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Persecution of Muslims refers to the religious persecution inflicted upon Muslims. Persecution may refer to beating, torture, confiscation or destruction of property. Persecution can extend beyond those who perceive themselves as Muslims to include those who are perceived by others as Muslims, or to Muslims which are considered by fellow Muslims as non-Muslims.

Contents

Pagan Arab persecution of Muslims

Part of a series on
Controversies related to Islam and Muslims

Criticism of Islam

Islam · Muhammad · Qur'an · Islamism

Issues

Dhimmi · Eurabia · Islamism · Sharia
Jihad · Pan-Islamism · Qutbism
Apostasy in Islam
Divisions of the world in Islam
Islam and domestic violence
Islam and antisemitism
Islam and slavery
Freedom of religion in Iran
Homosexuality and Islam
Islamophobia · Attitudes towards terrorism

Activities

Islamic terrorism
Muslim persecution of Buddhists
Persecution of Bahá'ís
Muslim persecution of Christians
Persecution of Hindus
Wadda Ghallooghaaraa
Chhotaa Ghallooghaaraa
Persecution of Shia Muslims
The Satanic Verses controversy
Namus · Honor killings
Death by stoning

Notable modern critics

Ayaan Hirsi Ali · Irshad Manji
Daniel Pipes · Philippe de Villiers
Alexandre del Valle · Ibn Warraq
Geert Wilders · Oriana Fallaci
Robert Spencer · Theo van Gogh
Afshin Ellian · Salman Rushdie
Ahmad Kasravi · Taha Hussein
Turan Dursun · Wafa Sultan
Lord Pearson

Related events since 2001

In the early days of Islam at Mecca, the new Muslims were often subjected to abuse and persecution. Some were killed, such as Sumayyah bint Khabbab, the seventh convert to Islam, who was tortured first by Abu Jahl.[1] but even Muhammad was subjected to such abuse; while he was praying near the Kaaba, Aqaba Bin Muiitt threw the entrails of a sacrificed camel over him, and Abu Lahab's wife Umm Jamil would regularly dump filth outside his door.[2] And if free Muslims were attacked, slaves who converted were subjected to far worse. The master of the Ethiopian Bilal ibn Rabah (who would become the first muezzin) would take him out into the desert in the boiling heat of midday and place a heavy rock on his chest, demanding that he forswear his religion and pray to the polytheists' gods and goddesses, until Abu Bakr bought him and freed him.[3] This persecution ultimately provoked the hijra.

Persecution of minority/sectarian Muslim groups by other Muslim groups

Persecution of and by Mutazilites

In medieval Iraq, the Mu'tazili theological movement was made a state doctrine in 832, igniting the Mihna (ordeal) a struggle over the application of Greek logical proof of the Qu'ran; people who would not accept Mu'tazili claims that the Qur'an was created rather than eternal were sometimes persecuted. The most famous victims of the Mihna were Ahmad Ibn Hanbal who was imprisoned and tortured, and the judge Ahmad Ibn Nasr al-Khuza'i who was crucified.[4] Ahmad Ibn Hanbal was dragged before the inquisition, known as the Mihna, ordered by the caliph al-Maʾmūn.[5]

However, it lost official support soon afterwards. This coincided with the rise to prominence of the Ash'ari approach to Islam, of which Al-Ghazali was a staunch defender. Sunni and Shi'a Islam became the mainstream schools of Islam. As a consequence, the tables turned and some Mutazili scholars were victims of persecution themselves in the centuries to follow. Some Islamic philosophers like Averroes and Avicenna also faced persecution from fellow Muslims in their time.[6] Mu'tazilite doctrine - by now regarded as heretical by Sunnis - continued to be influential amongst the Shi'ites in Persia and the Zaydis in the Yemen.[7]

Sunni-Shi'a conflicts and persecutions

At various times many Shi'a groups have faced persecution. In 1513, Ottoman Sultan Selim I ("The Grim") ordered the massacre of 40,000 Shia Muslim "heretics" in Anatolia.[8][9]

While the dominant strand in modern Sunni dogma regards Shiism as a valid madhhab, following Al Azhar, some Sunnis both now and in the past have regarded it as beyond the pale, and have attacked its adherents. In modern times, notable examples include the bombing campaigns by the Sunni Sipah-e-Sahaba and the Shia Tehrik-e-Jafria, two small extremist groups, against Shia or Sunni mosques in Pakistan,[10] the persecution of Hazara under the Taliban,[11] and the bloody attacks linked with Zarqawi and his followers against Shia in Iraq.[12]

Persecution of Ahmadis

The Ahmadiyya regard themselves as Muslims, but are seen by many other Muslims as non-Muslims and "heretics" since they do not believe in the finality of prophet-hood since the death of Prophet Mohammed. Armed groups, led by the umbrella organization Khatme Nabuwat ("Finality of Prophethood"), have launched violent attacks against their mosques in Bangladesh.

