YILDIRIM BEYAZIT WELCOMED THE JEWS FLEEING SPANISH PERSECUTION
In the time of Yıldırım Beyazid, the Ottoman fleet under the command of Kemal Reis carried the Jews exiled from Spain to Ottoman territories and settled them there.
Sultan Bayazid welcomed the Jews into his empire and issued a firman (decree) ordering that the people show them the respect and acceptance to which they were entitled.
THE TIME OF SULTAN MEHMET THE CONQUEROR
When Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror captured Constantinople, he allowed the Christians and the Jews to live freely there.
André Miquel, who is known for the valuable works he has written about the just and tolerant practices of Muslims and the world of Islam, says:
THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES LIVED UNDER A WELL ADMINISTERED STATE THAT THEY DID NOT HAVE DURING THE BYZANTINE AND LATIN PERIODS. THEY WERE NEVER SUBJECTED TO SYSTEMATIC PERSECUTION. ON THE CONTRARY, THE EMPIRE AND ESPECIALLY ISTANBUL HAD BECOME A REFUGE FOR SPANISH JEWS WHO WERE TORTURED. PEOPLE WERE NEVER ISLAMIZED BY FORCE; (F. Emecen, K. Beydilli, M. Isbirli, M.A. Aydin, I. Ortayli, A. Özcan, B. Yediyildiz, M. Kütükoglu, Osmanli Devleti ve Medeniyeti Tarihi (The History of the Ottoman State and Civilization), Islam Tarih, Sanat ve Kültür Araştırma Merkezi, Istanbul, 1994, p. 467)
Having captured Istanbul, Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror told the priest and former Orthodox Patriarch who prostrated on the ground before him: “RISE! I AM SULTAN MEHMET, AND I TELL YOU AND ALL YOUR PEOPLE THAT FROM THIS DAY ON YOU NEED NOT FEAR MY WRATH REGARDING YOUR LIVES AND FREEDOM.”
Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror published a firman guaranteeing freedom of sect and belief for all the people, including the Genoese.
THE JEWS UNDER THE ANDALUSIAN UMAYYADS
Historical references say this about the Jews living under the Umayyad state in Andalusia;
"THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN THE SPLENDOR OF JEWISH IN GRANADA LIFE DO NOT KNOW WHAT SPLENDOR IS." AT THAT TIME, GRANADA WAS THE SAFEST PLACE ON EARTH FOR JEWS.”
THE OTTOMANS WHO RULED PALESTINE FOR 500 YEARS
ESTABLISHED PEACE AND SECURITY FOR THE PEOPLE
OF THE BOOK LIVING IN THOSE LANDS
The Ottoman Empire guaranteed peace and security for five centuries in the area.
The freedoms and acceptance enjoyed in Jerusalem and its surrounding area under Ottoman rule is described by one of Israel's ex-foreign ministers, Abba Eban, as follows:
JERUSALEM AND THE JEWISH NATION SUFFERED BLOODSHED AND TORTURE FROM THE ROMANS AND EVERY OTHER OCCUPYING FORCE. ONLY AFTER THE CONQUEST OF JERUSALEM BY SULTAN YAVUZ SELIM AND ITS FORTIFICATION BY KANUNI DID THE JEWISH NATION DISCOVER WHAT HUMANITY, EQUALITY, AND A PEACEFUL LIFE MEANT. (İlhan Bardakçı, "Biz Hiç Irk Olmamışız" (We Have Never Been a Race), Tercüman, May 7, 1983)
THE COMPASSION OF THE SELJUK RULERS TOWARD
THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK
The memoirs of a priest who participated in the 2nd Crusade, describe the loving and just attitude of the Muslims toward the People of the Book:
"… THE TURKS SAW TO THE WOUNDS OF THESE UNFORTUNATES, GENEROUSLY FED THE POOR AND FREED THEM FROM WOE... THIS PROTECTIVE TREATMENT OF MEMBERS OF OTHER FAITHS... LED TO THEM MAKING SUCH A COMPARISON WITH THE CRUSADERS THAT A GREAT MANY OF THEM CONVERTED, OF THEIR OWN WILL, TO THE RELIGION OF THE MUSLIMS WHO HAD SAVED THEM." (Reference: Osman Turan, Türk Dünya Nizamının Milli, İslami ve İnsani Esasları (The National, Islamic and Humanistic Principles of Turkish World Order), Vol. 2, p. 138)
THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK HAVE ENJOYED DHIMMI,
NOT CAPTIVE STATUS IN THE HISTORY OF ISLAM
The People of the Book living in captured lands were given dhimmi, not captive, status and thus enjoyed significant legal rights.
Dhimmi was a status bestowed on non-Muslims who recognized Muslim authority and paid a specific level of the duty known as the jizye or capitation tax.
As a result of this, their lives and property were guaranteed, they enjoyed freedom of religion and conscience, were exempted from military service, maintained the right to use their own laws in resolving disputes among them and the jizye tax they paid was sometimes rebated to them when occasion demanded.
During a war against the Byzantines, when a climate arose in which the armies of Islam were unable to provide sufficient protection for Christians they returned the jizye tax to them, and this is another excellent example of the moral values that our Prophet (saas) taught to Muslims.