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Muslim privilege is a social advantage that is bestowed upon Muslims in historically Muslim societies. This arises out of the presumption that Muslim belief is a valid social norm, that leads to the marginalization of the nonreligious and members of other religions through institutional religious discrimination or religious persecution. Muslim privilege can also lead to the neglect of outsiders' cultural heritage and religious practices.

Muslim privilege first emerged during the Early Muslim conquests where non-Muslims were subject to Dhimmi status. In modern times Dhimmi restrictions have been mostly abolished,[1][2][full citation needed] and most moderate Muslims see them as inappropriate for the modern age.[3] Nonetheless, Muslims continue to have advantages over non-Muslims across the Islamic World. Positions of authority in the government and the military of countries where Islam is the state religion may require those holding them to be Muslim.[4][5] For example, non-Muslims are not allowed to serve as judges (qadi).

Although sometimes actively promoted by Islamofascists and Islamists, Muslim privilege is often unintentionally perpetuated due to implicit biases.

As the Islamic world is large and culturally diverse, Muslim privilege manifests in different ways depending on the location. In Turkey, Muslim privilege (specifically Sunni) often overlaps with white privilege,[6] while in Malaysia it is more linked to anti-Chinese and anti-Hindu sentiment.[7]

Conspiracy theories about Muslim privilege are often used as justifications for Islamophobia across the world, from China[8] to India[9] to Europe.[10][11]

See also


  1. ^ Lapidus, Ira M., A History of Islamic Societies, Cambridge University Press, p. 599, doi:10.1017/cbo9781139048828.001, retrieved 2022-06-30
  2. ^ Lapidus (2002), p. 495
  3. ^ "[…] the overwhelming majority of moderate Muslims reject the dhimma system as ahistorical, in the sense that it is inappropriate for the age of nation-states and democracies." Abou El Fadl, Khaled (23 January 2007). The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists. HarperOne. p. 214. ISBN 978-0061189036.
  4. ^ "2019 Report on International Religious Freedom: Iraq".
  5. ^ "2019 Report on International Religious Freedom: Iran".
  6. ^ Protner, Beja (2018-10-20). "The limits of an 'open mind': state violence, Turkification, and complicity in the Turkish–Kurdish conflict". Turkish Studies. 19 (5): 671–696. doi:10.1080/14683849.2018.1514494. ISSN 1468-3849. S2CID 150364431.
  7. ^ Hardy, Kenneth V.; Bobes, Toby (2016-06-10). Culturally Sensitive Supervision and Training: Diverse Perspectives and Practical Applications. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-29988-2.
  8. ^ Diandian Guo. ""Muslim-Only" Shower Cabins Trigger Complaints About Muslim Privilege". Retrieved 2022-01-23.
  9. ^ Roy, Abhik (2004-11-01). "The construction and scapegoating of Muslims as the "other" in Hindu nationalist rhetoric". Southern Communication Journal. 69 (4): 320–332. doi:10.1080/10417940409373303. ISSN 1041-794X. S2CID 151654478.
  10. ^ Lee, Benjamin (October 2016). "Why we fight: Understanding the counter-jihad movement" (PDF). Religion Compass. 10 (10): 257–265. doi:10.1111/rec3.12208.
  11. ^ Fekete, Liz (2012). "The Muslim conspiracy theory and the Oslo massacre". Race & Class. 53 (3): 30–47. doi:10.1177/0306396811425984. S2CID 146443283.