They committed massacres against them which resulted in 2,000 Ahmadiyya deaths in Pakistani Punjab. Eventually, martial law had to be established and Governor general Ghulam Mohamed dismissed the federal cabinet. This anti-Ahmadiyya movement led Pakistani prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to declare that the Ahmadiyyas were "non-Muslims".[13][14]

In 1984, the Government of Pakistan, under General Zia-ul-Haq, passed Ordinance XX,[15] which banned proselytizing by Ahmadis and also banned Ahmadis from referring to themselves as Muslims. According to this ordinance, any Ahmadi who refers to oneself as a Muslim by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, directly or indirectly, or makes the call for prayer as other Muslims do, is punishable by imprisonment of up to 3 years. Because of these difficulties, Mirza Tahir Ahmad migrated to London, UK.

Alawites

The Alawites are a secretive group that seems to believe in the divine nature of Ali. They have been persecuted in the past and survive in the remote and more mountainous parts of Syria. The ruling Ba'ath party is dominated by Alawis (President Bashar al-Assad is Alawi himself) and they have sought fatwas from Shiite clergy in Lebanon declaring that they are, in fact, Muslims.[16]

Persecution by Takfiris

Certain small groups - the Kharijites of early medieval times, and Takfir wal Hijra and the GIA today - follow takfirist doctrines, regarding almost all other Muslims as infidels whose blood may legitimately be shed. As a result, they have killed large numbers of Muslims; the GIA, for example, proudly boasted of having committed the Bentalha massacre.[17][18]

Persecution of Ajlaf and Arzal Muslims in South Asia

Despite Islam's egalitarian tenets, units of social stratification, termed as "castes" by many, have developed among Muslims in some parts of South Asia.[19][20] Various theories have been put forward regarding the development of castes among Indian Muslims. Majority of sources state that the castes among Muslims developed as the result of close contact with Hindu culture and Hindu converts to Islam,[19][20][21][22] while few others feel that these developed based on claims of descent from the prophet Mohammed.[23][24]

Sections of the ulema (scholars of Islamic jurisprudence) have declared the religious legitimacy of the caste system with the help of the concept of kafa'a[citation needed]. A classic example of scholarly literature supporting the Muslim caste system is the Fatawa-i Jahandari, written by the fourteenth century Turkish scholar, Ziauddin Barani, a member of the court of Muhammad bin Tughlaq, of the Tughlaq dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate. Barani was known for his intensely casteist views, and he regarded the Ashraf Muslims as racially superior to the Ajlaf Muslims[citation needed]. He divided the Muslims into grades and sub-grades. In his scheme, all high positions and privileges were to be a monopoly of the high born Turks, not the Indian Muslims[citation needed]. Even in his interpretation of the Koranic verse "Indeed, the pious amongst you are most honored by Allah", he considered piety to be associated with noble birth.[23] Barrani was specific in his recommendation that the "sons of Mohamed" [i.e. Ashrafs] "be given a higher social status than the low-born [i.e. Ajlaf].[25] His most significant contribution in the fatwa was his analysis of the castes with respect to Islam.[26] His assertion was that castes would be mandated through state laws or "Zawabi" which would carry precedence over Sharia law whenever they were in conflict.[26] In the Fatwa-i-Jahandari (advice XXI), he wrote about the "qualities of the high-born" as being "virtuous" and the "low-born" as being the "custodians of vices". Every act which is "contaminated with meanness and based on ignominy, comes elegantly [from the Ajlaf]".[27] Barani had a clear disdain for the Ajlaf and strongly recommended that they be denied education, lest they usurp the Ashraf masters[citation needed]. He sought appropriate religious sanction to that effect.[22] Barrani also developed an elaborate system of promotion and demotion of Imperial officers ("Wazirs") that was conducted primarily on the basis of caste.[28]

In addition to the Ashraf/Ajlaf divide, there is also the Arzal caste among Muslims, whose members were regarded by anti-Caste activists like Babasaheb Ambedkar as the equivalent of untouchables.[29][30] The term "Arzal" stands for "degraded" and the Arzal castes are further subdivided into Bhanar, Halalkhor, Hijra, Kasbi, Lalbegi, Maugta, Mehtar etc.[29][30] The Arzal group was recorded in the 1901 census in India and its members are also called Dalit Muslims “with whom no other Muhammadan would associate, and who are forbidden to enter the mosque or to use the public burial ground”[citation needed].They are relegated to "menial" professions such as scavenging and carrying night soil.[31]

History of Christian persecution of Muslims

Persecution of Muslims in the Middle East during the Crusades

Christian Crusaders throwing heads of Muslims over ramparts

The First Crusade was launched in 1095 by Pope Urban II with the stated effort to regain control of the sacred city of Jerusalem and the Holy Land from the Muslims who had captured them from the Byzantines in 638 and partly in response to the Investiture Controversy which was the most significant conflict between secular and religious powers in medieval Europe. It began as a dispute between the Holy Roman Emperor and the Gregorian Papacy and gave rise to the political concept of Christendom as a union of all peoples and sovereigns under the direction of the pope; as both sides tried to marshal public opinion in their favor, people became personally engaged in a dramatic religious controversy. Also of great significance were the string of victories that the Seljuk Turks won, which saw the end of Arab rule in Jerusalem.

