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Title: Christian military conscription and badal al'askariya in damascus Syria after the tanzimat
Authors: Najm, Simon 
Affiliations: Institute of Theology 
Keywords: Syria 19th century Ottoman reforms
Christian military conscription
Military exemption tax
Badal alaskariya
Orthodox Christians
1860 massacres
Subjects: Damascus (Syria)
Issue Date: 2017
Part of: Cercetare Şi dialog teologic astazi
Volume: IX
Issue: 2017
Start page: 32
End page: 50
The motivations behind the Ottoman Empires introduction of equality among all its subjects, in the matter of military service from 1839, are controversial. Theoretically, the Ottomans presented this equality to strengthen the empire and enroll non-Muslim subjects in the defense of the empire. But in practice, the Ottomans did not want to include Christians in military service for several reasons. The enlistment of Christians was delayed for several years, and the forcible collection of badal alaskariya (military exemption tax), which started a few years after the confirmation of equality in the Khatt Humayun in 1856, led to the issue of the fifteen Orthodox men in Damascus in 1859. This case confirmed the Ottomans refusal to engage Christians in military service. It also acknowledged Christians negative response to military conscription and the payment of badal. For the imposed badal was another form of jizyya (the poll-tax levied on non-Muslims in Muslim states), but one whose amount was greater than that of the original jizyya. This study reveals the impact of military conscription and badal alaskariya on the Rum Orthodox community of Damascus between 1858 and 1862. It explores how the case, of the fifteen orthodox men, did assist in the rise of the discord between the Greek hierarchy and the Arab Orthodox Christians. It also shed the light on the aggravation of the Ottomans towards the Rum Orthodox of Damascus because of their refusal to pay the badal and their defiance to offer their men instead. Eventually, this study uncovers the relation between the badal alaskariya and the massacres of Damascus which occurred in 1860.
Type: Journal Article
Appears in Collections:Institute of Theology

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