Islam in Suriname

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According to the most recent census (2004), the Muslim population of Suriname is 66,307, representing about 13.5 percent of the country's total population,[1] giving the country the highest percentages of Muslims on the South American continent. Though the majority belong to the Sunni interpretation of Islam, there is a large proportion who belong to the Ahmadiyya interpretation.

Some speculate that Muslims first came to Suriname as slaves from West Africa and then were converted to Christianity over time, even though there is little proof for these speculations. The ancestors of the actual Muslim population came to the country as indentured laborers from South Asia and Indonesia, from whom today most Muslims in Suriname are descended.

Because Islam came to Suriname with immigrants from Indonesia (Java) and the Indian subcontinent (today India, Pakistan and Bangladesh), who brought their local form of Islam to Suriname, it is stronly influenced by these regions. Apart from descent, most Surinamese Muslims also share the same culture and speak the same languages. Suriname has a small number of Afghan Muslims and their native-born children.[2]


Suriname (since 1996) and Guyana (since 1998) are the only countries in the Americas which are member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.[3]

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