnesus], and this grudgingly and against his will…He transferred about two thousand families from the Peloponnesus and resettled them in the City [Constantinople]. He also registered the same number of youths among the Janissaries.


22b. Hacker, “Ottoman Policy Toward the Jews and Jewish Attitudes toward the Ottomans”, p. 123.

23. Hacker, “The Sürgün System and Jewish Society in the Ottoman Empire”, pp. 27-30.

24. Ibid., p. 2

25. Ibid., p. 5

26. Ibid., p. 8

27. Ibid., pp. 8-9, 36-37.

28. See these accounts in English translation from, Vryonis, S. Jr.,  “A Critical Analysis of Stanford J. Shaw’s, History of  the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. Volume 1. Empire of the Gazis: The Rise and Decline of the Ottoman Empire, 1280-1808”, off print from Balkan Studies, Vol. 24, 1983, pp. 57-62, 68; all reproduced in Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, pp. 616-618.


[Both Turkish and Christian chroniclers provide graphic evidence of the wanton pillage and slaughter of non-combatants following the Ottoman jihad conquest of Constantinople in 1453. First from the Turkish sources]: Sultan Mehmed (in order to) arouse greater zeal for the way of God issued an order (that the city was to be) plundered. And from all directions they (gazis) came forcefully and violently (to join) the army. They entered the city, they passed the infidels over the sword (i.e. slew them) and…they pillage and looted, they took captive the youths and maidens, and they took their goods and valuables whatever there was of them…” [Urudj] The gazis entered the city, cut off the head of the emperor, captured Kyr Loukas and his family…and they slew the miserable common people..They placed people and families in chains and placed metal rings on their necks.” [Neshri]


[Speros Vryonis, Jr. has summarized the key contents of letters sent by Sultan Mehmed himself to various Muslim potentates of the Near East]: In his letter to the sultan of Egypt, Mehmed writes that his army killed many of the inhabitants, enslaved many others (those that remained), plundered the treasures of the city, ‘cleaned out’ the priests and took over the churches…To the Sherif of Mecca he writes that they killed the ruler of Constantinople, they killed the ‘pagan’ inhabitants and destroyed their houses. The soldiers smashed the crosses, looted the wealth and properties and enslaved their children and youths. ‘They cleared these places of their monkish filth and Christian impurity’…In yet another letter he informs Cihan Shah Mirza of Iran that the inhabitants of the city have become food for the swords and arrows of the gazis; that they plundered their children, possessions and houses; that those men and women who survived the massacre were thrown into chains.


[The Christian sources, include this narrative by Ducas who gathered eyewitness accounts, and visited Constantinople shortly after its conquest]: (Then) the Turks arrived at the church [the great church of St. Sophia], pillaging, slaughtering, and enslaving. They enslaved all those that survived. They smashed the icons in the church, took their adornments as well as all that was moveable in the church…Those of (the Greeks) who went off to their houses were captured before arriving there. Others upon reaching their houses found them empty of children, wives, and possessions and before (they began) wailing and weeping were themselves bound with their hands behind them. Others coming to their houses and having found their wife and children being led off, were tied and bound with their most beloved…They (the Turks) slew mercilessly all the elderly, both men and women, in (their) homes, who were not able to leave their homes because of illness or old age. The newborn infants were thrown into the streets…And as many of the (Greek) aristocrats and nobles of the officials of the palace that he (Mehmed) ransomed, sending them all to the ‘speculatora’ he executed them. He selected their wives and children, the beautiful daughters and shapely youths and turned them over to the head eunuch to guard them, and the remaining captives he turned over to others to guard over them…And the entire city was to be seen in the tents of the army, and the city lay deserted, naked, mute, having neither form nor beauty.


