Culture of Co-existence in Islam: The Turkish Case
Professor Ali Bardakoglu
President of Turkish Religious Affairs
This article aims to chart the parameters of cross cultural exchanges, theological and experiential foundations of coexistence between Muslims and faith communities belonging to other religions. Drawing upon the legacy of the Ottoman past and opportunities of the Turkish experience in the republican period, this article provides a detailed picture of the Turkish case which, is the product of historical legacy as well as modern exchanges between religion and secularism and Islam and democracy.
In the first part of this article, I will first touch upon how Islam is seen in the modern world and share my views on wide-spread images of Islam, ignorance about the rich diversity in the interpretation of religious legacy and experience in the Muslim world. In this part of the articles I will draw attention to the major sources of prevalent images and perceptions about Islam. In this context, I will also examine main textual sources of Islam to see whether they warrant prevalent images of Islam in the western world.
In the second part of the article I will focus on the Ottoman-Turkish experience of peaceful co-existence of Muslims, Christians and Jews in a state that governed religious, ethnic and cultural diversity for many centuries. Given the fact that we live in a conflict-ridden world, the Ottoman-Turkish experience, I believe, may facilitate a positive thinking about pluralism. This historical experience also encourages us to find legal and political instruments that may contribute to manage the growing diversity in a globalizing world.
In the third part of the article, I will briefly mention position of the Presidency of Religious Affairs on facilitating a culture of peaceful co-existence in modern Turkey.
Image of Islam and Muslims in the West
There is a constant image construction of Islam and Muslims by the media, intellectual and political discourses and popular cultural industry. Muslims are largely perceived under the influence these forces informed by social, political and cultural policies and interest. On the whole, Islam and Muslims have a negative image that they do not deserve. A close examination of political, intellectual and popular discourses will demonstrate that there is a wide spread misunderstanding and misperception of Islam as a religion and Muslim societies as members of global community. Suffice it to cite two well known statements reflecting bias and prejudice against Islam by public some figures. Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham has argued that the Quran speaks of violence against Christians and Jews. For him Islam is a very evil and wicked religion. Jerry Falwell of the Christian Coalition, on the other hand, has called the Prophet Muhammad a terrorist, and Pat Robertson called him as robber and brigand. It is beyond the scope of this presentation to give lengthy examples about political and intellectual discourses. However, we can look at their impact on the public opinion and popular perceptions about Islam in the west today.
A recent research by the Pew Foundation (2007) supports our view about the image of Islam among westerners. In the US for example, as this research shows, nearly half (48%) of the respondents said that they had a negative opinion of Muslims. It might be pointed out that, in addition to political and intellectual discourses, the media also plays a major role in creating unfavorable impressions of Muslims. The same research also indicates that public attitudes about Muslims and Islam have grown more negative in recent years. About four-in-ten Americans (43%) say they have a favorable opinion of Muslims, while 35% express a negative view. Opinion about Muslims, on balance, was somewhat more positive in 2004 (48% favorable vs. 32% unfavorable).
There is a similar trend in Germany as far as worsening of the image of Islam among the public. Survey findings in 2006 indicate that Germans' esteem for Islam has been falling since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, with 83 percent of the respondents agreeing with the statement that Islam is driven by fanaticism. That amount is 10 percent higher than the survey results which was carried out in 2004. A majority of the respondents on the other, that is 71 percent, is reported to have said they believed Islam to be intolerant, up from 66 percent in 2004. The same survey also reports that when asked what they associate with the word "Islam," 91 percent of respondents connected the religion to the discrimination of women, and 61 percent called Islam "undemocratic." Only, eight percent of Germans associated "peacefulness" with Islam.
These survey results show prevalent images of Islam among the Westerners. In this context one should analyze the sources of these negative images and see if they correspond with Islamic texts, Muslim theology and historical legacy of Muslim societies. This brings us to consider the Islamic texts and their approach to pluralism, diversity and co-existence with other faith groups under the same political and social world. Theological or textual discourses are not sufficient to see the whole picture. Therefore one need to look at historical legacy to understand how these textual sources shaped the Muslim history as far as freedom of religion, management of diversity and tolerant political order are concerned in Muslim majority societies.
