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The Dönme are descendants of the Jewish followers of a self-proclaimed messiah, Sabbatai Sebi (or Zevi, 1626-76), who was forced by the sultan to convert to Islam in 1666. Their doctrine includes Jewish and Islamic elements. They consider themselves Muslims and officially are recognized as such. Their name is the Turkish word for convert , but it carries overtones of turncoat as well.
The Dönme have been successful in business and in the professions, but historically they have not been part of the social elite because neither Jews nor Muslims fully accept them. Experience with prejudice inclines some Dönme to hide their identity to avoid discrimination and also has encouraged the Dönme to become a tightly knit, generally endogamous group. Since the early 1980s, however, overt discrimination has lessened, and intermarriage between Dönme and other Muslims has grown common.
Source: U.S. Library of Congress