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Index / Religions /
Taqiyya religions

Taqiyya religions
Detailed articleAlevism
Detailed articleAhl-e Haqq
Detailed articleIsma'ilism
Detailed articleShabak religion
Detailed articleAlawism

Religions with some apparent similarities to Islam, but with another creed, which have accepted to be labelled Islamic. At least 22 million in the Middle East hide their religious identity by taqiyya, but the real numbers may be substantially larger.
The emergence of taqiyya religion is when a religious orientation of non-Muslim origins at some point in time choses to officially accept being identified as part of Islam in order to avoid prosecution from the Muslim majorities in their regions.
The religions of Alevism, Ahl-e Haqq and Isma'ilism are the major examples, with the considerably smaller Shabak religion as the fourth of these faiths. religion of Iraq may also be a taqiyya religion, although for the work of Contents, too little information could be found to decide. The Anzar cult of Algerian Berbers is another possible example of taqiyya religion. Another group that has the outward characteristics of fitting within the taqiyya are the Doms, a people of Indian origins that in many cases are little integrated in the countries where they live.
It is often suggested that many Turks are still Christians, but accepting to be labelled Muslims (see the genocides on the Armenians and Assyrians, as well as the ethnic cleansing of Christian Greeks in 1923). This information is, however, not confirmed.
Alawite religion of Syria, has beliefs far from Islam, but has sought by itself to be defined as part of Shi'i Islam in 1974. This initiative must be seen in relation to Hafez al-Assad, an Alawite, becoming president of Syria in 1971, Syria being a predominantly Muslim country.
In the Middle East, there are a few religions which are clearly related to Islam, but which are not taqiyya: Druze (which claim to be the true Muslims) and Baha'i. The latter has faced gruesome persecution from Shi'is of Iran. The Druze have created strong, independent communities in the Lebanese mountains.
The same concealment has also been used prior to the advent of Islam. The most important example were Manichaeis concealing their faith to avoid persecution from zealous Christians. But in modern times, taqiyya religions are only linked to Islam.

By Tore Kjeilen