The Doenme: Jewish Converts, Muslim Revolutionaries, and Secular Turks
This book tells the story of the Doenme, the descendents of Jews who resided in the Ottoman Empire and converted to Islam along with their messiah, Rabbi Shabbatai Tzevi, in the seventeenth century. For two centuries following their conversion, the Doenme were accepted as Muslims, and by the end of the nineteenth century rose to the top of Salonikan society. The Doenme helped transform Salonika into a cosmopolitan city, promoting the newest innovation in trade and finance, urban reform, and modern education. They eventually became the driving force behind the 1908 revolution that led to the overthrow of the Ottoman sultan and the establishment of a secular republic.
To their proponents, the Doenme are enlightened secularists and Turkish nationalists who fought against the dark forces of superstition and religious obscurantism. To their opponents, they were simply crypto-Jews engaged in a plot to dissolve the Islamic empire. Both points of view assume the Doenme were anti-religious, whether couched as critique or praise.
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