Kokani Muslims (also known as Kokni Muslims) are a sub-ethnic group of the Konkani (Kokani) people living in the Konkan region of western India, who practise Islam. Muslims from the districts of Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Raigad, Mumbai city and suburb, and Thane are generally regarded as Kokani Muslims.
The Kokani Muslim community forms a part of the larger Konkani speaking demographic and are predominantly located in the Konkan division of the Indian state of Maharashtra. This includes the administrative districts of Mumbai, Mumbai Suburban, Palghar, Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg.
There is a diaspora Kokani Muslim community based in Persian Gulf states, United Kingdom and South Africa. Many Konkani Muslims migrated to Pakistan after the independence in 1947 and have settled in Karachi as part of the Muhajir community.
Since antiquity, the Konnkan coast has had mercantile relations with major ports on the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Knkani Muslims can trace their ancestry to Arab traders who visited the coast in the medieval era. Ancestry formed the basis for social stratification: direct descendants of Arab traders formed an elite class over those who had indirect descent through intermarriages with local converts to Islam.
Kokani Muslims speak a variety of dialects of Marathi collectively called Maharashtrian Konkani. Some of the dialects include Parabhi, Kunbi, Karadhi, Sangameshwari and Bankoti. These form a gradual linguistic continuum between standard Marathi in regions around Mumbai and Konkani language in regions around Goa.
The cuisine of Kokani Muslims is non-vegetarian, mostly seafood. Its staple food is rice and bread made of rice (preferred at dinners) with fish and lentils or vegetables. It is mainly influenced by Maharashtrian cuisine. The southern portion of Konkan region has Malvani cuisine which overlaps with Maharashtrian and Goan cuisines.
Notable Konkani Muslims
- Abdul Rehman Antulay - Indian politician, ex-Chief Minister of Maharashtra
- Hamid Dalwai - Writer and Social reformer
- Husain Dalwai - Member of Parliament
- Ghulam Parkar-Former Indian Cricketer
- Shafi Inamdar - Hindi film actor
- Mukri - Hindi film actor
- Dawood Ibrahim - Terrorist and crime lord; wanted by Interpol, FBI and Indian authorities
- Imran Yusuf - Comedian
- Zakir Naik - Islamic Scholar
- Rafiq Zakaria - Politician and religious scholar
- Fareed Zakaria - CNN anchor and political commentator. son of Rafiq Zakaria
- Arif Zakaria - Actor, nephew of Rafiq Zakaria
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