On 7 May 1099 the crusaders reached Jerusalem, which had been recaptured from the Seljuks by the Fatimids of Egypt only a year before. On 15 July, the crusaders were able to end the siege by breaking down sections of the walls and entering the city. Over the course of that afternoon, evening and next morning, the crusaders murdered almost every inhabitant of Jerusalem. Muslims, Jews, and even eastern Christians were all massacred. Although many Muslims sought shelter atop the Temple Mount inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the crusaders spared few lives. According to the anonymous Gesta Francorum, in what some believe to be one of the most valuable contemporary sources of the First Crusade, "...the slaughter was so great that our men waded in blood up to their ankles..."[32] Tancred claimed the Temple quarter for himself and offered protection to some of the Muslims there, but he was unable to prevent their deaths at the hands of his fellow crusaders. According to Fulcher of Chartres: "Indeed, if you had been there you would have seen our feet coloured to our ankles with the blood of the slain. But what more shall I relate? None of them were left alive; neither women nor children were spared."[33]

During the First Crusade and the massacre at Jerusalem, it has been reported that the Crusaders "[circled] the screaming, flame-tortured humanity singing 'Christ We Adore Thee!' with their Crusader crosses held high."[34] Muslims were indescriminately killed, and Jews who had taken refuge in their Synagogue were murdered when it was burnt down by the Crusaders.

Persecution of Muslims in South Europe

At first, the Muslim populations did well in Sicily in the first 100 years of the Norman conquest. Arabs remained privileged in the matters of government. Indeed, 4000 Saracen archers took part in various battles between Christian forces. When the Normans and later the House of Anjou lost control of the Island to Peter of Aragon, Islam began to decline. Norman rulers followed a policy of steadily Latinization (converting the island to Catholicism). Some Muslims chose the option of feigning conversion, but such a remedy could only provide individual protection and could not sustain a community.[35]

Lombard pogroms against Muslims started in the 1160s. Muslim and Christian communities in Sicily became increasingly geographically separated. The island’s Muslim communities were mainly isolated beyond an internal frontier which divided the south-western half of the island from the Christian north-east. Sicilian Muslims, a subject population, were dependent on the mercy of their Christian masters and, ultimately, on royal protection. When King William the Good died in 1189, this royal protection was lifted, and the door was opened for widespread attacks against the island’s Muslims. Islam was no longer a major presence in the Island by the 14th century. Toleration of Muslims ended with Increasing Hohenstaufen control. Many repressive measures, passed by Frederick II, were introduced in order to please the Popes who could not tolerate Islam being practiced in the heart of Christendom,[36] which resulted in a rebellion of Sicily's Muslims.[37] This in turn triggered organized resistance and systematic reprisals[38] and marked the final chapter of Islam in Sicily. The rebellion abated, but direct papal pressure induced Frederick to mass transfer all his Muslim subjects deep into the Italian hinterland, to Lucera.[37]

In the Iberian Peninsula

A victim of the inquisition being burned and tortured to death

During the centuries of Reconquista (711-1492), the Christian North of the Iberian Peninsula and the Southern Muslim-ruled Al Andalus battled internally and against each other. It ended with the Christian domination of the Peninsula.

Depending on the local capitulations, local Muslims were allowed to remain (Mudéjars) with some restrictions and some assimilated into the Christian population. After the conquest of Granada, all the Spanish Muslims were under Christian rule. The new acquired population spoke Arabic and the campaigns to convert them were unsuccessful. Legislation was gradually introduced to remove Islam, culminating with the Muslims being forced to convert to Catholicism by the Spanish Inquisition. They were known as Moriscos and considered New Christians. Further laws were introduced, as on 25 May 1566, stipulating that they 'had to abandon the use of Arabic, change their costumes, that their doors must remain open every Friday, and other feast days, and that their baths, public and private, to be torn down.'[39]. The reason doors were to be left open so as to determine whether they secretly observed any Islamic festivals.[40] King Philip II of Spain ordered the destruction of all public baths on the grounds of them being relics of infidelity, notorious for their use by Muslims performing their purification rites.[41][42] The possession of books or papers in Arabic was near concrete proof of disobedience with severe repercussions.[43] On 1 January 1568, Christian priests were ordered to take all Muslim children, between the ages of three and fifteen, and place them in schools, where they should learn Castillian and Christian doctrine.[44] All these laws and measures required forced to be implemented, and from much earlier. In Aragon alone, during the close of the 15th century, fifty thousand Muslims were put to death and double the number compelled to renounce their religion.[45]

Between 1609 and 1614 the Moriscos were expelled from Spain.[46] They were to depart 'under the pain of death and confiscation, without trial or sentence... to take with them no money, bullion, jewels or bills of exchange... just what they could carry.'[47]

The Balkans

Mass grave where events of the Srebrenica massacre of Bosnian Muslims unfolded

After Ottoman conquests, Balkans was home of millions of Muslims but to create nation-state mmost of Muslims were massacred or forced to leave out their lands.