As the survey result from the US and Germany indicate, only a handful of people in the West associate Islam with peace; the great majority, on the other hand, associate this global religion with over one billion followers, with violence, terrorism and authoritarianism. As I will explain later there are various sources of such images.
Islamic sources on religious pluralism and co-existence
At this point it is worth to turn to main sources of Islam briefly that inspired early Muslim states and the Ottoman Empire in dealing with people of different cultures and religions. The Quran as the major source of Muslim theology provides us an extensive insight as far as other Abrahamic religions are concerned. The Quran clearly indicates that Islam is the continuation of Judaism and Christianity whose followers are described as People of the Book (ahl al-Kitab), and their books are also accepted as revealed sources. When Islam was revealed in the seventh century, it did not proclaim itself completely new and different faith, but reaffirmation of Abrahamic tradition, and the Prophet Muhammad was declared as the last circle of the prophetic chains. Although the Quran noted theological differences between Islam and these religions, it made a general call addressing the humanity. Followers of Judaism and Christianity were not forced to convert to Islam when Muslims reached a political might because as the Quran made it very clear: there is no compulsion in matters of faith (2: 256) in Islam. Islam claimed to be the last and perfected religion (5: 3), but it valued free individual choice to believe or disbelieve. Although Islam has declared itself as a universal religion, neither the Prophet nor the followers of this faith started to spread the message of Islam with the assumption that the whole humanity would necessarily become Muslims. Naturally however, the Prophet hoped that the message of Islam as the last revealed religion would be accepted by free will. As far as social cultural and religious formations are concerned, both theory and practice in Muslim history demonstrate that Islam has recognized the diversity and pluralism as natural human condition. This is stated in the Quran as follows: Had your Lord willed, all the people on Earth in their entirety would have believed. Would you force the people to make them believe? (Yunus 10:99). In a different verse, the importance of individual choice is indicated in the following call: "so let he who will believe, and let he who will disbelieve" (Al-Kahf 18:29). These verses indicate that human beings have always followed different religious beliefs and practices throughout history, and that these differences will possibly persist in the future. It is on these principles that in the formative of period of Islam, foundations of managing diversity were laid down.
The document known as the Medina Covenant that came into existence in 622 includes injunctions regulating relations between Muslims, Jews and people of Medina. Although textual sources of Islam provide normative rules and principle in matters of religious beliefs and practices, some references dealing with social issues such as cross cultural relations in the Quran and Sunna and some practices dealing with other religious groups, should be interpreted in their social and political contexts. Contextualization will prevent essentialism and emergence of monolithic form of understanding Islam and Muslim societies where politics, economy, geography and cultural exchanges marked various interpretations of the same textual sources since the beginning of Islam.
Historically speaking, the concept of People of the Book provided one of the bases of multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious states in Muslim history. Umayyads, Andalusia, Abbasids and Muslim empires in India managed to sustain religious diversity and pluralism in their own time inspired by the spirit of religious liberty and toleration in Muslim culture. The Ottoman state, in this context, developed a unique legal and political instrument (Millet / Community System) that enabled co-existence of Jews, Christians and majority Muslims under the same political order and the social domain for centuries.
These brief observations on the Muslims textual sources and historical legacy demonstrate that Islamic theology and Muslim experience challenge the widely held notions about Islam. A detailed analysis of Muslim theology and discourse and more importantly its historical experience over the centuries shows us that a selective reading concerning Muslim approach to diversity, pluralism and co-existence is an injustice to Muslims today. Therefore, instead of selective reading of theory and practice which prevents us from seeing the larger and more representative picture, one need to examine a greater number of variables and factors that are constitutive parts of Islamic theology and practice. However, these arguments should not preclude us from developing a critical perspective on how Islam had evolved over the centuries. We should ask the following questions at this point: What are the sources of current misperceptions and negative views of Islam today, if it they are not the text, theology and historical legacy? How can we explain contradictions between peaceful messages of Islam as the very meaning of this religion suggest and actions of some Muslims, though their numbers are few, but heard of more often than the majority?
