History of Forced Conversions to Islam

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In the 9th century, Samaritans of Palestine faced persecution and forced conversion at the hands of a rebel leader ibn Firāsa, against whom they were defended by Abbasid caliphate troops.[1]

In an invasion of the Kashmir valley in 1015, Mahmud of Ghazni plundered the valley, took many prisoners and carried out conversions to Islam.[2] In his later campaigns, in Mathura, Baran and Kanauj, again, many conversions took place. Those soldiers who surrendered to him were converted to Islam. In Baran (Bulandshahr) alone 10,000 persons were converted to Islam including the king. Al Qazwini writes that "when Mahmud went to wage religious war against India, he made great efforts to capture and destroy Somnath, in the hope that the Hindus would then become Muhammadans."[3] Tarikh-i-Yamini, Rausat-us-Safa and Tarikh-i-Ferishtah speak of construction of mosques and schools and appointment of preachers and teachers by Mahmud and his successor Masud. Wherever Mahmud went, he insisted on the people to convert to Islam. [4] The raids by Muhammad Ghori and his generals brought in thousands of slaves in the late 12th century, most of whom were compelled to convert as one of the preconditions of their freedom.[4][5][6][7] Qutb ud-Din Aibak is said to have demolished almost 1,000 temples and built mosques on their foundations.[8] Sikandar Butshikan (reigned 1394-1417) demolished Hindu temples and forcefully converted Hindus in Kashmir.[9]

Ismail I, founder of the Safavid dynasty in Persia, decreed Twelver Shia Islam to be the official religion of state and ordered executions of a number of Sunni intellectuals who refused to accept Shiism.[10][11] Non-Muslims faced frequent persecutions and at times forced conversions under the rule of his successors.[12] After the capture of the Hormuz Island, Abbas I required local Christians to convert to Islam, Abbas II granted his ministers authority to force Jews to become Muslims, and Sultan Husayn decreed forcible conversion of Zoroastrians.[13] In 1839, during the Qajar era the Jewish community in the city of Mashhad was attacked by a mob and subsequently forced to convert to Islam.[14]


In 2017, many members of the Orang Rimba tribe in Indonesia, especially children, were being forced to renounce their folk religion and convert to Islam.[15]

In 2018, Kurdish Christians were being forced to convert to Islam.[16]

  1. Moshe Gil. A History of Palestine, 634-1099. CUP Archive. p. 822, 1992. https://books.google.com/books?id=tSM4AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA822. 
  2. Ramesh Chandra Majumdar. The History and Culture of the Indian People: The struggle for empire. p. 12, 1951. 
  3. Catherine B. Asher. India 2001: Reference Encyclopedia, Volume 1. South Asia Publicaitons. p. 29. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Lal, K.S.. "1". Indian Muslims:Who Are They. ASIN B003DRH2FI. ISBN 978-8185990101, 2004. 
  5. Habibullah, The Foundation of Muslim Rule in India, (Allahabad, 1961), pp.69 and 334
  6. Hasan Nizami, Taj-ul-Maasir, II, p.216
  7. Titus, Murray. Islam in India and Pakistan, (Calcutta, 1959), p.31
  8. Islamic Civilization in South Asia: A History of Muslim Power and Presence in the Indian Subcontinent. Routledge. p. 72. 
  9. Shiri Ram Bakshi. Kashmir: Valley and Its Culture. Sarup & Sons. p. 70, 1997. 
  10. Savory, R.M., Gandjeï, T.. P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. ed,. Ismāʿīl I. 4 (2nd ed.). Brill. p. 186, 2012. 
  11. H.R. Roemer. William Bayne Fisher, Peter Jackson, Lawrence Lockhart. ed,. The Cambridge History of Iran. Volume 6. Cambridge University Press. p. 218, 1986. 
  12. Lewis, Bernard (1984). The Jews of Islam. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Template:ISBN. p.52
  13. Lapidus, Ira M.. A History of Islamic Societies. Cambridge University Press (Kindle edition). pp. 385–386. ISBN 978-0-521-51430-9, 2014. 
  14. Pirnazar, Jaleh, "The "Jadid al-Islams" of Mashhad", Foundation for Iranian Studies, Bethesda, MD, USA: Foundation for Iranian Studies, http://www.fis-iran.org/en/irannameh/volxix/mashhad-jewish-community. 
  15. Henschke, Rebecca, "Indonesia's Orang Rimba: Forced to renounce their faith", BBC (archived from the original), https://web.archive.org/web/20171117121109/http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-41981430. 
  16. https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/104214/kurdish-christians-facing-forced-conversions-in-syrias-afrin-province/#47q2s7QPq4kewUxx.97