Bulgaria

"I can come to no other conclusion but that the Russians are carrying out a fixed policy exterminating the Moslem race"[48]

1.5 million Muslims used to live in Bulgaria before Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878). After Turkish defeat, Russian army with irregular troops including Cossacks entered the Bulgaria and carried out massacres and deportations against Muslim people with aid of Bulgarians. Half a million Muslims could succeed in flying to Ottoman remained lands and 672.215 Muslim were counted on after war in Bulgaria. Approximately quarter of a million Muslim people have been perished from massacres,cold, disease and bad conditions.[49]

In 1989, 310,000 Turks left Bulgaria, many under pressure as a result of the communist Zhivkov regime's assimilation campaign (though up to a third returned before the end of the year). That program, which began in 1984, forced all Turks and other Muslims in Bulgaria to adopt Bulgarian names and renounce all Muslim customs. The motivation of the 1984 assimilation campaign is unclear; however, some experts believe that the disproportion between the birth rates of the Turks and the Bulgarians was a major factor.[50] During the name-changing phase of the campaign, Turkish towns and villages were surrounded by army units. Citizens were issued new identity cards with Bulgarian names. Failure to present a new card meant forfeiture of salary, pension payments, and bank withdrawals. Birth or marriage certificates would be issued only in Bulgarian names. Traditional Turkish costumes were banned; homes were searched and all signs of Turkish identity removed. Mosques were closed. According to estimates, 500 to 1,500 people were killed when they resisted assimilation measures, and thousands of others were imprisoned or sent to labor camps or were forcibly resettled.[51]

Bosnian Genocide

The Manjača concentration camp where Bosnian Muslim men were detained in 1992.

Although religious and ethnic strife has flared in the Balkans for centuries, modern persecution of Muslims occurred during the Yugoslav Wars. Wars in which numerous Bosniaks were beaten, tortured, sexually assaulted and ethnically cleansed. Both Serb and Croat Christians destroyed Bosniak communities, while fighting each other. Although some Serbs and Croats claimed that the persecutions were not religious in nature, their brutal focus on religious buildings and symbols belie those claims. In addition to denying persecution of Muslims, Serbs said it was "part of a war" as their excuse. In any case, it was both ethnic and religious cleansing. Virtually all traces of Bosniak presence and culture in the area were wiped out during the Foča massacres. Almost no Bosniaks remained in Foča. All mosques in the city were destroyed. On 22 April 1992, Serbs blew up the Aladža Mosque - one of the most famous mosques in the Balkans. Eight more mosques, from the 16th and 17th centuries, were also damaged or fully destroyed. On January 1994, the Serb authorities renamed Foča “Srbinje” (Serbian: Србиње), literally meaning "place of the Serbs" (from Srbi Serbs and -nje which is a Slavic locative suffix).[52] Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) women were raped by the Serbs as spoils of war and to show superiority and victory over the Bosniaks. For instance, the girls and women selected by the later convicted war criminal Dragoljub Kunarac or by his men, were systematically taken to the soldiers’ base, a house located in Osmana Đikić street no 16. There, the women and girls (some as young as 14) were repeatedly raped. Serb soldiers regularly took Muslim girls from various detention centres and kept them as sex slaves.[52]

Kosovo

In Kosovo Albanians were cleansed, most of them Muslim, between 1992 to 1999. In the Račak massacre, dozens of Kosovo Albanians were killed in the village of Račak in central Kosovo. Men had been separated from women and children before being led away to be executed. The United Nations also condemned the killings, with the Security Council and Secretary General describing them on 31 January as a massacre perpetrated by Serbian security forces. During the Cuska massacre, Kosovar men aged between 19 and 69, were divided into three groups and taken into three separate houses, where they were forced to stand in a line. In each house, uniformed men gunned them down with automatic weapons. In one of the houses, a gunman finished off several of the fallen men with pistol shots. Each house was set on fire and left to burn. Many other massacres occurred throughout the conflict including the Podujevo massacre where Kosovo Albanian civilians, all women and children, were killed by Serbian paramilitary forces[citation needed].

