What were the central aspects of the religious and social life of the ottoman empire? How did women fare in these aspects of ottoman life?

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The Ottoman Empire was made up of many ethnicities and religions, however Muslims formed the majority. The Muslims did not mingle with other religions and were considered superior to Christians and Jews. The Jews and Christians had Sunni Turkish rulers. Many Christians were Greeks and Assyrians.

It is noteworthy that monotheists were not mistreated by the Muslims because they shared common aspects in their religions. Furthermore, justice during this period was served based on the religion of a person. The religious laws of the accused were applied during trial.

People who were not Muslim were forced to pay higher taxes. Christians were required to pay blood tax by sacrificing their sons. In addition, only Muslims held government positions. Jews and Christians who converted to Islam were also allowed to hold government positions.

On the other hand, women in the Ottoman Empire followed Islamic law, and they had the right to inherit, to own property, to file for divorce, and more. Women were homemakers. They helped their husbands in their work, particularly in small businesses and agriculture, to support the family.

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The Ottoman Empire was certainly an Islamic state, yet it also allowed for the practicing of other, specifically monotheistic, religions. However, as previous posts have noted, the tolerance of the practicing of Christianity and Judaism did not translate into full equality for their practicers. Jews and Christians, like women, held a second-class status in the Ottoman Empire and did not enjoy the same rights and liberties as Muslim men enjoyed. Patriarchy has been, and is, at the heart of all major centralized states. As such, the Ottoman Empire was no different in its subordination of women. This subordination of women and non-Muslims was reflected in the social, political, and economic aspects of Ottoman life, as the state was rooted in theocracy.

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The idea that men should make all of the decisions for women still impacts the countries that inherited the Ottoman Empire. Women were to be protected by men, could not own property, did not have custody of their children, and did not make their own decisions.
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The position of women is often defined by the religious beliefs of a particular group, and the dominance of Islam in the Ottoman Empire shaped the life chances of women at this particular time and in this geographical area. The Ottoman Empire clearly was patriarchal at its heart, and this lead to the suppression of the rights of women and their being treated as "inferior" to men.

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Post two is correct in saying that the Ottoman empire allowed other religions, but he fails to point out that was only half of the story. Christian and Jews were considered second class citizens. The right that Muslims enjoyed by the state were not given to Christians and Jews. For instance, Jew and Christians were not allowed to testify against Muslim in court. Also Jews and Christians were not allowed to carry weapons. Also the Ottoman empire did not look favorably on polytheists. In view of this, there was limited religious freedom.

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Islam was, of course, the religion of the empire, but it was not the only one.  The Ottomans allowed various major religious groups to form their own communities.  This was one of the most important religious and social aspects of the empire -- it was multi-cultural and multi-religious.

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