There are no easy and short answers to these questions. Although I have noted good practices in Muslims states earlier, we should also face the current reality that there are some cases like the actions of some radical and extremist groups in the Middle East and elsewhere that we can not defend. Especially in recent years we witnessed the increasing use of religion to justify politically motivated actions in the Muslim world and beyond. We have seen acts of violence and terror that damaged the image of Islam and relations between Muslims and other faith groups. Acts of terror and violence lead to perceiving Muslims through a security lens. As a result of such developments, Muslims especially living in the West have become targets of hate crimes. As many reports demonstrate beyond doubt, Muslims are becoming victims of growing Islamophobia since they are seen as security threat in the midst of western democracies.
In order to understand why some are drifting from the mainstream Islam, we need to look at social and political configurations in the modern world. When we look at the current context, we note the obvious reality that the world today is not a single bloc. There are competing actors to achieve political power, consolidate their hold and establish a domination either within a nation state, in a region or globally. Religion is very often used to justify and legitimize political positions. Political actors employ a religious language and refer to its symbols and theology to make advances. Sociologically speaking, for an average individual on the street, such a discourse lead to confusion fist and then to a conviction that religion and politics are interrelated and inseparable. When such a public opinion is constructed, it would be much easier to conduct political competition and struggle through religion. Reactions and opposition to such configurations also use a religious language and rhetoric. Then religion becomes entangled in political struggles. It comes a point that masses can no longer differentiate what is religious (spiritual) and what is political. Such a state of affairs easily leads to hijacking of religion by politically motivated groups as we see in some Muslim countries and elsewhere. In this context, some religious authorities or groups either remain silent or give tacit support to the use of religious language for political purposes. No opposition to hijacking of religious symbols and language encourages political groups to promote their interest and consolidate their positions by making references to religion.
In addition to politicization of religion, we should also look at the meaning attributed to this concept and how its relations are established with the social and political world. As far as Muslims societies are concerned, there is a wide spread perception that religion regulates all aspects of life. Religion is considered as a comprehensive project that governs social, political, cultural and economic life on individual and societal levels. When such views become the basis of political justification, it is inevitable that religion plays a major role in shaping policy decisions and actions ranging from freedom of religion to democratic participation, and from international relations to forming new alliances. Viewing religion as a comprehensive project that defines all walks of life is rooted in social and political contexts. This claim largely is the product of historical experiences, social and political conditions. Domestic politics and international relations, conflicts in an around the Muslim world, wars and invasions both new and old shape perceptions of Muslims. Religion in this context emerges as an important and comprehensive source of identity, solidarity, opposition and discursive ideology. Thus, as pointed out earlier, the boundaries between religious and political on the one hand, and between spiritual and worldly affairs on the other hand, often get blurred and in the mind of masses they become more or less different sides of the same coin. So far, I have explained how and why religion and politics became entangled and how religion is hijacked and manipulated at times. I also touched upon implications of this composition on the image on Muslims and culture of coexistence. These configurations have all bearings on the culture of co-existence in the modern world.
The Turkish: The Ottoman Case and Modern Turkey
Now I would like to move on to the Turkish case and examine how the modern Turkey, a secular state with a majority Muslim population deal with state-religion relations, religious communities and non-Muslim citizens. Modern Turkey inherited a culture of co-existence between different faith communities from the Ottoman Empires. When the Empire collapsed and a Republic of Turkey was established as a nation state in 1923, non-Muslims of the Ottoman Empire became citizens of Turkey. Before moving onto the current state of relations between different faith groups as citizens of Turkey, we need to look at the Ottoman experience as a noteworthy example of managing religious diversity. The Ottoman was a predominantly Muslim empire that had managed religious communities and non-Muslim groups under a policy of cultural diversity that thrived under Ottoman rule as a result of adopting a policy of recognition and tolerance for other cultures.
The Ottoman State ruled over three continents and its borders extended from the Balkans to the Caucasus and from the Middle East to North Africa between the thirteenth and the twentieth centuries. There were more than twenty ethnic communities living in the Ottoman lands, speaking dozens of languages. Christianity and Judaism, with their various sects and denominations, were the most prevalent religions after Islam in the Ottoman State.