Russian Empire

The period from the conquest of Kazan in 1552 to the ascension of Catherine the Great in 1762, was marked by systematic repression of Muslims through policies of exclusion and discrimination as well as the destruction of Muslim culture by elimination of outward manifestations of Islam such as mosques. The Russians initially demonstrated a willingness in allowing Islam to flourish as Muslim clerics were invited into the various region to preach to the Muslims, particularly the Kazakhs whom the Russians viewed as "savages" and "ignorant" of morals and ethics.[53][54] However, Russian policy shifted toward weakening Islam by introducing pre-Islamic elements of collective consciousness.[55] Such attempts included methods of eulogizing pre-Islamic historical figures and imposing a sense of inferiority by sending Kazakhs to highly elite Russian military institutions.[55] In response, Kazakh religious leaders attempted to bring religious fervor by espousing pan-Turkism, though many were persecuted as a result.[56]

Azerbaijan

- Azerbaijanis were exposed to genocide many times in twentieth century.During March Days in 1918 12.000 Azerbaijanis were massacred by Armenians.According to the Memorial Human Rights Center, Human Rights Watch and other international observers,[57][58] Azerbaijani citizens, including women and children, were massacred by ethnic Armenian armed forces, reportedly with help of the Russian 366th Motor Rifle Regiment during the Khojaly Massacre.[59] The Khojaly Massacre was described by Human Rights Watch as "the largest massacre to date in the conflict" over Nagorno-Karabakh.[60] Memorial, the Moscow-based human rights group, stated in their report that the mass killing of civilians in Khojaly could not be justified under any circumstances and that actions of Armenian militants were in gross violation of a number of basic international human rights conventions.[61]


While total expulsion as in other Christian nations such as Spain, Portugal and Sicily was not feasible to achieve a homogenous Russian Orthodox population, other policies such as land grants and the promotion of migration by other Russian and non-Muslim populations into Muslim lands displaced many Muslims making them minorities in places such as some parts of the South Ural region to other parts such as the Ottoman Turkey, and almost annihilating the Circassians, Crimean Tatars, and various Muslims of the Caucasus. The Russian army rounded up people, driving Muslims from their villages to ports on the Black Sea, where they awaited ships provided by the neighboring Ottoman Empire. The explicit Russian goal was to expel the groups in question from their lands.[62] They were given a choice as to where to be resettled: in the Ottoman Empire or in Russia far from their old lands. Only a small percentage (the numbers are unknown) accepted resettlement within the Russian Empire. The trend of Russification has continued at different paces in the rest of Tsarist and Soviet periods, so that today there are more Tatars living outside the Republic of Tatarstan than inside it.[63]

Current situation: Persecution of Muslims and Islamophobia in Europe

Ziauddin Sardar an Islamic scholar writes in The New Statesman that Islamophobia is a widespread European phenomenon, so widespread that he asks whether Muslims will be victims of the next pogroms.[64] He writes that each country has its extremes, citing Jean-Marie Le Pen in France; Pim Fortuyn, who was assassinated (by a non-Muslim), in the Netherlands; and Philippe Van der Sande of Vlaams Blok, a Flemish nationalist party founded in Belgium. Filip Dewinter, the leader of the nationalist Flemish "Vlaams Belang" has said that his party is "Islamophobic." He said: "Yes, we are afraid of Islam. The Islamisation of Europe is a frightening thing."[65]

In Germany, the state of Baden-Württemberg requires citizenship applicants from the member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to answer questions about their attitudes on homosexuality and domestic violence.[66][67]

Sardar argues that Europe is "post-colonial, but ambivalent." Minorities are regarded as acceptable as an underclass of menial workers, but if they want to be upwardly mobile, as Sardar says young Muslims do, the prejudice rises to the surface. Wolfram Richter, professor of economics at Dortmund University of Technology, told Sardar: "I am afraid we have not learned from our history. My main fear is that what we did to Jews we may now do to Muslims. The next holocaust would be against Muslims."[64]

EUMC report

The largest monitoring project to be commissioned about Islamophobia was undertaken following 9/11 by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). Their May 2002 report "Summary report on Islamophobia in the EU after 11 September 2001", written by Dr. Chris Allen and Jorgen S. Nielsen of the University of Birmingham, was based on 75 reports – 15 from each EU member nation.[68]

The report highlighted the regularity with which ordinary Muslims became targets of abusive and sometimes violent retaliatory attacks after 9/11. Despite localized differences within each member nation, the recurrence of attacks on recognizable and visible traits of Islam and Muslims was the report's most significant finding. The attacks took the form of verbal abuse; blaming all Muslims for terrorist attacks; women having their hijab torn from their heads; male and female Muslims being spat at; children being called "Usama"; and random violent assaults, which left victims hospitalized, and on one occasion, left a victim paralyzed.[68]

The report also discussed the representation of Muslims in the media. Inherent negativity, stereotypical images, fantastical representations, and exaggerated caricatures were all identified. The report concluded that "a greater receptivity towards anti-Muslim and other xenophobic ideas and sentiments has, and may well continue, to become more tolerated."[68]

