Islam in Asia: Introduction

The diversity of Muslims in Asia

slider_islam_in_asiaFrom the Middle East to southeastern Asia, from central Asia to the Pacific Islands, the diversity in Asia is striking. Yet, despite cultural differences, the religion of Islam forms a common thread across Asia. The majority of people in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, and Indonesia, to name just a few, find commonality in their practice of Islam while preserving their unique heritages.

Islam originated in the Arabian Peninsula and it was embraced by the people of various Asian regions over many centuries. Contact with Muslims came via trade, conquest, and intermarriages with the earliest Muslims. However, the mass acceptance of Islam took root over generations and through sustained interaction. Today, Islam is the largest religion of Asia.

Peaceful coexistence in Asia

Pockets of minorities continue to exist in Muslim Asian countries to this day. Muslims themselves form sizable minorities in many Asian countries such as India, China, Russia, and Japan. Ordinary citizens, irrespective of faith or culture, continue to coexist and intermingle peacefully in Muslim and non-Muslim countries in Asia, untouched by the rising tide of religious or secular extremism prevalent in the current world milieu.

In this section, we share the historic legacy of Baghdad, the peaceful and gradual introduction of Islam in Indonesia, and the story of the minority of Muslims living in China.

Baghdad: A Historical Overview


Islam in China


  1. Samia Ch says:

    Why u not mention Pakistan here?

  2. Tim Othy says:

    It might suit a website that doesn't shy away to apply the controversial term Islamophobia to some non-Muslim majority counties to also mention the plight of Hindu, Sikh and Christian communities in Asia. They are far worse of in so-called Islamic countries than Muslims in Europe and America.

  3. Reform India's Muslim Personal Law, Breach the Stagnation in Muslim Religious Thought, Use the Opportunity to Work out A New Islamic Theology of Peace, Pluralism and Gender Equality

    Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

    It is for the government of India to take a call in the matter. Why should Indian Muslim women not deserve the protection of Islam provided to their counterparts in Pakistan, Bangladesh and elsewhere, practically in the entire Islamic world, except Saudi Arabia. … Why should Indian Muslims suffer the indignities imposed by the British in our land under an Anglo-Mohammedan law? …
    A debate kick-started by Personal Law reforms may then provide us an opportunity to take the issue of theological reforms to other areas too, which are far more important to the community and our religion. Personal Law debate would bring out the obscurantism of our ulema to the fore. It would bring out their lack of concern for Islam or Muslims.
    We have to virtually create, find acceptance for and popularise a new Islamic theology of peace, coexistence, inclusiveness, pluralism and gender equality.
    The stagnation, total lack of any theological debate, in the Muslim community, just has to be breached and broken. The stagnation suits the Islamist extremists who have a very coherent, well-designed, well-thought-out theology of violence and exclusivism, hatred and intolerance, as well as gender inequality and discrimination.

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