[From the contemporary 15th century historian Critobulus of Imbros:] Then a great slaughter occurred of those who happened to be there: some of them were on the streets, for they had already left the houses and were running toward the tumult when they fell unexpectedly on the swords of the soldiers; others were in their own homes and fell victims to the violence of the Janissaries and other soldiers, without any rhyme or reason; others were resisting relying on their own courage; still others were fleeing to the churches and making supplication- men, women, and children, everyone, for there was no quarter given…The soldiers fell on them with anger and great wrath…Now in general they killed so as to frighten all the City, and terrorize and enslave all by the slaughter.


29. Hacker, “Ottoman Policy Toward the Jews and Jewish Attitudes toward the Ottomans”, p. 120; Hacker, “The Sürgün System and Jewish Society in the Ottoman Empire”, p. 12.

29a. Hacker, “Ottoman Policy Toward the Jews and Jewish Attitudes toward the Ottomans”, p. 121; See also the reference to a letter of the Karaite polymath Caleb Afendopolo (d. 1499) by Jacob Mann in Texts and Studies in Jewish History and Literature, Vol. 2, Karaitica, Philadelphia, 1935, p. 292, note 15. Mann writes,


Caleb speaks of an “expulsion” which would indicate an act of persecution on the part of the government, as if wanting to keep the Jews under stringent supervision by congregating them in the capital.


30. Hacker, “The Sürgün System and Jewish Society in the Ottoman Empire”, pp. 12-18; See also The Jewish Encyclopedia.com “Ephraim B. Gershon” by Richard Gottheil, and Michael Ben Shabbethai Cohen Balbo” by Joseph Jacobs, M. Seligsohn.

31. Hacker, “The Sürgün System and Jewish Society in the Ottoman Empire”, pp. 12-15.

32. Ibid., p. 15

33. Ibid., pp. 15, 18

34. Ibid., p. 15

35. Ibid., p. 15

36. Ibid., p. 16.

37. See references 542-545, 550a, and 556, above.

38. Speros Vryonis, Jr. (in Speros Vryonis, Jr. “Seljuk Gulams and Ottoman Devshirmes”, Der Islam Vol. 41, 1965, pp. 245-247) for example, makes these deliberately understated, but cogent observations:


…in discussing the devshirme we are dealing with the large numbers of Christians who, in spite of the material advantages offered by conversion to Islam, chose to remain members of a religious society which was denied first class citizenship. Therefore the proposition advanced by some historians, that the Christians welcomed the devshirme as it opened up wonderful opportunities for their children, is inconsistent with the fact that these Christians had not chosen to become Muslims in the first instance but had remained Christians…there is abundant testimony to the very active dislike with which they viewed the taking of their children. One would expect such sentiments given the strong nature of the family bond and given also the strong attachment to Christianity of those who had not apostacized to Islam…First of all the Ottomans capitalized on the general Christian fear of losing their children and used offers of devshirme exemption in negotiations for surrender of Christian lands. Such exemptions were included in the surrender terms granted to Jannina, Galata, the Morea, Chios, etc…Christians who engaged in specialized activities which were important to the Ottoman state were likewise exempt from the tax on their children by way of recognition of the importance of their labors for the empire…Exemption from this tribute was considered a privilege and not a penalty…


…there are other documents wherein their [i.e., the Christians] dislike is much more explicitly apparent. These include a series of Ottoman documents dealing with the specific situations wherein the devshirmes themselves have escaped from the officials responsible for collecting them…A firman…in 1601 [regarding the devshirme] provided  the [Ottoman] officials with stern measures of enforcement,  a fact which would seem to suggest that parents were not always disposed to part with their sons. “..to enforce the command of the known and holy fetva [fatwa] of Seyhul [Shaikh]- Islam. In accordance with this whenever some one of the infidel parents or some other should oppose the giving up of his son for the Janissaries, he is immediately hanged from his door-sill, his blood being deemed unworthy.”


