Persecution of Muslims
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Persecution of Muslims is the religious persecution of Muslims as a consequence of professing their faith, both historically and in the current era.
Cities, regions and states
In revenge for the Armenian Genocide, many Muslim people (Turkish and Kurdish) were killed by Russians and Armenians in eastern Anatolia (including Bayburt, Bitlis, Erzincan, Erzurum, Kars and Mus), and by Greeks in western Anatolia (including Izmir, Manisa and Usak).
On May 14, 1919 a fleet of British, American and French warships brought an entire Greek division into the harbour of Smyrna. The landing was followed by a general slaughter of the Turkish population. Greek gangs roamed the streets looting and killing. As the Greek army pushed into Anatolia the local population was subjected to massacres, ravaging and raping.
Johannes Kolmodin was a Swedish orientalist in Smyrna. He wrote in his letters that the Greek army had burned 250 Turkish villages.
Azerbaijanis were exposed to massacres 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, 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. The Khojaly Massacre was described by Human Rights Watch as "the largest massacre to date in the conflict" over Nagorno-Karabakh. 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.
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 the Islamic civilization, especially Mesopotamia, suffered much devastation and was replaced by Tengriism and Buddhism as the official religion of the empire. However, the Mongols attacked people for goods and riches and not because of their religion. 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 was characteristic to Mongol warfare. During the Yuan Dynasty that the Mongols founded, Muslim scientists were highly regarded and Muslim beliefs were respected in the 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!||”|
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.
- 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. Hulagu offered the royal palace to the Nestorian Catholicos Mar Makikha, and ordered a cathedral to be built for him. Ultimately, the seventh ruler of the Ilkhanate dynasty, Mahmud Ghazan, converted to Islam from Tengrism, and thus began the gradual trend of the decline of Tengrism and Buddhism in the region and renaissance of Islam. Later, three of the four principal Mongol khanates embraced Islam.
As the Ottoman Empire entered a permanent phase of decline in the late 17th century it was engaged in a protracted state of conflict, losing territories both in Europe and the Caucasus. The victors were the Christian States, the old Habsburg and Romanov Empires and the new nation-states of Greece, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria. Rival European powers encouraged the development of nationalist ideologies among the Ottoman subjects in which the Muslims were portrayed as an ethnic “fifth column” leftover from a previous era that could not be integrated into the planned future states. The struggle to rid themselves of Ottomans became an important element of the self-identification of the Balkan Christians.
According to Mark Levene, the Victorian public in the 1870s paid much more attention to the massacres and expulsions of Christians than to massacres and expulsions of Muslims, even if on a greater scale. He further suggests that such massacres were even favored by some circles. Mark Levene also argues that the dominant powers, by supporting "nation-statism" at the Congress of Berlin, legitimized "the primary instrument of Balkan nation-building": ethnic cleansing. Hall points out that atrocities were committed by all sides during the Balkan conflicts. Deliberate terror was designed to instigate population movements out of particular territories. The aim of targeting the civilian population was to carve ethnically homogeneous countries.
During the Russo-Turkish War of 1787–1792 the Russian Army commander Alexander Suvorov successfully the fortress of Izmail on December 22, 1790. Ottoman forces inside the fortress had the orders to stand their ground to the end, haughtily declining the Russian ultimatum. Suvorov announced the capture of Ismail in 1791 to the Tsarina Catherine in a doggerel couplet, after the assault had been pressed from house to house, room to room, and nearly every Muslim man, woman, and child in the city had been killed in three days of uncontrolled massacre, 40,000 Turks dead, a few hundred taken into captivity. For all his bluffness, Suvorov later told an English traveller that when the massacre was over he went back to his tent and wept.
Justin McCarty estimates that between 1821 and 1922 around five and a half million Muslims were driven out of Europe and five million more were killed or died of disease and starvation while fleeing. Cleansing occurred as a result of the Serbian and Greek independence in the 1820s and 1830s, the Russo-Turkish War 1877–1878, and culminating in the Balkan Wars 1912–1913. Mann describes these acts as “murderous ethnic cleansing on stupendous scale not previously seen in Europe” referring to the 1914 Carnegie Endowment report. It is estimated that at the turn of the 20th century there were 4,4 million Muslims living in the Balkan zone of Ottoman control. More than one million Muslims left the Balkans in the last three decades of the 19th century. Between 1912 and 1926 nearly 2.9 million Muslims were either killed or forced to emigrate to Turkey.
