History and Historiography

Millet (Ottoman Empire)

In the Ottoman Empire, a millet was a separate legal court pertaining to “personal law” under which a confessional community was allowed to rule itself under its own system. After the Ottoman Tanzimat reforms, the term was used for legally protected religious minority groups, similar to the way other countries use the word nation. The word Millet comes from the Arabic word millah and literally means “nation”. The Millet system of Islamic law has been called an example of pre-modern religious pluralism.

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