Vasiliki Papoulia (in Vasiliki Papoulia, Vasiliki Papoulia, “The Impact of Devshirme on Greek Society”, in War and Society in East Central Europe, Editor-in-Chief, Bela K. Kiraly, 1982, Vol. II, pp. 554-555) highlights the continuous desperate, often violent struggle of the Christian populations against this forcefully imposed Ottoman levy:


It is obvious that the population strongly resented…this measure [and the levy] could be carried out only by force. Those who refused to surrender their sons- the healthiest, the handsomest and the most intelligent- were on the spot put to death by hanging. Nevertheless we have examples of armed resistance. In 1565 a revolt took place in Epirus and Albania. The inhabitants killed the recruiting officers and the revolt was put down only after the sultan sent five hundred janissaries in support of the local sanjak-bey. We are better informed, thanks to the historic archives of Yerroia, about the uprising in Naousa in 1705 where the inhabitants killed the Silahdar Ahmed Celebi and his assistants and fled to the mountains as rebels. Some of them were later arrested and put to death..


Since there was no possibility of escaping [the levy] the population resorted to several subterfuges. Some left their villages and fled to certain cities which enjoyed exemption from the child levy or migrated to Venetian-held territories. The result was a depopulation of the countryside. Others had their children marry at an early age…Nicephorus Angelus…states that at times the children ran away on their own initiative, but when they heard that the authorities had arrested their parents and were torturing them to death, returned and gave themselves up. La Giulletiere cites the case of a young Athenian who returned from hiding in order to save his father’s life and then chose to die himself rather than abjure his faith. According to the evidence in Turkish sources, some parents even succeeded in abducting their children after they had been recruited. The most successful way of escaping recruitment was through bribery. That the latter was very widespread is evident from the large amounts of money confiscated by the sultan from corrupt…officials. Finally, in their desperation the parents even appealed to the Pope and the Western powers for help.


Papoulia (Vasiliki Papoulia, “The Impact of Devshirme on Greek Society”, p. 557) concludes:


…there is no doubt that this heavy burden was one of the hardest tribulations of the Christian population.


39. Hacker, “The Sürgün System and Jewish Society in the Ottoman Empire”, pp. 16,17,19,20.

40. Ibid., pp. 24-33.

41. Ibid., p. 27.

42. Ibid., p. 27.

43. Ibid., p. 28.

44. Ibid., p. 31.

45. Ibid., pp. 31, 32.

46. Ibid., pp. 32-33.

47. Hacker, “The Sürgün System and Jewish Society in the Ottoman Empire”, pp. 1-65; Hacker,  “Ottoman Policy Toward the Jews and Jewish Attitudes toward the Ottomans during the Fifteenth Century”,  pp. 117-126.