Since the Collapse of the Soviet Union

Due to large activity of Islamic terrorism in Russia: Budyonnovsk hospital hostage crisis with 129 victims, Kizlyar hospital hostage crisis with 100 victims, Ferry hijacking, Moscow theater hostage crisis with 129 victims, Riyadus-Salikhin's bombing in Moscow and Yessentuki[69] with 47 victims, Beslan school hostage crisis with 385 children victims, Russian apartment bombings with 300 victims carried by Muslim society and the growth of Tajik Organized crime[70], many Russians (including authorities) have associated Islam and Muslims with terrorism and domestic crimes.[71][72][73][74] In August 2007 a video of 2 ethnic Russian neo-Nazis beheading two Muslim men, one from Dagestan in the Caucasus and one from Tajikistan appeared on the internet.[75] In February 2004, a nine-year old Tajik girl was stabbed to death in Saint Petersburg by suspected far-right skinheads.[76][77]. In December 2008 an email, containing a picture of the severed head of a man identified as Salekh Azizov , was sent to the Moscow Human Rights Bureau. It was sent by a group called Russian Nationalists' Combat Group and has led to protests from the Tajik Government.[78] Despite these facts with large resonance the quantity of victims between Tajik immigrants[78] is 2 time less than average quantity of victims per million inhabitants in Russia in 2008.[79]

Persecution of Muslims in the former USSR

The USSR was hostile to all forms of religion, which was "the opiate of the masses" according to Karl Marx. Many Muslim regions of the Soviet Union, like other non-ethnic Russian regions, were subjected to intense russification.[citation needed] Many mosques were closed.[80] During Stalin's reign, Crimean Tatar and Chechen Muslims were victims of mass deportation. However, the deportation was not religious persecution, it was officially based on the facts of Collaborationism[81] during the Nazi occupation of Crimea[82]. The deportation had begun on 17 May 1944 in all Crimean inhabited localities. More than 32,000 NKVD troops participated in this action. 193,865 Crimean Tatars were deported, 151,136 of them to Uzbek SSR, 8,597 to Mari ASSR, 4,286 to Kazakh SSR, the rest 29,846 to the various oblasts of RSFSR.

From May to November 10,105 Crimean Tatars died of starvation in Uzbekistan (7% of deported to Uzbek SSR). Nearly 30,000 (20%) died in exile during the year and a half by the NKVD data and nearly 46% by the data of the Crimean Tatar activists. According to Soviet dissident information, many Crimean Tatars were made to work in the large-scale projects conducted by the Soviet GULAG system.[83]

Persecution of Muslims in China

Dungan Genocide

The purpose of the Dungan revolt was to develop a Muslim country on the western bank of the Yellow River (Shaanxi, Gansu and Ningxia (excluding the Xinjiang province)). The uprising was actively encouraged by the leaders of the Taiping Rebellion. When the rebellion failed, mass-immigration of the Dungan people into Imperial Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan ensued. Before the war, the population of Shaanxi province totalled approximately 13 million inhabitants, at least 1,750,000 of whom were Dungan (Hui). After the war, the population dropped to 7 million; at least 150,000 fled. Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi province, was the Holy city of Dungan (Hui) in China before the revolt. But once-flourishing Chinese Muslim communities fell 93% in the revolt in Shaanxi province. Between 1648 and 1878, around twelve million Hui and Han Chinese were killed in ten unsuccessful uprisings.[4][5][6] The revolts were harshly suppressed by the Manchu government in a manner that amounts to genocide.[84][85][86][87] Approximately a million people in the Panthay rebellion were killed,[88][89] and several million in the Dungan revolt[89] as a "washing off the Muslims"(洗回 (xi Hui)) policy had been long advocated by officials in the Manchu government.[90]

East Turkistan and the Uyghurs

Many Uyghurs are forced to assimilate to a Han Chinese way of life and feel threatened by the spread of Han Chinese culture. In Xinjiang, school instruction is in Mandarin and very few pieces of literature are published in Uyghur or other Turkic languages [91]. The Chinese government gives economic incentives for Han Chinese to settle in Xinjiang [92].

Many Uyghurs face religious persecution and discrimination at the hands of the government authorities. Uyghurs who choose to practice their faith can only use a state-approved version of the Koran [93]; men who work in the state sector cannot wear beards and women cannot wear headscarves [94]. The Chinese state controls the management of all mosques, which many Uyghurs claim stifles religious traditions that have formed a crucial part of the Uyghur identity for centuries.[95] Children under the age of 18 are not allowed to attend religious services at mosques.[96]

Impact of Mongol Invasions

Mongol persecution of Muslims

Site where the Mongol ruler Hulegu Khan destroyed a Baghdad mosque during the sack of Baghdad.

