What are the differences between the Ottoman and Safavid empires in terms of government and religion?
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Religiously, there were at least two major differences between the Ottomans and the Safavids. First, the Ottomans were Sunni Muslims while the Safavids were Shi'ite. The Safavids were anti-Sunni to the extent that they would at times massacre Sunnis (as they did in Baghdad) when they conquered a Sunni area. Second, the Safavids were less tolerant of non-Muslims in their empire than the Ottomans were. They preferred to use Shi'ism as a unifying force in their empire.
Governmentally, the main difference was that the Safavids were a bit more centralized than the Ottomans. Safavid shahs kept power more closely to themselves than Ottoman sultans did.
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