48. Hacker, “The Sürgün System and Jewish Society in the Ottoman Empire”, p. 23.

49. Molla Khosrew. Il Kitab Al-Gihad., pp. 177-189.

50. Suyuti wrote a famous, and ubiquitous commentary, *Tafsiir  al-Jalalayn* he composed with his teacher, Jalaal al-Diin  al-MaHallii;  the latter composed the second part, and then Suyuti wrote the first part to complete it, including this translation/quote for Q9.29.Tafsīr  al-Jalālayn.  Beirut  1404/1984.  244.from Suyuti's  Durr al-Manthūr...  Beirut, no date, Vol. III, p.  228, where Suyuti quotes various traditions. These quotes, in English translation, are reproduced from, Andrew Bostom , editor, The Legacy of Jihad, Amherst, New York, 2005, p. 127; Georges Vajda. “Un Traite Maghrebin ‘Adversos Judaeos: Ahkam Ahl Al-Dimma Du Sayh Muhammad B. ‘Abd Al-Karim Al-Magili’ ”, in Etudes D’Orientalisme Dediees a La Memoire de Levi-Provencal, Vol. 2, Paris, 1962, p. 811. English translation by Michael J. Miller; Bat Ye’or, Islam and Dhimmitude, pp. 70-71; David Littman, “Jews under Muslim Rule in the late Nineteenth Century” The Wiener Library Bulletin, 1975, Vol. 28, p. 75; Norman Stillman. The Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times, Philadelphia, 1991, p. 51; Jacques Chalom. Les Israelites de la Tunisie: Leur condition civile et politique, Paris, 1908, p. 193; For Yemen: Parfitt, The Road to Redemption, p. 163, and Aviva Klein-Franke. “Collecting the Djizya (Poll-Tax) in the Yemen”, in Tudor Parfitt editor, Israel and Ishmael : studies in Muslim-Jewish relations, New York, 2000, pp. 175-206; For Afghanistan: S. Landshut. Jewish Communities in the Muslim Countries of the Middle East, Westport, Connecticut, 1950, pp. 67-70; Klein-Franke. “Collecting the Djizya (Poll-Tax) in the Yemen”, pp. 182-83, 186; S. Landshut. Jewish Communities in the Muslim Countries of the Middle East, p. 67; Al- Mawardi, The Laws of Islamic Governance [al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah], London, United Kingdom, 1996, p. 211; Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians Under Islam, 1985, Cranbury, New Jersey, p. 169; K.S. Lal, The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India, New Delhi, 1992, p. 237; See also Marghinani Ali ibn Abi Bakr, d. 1197, al-Hidayah, The Hedaya, or Guide- A Commentary on the Mussulman Laws, translated by Charles Hamilton, 1791, reprinted New Delhi, 1982, Vol. 2, pp. 362-363; Joseph Schacht, An Introduction to Islamic Law, Oxford, United Kingdom, , 1982, p. 132.; Al-Ghazali (d. 1111). Kitab al-Wagiz fi fiqh madhab al-imam al-Safi’i, Beirut, 1979, pp. 186, 190-91; 199-200; 202-203. [English translation by Dr. Michael Schub.] Reproduced from Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, p. 199. Parfitt, The Road to Redemption, p. 187; Yehuda Nini. The Jews of the Yemen, 1800—1914. Translated from the Hebrew by. H. Galai. Chur, Switzerland, 1990; pp. 24-25; Eliezer Bashan. “New Documents Regarding Attacks Upon Jewish Religious Observance in Morocco during the Late Nineteenth Century” Pe’amim 1995, p. 71. English translation by Rivkah Fishman.

51. Molla Khosrew. Il Kitab Al-Gihad., pp. 177ff.

52. The Hanafi school of jurisprudence, which predominated in the Ottoman heartland, did not sanction the administration of blows during jizya collection. See for example the writings of the seminal Hanafi jurist (d. 798) Abu Yusuf (in Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, pp. 174-176; 179)

53. Molla Khosrew. Il Kitab Al-Gihad., pp. 177ff.

54. On the prohibition against bearing arms, in addition to Molla Khosrew’s (confirmatory) opinion see for example, Schacht, An Introduction to Islamic Law, p. 131. See note 112 above regarding inadmissibility of dhimmi testimony when a Muslim is a party. These legal disenfranchisements are also discussed extensively in the pioneering works of Antoine Fattal Le Statut Legal de Musulmans en Pays' d'Islam, Beirut, 1958; and Bat Ye’or The Dhimmi, 1985.

55. For the continued inadequacy of the reforms through 1912-1914, see for example, Roderick Davison. “The Armenian Crisis, 1912-1914”, The American Historical Review, 1948, Vol. 53, pp. 482, 483:


Wild rejoicing among Armenians, and great hopes for the future, arose with the Young Turk revolution of 1908. Armenians co-operated with the Turkish Committee of Union and Progress [the political party of the Young Turks]. A few steps were, in fact, made toward realizing the Armenian hopes…But these embryonic measures of improvement from 1908-1912 were far outweighed by old and new grievances. When measured against the hopes of 1908, furthermore, the situation seemed to the Armenians as black as ever…Armenian disillusionment sprang from the [Adana] massacres of 1909..The Young Turks, furthermore, soon turned from equality and Ottomanization to Turkification, stifling previous Armenian hopes. This policy extended even to limiting privileges of the Armenian Patriarch Arsharouni, installed at Constantinople in 1912. In short, the constitutional regime had done little for the Armenians.


