central Iraq and took refuge in Upper Mesopotamia around Mosul, where having abandoned Baghdad the Nestorian catholicos now established his residence.
Egypt passed under the rule of Mamluk sultans in 1250 and Syria in 1260. The Mamluks based the legitimacy of their military regime on their ability to defend Islam against the crusaders and the Mongols, which took the form of a double jihad. The accusation of Christian collusion with these enemies of Islam became a refrain of the propaganda directed against the dhimmis. For example, during Sultan Baybars's campaign against the crusader strong-points of Caesarea and Arsuf in 1265 a series of fires swept through Cairo. It was immediately assumed that these were an act of revenge on the part of local Christians. In Syria the conquest of Frankish territories produced popular attacks on Christians, such as the destruction in 1262 of the church of the Annunciation at Nazareth and the massacre of Christians that followed the fall of Antioch in 1268. Even in Egypt there was a growing number of popular attacks on Christians, which were encouraged by the bigotry of preachers, by the intransigence ofthe ulema, and by anxiety in the face of Mongol aggression. But behind this hostility lay Muslim opposition to the influence exercised in the administration by Christian secretaries - a stock charge of anti-Christian polemic.35 It is this social aspect that deserves underlining.36 So, in 1301 Sultan Qalawun re-enacted a decree which had already been applied on a number of occasions, but always rescinded, excludingJews and Christians from public office and at the same time strictly enforcing the discriminatory measures associated with dhimma status. Furthermore, he closed down the churches of Cairo and had several of them destroyed, a fate also suffered by certain synagogues. It required the intervention of the Byzantine emperor and the king of Aragon to persuade the sultan to reopen the churches and to rescind the measures taken. It is not without significance that at this juncture only outside intervention allowed an improvement in the position of the local Christians. But it did not prevent similar crises reoccurring in 1320 and 1354. The number and violence of these anti-Christian outbreaks created a climate of fear, which was the direct cause of numerous conversions to Islam. These contributed to the growth of a new group which made its appearance in the fourteenth century. Its members were known as musalima, or 'islamised', and were identified
35 See M. Perlmann, 'Notes on anti-Christian propaganda in the Mamluk Empire', Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 10 (1939-42), 843-61.
36 L. S. Northrup, 'Muslim-Christian relations during the reign of the Mamluk Sultan al-Mansur Qalawun (a.d. 1278-1290)', in Conversion and continuity, ed. Gervers and Bikhazi,
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