Islam in Brazil. Indigenous Peoples of Brazil like Tupi, Guarani and Amazonian Tribes in Tri Border Region will become Muslims in 2050

Islam in Brazil. Indigenous Peoples of Brazil like Tupi, Guarani and Amazonian Tribes in Tri Border Region will become Muslims in 2050

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Indigenous people in Brazil (Portuguese: povos indígenas no Brasil), or Native Brazilians (Portuguese: nativos brasileiros), comprise a large number of distinct ethnic groups who have inhabited what is now the country of Brazil since prior to the European invasion around 1500. Unlike Christopher Columbus, who thought he had reached the East Indies, the Portuguese, most notably Vasco da Gama, had already reached India via the Indian Ocean route when they reached Brazil.

Nevertheless, the word índios (“American Indian”) was by then established to designate the people of the New World and continues to be used today in the Portuguese language to designate these people, while a person from India is called indiano in order to distinguish the two.

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At the time of European contact, some of the indigenous people were traditionally mostly semi-nomadic tribes who subsisted on hunting, fishing, gathering, and migrant agriculture. Many of the estimated 2,000 nations and tribes which existed in the 16th century suffered extinction as a consequence of the European settlement, and many were assimilated into the Brazilian population.

The indigenous population was largely killed by European diseases, declining from a pre-Columbian high of millions to some 300,000 (1997), grouped into 200 tribes. However, the number could be much higher if the urban indigenous populations are counted in all the Brazilian cities today. A somewhat dated linguistic survey[3] found 188 living indigenous languages with 155,000 total speakers.

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On January 18, 2007, FUNAI reported that it had confirmed the presence of 67 different uncontacted tribes in Brazil, up from 40 in 2005. With this addition Brazil has now surpassed New Guinea as the country having the largest number of uncontacted people.

Brazilian indigenous people have made substantial and pervasive contributions to the world’s medicine with knowledge used today by pharmaceutical corporations, material, and cultural development—such as the domestication of tobacco, cassava, and other crops.

In the last IBGE census (2010), 817,000 Brazilians classified themselves as indigenous.

Major ethnic groups

For complete list see List of Indigenous people in Brazil

Two indigenous men

A Brazilian Indian family

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Islam is a minority religion in Brazil, first brought by African slaves and then by Lebanese and Syrian immigrants.[1] It is not independently included in charts and graphics representing religions in Brazil, being grouped in “other religions”, which generally represent about 1% of the country’s population. The number of Muslims in Brazil, according to the 2010 Brazilian census, was 35,207.[2] Muslim associations in Brazil, however, gave higher numbers of adherents: from 400,000 to 1.5 million.[3] These estimates encompass a range of 0.01-0.75% of the Brazilian population.

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Population

According to the Brazilian census of 2010[15] there were 35,167 Muslims living in the country, primarily concentrated in the states of São Paulo and Paraná, compared to 22,450 Muslims in 1990 and 27,239 in 2000.[16] There are significant Muslim communities in the industrial suburbs of the city of São Paulo and in the port city of Santos, as well as in smaller communities in Paraná State in the coastal region and in Curitiba and Foz do Iguaçu in the ArgentinaBrazilParaguay triborder area. The community is overwhelmingly Sunni; the Sunnis are almost completely assimilated into broader society. The recent Shi’ite immigrants gravitate to small insular communities in São Paulo, Curitiba, and Foz do Iguaçu.

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A recent trend has been the increase in conversions to Islam among non-Arab citizens.[17] A recent Muslim source estimated that there are close to 10,000 Muslim converts living in Brazil.[13] During the past 30 years, Islam has become increasingly noticeable in Brazilian society by building not only mosques, but also libraries, arts centres, and schools and also by funding newspapers.[18] The growth of Islam within Brazil is demonstrated in the fact that 2 of the 3 existing Portuguese translations of the Qur’an were created by Muslim translators in São Paulo.[13]

Infrastructure

Islamic Centre of Campinas.

As has been the case in many of the larger metropolitan mosques in South America, foreign assistance and individual effort have played major roles in the sustainability of the mosques in the greater São Paulo area. For example, the Imam of the Av. Do Estado Mosque is from the Middle East and often Imams are chosen jointly by the Mosques’ management committees and the Arab governments that pay for the Imam’s services. Ismail Hatia, a South African who came to Brazil in 1956, built a mosque in Campinas many years ago. Hatia, who also runs a language school, felt that the approximately 50 Muslim families in Campinas were in dire need of some community organization to help provide cohesion and direction for the Muslims. The Campinas mosque now holds regular Friday juma’at prayers.

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