The Ottoman state defined its subjects according to their religious affiliation. This system of categorization, called the millet (community) system defined each religious community as a separate community. The Ottoman conquest of Istanbul in 1453, during the early years of Mehmet IIs reign (14511481), was a historical turning point in Turkish history. Mehmets policy of accommodating various religious persuasions attracted many Muslims, Armenians, Jews, Greeks, Slavs, and others to settle in Istanbul. Istanbul became the centre of Muslim-Christian co-existence which lasted for over five hundred years. It is noteworthy to make a brief analysis of the rationale behind the millet system and how it operated. Such an analysis proves relevant to contemporary debates on ethnic and religious minority groups in multi-racial and multi-religious societies.
The millet system had a socio-cultural and communal framework based, firstly, on religion, and, secondly, on ethnicity. The millet system was divided into communities according to religious affiliation. Each religious community formed millet and the collection of millets formed the millet system. Each millet established and maintained its own institutions to care for the functions not carried out by the Ruling Class. Individual millets governed institutions of their own such as education, religion, justice, and social welfare. Under the millet system, each religious community maintained its own courts, judges, and legal principles pertaining to civil and family laws. The millet system allowed Greek Orthodox Christians, the Jews and Armenians to form their own ethnic-religious communities and to establish independent religious institutions in Istanbul.
As the historical experience shows, theoretical approaches that determine relationships between the Muslim majority and non-Muslim minorities became concrete policies and practices under the administration of Ottoman rulers. During this process, freedom of religion for non-Muslims and the protection of their places of worship were guaranteed.
Religious freedom was extended to legal practices. Non-Muslims were allowed to institutionalize their own legal systems and to administer their courts within their community according to the principles of their faith. As a result of this policy, the sale and use of goods prohibited by Islam was allowed within a non-Muslim community if there was no such ban in their religious laws. Muslim rulers were held responsible for the protection of the lives and goods that belonged to non-Muslims. On the other hand, there was no restriction against employing non-Muslims in public offices. The autonomy and freedom available to minorities in the Ottoman Empire attracted large numbers of displaced Jewish communities, who were among the victims of persecution in Spain, Poland, Austria and Bohemia. While Jewish communities in Russia, Romania and most of the Balkan states suffered from persecution due to anti-Jewish laws, Jewish communities established in the Turkish territory enjoyed an atmosphere of tolerance and justice. Moreover, Turkey sheltered many Jews who fled Nazi oppression in the modern period.
When judged according to the standards of liberty and freedom of the period concerned, we can argue that non-Muslims enjoyed a remarkable amount of freedom; so much so that it would have been unthinkable for many states in the same period. Non-Muslims enjoyed several important freedoms which were later to become fundamental rights in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Freedoms ranging from selecting religious leaders, building temples, practicing religious rituals, ceremonies and festivals, opening religious schools in vernacular languages were important achievements in providing liberty in a period when no one talked about basic human rights; these were guaranteed by the Ottomans. In this period, authority in matters of internal legal matters and educational issues within the community was generally granted to religious leaders who were freely elected by the community concerned. Moreover, these minority communities enjoyed certain financial privileges. For example, lands belonging to churches and synagogues were exempt from taxes. The millet system provided freedom, not only in the area of religion and worship, but also in areas of civil law and politics. All of these policies and practices indicate that the dominant perception of religion and culture in the Ottoman lands developed in such a way that a formula enabling faith communities of different religions to live together with the other was established. Yet, the Ottoman Empire had collapsed following the Second World War. Republic of Turkey was established on the ruins of this multiethnic and multi religious empire. This brings us to the question of how far modern Turkey inherited the culture co-existence and which new instruments it developed to consolidate this culture.
