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22 I SPECIAL FEATURE Passion Islam I March 2010
ISLAM IN CYPRUS
Mosque in Nicosia
Islam in Cyprus was introduced and landmarks exist on the island of Crete. It is alleged that an aunt of
when Uthman the 3rd Caliph including: the Prophet Mohammad, Um Haram,
conquered Cyprus in 649. Muslims The Arabahmet Mosque in Nicosia had accompanied the expedition.
were concentrated over whole area (built in the 16th century) She fell off her mule and died and
of Cyprus but after the 1974 events The Hala Sultan Tekke/Umm was entombed at the present shrine
they are concentrated in Northern Haram Mosque in Larnaca (built in Hala Sultan Tekkesi.
Cyprus. the 18th century) Most of the Turks settled in
Until 1974, Turkish Cypriots (the The Lala Mustafa Pasha Cyprus during the Ottoman rule
Muslim community of Cyprus) were the Mosque, Selimiye Mosque and in 1572-1878/1914. The Ottoman
18% of the whole islands population. the Haydarpasha Mosque; former Empire gave timars--land grants--to
Today there are an estimated 264,172 Catholic cathedrals left from the soldiers under the condition that they
Muslims based in the Turkish Republic Crusader era, which were meant and their families would stay there
of North Cyprus. Turkish Cypriots are to cater exclusively to the Catholic permanently. During the 17th century
exclusively Sunni, with an influential minority which ruled the island and the Turkish population grew rapidly,
stream of Sufism underlying their were converted to mosques after the partly because of Turkish immigrants
spiritual heritage and development. Muslim conquest in the Middle Ages. but also due to Greek converts to
Nazim al-Qubrusi, the leader of the Islam.
Naqshbandi-Haqqani order, hails History Since the Turkish invasion of
from Larnaca and currently resides Islam came to Cyprus early on in the Cyprus, Muslim population has been
in Lefka. Arab conquests, which at one point bolstered by settlers from Turkey who
Several important Islamic shrines had also captured the Greek island are almost exclusively Muslim.
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