56. Dadrian. “The Clash Between Democratic Norms and Theocratic Dogmas”, p. 15.

57. Reports from Her Majesty’s Consuls Relating to the Condition of the Christians in Turkey, 1867 volume, pp. 5,29, cited in, Dadrian. “The Clash Between Democratic Norms and Theocratic Dogmas”, p. 17.

58. Davison, “Turkish Attitudes Concerning Christian-Muslim Equality in the Nineteenth Century”, p. 864.

59.  Samuel b. Ishaq Uceda, Lehem dim’ah (The Bread of Tears) (Hebrew). Venice, 1606. [English translation in, Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians Under Islam, p. 354.

60.  Bat Ye’or, Islam and Dhimmitude, p. 318.

61. Gedaliah of Siemiatyce, Sha’alu Shelom Yerushalayim (Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem), (Hebrew), Berlin, 1716. [English translation in, Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam, pp. 377-80.]

62. Moshe Maoz, “Changes in the Position of the Jewish Communities of Palestine and Syria in the Mid-Nineteenth Century”, in Moshe Maoz  (Editor), Studies on Palestine During the Ottoman Period, Jerusalem, Israel, 1975, p. 142.

63. Ibid., p. 144.

64. Ibid., pp. 144-145.

65. Ibid., pp. 145-146.

66. Ibid., pp. 147-148.

67. According to the Monk Neophytos’s contemporary account,  the Jewish victims included, “…five [Jewish] girls, who were still minors, [and] died under the bestial licentiousness of the Egyptian solders”. From, S.N. Spyridon. “Annals of Palestine, 1821-1841”, Journal of the Palestine Oriental Society, 1938, Vol. 18, p. 114.

68. A.[sic] E. R. Malachi . Studies in the History of the Old Yishuv. Tel Aviv, Israel, 1971, pp. 67 ff.

68a. Edouard Engelhardt made these observations from his detailed analysis of the Tanzimat period, noting that a quarter century after the Crimean War (1853-56), and the second iteration of Tanzimat reforms, the same problems persisted:


Muslim society has not yet broken with the prejudices which make the conquered peoples ubordinate…the raya [dhimmis] remain inferior to the Osmanlis; in fact he is not rehabilitated; the fanaticism of the early days has not relented…[even liberal Muslims rejected]…civil and political equality, that is to say, the assimilation of the conquered with the conquerors. [Edouard Engelhardt, La Turquie et La Tanzimat, 2 Vols., 1882, Paris, Vol. p.111, Vol. 2 p. 171; English translation in, Bat Ye’or. Islam and Dhimmitude- Where Civilizations Collide, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2001, pp. 431-342.]


A systematic examination of the condition of the Christian rayas was conducted in the 1860s by British consuls stationed throughout the Ottoman Empire, yielding extensive primary source documentary evidence. [Reports from Her Majesty’s Consuls Relating to the Condition of the Christians in Turkey, 1867 volume, pp. 5,29. See also related other reports by various consuls and vice-consuls, in the 1860 vol., p.58; the 1867 vol, pp. 4,5,6,14,15; and the 1867 vol., part 2, p.3 [All cited in, Vahakn Dadrian. Chapter 2, “The Clash Between Democratic Norms and Theocratic Dogmas”,  Warrant for Genocide, New Brunswick, New Jersey, Transaction Publishers, pp. 26-27, n. 4]; See also, extensive excerpts from these reports in, Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity, pp. 409-433.] Britain was then Turkey's most powerful ally, and it was in her strategic interest to see that oppression of the Christians was eliminated, to prevent direct, aggressive Russian or Austrian intervention.  On July 22, 1860, Consul James Zohrab sent a lengthy report from Sarajevo to his ambassador in Constantinople, Sir Henry Bulwer, analyzing the administration of the provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, again, following the 1856 Tanzimat reforms. Referring to the reform efforts, Zohrab states:


