I would like to express my gratitude to A. Üner Turgay, Director of the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University for his moral support, to Donald P. Little, Wael Hallaq, Virginia Aksan and the series editors for their valuable suggestions and comments on vari- ous aspects of the book. I also wish to thank S. Kenderova and S. Andreev, without whose support my research at the National Library of Bulgaria would have been impossible, as well as to all staff members of the library who kindly assisted me during the research. I am especially indebted to Evgeni Radushev for sharing with me his expertise on the subject of conversion to Islam in Ottoman times and for providing me with unpublished manuscripts of several of his works. I also thank Professor M. Kiel who provided me with transcripts of a number of kisve bahası petitions located in the Başbakanlık Ottoman Archive in Istanbul. I am grateful to all my friends for their patience and support and especially to Stefan Koupenov who pointed out to me the similarities between the database systems theory and the graphs I have drawn, attempting to capture common fea- tures of petitions. Stephen Millier from the Institute of Islamic Studies Library at McGill University was of major help to me by editing the manuscript.
Support for this research was provided by grants from the Institute of Islamic Studies and the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research at McGill University.