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Islamic Ottoman Kidnapping of Christian Children

Reader comment on item: Europe's Stark Options
in response to reader comment: Muslim conquerors often killed civilians

Submitted by Domenic Pepe (United States), Mar 7, 2007 at 23:12

One should not forget the barbaric islamic Ottoman practice of kidnaping and capturing Christian children and indoctrinating them into islam and the sultan's Janissary corps standing army which comprised infantry units that also formed the Ottoman's sultans household troops and bodyguard.

This was a form of taxation in human form of non-muslims called devshirmeh: the Sultan's men conscripted a number of non-Muslim, usually white, Christian boys, taken at birth at first at random, later, by strict selection – to be trained. Initially they favoured Greeks, Albanians (who also supplied many gendarmes), usually selecting about one boy from forty houses, but the numbers could be changed to correspond with the need for soldiers. Boys aged 14-18 were preferred, though ages 8-20 could be taken. Greeks formed a large part of the Janissary units. Next the devshirmeh was extended to also include Serbs, Croats, and other Balkan countries, later especially Ukraine and southern Russia. (Reference: Wikipedia)

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