Following the brutal Mongol invasion of Central Asia under Genghis Khan and after the sack of Baghdad, the Mongol Empire's rule extended across most Muslim lands in Asia. The Abbasid caliphate was destroyed and Islamic civilization, especially Mesopotamia, suffered much devastation and was replaced by Buddhism as the official religion of the land, since this was the Mongols' faith.[97] However it is important to note that the Mongols attacked people for goods and riches, not because the religion was Islam. Many later Mongol khans and rulers became Muslims themselves like Oljeitu and other Ilkhanid and Golden Horde rulers and inhabitants. There was no real effort to replace Islam with any other religion, but to plunder goods from anyone that didn't submit, which is a characteristic of Mongol warfare. Also the religion of the Mongols at the time were mostly Shamanism. Also during the Yuan Dynasty that the Mongols founded, Muslim scientists were highly regarded and Muslim beliefs were respected in Yuan Dynasty. On the Mongol attacks, the Muslim historian, ibn al-Athir lamented:

I shrank from giving a recital of these events on the account of their magnitude and abhorrence. Even now I come reluctant to the task, for who would deem it a light thing to sing the death song of Islam and the Muslims or find it easy to tell this tale? O that my mother had not given me birth![98]

Among the detailed atrocities include:

  • The Grand Library of Baghdad, containing countless precious historical documents and books on subjects ranging from medicine to astronomy, was destroyed. Survivors said that the waters of the Tigris ran black with ink from the enormous quantities of books flung into the river.
  • Citizens attempted to flee, but were intercepted by Mongol soldiers who killed with abandon. Martin Sicker writes that close to 90,000 people may have died (Sicker 2000, p. 111). Other estimates go much higher. Wassaf claims the loss of life was several hundred thousand. Ian Frazier of The New Yorker says estimates of the death toll have ranged from 200,000 to a million.[99]
  • The Mongols looted and then destroyed mosques, palaces, libraries, and hospitals. Grand buildings that had been the work of generations were burned to the ground.
  • The caliph was captured and forced to watch as his citizens were murdered and his treasury plundered. According to most accounts, the caliph was killed by trampling. The Mongols rolled the caliph up in a rug, and rode their horses over him, as they believed that the earth was offended if touched by royal blood. All but one of his sons were killed, and the sole surviving son was sent to Mongolia.
  • Hulagu had to move his camp upwind of the city, due to the stench of decay from the ruined city.

At the intervention of the Mongol Hulagu's Nestorian Christian wife, Dokuz Khatun, the Christian inhabitants were spared.[100][101] Hulagu offered the royal palace to the Nestorian Catholicos Mar Makikha, and ordered a cathedral to be built for him.[102] Ultimately, the seventh ruler of the Ilkhanate dynasty Mahmud Ghazan converted to Islam from Buddhism, and thus began the gradual trend of the decline of Buddhism in the region and renaissance of Islam. Later, three of the four principal Mongol khanates later embraced Islam.[103]

Persecution of Muslims in Myanmar (formerly Burma)

Myanmar has a Buddhist majority. The Muslim minority in Myanmar mostly consists of the Rohingya people and the descendants of Muslim immigrants from India (including what is now Bangladesh) and China (the ancestors of Chinese Muslims in Myanmar came from the Yunnan province), as well as descendants of earlier Arab and Persian settlers. Indian Muslims were brought to Burma by the British to aid them in clerical work and business. After independence, many Muslims retained their previous positions and achieved prominence in business and politics.

Buddhist persecution of Muslims arose from religious reasons, and occurred during the reign of King Bayinnaung, 1550-1589 AD. After conquering Bago in 1559, the Buddhist King prohibited the practice of halal, specifically, killing food animals in the name of God. He was religiously intolerant, forcing some of his subjects to listen to Buddhist sermons possibly converting by force. He also disallowed the Eid Adha, religious sacrifice of cattle. Halal food was also forbidden by King Alaungpaya in the 18th century.

When General Ne Win swept to power on a wave of nationalism in 1962, the status of Muslims changed for the worse. Muslims were expelled from the army and were rapidly marginalized.[50] Muslims are stereotyped in the society as "cattle killers" (referring to the cattle sacrifice festival of Eid Al Adha in Islam). The generic racist slur of "Kala" (black) used against perceived "foreigners" has especially negative connotations when referring to Burmese Muslims. The more pious Muslim communities which segregate themselves from the Buddhist majority face greater difficulties than those Muslims who integrate more at the cost of not observing Islamic personal laws.[50]

Muslims in Myanmar are affected by the actions of Islamic Fundamentalists in other countries. Violence in Indonesia perpetrated by Islamists is used as a pretext to commit violence against Muslim minorities in Burma. The anti-Buddhist actions of the Taliban in Afghanistan (the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan) was also used as a pretext to commit violence against Muslims in Myanmar by Buddhist mobs. Human Rights Watch reports that there was mounting tension between the Buddhist and Muslim communities in Taungoo for weeks before it erupted into violence in the middle of May 2001. Buddhist monks demanded that the Hantha Mosque in Taungoo be destroyed in "retaliation" for the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan.[104] Mobs of Buddhists, led by monks, vandalized Muslim owned businesses and property and attacked and killed Muslims in Muslim communities. This was followed by retaliation by Muslims against Buddhists. Human Rights Watch also alleges that Burmese military intelligence agents disguised as monks, led the mobs.[105]

The dictatorial government, which operates a pervasive internal security apparatus, generally infiltrates or monitors the meetings and activities of virtually all organizations, including religious organizations. Religious freedom for Muslims is reduced. Monitoring and control of Islam undermines the free exchange of thoughts and ideas associated with religious activities.[106]

It is widely feared that persecution of Muslims in Myanmar could foment Islamic fundamentalism in the country.[107] Many Muslims have joined armed resistance groups that are fighting for greater freedom in Myanmar,[108] but are not Islamic fundamentalists as such.

