How Christians were treated by the Ottoman Empire.
Continuing from my previous article on the treatment of Christians in an Islamic state, we'll fast-forward a couple of centuries. The Ottoman Empire lasted for nearly 500 years and peaked in 1683 stretching from Mecca to Budapest and Algiers.
Praised for its administrative and cultural progress, the Ottomans would be much kinder in their treatment of non-Muslims, right? Well, I hate to say it but not much has changed since the 8th century Islamic Spain.
Time hasn't been kind to Christians living in a state ruled by Muslims. Sharia law is after all based on the unchanging word of Allah. Invention would be anti-Islamic. Anatolian Christians flee Turkish terror.
Here's a letter from Manuel II Paleologos to Demetrios Kydones in 1391 about how the Greek Christians...
"have fled to the clefts in the rocks, to the forests, and to the mountain heights in an effort to escape a death from which there is no escape, a very cruel and inhuman death without any semblance of justice…. Nobody is spared, neither very young children nor defenseless women. For those whom old age or illness prevents from running away, there is no hope of escaping the murderous blade.
This is much in line with (Quran 9:29). Very Islamic of the Muslim Turks. Christian persecution in the Ottoman Empire was much in line with the commands of Muhammad. (Sahih Muslim 1767).
Rivers of blood in Constantinople.
Muslims were not unique in pillaging and mass rapes after a victorious battle. But their teachings command such things as opposed to Christian doctrine. It took the jihadis 700 years to capture the Christian jewel of the east. The Muslims raided monasteries, and homes and desecrated the Hagia Sophia which was the grandest church in Europe for a millennium.
A letter to the Doge of Venice from Byzantine scholar Bessarion after the fall:
Sacked by the most inhuman barbarians and the most savage enemies of the Christian faith, by the fiercest of wild beasts. The public treasure has been consumed, private wealth has been destroyed, and the temples have been stripped of gold, silver, jewels, the relics of the saints, and other most precious ornaments. Men have been butchered like cattle, women abducted, virgins ravished, and children snatched from the arms of their parents.
Such is the fate of the defeated by Muslim hands. They are strangers to noble conduct. No self-control, held back by nothing but the teachings of Muhammad. The lust for sexual gratification, material wealth, and slaughter of infidels is the operating system of a jihadi.
By the order of Sultan Mehmet II, the ancient church Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque. After his victory, Mehmet sought some needed relaxation and demanded a Christian boy to accompany him. The father of the boy refused and consequently, the teen was killed.
Second-class citizens in the Ottoman Empire.
Despite systemic discrimination, non-Muslims did experience periods of relaxation of Sharia law enforcement. But only when the Muslim elite had bigger problems on their plate, or it depended on the temperament of the current caliph, sultan, emir, etc.
Like in Islamic Spain, Christians, and Jews were second-class citizens (dhimmis) in the Ottoman Empire. They had to pay Jizya tax for keeping their ancestral religion. Humiliation and beatings were part of it just like in any other Sharia nation.
Dhimmis enjoyed freedom but under certain conditions. They could not attempt to convert Muslims or show any signs of devotion. The inferior status of dhimmis was made absolutely clear to prevent integration (Quran 9:29). The Muslim superiority complex is attributed to their acceptance of the ''final prophet Muhammad''. Dhimmis could enjoy higher positions, but that depended on the laxity of Sharia enforcement.
Ottoman rape of Christian boys.
It's quite known that the Ottoman elite had homosexual tendencies. Liberals have often attributed this ''habit'' to the Greeks because the Greeks were obviously all raging homosexuals while wrestling nude 24/7.
But that's in the mind of a secular historian. Reality tells us something different and far more controversial. Even Islamophobic.
Homosexuality in Muslim harems dates back to 10th-century caliphs and even Muhammad himself. Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 1183 is an example of boy love in Islam:
Then he said, 'Where is the little one? Call the little one to me.' Hasan came running and jumped into his lap. Then he put his hand in his beard. Then the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, opened his mouth and put his mouth in his mouth. Then he said, O Allah, I love him, so love him and the one who loves him!'
Homosexuality in Islam was usually limited to the Muslim elite. For the common folk, it was a crime punishable by death.
Suzerainty and the boy tax.
A suzerainty is a sovereign state under certain conditions. As the Ottoman Empire gobbled up the Byzantine Empire, smaller states like Wallachia and Moldavia came under threat of invasion. Although, they could prevent such a thing by becoming suzerainty.
This ''freedom'' of independence came with a devastating cost. Usually in gold and young Christian boys. Most of them were groomed and trained to be elite Janissary fighters. The most beautiful boys were picked to serve in the Sultan's harem as köçek dancers.
Later this became an annual event. Devshirme forced Christian fathers to appear in town squares with their sons so that they could be taken away, forever. Even if the boy could return, there was usually little or no desire to because of Islamic indoctrination.
The Ottoman millet system.