Transition from Ottoman Empire to Turkish Republic
Transition from a multi-ethnic and multi-religious empire to a nation state, a notion underlined by homogeneity, has not been an easy process. A number of social, political and economic reforms had to be introduced to ensure the public participation in the making of a new nation. In the meantime, transitional conditions, stormy international relations, the war of independence have all left their imprints on social memory. Modern Turkey was established as a nation state on secular foundations and non-Muslims are incorporated into the fabric of society as citizens. Today, several non-Muslim religious groups exist in Turkey, most of which are concentrated in Istanbul and other large cities. Since census results do not contain any data pertaining to the religious affiliation of Turkish citizens, the exact membership figures for Christians, Jews or other religious groups are not available. Article thirty nine of the Treaty of Lausanne guarantees equality among Turkish citizens regardless of their religious conviction: Turkish nationals belonging to non-Muslim minorities will enjoy the same civil and political rights as Muslims. All the inhabitants of Turkey, without distinction of religion, shall be equal before the law.
Article 40 of the Lausanne Treaty further stipulates that:
Turkish nationals belonging to non-Moslem minorities shall enjoy the same treatment and security in law and in fact as other Turkish nationals. In particular, they shall have an equal right to establish, manage and control at their own expense, any charitable, religious and social institutions, any schools and other establishments for instruction and education, with the right to use their own language and to exercise their own religion freely therein.
Article 42 reaffirms this proposition:
The Turkish Government undertakes to grant full protection to the churches, synagogues, cemeteries, and other religious establishments of the above-mentioned minorities. All facilities and authorization [sic] will be granted to the pious foundations, and to the religious and charitable institutions of the said minorities at present existing in Turkey, and the Turkish Government will not refuse, for the formation of new religious and charitable institutions, any of the necessary facilities which are guaranteed to other private institutions of that nature.
Although the constitution guarantees the fundamental rights and the law describes range of freedoms, they could not change everything about public perceptions on freedom of religion. Constitutional arrangements and legal protections may produce perfect theoretical solutions on the protection of freedoms. However, public perceptions need to be changed to accomplish structural changes and to accept legal arrangements as valuable instruments to protect freedoms. Otherwise, implementation of laws and institutionalization of freedoms would encounter social and political resistance. Therefore, structural changes and legal arrangements of the state should be supported by institutional efforts that should strengthen the social basis of defending and supporting freedoms in a given society. In this context, as explained later, the Presidency of Religious Affairs (the Diyanet) has made considerable institutional contribution to the promotion of religious diversity and culture of co-existence in Turkey. Before moving onto the position of the Diyanet, we need to look at factors that prepared a ground for egalitarian perceptions of religion and social order.
Foundations facilitating freedom of religion and religious diversity in Turkey
As it stands, despite isolated events, Turkey succeeds in managing religious diversity because perception of Islam has developed in connection with a variety of current and historical events and variables. This perception that emerged in the course of Turkish social, cultural and political history provides strong grounds for peaceful co-existence in a social order. Turkeys achievement in establishing a political culture and a perception of Islam that facilitate religious pluralism can be attributed to numerous factors. These factors range from democracy and secularism to perception of Islam and Turkeys European vacation. However it should be noted that, although we have achieved considerable success, we still need to do more improvements in these areas.
Development of Islamic understanding among Turks as frontier nation that have had contacts with other religious groups since their arrival to Anatolia in the 11th century. Turks on the move have always had commercial, cultural and political relations with other nations and states. Such a web of relations contributed to inclusive understanding of religion as Turkish Muslims never lived in their own ghettos in cultural and geographical terms. Turks sustained this legacy and developed it further in the process of their social, cultural, political and economic relations with the other communities that they had contacts with throughout their history.
Turkeys European vacation since the 19th century that shaped political culture, legal instruments and public policy to some extent during the Ottoman Empire that contributed to the rise and expansion of the idea of liberty and equality. Constitutional reforms and modernization efforts and increasing contacts with the western intellectual and cultural heritage strengthened the European orientation. Moreover, Turkeys EU membership project since the early 1950s that gathered momentum in 2005 brought Turkey much closer to Europe. Legal and political reforms during the membership process also consolidated the freedom of religion and protection of minority faith communities.
Secularism and culture of democracy in Turkey provide principles that are crucially important for the protection of pluralism and freedoms. Democracy, rule of law and secularity that Turkey has chosen as a path enabled people of various backgrounds to live peacefully in the same social and political order without abandoning their culture, religion and identity. Structural and legal provisions as well as their social acceptance by the majority of public led to the establishment of individual freedom of religious belief and practice on the one hand and freedom of freedom of expression as far as interpreting religion is concerned, that might be called intra religious freedom or freedom within a religion. This is one of the peculiar characteristics of modern Turkey today.