Between 10,000 and 30,000 Turks were killed in Tripolitsa by Greek rebels in the summer of 1821, including the entire Jewish population of the city. Similar events as these occurred also elsewhere during the Greek Revolution resulting in the eradication and expulsion of virtually the entire Turkish population of the Morea. These acts ensured the ethnic homogenization of the area under the rule of the future modern Greek state. In 1830 the Muslims population in Morea is put at 300,000. In 1878 the Muslim inhabitants in Thessaly are estimated to be 150,000 and in 1897 the Muslims numbered 50,000 in Crete. By 1919 there were virtually no Muslims left in Morea and Thessaly and only 20,000 in Crete.
In the Bulgarian insurgency of the April Uprising in 1876 an estimate of 1,000 Muslims were killed. During the Russo-Turkish War a significant number of Turks were either killed, perished or became refugees. There are different estimates about the casualties of the war. Crampton describes an exodus of 130,000-150,000 expelled of which approximately half returned for an intermediary period encouraged by the Congress of Berlin. Hupchick and McCarthy point out that 260,000 perished and 500,000 became refugees. The Turkish scholars Karpat and Ipek argue that up to 300,000 were killed and 1–1.5 million were forced to emigrate. Members of the European press who covered the war in Bulgaria reported on the Russian atrocities against Muslims. Witness accounts from Schumla and Razgrad describe children, women and elderly wounded by sabres and lances. They stated that the entire Muslim population of many villages had been massacred. Recently uncovered photographs in the archive of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the Russo-Turkish War 1877–1878 show the massacre of Muslims by the Russians in the region of Stara Zagora claiming to have affected some 20,000 Muslim civilians.
Massacres against Turks and Muslims during the Balkan Wars in the hands of Bulgarians, Greeks and Armenians are described in detail in the 1912 Carnegie Endowment report. Hupchick estimates that nearly 1,5 million Muslims died and 400,000 became refugees as a result of the Balkan Wars. The Bulgarian violence during the Balkan War included burning of villages, transforming mosques into churches, rape of women and mutilation of bodies. It is estimated that 220,000 Pomaks were forcefully Christianized and forbidden to bear Islamic religious clothing.
There were 1.5 million Muslims living on the territory of modern-day Bulgaria at the start of the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878). After the Ottoman defeat, the Russian army along with irregular troops including Cossacks entered the land and carried out massacres and deportations against Muslims with the aid of the Bulgarians. Half a million Muslims succeeded in reaching Ottoman controlled lands and 672,215 were reported to have remained after the war. Approximately a quarter of a million perished from massacres, cold, disease and other harsh conditions. "I can come to no other conclusion but that the Russians are carrying out a fixed policy exterminating the Moslem race". According to Aubaret, the French Consul in Ruse in 1876 in the Danube Vilayet alone there were 1,120,000 Muslims and 1,233,500 non-Muslims of whom 1,150,000 were Bulgarian. Between 1876 and 1878, through massacres, epidemics, hunger and war a large portion of the Turkish population vanished. Turkish flow to Anatolia continued in a steady pattern depending on the policies of the ruling regimes until 1925 after which immigration was regulated. During the 20th century Bulgaria also practiced forced deportations and expulsions, which also targeted the Muslim Pomak population.
Yuan Mongol Oppression
Genghis Khan, and the following Yuan Emperors in China forbade Islamic practicies like halal butchering, forcing Mongol methods of butchering animals on Muslims, and other restrictive degrees continued. Muslims had to slaughter sheep in secret. Genghis Khan directly called Muslims "slaves", and demanded that they follow the Mongol method of eating rather than the halal method. Circumcision was also forbidden. Toward the end, corruption and the persecution became so severe that Muslim generals joined Han Chinese in rebelling against the Mongols. The Ming founder Zhu Yuanzhang had Muslim generals like Lan Yu who rebelled against the Mongols and defeated them in combat. Some Muslim communities had the name "kamsia," which, in Hokkien Chinese, means "thank you"; many Hui Muslims claim it is because that they played an important role in overthrowing the Mongols and it was named in thanks by the Han Chinese for assisting them. Some claim that the fact that foreign Muslims were put into the second class Semu above Chinese was a fact that Mongols favored Muslims. However, this is incorrect as this was due to the Muslims being foreigners, not because they were Muslim that they were put into the Semu class. Non-Muslim Christians and Jews were also put into Semu, and Semu was still second class, lower than the Mongols themselves, therefore Muslims were still considered slaves to the Mongols. Also, Muslims already in China before the Mongol conquest were not put into the Second class Semu position, and example of this is the ancestors of the Empress Ma of the Ming Dynasty, whose ancestors arrived during the Song Dynasty, and participated in resistance against the Mongols. The muslims in the semu class also revolted against the Yuan dynasty in the Ispah Rebellion but the rebellion was crushed and the muslims were massacred by the Yuan loyalist commander Chen Youding.
