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Historical Perspective

Malaysia is a melting point for many races and religions. Muslims of Indian origin represent a minority group within the major Indian racial group and a minority group within the major Malay Muslim group. Muslims of Indian origin who were mostly traders and merchants migrated to Malaya in the 1400s during the Sultanate of Malacca in search of wealth and to propagate Islam. Indian Muslims played a key role in Malacca Sultanate as key court officials and later assimilated into the Malay community. Indian Muslims in larger number began to arrive in the 1800 as a merchant class and prospered in many trades such pharmacy, sundry shops, food business etc. They helped to build mosques and "madrass" all over the country and set up religious and social associations now numbering some 50+ to cater to the needs of the Muslims.

This minority group now numbering about 500,000 has produced many famous sons and daughters who played a pivotal role and are credited for the economic and spiritual progress achieved in the country. They fought the colonialists along with other races for the independence but failed to organize themselves as a strong political entity to secure on behalf of the community equitable sharing of opportunities in education and economic fields. This divided minority community lags behind other racial groups in many fields and has no political voice.

In the 1970s, the minority Indian Muslims feeling the need for stronger voice successfully brought some 40 social/religious associations under one umbrella now called PERMIM to protect this group's interest.

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