Bengali Muslims

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Bengali Muslims
বাঙালি মুসলমান
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Total population
130,000,000 (worldwide)
Regions with significant populations
 Bangladesh 115,000,000[1]
 India 15,000,000[1]
 Saudi Arabia 2,500,000[2]
 Pakistan 2,000,000[3]
 UAE 1,090,000[4]
 Burma 900,000[1]
 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 ethnic Bengali adherents of Islam, who speak the Bengali language as their mother tongue. They are mostly citizens of Bangladesh and India, with a worldwide diaspora. With a population of 130 million,[1] they form the single largest ethnic Muslim group in the world after the Arabs.[12] They are largely Sunni, alongside Shia and Ahmadiyya minorities.[1]


Islam was introduced to Bengal in the eighth century by Muslim missionaries. Subsequent Muslim conquests helped spread Islam throughout the region.[13] Bakhtiyar Khilji, a general of the Mamluk Sultanate of Delhi Sultanate, defeated Lakshman Sen of the Sena dynasty and conquered large parts of Bengal. Consequently, the region was ruled by dynasties of sultans and feudal lords under the Delhi Sultanate for the next few hundred years. Islam was introduced to rural Bengal by Muslim missionaries to masses who were staying on the margins of society; people involved in boating and fishing, who were Hindus in theory, but of no actual communal identity.[14] Administration by governors appointed by the court of the Mughal Empire gave way to semi-independence of the area under the Nawab of Murshidabad, who nominally respected the sovereignty of the Mughals in Delhi. After the weakening of the Mughal Empire with the death of emperor Aurangzeb in 1707, Bengal was ruled independently by the Nawabs until 1757, when the region was annexed by the East India Company after the Battle of Plassey.

In late 19th-century Calcutta, Bengali Muslims were the second largest community after Bengali Hindus.[15]

Partitions of Bengal[edit]

Bangladesh Liberation War[edit]


Bengalis were the first among the wave of immigrants to the United States from South Asia. Despite restrictions and reprisals by immigration authorities, many South Asian men worked in the service industry, alongside African Americans and other people of color, as dishwashers and doormen. By the 1940s and 1950s, a number of Indian restaurants in Harlem in New York City, were started and operated by Bengali Muslim men.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d e "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. ^ Understanding the Bengal Muslims
  13. ^ "Islam (in Bengal)". Banglapedia. Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. Retrieved 2006-10-26. 
  14. ^ "How did Bengalis become Muslims?". The Times of India. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 2014-01-31. 
  15. ^ S N Amin (1996). The World of Muslim Women in Colonial Bengal, 1876-1939. BRILL. pp. 14–. ISBN 90-04-10642-1. 
  16. ^ "MIT Prof. Reveals Lost History of Bengali Muslims in Harlem". IndiaWest. Feb 6, 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-31.