Dungan Ethnic Cleansing
The Dungan revolt erupted due to infighting between different Muslim Sufi sects, the Khafiya and the Jahariyya, and the Gedimu. 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. The revolts were harshly suppressed by the Manchu government in a manner that amounts to genocide. Approximately a million people in the Panthay rebellion were killed, and several million in the Dungan revolt as a "washing off the Muslims"(洗回 (xi Hui)) policy had been long advocated by officials in the Manchu government. Many Chinese Muslim generals like Ma Zhanao, Ma Anliang, Ma Qianling, Dong Fuxiang, Ma Haiyan, and Ma Julung helped the Qing dynasty defeat the rebel Muslims, and were rewarded, and their followers were spared from the genocide. The Han Chinese Qing general Zuo Zongtang even relocated the Han from the suburbs Hezhou when the Muslims there surrendered as a reward. The Muslims were granted amnesty and allowed to live as long as they stayed outside the city. Some of the Muslims who fought, like General Dong, did not do it because they were Muslim, rather, like many other generals, they gathered bands of followers and fought at will.
However, Muslims in other parts of China proper like in the east and southern provinces who did not revolt, were not affected at all by the rebellion, and experienced no genocide, nor did they seek to revolt. It was reported that Muslim villages in Henan province, which was next to Shaanxi, were totally unnaffected by the Dungan revolt and relations between Han and Hui continued normally. Muslims from eastern China like Ma Xinyi continued to serve in the Chinese government during the revolt, and ignored the Muslims of the northwest China.
Elisabeth Allès wrote that the relationship between Hui Muslim and Han peoples continued normally in the Henan area, with no ramifications or consequences from th Muslim rebellions of other areas. Allès wrote in the document "Notes on some joking relationships between Hui and Han villages in Henan" published by French Centre for Research on Contemporary China that "The major Muslim revolts in the middle of the nineteenth century which involved the Hui in Shaanxi, Gansu and Yunnan, as well as the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, do not seem to have had any direct effect on this region of the central plain." The Hui Muslim population of Beijing was unaffected by the Muslim rebels during the Dungan revolt.
During the revolt, Uyghur forces performed massacres on Dungans, in one instance, they massacred Dungans in Ili, in another, they even enlisted Han Chinese militia to help kill Dungans and conquer Xinjiang.
The Qing dynasty did not persecute Muslims systematically, it only massacred rebels regardless of their religion, when the Muslim General Ma Rulong defected to the Qing Dynasty, he became the most powerful military official in Yunnan province.
It was noted that the Qing armies only massacred the Muslims who had rebelled, and spared Muslims who took no part in the uprising.
On October 8, 2012, a mob of about 200 Tibetan monks beat a dozen Dungans in Luqu County, Gansu province, in retaliation for the Chinese Muslim community's application to build a mosque in the county.
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.'. The reason doors were to be left open so as to determine whether they secretly observed any Islamic festivals. 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. The possession of books or papers in Arabic was near concrete proof of disobedience with severe repercussions. On 1 January 1568, Christian priests were ordered to take all Morisco children, between the ages of three and fifteen, and place them in schools, where they should learn Castillian and Christian doctrine. All these laws and measures required forced to be implemented, and from much earlier.
Between 1609 and 1614 the Moriscos were expelled from Spain. 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.'