The Hatti-humayoun, I can safely say, practically remains a dead letter…while [this] does not extend to permitting the Christians to be treated as they formerly were treated, is so far unbearable and unjust in that it permits the Mussulmans to despoil them with heavy exactions. False imprisonments (imprisonment under false accusation) are of daily occurence.  A Christian has but a small chance of exculpating himself when his opponent is a Mussulman (...) Christian evidence, as a rule, is still refused (...) Christians are now permitted to possess real property, but the obstacles which they meet with when they attempt to acquire it are so many and vexatious that very few have as yet dared to brave them…Such being, generally speaking, the course pursued by the Government towards the Christians in the capital (Sarajevo) of the province where the Consular Agents of the different Powers reside and can exercise some degree of control, it may easily be guessed to what extend the Christians, in the remoter districts, suffer who are governed by Mudirs (governors) generally fanatical and unacquainted with the (new reforms of the) law. [Excerpts from Bulwer’s report reproduced in, Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity, pp. 423-426]


Finally the modern Ottomanist Roderick Davison (in “Turkish Attitudes Concerning Christian-Muslim Equality in the Nineteenth Century” American Historical Review, 1954, Vol. 59, pp. 848, 855, 859, 864) also concludes that the reforms failed, and he offers an explanation based on Islamic beliefs intrinsic to the system of dhimmitude:


No genuine equality was ever attained…there remained among the Turks an intense Muslim feeling which could sometimes burst into an open fanaticism…More important than the possibility of fanatic outbursts, however, was the innate attitude of superiority which the Muslim Turk possessed. Islam was for him the true religion. Christianity was only a partial revelation of the truth, which Muhammad finally revealed in full; therefore Christians were not equal to Muslims in possession of truth. Islam was not only a way of worship, it was a way of life as well. It prescribed man’s relations to man, as well as to God, and was the basis for society, for law, and for government. Christians were therefore inevitably considered second-class citizens in the light of religious revelation—as well as by reason of the plain fact that they had been conquered by the Ottomans. This whole Muslim outlook was often summed up in the common term gavur (or kafir), which means ‘unbeliever’ or ‘infidel’, with emotional and quite uncomplimentary overtones. To associate closely or on terms of equality with the gavur was dubious at best . ‘Familiar association with heathens and infidels is forbidden to the people of Islam,’ said Asim, an early nineteenth-century historian, ‘and friendly and intimate intercourse between two parties that are one to another as darkness and light is far from desirable’…The mere idea of equality, especially the antidefamation clause of 1856, offended the Turks’ inherent sense of the rightness of things. ‘Now we can’t call a gavur a gavur’, it was said, sometimes bitterly, sometimes in matter-of-fact explanation that under the new dispensation the plain truth could no longer be spoken openly. Could reforms be acceptable which forbade calling a spade a spade?...The Turkish mind, conditioned by centuries of Muslim and Ottoman dominance, was not yet ready to accept any absolute equality…Ottoman equality was not attained in the Tanzimat period [i.e., mid to late 19th century, 1839-1876], nor yet after the Young Turk revolution of 1908…


69. Maoz, “Changes in the Position of the Jewish Communities of Palestine and Syria in the Mid-Nineteenth Century”, p. 156.

70. A. A. Bonar and R. M. McCheyne, A Narrative of a Mission of Inquiry to the Jews from the Church of Scotland in 1839, Edinburgh, 1842, pp. 180-81, 273.

71. J.J. Binjamin II. Eight Years in Asia and Africa. From 1846 to 1855. Hanover, 1863, pp. 54-57.

72. The British Consulate in Jerusalem (in relation to the Jews of Palestine, 1838-1914), Part I, 1838-1861. Edited by Albert M. Hyamson, London, 1939, pp. 260-261.

