Ottoman Empire declares holy war in 1914
On November 14, 1914, the Ottoman Empire declared ‘Jihad’, Islamic holy war, on Britain, France, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro in World War I. In Constantinople, capital of the Ottoman Empire, religious leader Sheikh-ul-Islam urged Muslims all over the world to rise up and defend the empire against the Allies.
“Of those who go to the Jihad for the sake of happiness and salvation of the believers in God’s victory,” the declaration read, “the lot of those who remain alive is felicity, while the rank of those who depart to the next world is martyrdom. In accordance with God’s beautiful promise, those who sacrifice their lives to give life to the truth will have honor in this world, and their latter end is paradise.
Turkey had entered the ‘Great War’ on October 29th, two weeks prior to the sheikh’s speech, when the Ottoman navy accompanied by two German ships, Goeben and Breslau, launched attacks on Russian ports in the Black Sea.