Bengali Muslims

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See also Bangladeshis.
Bengali Muslims
বাঙালি মুসলমান
Shaykh Ul Hadith Allamah.png
Ziaur Rahman 1979.jpg
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Begum Rokeya.jpg
Kaji Motahar Hossain.jpg
Doctor Abdul Bari MBE FRSA.jpg
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Shakib fielding, 23 January, 2009, Dhaka SBNS.jpg
Total population
189,800,000 (worldwide)
Regions with significant populations
 Bangladesh 146,000,000[1]
 India 15,000,000 (2010)[1]
 Pakistan 2,000,000 (2012)[2][3][4][5]
 Saudi Arabia 1,200,000 (2010)[6][7]
 UAE 700,000 (2013)[8]
 Malaysia 500,000 (2009)[9]
 UK 497,000 (2009)[10]
 Kuwait 230,000 (2008)[11]
 Oman 200,000 (2010)[12]
 Qatar 150,000 (2014)[13]
 USA 143,619 (2007)[14]
 Italy 115,746 (2013)[15]
 Bahrain 105,000 (2008)[16]
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, in the Indian states of West Bengal and Assam, in Saudi Arabia and in Pakistan. 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.[17]

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. [18]

Partition of British India[edit]

Main article: Lahore Resolution

Bangladesh War of Independence[edit]


Bengalis in the US[edit]

Bengali Muslims 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.[19]


  1. ^ a b c d "Muslim Bengali" (PDF). USCWM. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "Five million illegal immigrants residing in Pakistan". Express Tribune. 
  3. ^ "Homeless In Karachi". Outlook. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  4. ^ "Falling back". Daily Times. 17 December 2006. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  5. ^ van Schendel, Willem (2005). The Bengal Borderland: Beyond State and Nation in South Asia. Anthem Press. p. 250. ISBN 9781843311454. 
  6. ^ Asians in the Middle East
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Labor Migration in the United Arab Emirates: Challenges and Responses". Migration Information Source. 18 September 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  9. ^ Malaysia cuts Bangladeshi visas BBC News (BBC) (11 March 2009). Retrieved on 12 March 2009.
  10. ^ Resident Population Estimates by Ethnic Group, All Persons.
  11. ^ Bangladeshis storm Kuwait embassy. BBC News (24 April 2005).
  12. ^ Oman lifts bar on recruitment of Bangladeshi workers. 10 December 2007
  13. ^ Qatar´s population by nationality bq magazine (7 December 2014).
  14. ^
  15. ^ In pursuit of happiness. Korea Herald (8 October 2012). Retrieved on 2015-04-27.
  16. ^ [1].
  17. ^ "Islam (in Bengal)". Banglapedia. Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. Retrieved 26 October 2006. 
  18. ^ S N Amin (1996). The World of Muslim Women in Colonial Bengal, 1876–1939. BRILL. pp. 14–. ISBN 90-04-10642-1. 
  19. ^ "MIT Prof. Reveals Lost History of Bengali Muslims in Harlem". IndiaWest. 6 Feb 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2014.