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Islam in Portugal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

According to the 1991 census recorded by Instituto Nacional de Estatística (the National Statistical Institute of Portugal), there were 9,134 Muslims in Portugal, about 0.1% of the total population[1]. However, the Islamic Community of Lisbon presently points to a number of about 40,000 according to 2011 estimates The Muslim population in 2019 is now approximately 65,000 people.[2] The majority of Muslims in the country are Shias, followed by approximately 5,000 to 7,000 Sunni Muslims. There is also a small number of Ahmadiyya Muslims.[3] Most of the Muslim population originates from the former Portuguese overseas provinces of Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique, most of the latter having their origin in the Indian subcontinent. Most of the muslims are from Syria and Mozambique. The Muslim population in Portugal also have an Islamic school in Palmela, named International School of Palmela which hosts students from around the globe, and brings tourism and a new spotlight to Portugal


Old Mosque in Mértola. Converted into a church
Old Mosque in Mértola. Converted into a church

From 711 to 1249, much of the territory of what is now Portugal (namely south of the Mondego river, but particularly in the Alentejo and the Algarve) was under Muslim control, and was called Gharb Al-Andalus (the west of Al-Andalus). The Portuguese Reconquista forced the Arabs out of Algarve in 1249. However, their presence in Andalusia, a neighboring Spanish region, would stay strong for another 250 years[4].. This presence has left some cultural heritage in Portugal, such as Islamic art. The town of Mértola, in the Alentejo, possesses the only partial remains in the country of an ancient mosque, changed and converted into a Catholic church (Church of Nossa Senhora da Anunciação) after the Reconquista.

Before the Moors were driven out of the peninsula, they were able to leave a some impact on the land. The greatest Arab contributions can be found in Algarve, the most southern region in Portugal. After the Arab army coming from Africa invaded the southern part of the peninsula via Spain, they settled here and made many contributions to the land. They turned the land into a beautiful, green garden and essentially created a Muslim community that would spread further into Portugal and mainly Spain. One characteristic of the Muslims of the peninsula at the time was their intellectual freedom and inclusivity. It was only when the Christians took over did the rules change. In addition, Arabs allowed for the advancement of agricultural methods and hard work which has partly shaped the way the Algarve is today. For example, Algarve is traditionally made up of white houses with terracotta roofs, outdoor patios covered in flowers and chimneys in the same shape as the Moors built them. [5]

Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims

The Aga Khan Development Network has been present in Portugal since 1983. Agreements were established between the Ismaili Imamat and Portugal, particularly the Protocol of Cooperation with the Portuguese Government signed in 2005 as well as the Protocol of International Cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which was signed in 2008.

In 2015, Lisbon was chosen to be the global seat of the Nizari Shi'a community; the second largest Shi'a denomination in the world. In July 11th, 2018 the Aga Khan decided to move his global headquarters along with his official residence to Portugal. On June 3rd, 2015 Portugal’s Minister of State and Foreign Affairs Rui Machete and His Highness the Aga Khan signed a landmark Agreement between the Republic of Portugal and the Ismaili Imamat for the establishment of a formal Seat of the Aga Khan in Portugal. [6] The accord, which was approved by Portugal’s Parliament and the President of the Portuguese Republic, will result in intensified cooperation between Portugal and the Aga Khan Development Network in supporting research and the knowledge society as well as improving the quality of life of Portugal’s inhabitants. His Highness the Aga Khan recently acquired the Henrique Mendonça Palace, a 12-million-euro estate, to take place as the new Global Headquarters and serve as an administrative structure to coordinate the huge and renowned Aga Khan Development network[7]. Rui Machete told the Portuguese daily national newspaper Público, “It is natural that an institution with an annual budget of between €600-€900 million will bring something to Portugal." [8] The Aga Khan stated that he also has goals to, “plough money into health and social protection services in Portugal." [8] The Aga Khan is worshipped by more than 15 million Muslims worldwide, of which 15 thousand who live in Portugal, represents a big Muslim community who now will have a huge mark in Portugal. [7]

The Aga Khan Development Network moving its headquarters to Lisbon, Portugal is a great asset for the country as it allows there to be a connection between Lisbon and the rest the world that the Aga Khan Development is affiliated in. This immensely impactful world renowned international organization has many ties to Lisbon, not only because the Ismaili population is one of the biggest there, but also because most funding is coming from private sector partners which are located within Lisbon. Through various programs and initiatives, The Aga Khan Development Network is drastically changing the quality of life in Portugal in ways that are beneficial to people living there. The Aga Khan Development Network has been present in Portugal since 1983 focusing on research and innovative direct intervention in the areas of early childhood education, social exclusion and urban poverty. [7] The activities in Portugal operate within the framework of the agreements established between the Aga Khan Development Network and the Protocol of Cooperation with the Portuguese Government.

See also


  1. ^ "Statistics Portugal - Web Portal". Archived from the original on 2017-01-09. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  2. ^ "Muslim Population By Country 2019". World Population Review.
  3. ^ Shireen Hunter. Islam, Europe's Second Religion: The New Social, Cultural, and Political Landscapes. Praeger Publishers. p. 193. ISBN 0-275-97608-4. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  4. ^ "The Islamic heritage in Portugal's past". Public Radio International. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  5. ^ "In Every Facet Of Portuguese Life - The Arabs Have Left Their Mark". Arab America. 2017-09-27. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  6. ^ "Aga Khan Moves to Portugal". Portugal Resident.
  7. ^ a b c "Historic agreement establishes Global Seat of Ismaili Imamat in Portugal". The Ismaili News. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  8. ^ a b Pincha, João Pedro. "Obras no palacete de Aga Khan ainda não começaram e já causam preocupação". PÚBLICO (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2019-11-12.

External links

This page was last edited on 19 February 2020, at 16:56
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