Ottomans enforced Sharia law but utilized a different system than 8th-century Umayyad Muslims. The millet system grouped various people according to their religion or creed. Orthodox Christians belonged to one millet. Only one of them represented the entire group and was responsible for paying the Jizya tax or any other dealings with the Muslim elite. Millets enjoyed some autonomy and their leader could pass legislative laws only applicable to those he represented.
But ultimately, every Ottoman subject adhered to Sharia law.
The Barbary slave trade.
While being autonomous from the Ottoman Empire, the Barbary States were an extension of Ottoman savagery. Located along the North African coast which is now Morocco, Algiers, Tunisia, and Libya.
Barbary pirates' primary goal was capturing Europeans for the Muslim slave trade. Sometimes these slaves comprised Jews, Persians, and even Muslims. Naturally, Muslims protested against being enslaved. But the Moroccan Sultan's answer was clear: disbelief. Muslim rulers can arbitrarily decide who is a real Muslim. If you're not, you'll be treated the same as any unbeliever.
In general, it was Christians and other non-Muslims who comprised the bulk of the slave population in the Barbary states. Not to mention, the Ottoman Empire. You'd think jihad raids were limited to the Mediterranean but no. Muslim corsairs ventured to the south of England to capture innocent Christian children, women, and men.
In 1625, Muslim pirates stormed the local parishes and set towns ablaze. They seized 60, 80 and in another case 200 Englishmen to be shipped off to Morocco for a life of slavery. Surah Al-Ahzab Ayat 50 (33:50)
Robert Adams, a former Barbary slave, recounted that he and other slaves were only given ''a littell coarse bread and water.'' Their living quarters weren't exactly Four Seasons style either. Adams continues: ''a dungeon under ground, wher some 150 or 200 of us lay, altogether, having no comforte of the light, but a littell hole.''
In 1660, Muslim pirates focussed on capturing American colonial ships. Muslims did not discriminate between unbelievers. Enslaving the kafir (non-Muslims) is according to Islamic law. The corsairs were devout Muslims.
Technically, the Barbary states were a suzerainty of the Ottomans. In practice, they enjoyed total freedom. Tributes sent to the Ottomans were rare if they occurred at all. From a big-picture Islamic perspective, the Barbary States served as a massive jihad thorn in the side of Europeans. The Ottomans could focus on more important wars.
Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleogus on Islam.
Manuel II had dealt with Islam his entire life. He lived from 1350 to 1425. He traveled to Europe to meet with the pope and kings of France and England for aid against the Ottoman menace.
A year before he died he sought help from the Hungarian but alas, it failed and forced the emperor to continue paying tribute to the Ottoman sultanate. Manuel II had firsthand experience with the Muslim treatment of Christians. No man could speak of Islam's fruits more accurately than he. This hatred of non-Muslims is rooted in (Quran 48:29).
Pope Benedict XVI quoted the emperor:
Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.
Armenian Genocide 1915-1917.
The Ottoman Empire was on its last legs during this period. The Turks saw the Armenians as an existential threat because of an apparent rebellion. This wasn't the case, but the Muslims carried out the systemic destruction of Christian Armenians anyway.
Estimates between 800,000 and 1.2 million Armenians were sent on death marches to the Syrian Desert. Muslim paramilitary escorted them and while traveling the former raped, robbed, and massacred.
Armenians were usually not killed on sight in their villages. The Ottoman administration intended to repurpose abandoned homes and structures to permanently change the demographics of Anatolia. The Turkification of Anatolia is built on a mountain of Christian corpses. Once the remaining survivors arrived in the Syrian Desert, they were put into concentration camps. Armenians were either killed, forced into labor, or sold on slave markets in Damascus while displayed naked. Rape and sexual abuse of Armenian women were routine for the Muslims. Some of the Armenian women landed in Arabian slave markets to satisfy the need of Muslim Hajj pilgrims.
A reminder, this happened in the 20th century. A little over 100 years ago and continues to this day primarily in West Africa to Christian Africans. The Turkish government still denies that the Armenian Genocide happened.
As I mentioned in my previous article, Islam gives you 3 options:
Convert to Islam.
Pay Jiyza tax.
Be executed for refusing Jiyza or conversion.
This has been consistently applied by the Ottomans.
Islam's final breath.
The Ottoman Empire was truly the last Muslim power to command large jihadi armies. The dissolution of the empire was in 1922. Islam has been a dead religion for over a century because without jihad there can be no real Islam. Without enforced Sharia, Islam is dead. Islam can only exist in a perpetual state of warfare against the unbelievers. (Quran 8:59-60) (Quran 9:5) (Quran 2:190-193).
In the last century, it has been a useful tool for American and British intelligence to stamp down nationalistic regimes. The CIA radicalizes Muslim men but ''radicalizing'' means enabling the latter with finances and weaponry. Today, Islam is held back by a lack of political power, numbers, and finances, not because of reformation.