Although there is a wide consensus on the acceptance of secularism and democracy, there is an ongoing debate in Turkey on state-religion relations as expected in a dynamic society. This debate is sometimes extended on the limits of freedom of religion in the name of protecting the public order. Therefore, in this context, some groups under the effect of social memory of formative period in Turkey, consider expanded religious liberty including missionary activities problematic. Especially foreign observers of these debates among Turkish politicians and political groups in Turkey may get the impression that there are conflicts, contradictions and tensions between religion and democracy and Islam and secular principles of the state. However, sociological studies in modern Turkish society indicate that there is no social basis and acceptance of such conflicting views. Although politicians use such a discourse either to consolidate their position or to criticize their opponents, conflicting views remain as political statements and rhetoric. An overwhelming portion of Turkish society considers religion, democracy and secularism compatible with each other.
In this context, I would like to share some observations about the position of the Presidency of Religious Affairs (The Diyanet) as far as promoting and defending freedom of religion and culture of co-existence in Turkey is concerned. The Presidency of Religious Affairs (The Diyanet) is a constitutional institution which is mandated to administer religious affairs of Muslims. The position of the Diyanet as regards freedom of religion has been a contested issue. Some people claim that the Diyanet was established to control the religious sphere by the state. Some others, on the other, hand argue that the Diyanet enables religion to emancipate itself from the control of the state.
The Diyanet takes positive positions about the protection of religious freedom and liberty for minority faith groups in Turkey. We constantly state that the Diyanet does not support any acts of violence on national and international levels, including targeting members and institutions of minority religious groups. The Diyanet plants seeds of respect, tolerance and acceptance of religious and cultural diversity. Because we believe that freedoms are the basis of social cohesion. It is due to the historical legacy, constitutional provisions and efforts of the Diyanet that Turkey provides a ground where members of various faith groups can live side by side as equal citizens of the same state. I should point out here that the Diyanet has expanded its own realm of freedom and its realm of defending freedoms of other religions. The Diyanets consolidation of its positions on freedoms stems from the fact that we strongly defend religious liberty and pluralism.
The Diyanet promotes a knowledge-based Islam in Turkey which is one of the foundations of authentic understanding of Islam. Islam values scholarship and strongly emphasizes acts and deeds either based on knowledge achieved by a self-search or provided by the learned men that lead to a consensus. Such an understanding of Islam that is based on an authentic knowledge derived from learning and scholarship provides self confidence to Muslims. Self confidence on the other hand would lead to a more open society where minority faith groups would not be seen as a threat to the public order and dominant religion. Moreover, such an understanding of Islam prevents the misuse of Islam for political purposes by extremist groups.
Defending freedoms is another significant factor contributing to peaceful co-existence in Turkey. In this context we, as the Presidency of Religious Affairs, believe that religion inspires people to respect plurality and religious liberty. Turkey differs from many other Muslim countries regarding the provision of freedom of religion. In Turkey, we defend freedom of religion not only for the Muslim majority but also for minority faith groups and even for atheists. I will give you one recent example to show the extent to which we expand our view of freedom of religion inspired by Islam. In the last issue of our official journal, we stated that conversion to other religions is an individual right even if a Muslim chooses to become a Christian. It doesnt mean that we approve his/her choice on religious grounds. One might ask why the Diyanet promotes such a perception underlined by the notion of freedom. The answer to this question lies in the fact that we read and interpret the same text different from many other Muslim societies.
Lastly, I would like point out that in the Diyanet, we consider our main responsibility to teach Muslims in Turkey their own religion correctly on the basis of scholarship and learning and to represent Islam well. Our aim is not to convert members of other religions to Islam. It is true that we consider Islam as the true religion. Members of other religions on the other hand, consider their own faith as the true one. Of course, this is their natural right. Yet, our differences on this issue should not prevent us to engage in a dialogue over issues of common interest.
 Majid Fakhry (2005) The Dialogue of Civilizations: Islam and the West, A Historical Perspective, in (E. Ihsanoglu ed.) Cultural Contacts in Building a Universal Civilization, IRCICA, Istanbul, p. 310.
