Non-Sunni Muslims in the Late Ottoman Empire

State and Missionary Perceptions of the Alawis

Necati Alkan

The Alawis or Alawites are a minority Muslim sect, predominantly based in Syria, Turkey and Lebanon. Over the course of the 19th century, they came increasingly under the attention of the ruling Ottoman authorities in their attempts to modernize the Empire, as well as Western Protestant missionaries.

Using Ottoman state archives and contemporary chronicles, this book explores the Ottoman government’s attitudes and policies towards the Alawis, revealing how successive regimes sought to bring them into the Sunni mainstream fold for a combination of political, imperial and religious reasons. In the context of increasing Western interference in the empire’s domains, Alkan reveals the origins of Ottoman attempts to ‘civilize’ the Alawis, from the Tanzimat period to the Young Turk Revolution. He compares Ottoman attitudes to Alawis against its treatment of other minorities, including Bektashis, Alevis, Yezidis and Iraqi Shi’a.

An important new contribution to the literature on the history of the Alawis and Ottoman policy towards minorities, this book will be essential reading for scholars of the late Ottoman Empire and minorities of the Middle East.

Table of Contents

Research question
The Current State of the Literature
1. The Nusayris in the Ottoman Empire: A “Heterodox” Tribal Community and the State
1.1. The Nusayri-Alawis: History and Beliefs
1.2. The Ottoman Nusayris: Geography, Social Structure, and Authority
1.3. The Status of the Nusayris in the Ottoman Political System
2. “Appropriate objects of christian benevolence”: Protestant Missionaries and the Nusayris
2.1. Protestant American Millenarian Dreams in the 19th Century
2.2. Mission among “Heterodox” Groups
2.3. The Case of the Nusayris
3. Abdülhamid II’s Civilising Mission and the Policy of “Correction of Belief(s)”
3.1. The Roots of “Correction of Belief(s)” and Conversion Campaigns until the 19th Century
3.2. Correcting the Beliefs of the Bektasis after 1826
3.3. “Fine Tuning” during the Tanzimat and the Reign of Abdülhamid II
3.4. The Ottomans Fighting for the Nusayri Soul
4. The Nusayris under Young Turk Rule (1908-1918)
4.1. The Double-Edged Sword of the Young Turk Revolution
4.2. Protestant Missionary Efforts among the Nusayris
4.3. Muslim Responses to Protestant Missionary Work


By muratdevres

Academic Coordinator of the project Rememberings

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