Maharaja Ranjit Singh of the Sikh Empire defeated Syad Ahmed Shah, and then proceeded to Peshawar to teach its governor a lesson for having supported the plot by Syad. Ranjit Singh thus pillaged the city, cut down trees for which the city was famous, burnt the palace of Bala Hissar and its mosque was defiled. The next grand victory of Diwan Chand was at Kashmir. Birbal Dhar pleaded with Maharaja Ranjit Singh to save the Kashmiri Pandits from the Pashtuns. When Kashmir's governor Muhammad Azim heard of this he ordered his men to abduct Dhar's women who were then sent to Kabul. Hearing this Dhar committed suicide and in an act of retribution Ranjit Singh ordered his most able general Diwan Chand to mount the expedition of Kashmir, where he was assisted by Raja Gulab Singh Jamwal, a Hindu Dogra Rajput of Jammu. Hearing of Diwan Chand's march towards Kashmir Muhammad Azim fled from Kashmir with his wives leaving behind his brother Jabbar Khan. Diwan Chand assisted by the Sikh general Hari Singh Nalwa met Jabbar Khan at Sophiyan where he routed Durrani Empire governor Jabbar Khan in 1819 and ended 500 years of Muslim Rule in Kashmir.
He became the first Hindu Governor of Kashmir after 1354AD and enacted dozens of anti-Muslim laws. He raised the tax on Muslims, demolished the Jama Masjid of Srinagar and prohibited the cow slaughter. The punishment for cow slaughter was the death penalty without any exception. He abducted all the Pashtun and Uzbek women and infamously sold them into Hira Mandi, a very popular market in Lahore(Sikh Empire Capital). Maharaja
Ranjit Singh in lieu of helping Shah Shuja the grandson of Ahmad Shah Durrani asked for the ban of cow slaughter in Afghanistan, with Ranjit Singh's help Shuja regain Kabul Throne and imposed Ban on the cow slaughter in Kabul.
Sayyid Ahmed Barelvi declared war against Maharaja Ranjit Singh and recruited many Muslism from madrassas, however Pashtun Muslims didn't like Wahabbi ideals and supported Ranjit Singh in the Battle of Balakote in 1831, and Barelvi's head was severed by Sikh General Hari Singh Nalwa.
Muslims still revered Sayyid Ahmad however he was defeated and killed in the battle by Sikh Forces commanded by Hari Singh Nalwa and Gulab Singh. Raja Aggar Khan of Rajaouri was defeated, humiliated by the Ranjit Singh commander Gulab Singh, he was brought to Lahore where he was beheaded by Gulab Singh of Jammu.
In 1837 Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu was entrusted by Maharaja Ranjit Singh to suppress the revolt of Yousafzai tribe which forms the biggest proportion of Pashtun tribes. He offered 1 rupee for the head of every Yousafzai men brought to his feet. He made Katuha is headquarters, hunted Muslim Pashtun tribes like wild beasts, although he had some of the women spared. The most beautiful of these women were kept for Raja Gulab Singh's harem and rest were sold as slaves in Lahore and Jammu. It was reported that this expedition resulted in loss of tens of thousands of Pashtun rebels and thousands of women were sold into slavery.
Hindu Dogra Rule
After acquiring Jammu and Kashmir through the Treaty of Kashmir, Dogra rulers continued the anti-Muslim policies of their Sikh allies. The worst atrocities perpetrated against Muslims in the state came in 1863 when the Dogra ruler Maharaja Ranbir Singh ordered a major invasion of the frontier areas of Yasin and Hunza to punish Muslim rebels. 3,000 troops were commanded by General Hooshiara Singh who invaded the frontier. The Dogras took all men as prisoner, and many Dogra soldiers entered the back portion of the Mandoori Hill which was full of Yasini and Hunza women and their children. Dogra soldiers drew their swords and cut the women and children into pieces. Those women who were injured but not dead were burnt alive and approximately 2000 Yasin villagers were killed overall. About 5,000 Yasinis were taken back to Srinagar for forced labor and all their women were included into the harems of Dogra Soldiers.
There were widespread riots during the Partition of British India in 1947. 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 on both sides (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 Muslims were due to emigrate to Pakistan at their own will from India. Most Muslims, however chose to stay in India. 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).
The 2002 Gujarat violence was a series of incidents starting with the Godhra train burning and the subsequent communal violence between Hindus and Muslims in the Indian state of Gujarat. On 27 February 2002, the Sabarmati Express train was attacked at Godhra by a Muslim mob. Attacks against Muslims and general communal riots on a large scale across the state, in which 790 Muslims were ultimately killed and 223 more people were reported missing. 536 places of worship were damaged: 273 dargahs, 241 mosques. Muslim-owned businesses suffered the bulk of the damage. 61,000 Muslims fled their homes. Preventive arrests of 17,947 Hindus and 3,616 Muslims were made. In total 27,901 Hindus.
An estimated 400,000 people have been displaced in the 2012 Assam violence between indigenous Bodos and Bengali-Muslims. Muslim migrants in Assam are regularly attacked by separatist rebels.
The First Crusade was launched in 1095 by Pope Urban II, with the stated goal of regaining control of the sacred city of Jerusalem and the Holy Land from the Muslims, who had captured them from the Byzantines in 638. It was also partly a response to the Investiture Controversy, which was the most significant conflict between secular and religious powers in medieval Europe. The controversy 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 in launching the crusade were the string of victories by the Seljuk Turks, 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..." 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."
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". Muslims were indiscriminately killed, and Jews who had taken refuge in their Synagogue were murdered when it was burnt down by the Crusaders.
According to Islamic religious tradition, the new Muslims were often subjected to abuse and persecution by Muriel in the early days of Islam at Mecca. Some were killed, such as Sumayyah bint Khabbab, the seventh convert to Islam, who was allegedly tortured first by Amr ibn Hishām. 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, and placed thorns in the path of his house.
Accordingly, 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.
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 Allah. He was religiously intolerant, forcing some of his subjects to listen to Buddhist sermons possibly converting by force. He also disallowed the Eid al-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. Many Rohingya Muslims fled Burma and many refugees inundated neighbouring Bangladesh including 200,000 in 1978 as a result of the King Dragon operation in Arakan and 250,000 in 1991.
A widely publicised Burmese conflict was the 2012 Rakhine State riots, a series of conflicts that primarily involved the ethnic Rakhine Buddhist people and the Rohingya Muslim people in the northern Rakhine State—an estimated 90,000 people were displaced as a result of the riots. The Burmese government previously identified the Rohingya as a group of illegal migrants; however, the ethnic group has lived in Burma for numerous centuries.
Sri Lanka has a Buddhist majority and significant Hindu Tamil minority. The rebels Tamil LTTE attacked Muslims during the Sri Lankan Civil War. The militant Buddhist Bodu Bala Sena campaigned against Halal meat and attacked Mosques and Muslims.
The Philippines is predominantly a Christian society with a complicated history of relations between Islam and Christianity. Despite historic evidence of Islamization spreading throughout the islands in the 13th-16th centuries, the archipelago came under Spanish rule in the 16th century. The Spanish proselytized many natives, and labelled those who remained Muslims as Moro, a derogatory term recalling the Moors, an Islamic people of North Africa who occupied Spain for 800 years. Today, this term Moro is used to refer to the indigenous Muslim tribes and ethnic groups of the country.
The clashes between Spanish colonial authorities and the indigenous Sultanates of the Moro peoples, (the Sultanate of Sulu, Maranao and Maguindanao) further escalated tensions between the Christian and Muslim groups of the country.
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. However, Russian policy shifted toward weakening Islam by introducing pre-Islamic elements of collective consciousness. 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. In response, Kazakh religious leaders attempted to bring religious fervor by espousing pan-Turkism, though many were persecuted as a result.
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. 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 during the remaining Tsarist period and under the Soviet Union, so that today there are more Tatars living outside the Republic of Tatarstan than inside it.
Suvorov announced the capture of Ismail in 1791 to the Tsarina Catherine in a doggerel couplet, after the assault had been pressed from house to house, room to room, and nearly every Muslim man, woman, and child in the city had been killed in three days of uncontrolled massacre, 40,000 Turks dead, a few hundred taken into captivity. For all his bluffness, Suvorov later told an English traveller that when the massacre was over he went back to his tent and wept.
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.
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 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, which resulted in a rebellion of Sicily's Muslims. This in turn triggered organized resistance and systematic reprisals 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.
In World War I, in Syria the total number of civilian casualties was as many as 500,000. The civilian casualties of Greater Syria, including Akkar, were covered in a detailed article by Linda Schatkowski Schilcher. Scholars acknowledge one particular reason for civilian deaths attributed to Germany, the callousness of German military officials in Syria, and systematic hoarding by the population at large.
The USSR was hostile to all forms of religion, which was "the opiate of the masses" according to Karl Marx. Relative religious freedom existed for Muslims in the years following the revolution, but in the late 1920s the Soviet government took a strong anti-religious turn. Many mosques and churches were closed. During the period of Stalin's leadership, 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 during the Nazi occupation of Crimea. The deportation began 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.
- Persecution of minority Muslim groups
- Persecution of Christians
- Persecution of Shia Muslims
- Persecution of Ahmadiyya
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