Sinan Reis known as ”The Great Jew” Sephardi convert to Islam and one of the sea captains of the Hayreddin Barbarossa, a famous Ottoman corsair admiral.

Sinan’s family was expelled from their home following the decision undertaken by the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castille to expell the Jews from the Imperial Spanish territories. After that his parents moved into Muslim north Africa. The exact date of Sinan’s birth is unknown but it was probably sometimes in the early 1500’s.

Growing up listening the stories of the expulsion Sinan decided to convert to Islam and took to the sea, becoming a corsair waging war against the Spanish crown which expelled his family from their ancestral homeland.

Sinan was one of the main commanders of the Ottoman navy at the battle of Preveza where together with Hayreddin Barbarossa they achieved a great victory over the fleet of the Holy League.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Interesting. I am also a Sephardi convert.

  2. In your zeal to turn famous Jews into Muslims you erred grievously about Sinan Reis (ca 1491-1546). You mistake him for Kapudan Sinan (Sinanüddin Fakih Yusuf) Pasha (admiral of the Ottoman fleet 1550-1554) who lies buried near his mosque in Üsküdar (Istanbul). Note that the Turkish word for Scutari (in Albania) is also Üsküdar. Sinan was a proud Jew whose ships’ flags carried a Jewish symbol. Because of him and his brave Jewish pirates the monopoly of the Catholic fleets was broken and the Portuguese ships had to circle Africa to reach India.

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