Islam in Tibet
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On October 7, 1950 AD, a year after establishment of the communist system, China seized Tibet, and nine years later crushed the uprising of the Tibetan people, forcing the Dalai Lama or the Buddhist religious-political to seek refuge in India, where he is still based.
Tibet covers an area of almost 1.2 million sq km, and is administered as an autonomous region in China. Muslims have been living in Tibet since as early as the 8th or 9th century. In Tibetan cities, there are small communities of Muslims, known as Kachee (Kache), who trace their origin to immigrants from three main regions: Kashmir (Kachee Yul in ancient Tibetan), Ladakh and the Central Asian countries.
Islamic influence in Tibet also came from Iran. After 1959 a group of Tibetan Muslims made a case for Indian nationality based on their historic roots to Kashmir and the Indian government declared all Tibetan Muslims Indian citizens later that year.
Other Muslim ethnic groups who have long inhabited Tibet include Hui, Salar, Dongxiang and Bonan. There is also a well established Chinese Muslim community (gya kachee), which traces its ancestry back to the Hui ethnic group of China.