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Blood Libels and the attitude of Ottoman Sultans Print E-mail

Blood Libels and the attitude of the Ottoman Sultans 

 Blood libels, that originated in the Middle Ages, accused Jews of using the blood of Christian children in the baking of their traditional unleavened bread, matzot. In spite of explicit verses from the Bible, such as “...;therefore, I have said to the people of Israel: You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.” (Leviticus 17:14), these slanderous ‘’myths’’ had  the effect of inciting anti-Semitic beliefs and were, at least in part, responsible for the atrocities which were enacted upon the Jews of Europe in the period from 16th Century to the end of the 19th Century. 
Following the blood libels in Amasya and Tokat, Suleyman the Magnificent ordered as follows:“I would not like to see this millet’s (community) members attacked or treated unjustly. Such calumniation shall be dealt with only at the Sultan’s Divan and nowhere else without my permission and consent.” 
The Ottoman Sultans issued a number of firmans about blood slanders. The firman by Sultan Abdülmecid (1841) following the events in Damascus and Rhodes in 1840, and the one by Sultan Abdülaziz (1866) following the libel at Kuzguncuk in 1865 were put forward as strong evidence in various blood libel cases held in European courts.

 FIRMAN by SULTAN ABDÜLMECID  (abstract) ... as attested by religious experts who have examined the religious texts of the aforementioned millet, it’s specifically stated in the  Biblical order of Kasherut, that the use of not only human blood but also that of animals is expressly forbidden. Therefore, the members of this millet should in no way  be abased or humiliated with such falsehoods…  during their prayers, they should not be disturbed unjustly by anyone, and their safety and security should be provided for .... 

(The Original Firman is exhibited at our Museum)


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