73. Tudor Parfitt, The Jews of Palestine, Suffolk, UK, 1987, pp. 168, 172-73.

74. “Jews in Flight From Palestine” The New York Times, January 19, 1915; “Turks and Germans Expelling Zionists”, The New York Times, January 2, 1915;  “Zionists in Peril of Turkish Attack”, The New York Times, February 2, 1915; “Threatens Massacre of Jews in Palestine” The New York Times, May 4, 1917; “Cruel to Palestine Jews”, The New York Times, May 8, 1917; “Turks Killing Jews Who Resist Pillage”, The New York Times, May 19, 1917; “Twice Avert Eviction of Jerusalem Jews”, The New York Times, May 30, 1917; “Cruelties to Jews Deported in Jaffa”, The New York Times, June 3, 1917

75. “Jews in Flight From Palestine”; “Turks and Germans Expelling Zionists”; “Zionists in Peril of Turkish Attack”.

75a. Ahmed Djemal Pasha (May 6, 1872—July 21, 1922). Between 1908-1918, Djemal was one of the most important administrators of the Ottoman government. When Europe was divided in two camps before World War I, he supported an alliance with France. Djemal traveled  to France to negotiate an alliance with the French but failed and sided with Enver and Talat Pashas favoring the German side. Djemal, along with Enver and Talat took control of the Ottoman government in 1913. The Three Pashas effectively ruled the Ottoman Empire for the duration of World War I. Djemal was one of the designers of the government’s disastrous internal and foreign policies, including the genocidal policy against the Armenians (Vahakn Dadrian. The History of the Armenian Genocide, Providence, Rhode Island, 1995, p. 208). After the Ottoman Empire declared war on the Allies in World War I, Enver Pasha nominated Djemal Pasha to lead the Ottoman army against English forces in Egypt, and Djemal accepted the position. Like Enver, he proved unsuccessful as a military leader.

76. For the Armenian deportations, see Dadrian. The History of the Armenian Genocide, pp. 199-200, 220-222, 235-243, 255-264, 383-384.; For the April 1917 deportations of Jews from Jaffa—Tel-Aviv, Palestine, see “Cruelties to Jews Deported in Jaffa” .

77. Yair Auron,  The Banality of Indifference, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 2000, p. 75.

78. “Twice Avert Eviction of Jerusalem Jews”.

79. Auron,  The Banality of Indifference, p. 83.

80. “Cruelties to Jews Deported in Jaffa”.

80a. Auron,  The Banality of Indifference, p. 82.

81. Moritz Levy. The Sephardim in Bosnia: a Contribution to the History of the Jews in the Balkans, [German], Sarajevo, 1911, pp. 52-61. (English translation by Colin Meade)

82. Ivo Andric. The Development of Spiritual Life in Bosnia under the Influence of Turkish Rule, 1924, English translation by Zelimir B. Juricic and John F. Loud, Durham, North Carolina, 1990, pp. 23-38, 78-87.

83. See note 61, above.

84. Levy. The Sephardim in Bosnia, pp. 52 ff.

85. Ibid

86. Ibid

87. Ibid

88. Ibid

89. Andric. The Development of Spiritual Life in Bosnia under the Influence of Turkish Rule, pp. 37, 86 note 72, 29

90. Levy. The Sephardim in Bosnia, pp. 28, 35 (English translation in Andric, The Development of Spiritual Life in Bosnia under the Influence of Turkish Rule, p. 86, note 71).

91.  British Ambassador to Constantinople, James Porter. Correspondence to William Pitt, the Elder, London, dated February 3, 1758 (SP 97-40), and June 3, 1758 (SP 97-40), reproduced in Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam, pp. 384-386. 

92. S. Zeitlin. “Review: The Sabbatians and the Plague of Mysticism”, The Jewish Quarterly Review, 1958, Vol. 49, pp. 145-155.

