402 konstantinos tsitselikis © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2004 Die Welt des Islams 44, 3 Also available online – www.brill.nl THE LEGAL STATUS OF ISLAM IN GREECE BY KONSTANTINOS TSITSELIKIS Thessaloniki 1. Historical background The actual presence of Islam in the Balkans is undoubtedly linked to the long lasting Ottoman suzerainty 1 in the area. The Balkan na- tional revolutions, which took place from the early 19 th century, and the establishment of a series of national states, reversed the relation between Christianity and Islam, rendering the latter a minority re- ligion in Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, Greece and Romania. The legal treatment of these Muslim minorities in the Christian Balkan States was based upon the Ottoman legacy of the millet system, according to which non-Muslim ethno-religious group enjoyed au- tonomy in matters of personal status. Religious coexistence has always been deeply rooted in Greek history. Since the formation of the Greek State (1829-31), Greek Orthodoxy was acknowledged as the predominant religion of the country. Hence Christian Catholics, Jews and Muslims became mi- norities under legal protection. Muslims’ personal and property securities were set as a legal obligation of Greece guaranteed by the Great Powers. This first seed of
Die Welt des Islams – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2004
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