Persecution of Muslims in Cambodia

The Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia disproportionately targeted ethnic minority groups. The Cham, a Muslim minority who are the descendants of migrants from the old state of Champa, were forced to adopt the Khmer language and customs. Ysa Osman, a researcher at the Documentation Center of Cambodia concludes, "Perhaps as many as 500,000 died. They were considered, along with the Vietnamese, the Khmer Rouge's No. 1 enemy. The plan was to exterminate them all" because "they stood out. They worshiped their own god. Their diet was different. Their names and language were different. They lived by different rules. The Khmer Rouge wanted everyone to be equal, and when the Chams practiced Islam they did not appear to be equal. So they were punished." [109] A Khmer Rouge order stated that henceforth “The Cham nation no longer exists on Kampuchean soil belonging to the Khmers” (U.N. Doc. A.34/569 at 9). Only about half of the Cham survived.[110][111]

Hindu persecution of Muslims

In India

The 16th-century Babri Mosque in India was destroyed by a mob of Hindu extremists in 1992.

There were widespread riots during the Partition of British India in 1947, with attacks on Muslim minorities by Hindu and Sikh mobs. In order to facilitate the creation of new states along religious lines population exchanges between India and Pakistan were implemented, at the expense of significant human suffering in the process. A large number of people (more than a million by some estimates) died in the accompanying violence. After the annexation of the Muslim-ruled state of Hyderabad by India in 1948, about 7,000 Muslim Arabs were either due to emigrate to Pakistan at their own will or interned and deported from India.[112] There was widespread violence against the Muslims as an aftermath of the 'Police Action' (officially Operation Polo) and Nehru had a committee investigate the pogrom against Muslims, but the resulting Sundarlal Report was never made public (an estimated 50-200,000 Muslims are believed to have been killed).[113]

In 1992, members of the Vishva Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal destroyed the 430 year old Babri Mosque in Ayodhya,[114] on the basis of their assertion that the mosque was built over the birthplace of the Hindu deity Rama and that a Hindu temple existed at the site before the erection of the Mosque by demolishing the temple. The demolition was followed by riots in Bombay.

The Sangh Parivar family of organisations, has allegedly been involved in encouraging negative, stereotyping of Muslims, and in the 2002 Gujarat violence they were allegedly responsible for encouraging attacks against Muslims in response to the Godhra train burning allegedly by Muslims in which 60 Hindus were killed.[115]. Subsequent riots led to the death of several hundred Muslims. Another major incident was at Naroda Patia, where a Hindu mob massacred more than 100 Muslims after an incident sparked by Muslim on Hindu violence had got out of hand. In another incident at Best Bakery, in the city of Baroda, 12 men were massacred and burnt.[116] The Gujarat riots officially led to the death of 1044 people. Human Rights Watch puts the death toll at higher figures, with 2000 deaths, mostly with attacks against Muslims by Hindu mobs.[117] Another 100,000 Muslims became homeless, according to the U.S. State Department's 2002 human rights report on India. About 20,000 Muslim businesses were destroyed.[118]

Recently Hindu mobs again attacked Muslim villages after cows were claimed to have been sacrificed for the festivities of Eid. In 2005, this caused the destruction of 40 homes and 3 deaths. A police investigation revealed that no cow had been slaughtered in the village.[119]

Despite these occasional communal tensions between the Hindus and the Muslims, they enjoy a cordial relationship between each other. A matter of note is that out of the 12 Presidents of India since Independence, three have been Muslims, even though Muslims form only 13.4% of Indian population.

Persecution of Muslims in Sri Lanka

The 1990 explusion of Muslims from Sri Lanka was an act of ethnic cleansing[120][121] carried out by Tamils of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) organization in October 1990. In order to achieve their goal of creating a mono ethnic Tamil state[122][123] in the North Sri Lanka, the LTTE forcibly expelled the 75,000 strong Muslim population from the Northern Province.[124] The first expulsion was in Chavakacheri, of 1,500 people. After this, Muslims in Kilinochchi and Mannar were forced many to leave their homeland. The turn of Jaffna came on 30 October 1990; when LTTE trucks drove through the streets ordering Muslim families to assemble at Osmania College. There, they were told to exit the city within two hours.

On 4 August 1990, Tamil militants massacred over 147 Muslims in a mosque in Kattankudi.[125][126][127][128] The act took place when around 30 Tamil rebels raided four mosques in the town of Kattankudi, where over 300 people were prostrating during prayers.

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