93. Paul Rycaut. The History of the Turkish Empire from the Year 1623 to the Year 1677, London, 1680, [electronic version], pp. 200-219; William G. Schauffler. “Shabbaetai Zevi and His Followers”, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1851, Vol. 2, pp. 1-26; Gershom G. Scholem. Sabbatai Zevi: The Mystical Messiah. Princeton, New Jersey, 1973, pp. 140-267, 327-460, 603-686; Geoffrey L. Lewis, Cecil Roth. “New Light on the Apostasy of Sabbatai Zevi”, The Jewish Quarterly Review, 1963, Vol. 53, pp. 219-225; Jane Hathaway. “The Grand Vizier and the False Messiah: The Sabbatai Sevi Controversy and the Ottoman Reform in Egypt”, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1997, Vol. 117, pp. 665-671.

94. Lewis and Roth, “New Light on the Apostasy of Sabbatai Zevi”, pp. 220-221.

95. Rycaut. The History of the Turkish Empire from the Year 1623 to the Year 1677, p. 214.

96. Lewis and Roth, “New Light on the Apostasy of Sabbatai Zevi”, p. 223; Hathaway. “The Grand Vizier and the False Messiah”, p. 665.

97. S. Zeitlin. “Review: The Sabbatians and the Plague of Mysticism”, p. 154.

98. Moshe Perlmann. “Dönme” Encyclopaedia of Islam. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2006/2007.

99. Ibid.

100. Hacker,  “Ottoman Policy Toward the Jews and Jewish Attitudes Toward the Ottomans during the Fifteenth Century”, p. 123. Describing the financial status of the sürgün Jews who re-populated Constantinople after its juhad conquest (during the relatively halcyon days) under Mehmed II in the latter half of the 15th century, Hacker writes,


We must note that the majority of the Jews of Constantinople were not wealthy and that the gap between the few who were, and the many who were not, was large.


101. M.A. Ubicini. Letters on Turkey. Part II. The Raiahs. Translated from the French by Lady Easthope. London, 1856, pp. 365-366.

102. Carsten Niebuhr. Travels Through Arabia and Other Countries in the East. English Translation by Robert Hebron, Edinburgh, 1792, p. 245.

102a. Tschefied:  “contemptuous Jew; mean, stingy; malicious.”. However in common, colloquial usagae, “dirty Jew”.

103. Charles McFarlane. Constantinople in 1828. London, 1829, pp. 115-116. Cited in Bernard Lewis. The Jews of Islam, Princeton, New Jersey, 1984, p. 164.

104. Ibid.

105. Julia Pardoe. The City of the Sultan and Domestic Manners of the Turks in 1836. London, 1837, pp. 361-363. Cited in Bernard Lewis. The Jews of Islam, Princeton, New Jersey, 1984, p. 167-168.

106. See note 102 above.

107. Ubicini. Letters on Turkey. Part II. The Raiahs, p. 371;  tchîffut: “the quality of a Jew.” Like Tschefied, above, in note 608, i.e., commonly, “dirty Jew”

108. Ibid. pp. 346-347, 365-366.

109. Ibid., p. 365, note 1, Ubicini names one prominent Jewish physician in Turkey, a “Doctor Castro, chief surgeon of the military hospital”

110. Paul Dumont. “Jewish Communities in Turkey During the Last Decades of the Nineteenth Century in Light of the Archives of the Alliance Israélite Universelle”, in ” in Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire: the functioning of a plural society. Edited by Benjamin Braude and Bernard Lewis, New York , 1982, Vol.I, pp. 209-242.

111. Ibid., p. 210.

112. Ibid., pp. 211, 210

113. Ibid., pp. 213-214

114. Ibid., p. 214.

115. Rev. de Sola Pool. "The Levantine Jews in the United States", American Jewish Yearbook, 1913/1914, Vol. 15, p. 208.

116. Dumont. “Jewish Communities in Turkey During the Last Decades of the Nineteenth Century in Light of the Archives of the Alliance Israélite Universelle”, p.p. 224-225.


Andrew G. Bostom is a frequent contributor to Frontpage Magazine.com, and the author of The Legacy of Jihad, and the forthcoming The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism.

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