What Is The Millet System?


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Daisy Sarma answered
The Millet system has been around from the time of the Ottoman Empire. The term originates from the Arabic word 'milla'. The millet system has been always closely linked with the way Muslim rulers in Asia have treated their own Muslim subjects, especially in the middle east. After the Tanzimat reforms, the term began to be used to refer to ethnic and religious minority groups that were given a set of norms as legal protection by the rulers.

Individual millets were taken care of by individual leaders. The millets were like states within a state; they had their own taxation system, and their own set of laws. They were like autonomous regions within the Ottoman Empire and were given the freedom to more or less lead their own lives in return for unswerving loyalty to the Empire.

The West initially found it difficult to come to terms with the millet system, because it was so different from their style of governance.
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Anonymous commented
I do not agree. The Millet system was a system of self governence for religious groups in the Ottoman empire ( orthodox christians, armenians jews, ...) UNTILL the 19th century Tanzimat reforms. It was installed by sultan Mehmet II after the conquest of Constantinople for religious minorities but NOT for muslims. If you say that "the West found the system so different from their style of governance"then this is also not correct since in the West they had a similar system for Jews.

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