 Public Expresses Mixed Views of Islam, Mormonism, The Pew Forum and Religion and Public Life, 2007, Full report is available at http://pewforum.org/assets/files/religionviews07.pdf.
 German Mistrust of Muslims and Islam Grows, http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,2025041,00.html
 Ismail Ragi Faruqi and L. Lamya Fauqi (1986) The Cultural Atlas of Islam, London: The Macmillan Co, p. 191.
 Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu (2004) A Culture of Peaceful Cooexistence, IRCICA, Istanbul, p. 17.
 For more information on Islamophobia see Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All, Runnymede Trust, (1997); Muslims in the European Union: Discrimination and Islamophobia, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (2006); Scott Poynting and Victoria Mason (2007). "The resistible rise of Islamophobia". Journal of Sociology, 43 (1): 61-86; P. Gottschalk and G Greenberg (2007). Islamophobia: Making Muslims the Enemy. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
 On the treatment of non-Muslim communities under the Ottomans see Kemal H. Karpat, Millets and Nationality: The Roots of the Incongruity of Nation and State in the Post-Ottoman Era, in Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire, The Functioning of a Plural Society Vol.1, B. Braude and B. Lewis (eds.), New York: Holmes-Meier Publishers, 1982, p. 141-142; For the legal status of non-Muslims in the Ottoman Empire see M. Macit Kenanoglu, Osmanlı Devletinde Millet Sistemi ve Gayrimüslimlerin Hukuki Statüleri (1453-1856), (Millet System and The Legal Status of Non-Muslims in the Ottoman State), (Unpublished PhD Thesis, Marmara University), 2001.
 For more informations see Leon Carl Brown (ed.) (1996) Imperial Legacy: the Ottoman Imprint on the Balkans and the Middle East, New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.
. Alexsis Alexandres (1983) The Greek Minority of Istanbul and Greek-Turkish Relations 1918-1974, p. 21.
. For recent debates on religious minorities, see Jorgen Nielsen (2002) Contemporary Discussions on Religious Minorities in Islam, Brigham Young University Law Review, p. 353.
. Kemal H. Karpat (1982) Millets and Nationality: The Roots of the Incongruity of Nation and State in the Post-Ottoman Era, in
(Benjamin Braude & Bernard Lewis eds.) Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire: The Functioning of a Plural Society, p. 141.
. Stanford Show (1977) History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey I, p. 151.
 Donald Quataert (2000) The Ottoman Empire 1700-1922, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 175.
 M. A. Aydın, İslam ve Osmanlı Hukuku Araştırmaları, Istanbul, 1996, p. 233
 For the policies and practices towards non-Muslims during the Ottoman era see Kemal H. Karpat (1982) Millets and Nationality: The Roots of the Incongruity of Nation and State in the Post-Ottoman Era, in Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire, The Functioning of a Plural Society Vol.1, B. Braude and B. Lewis (eds.), New York: Holmes-Meier Publishers, p. 141-142; T. Kücükcan (2003) State, Islam and Religious Liberty in Modern Turkey: Reconfiguration of Religion in the Public Sphere, Brigham Young University Law Review, No. 2, p. 480-485; Bilal Eryılmaz (1992) Osmanlı Devletinde Millet Sistemi, Istanbul,1992, p. 15.
 Paul Dumont (1982) Jewish Communities in Turkey During the Last Decades of the Nineteenth Century in the Light of the Archives of the Alliance Israélite Universelle in Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire, Benjamin Braude & Bernard Lewis (eds.) p. 22122.
 Ali Çarkoğlu and Binnaz Toprak (2007) Religion, society and politics in a changing Turkey, İstanbul: TESEV, August 2007.
 For more information on the Diyanet see Ali Bardakoglu (2008) The Structure, Mission and Social Function of the Presidency of Religious Affairs (PRA), The Muslim World, Volume 98, Issue 2-3, pp. 173-181.
 For more information on the position of Diyanet regarding various issues see, Ali Bardakoğlu (2006) Religion and Society: New Perspectives from Turkey
Ankara: Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs.