Bengali Muslims

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Bengali Muslims
বাঙালি মুসলমান
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Dr. Kamal Hossain in front of Bangladesh Supreme Court.PNG
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Total population
190,000,000 (worldwide)
Regions with significant populations
 Bangladesh 146,000,000[1]
 India 32,000,000[1]
 Saudi Arabia 2,500,000[2]
 Pakistan 2,000,000[3]
 UAE 1,090,000[4]
 Malaysia 500,000[5]
 UK 500,000[6]
 Kuwait 230,000[7]
 Oman 200,000[8]
 Qatar 155,000[9]
 USA 143,619[10]
 South Korea 130,000[11]
Bengali with different dialects

Bengali Muslims are an ethnoreligious group native to the region of Bengal, who profess Islam and speak the Bengali language. With a population of more than 190 million, they are the second largest ethnic Muslim community in the world.[1] The majority of Bengali Muslims are adherents of the Sunni branch of Islam. A minority adheres to the Shia and Ahmadiya branches.

Bengali Muslims are concentrated in Bangladesh and in the Indian states of West Bengal and Assam. They have a worldwide diaspora, with significant communities in North America and the United Kingdom, and expatriate populations in the Middle East and East Asia.[1]


A centre of the Silk Road since antiquity, the Ganges delta received the earliest Muslim missionaries during the seventh and eighth centuries. Sufis from Arabia and Persia settled in port towns and cities to preach and spread Islam. The Abbasid Caliphate established diplomatic and commercial relations with the Pala Empire, which led to increased intellectual and spiritual contacts with the Islamic Middle East. The Turko-Persian conquest of Bengal in 1204 and its annexation by the Delhi Sultanate laid the foundation for Islamic rule. The sovereign independent Sultanate of Bengal was proclaimed in the 14th century, and reigned for three hundred years until its absroption into the Mughal Empire. Bengal under Mughal rule prospered as a hub of commerce and the worldwide muslin trade. The Nawabs of Bengal established an independent principality in 1707 which bore the hallmarks of an emerging nation state. With the rise of European trading powers, beginning with the Portuguese in Chittagong during the Age of Discovery, the Nawabs provided concessions to Dutch, French and English companies and faced an onslaught of Maratha invasions.[12]

Bengal became part of the British Empire in 1757, after the British East India Company defeated the last independent Nawab at the Battle of Plassey. In the late 19th-century, Bengali Muslims formed the second largest community in Calcutta, the capital of British India. Many prominent figures of the Bengal Renaissance and the anti-colonial movement were the Bengali Muslims, including Mir Mosharraf Hossain, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Begum Rokeya, Sir Khwaja Salimullah, A. K. Fazlul Huq and H S Surwardy. [13]

Partition of British India[edit]

Main article: Lahore Resolution

Bangladesh War of Independence[edit]


Bengalis in the US[edit]

Bengalis who worked in sea ports in the British colonies were the among the first to immigrate to the United States from South Africa and other British territories. Despite restrictions and reprisals by U. S. immigration authorities, many South Asian men worked in the service industry, alongside African Americans and other people of color, as factory workers, dishwashers, and doormen. By the 1930s and 1940s, a number of prosperous Indian restaurants in Harlem in New York City were opened and operated by Bengali Muslim men.[14]


  1. ^ a b c d "Muslim Bengali". USCWM. Retrieved 2014-01-31. 
  2. ^ Asians in the Middle East
  3. ^ Five million illegal immigrants residing in Pakistan
  4. ^ "Labor Migration in the United Arab Emirates: Challenges and Responses". Migration Information Source. 18 September 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  5. ^ Malaysia cuts Bangladeshi visas BBC News (BBC) (11 March 2009). Retrieved on 12 March 2009.
  6. ^ [1] Resident Population Estimates by Ethnic Group, All Persons All Persons; All Ages; Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi (Persons)
  7. ^ Bangladeshis storm Kuwait embassy BBC News (24 April 2005).
  8. ^ Oman lifts bar on recruitment of Bangladeshi workers Dhaka, Monday, Dec 10 2007 IST.
  9. ^ Qatar to take more Bangladeshi workers: FM (Thu, Mar 11th, 2010).
  10. ^
  11. ^ Rafiq Hasan (November 20, 2003). 4,000 Bangladeshis to return from Oman in December The Daily Star.
  12. ^ "Islam (in Bengal)". Banglapedia. Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. Retrieved 2006-10-26. 
  13. ^ S N Amin (1996). The World of Muslim Women in Colonial Bengal, 1876-1939. BRILL. pp. 14–. ISBN 90-04-10642-1. 
  14. ^ "MIT Prof. Reveals Lost History of Bengali Muslims in Harlem". IndiaWest. Feb 6, 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-31.