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The Abbasids chose Baghdad for headquarters, though for a short period of time al-Mutawakkil (847-861) transferred his his seat back from Iraq to Damascus (885).

In an Islamic environment, it was inevitable that such a political struggle should have religious implications.

First, and vis-a-vis other Muslim groups, the Abbasid caliphate touched a number of risings of Kharajites who refused to submit to the new rule.

In 757, he imposed taxes on monks, even on those who lived as hermits, and he used Jews to strip sacristies for the treasury.

In 759, he removed all Christians from positions in the treasury.

In the last two schools medicine and philosophy were taught along with the sacred disciplines.

Christian physicians and especially scribes exerted some kind of tutelage within the Nestorian Church, and tried their best to obtain for their community a more benevolent legislation from Muslim rulers.

Conditions under al-Watheq (842-847) did not improve and were sad indeed for the Christians.

Under al-Mutawwakil (847-861) there was intensification of discontent on the part of Christians due to harsh conditions imposed on them.

The Barmakid viziers, of Turkish origin, who were the strong arm of the Abbasid caliphs, seem to have manifested a certain measure of benevolence towards ahl-al-Dhimmi (the tributaries) and especially towards the Christians.

It is only at the end of the rule of Harun al-Rahid (786-809), i.e., after the disgrace of the Barmakids, that some measures were taken against the Christians.

There were also other opponents who questioned the legitimacy of the Abbasids' claim to the caliphate.

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