Identify us by our ethnicity and not by religion, Assam Muslims say

“Despite Islam being our religion, we carry the blood of various indigenous communities. Ethnically, we are closer to other indigenous communities in the state than our Muslim brothers elsewhere in the country. We are also ethnically different from the East Bengal Muslims although we practice the same religion,” SAGMDJP general secretary Hafijul Ahmed said.

After the violence in Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD), heated discourses on the Muslim community have become common in the state. Sadou Asom Goria Moria Deshi Jatiya Parishad (SAGMDJP), an organisation representing indigenous Assamese Muslims, on Sunday said that their community members wanted to be identified by their ethnicity and not by their religion. “We belong to the Goria, Moria and Deshi ethnic groups of the Assamese Muslims. It is another fact that our religion is Islam, but we have our own ethnic identities. These communities have evolved distinct identities because of their ethnicity. We want these communities to be identified and referred to by their ethnic identities and not by religion,” SAGMDJP president Sahiruddin Ali Ahmed said in a public meeting on Sunday.

Gorias are the converts from different ethnic groups and tribes to Islam in the state, while Morias are the descendents of Muslim soldiers taken prisoners during wars with local kings. In subsequent years, Morias married local women and extended their families. The Deshi Muslims are Koch Rajbongshis who converted to Islam.


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