Islam in Cyprus

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Mosque in Nicosia

Islam in Cyprus was introduced when the island finally fell to Ottoman invaders in 1571. Prior to this, the Muslim presence on the island was itinerant, with Arab raiders intermittantly visiting and plundering coastal settlements.

Before the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the Turkish Cypriots (the Muslim community of Cyprus) made up 18% of the island's population and lived throught the island. Today, most of the estimated 264,172 Muslims are based in the north of the island. Turkish Cypriot society is markedly secular though, at least formally, adherents to the faith subscribe exclusively to the Sunni branch, with an influential stream of Sufism underlying their spiritual heritage and development. Nazim al-Qubrusi, the leader of the Naqshbandi-Haqqani order, hails from Larnaca and currently resides in Lefka.


Islam came to Cyprus early on in the Arab conquests[citation needed] though a permant presence only followed the Ottoman conqust in 1571.

It is rumored that an aunt of the Prophet Mohammad, Um Haram, had accompanied one of the early Arab expeditions to the island.[citation needed] She fell off her mule, died and was entombed at the present Hala Sultan Tekke shrine.

Since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the Muslim population in the north of the island has been bolstered by settlers from Turkey who are almost exclusively Sunni Muslims. The status of these settlers is disputed under international law and specifically the prohibition, under the Geneva Convention, on the cross-border transfer of populations by states aiming to engineer changes in the demographic make-up of other states.

Important landmarks[edit]

Several important Islamic shrines and landmarks exist on the island including:


See also[edit]