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Islam / Caliph / Abbasids /
Arabic: 'al-mutawakkil

(822-861) Caliph of Islam 847-861, belonging to the Abbasid Dynasty.
Al-Mutawakkil was a very conservative Sunni Muslim, who launched a number of discriminatory campaigns against non-Sunnis in his empire. Shi'is who had the Shrine of Husayn in Karbala suffered much. The shrine was destroyed and the Shi'i Imam was placed under life-long house-arrest.
Those who suffered even more, however, were the Christians and Jews, who were stripped of much of their social status. Churches and synagogues of Baghdad were demolished, Christians and Jews were required to wear identifying marks and honey-colored robes. They were denied jobs which may have given them power over Muslims. Every 10th Christian or Jewish house were confiscated to make room for future mosques. Wooden images of devils were attached to the doorway of Christian and Jewish homes to identify them.
al-Mutawakkil faced some challenges on the empire's borders. Many of his military actions were conducted against the Byzantines.

822 March: Born.
847: Succeeds his brother al-Wathiq as caliph.
— Has the famous Great Mosque of Samarra built.
848: Has Imam Ali l-Hadi brought to Samarra, forcing him to spend the rest of his life under house arrest in the military district of the city.
— Abandons the Mihna, the Islamic inquisition.
849: Deposes the patriarch of the Eastern Christian Church and begins persecuting Christians.
851: Has the shrine of Husayn at Karbala destroyed and forbids pilgrimage to it.
853: Dhimmis are forbidden to ride on horses; they have to limit themselves to donkeys and mules.
861 December: Is murdered by Turkish soldiers in Samarra, at the instigation of his oldest son, al-Mutansir.

By Tore Kjeilen