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Narratives of our International Students

Kahaniya, which means stories in Urdu, highlights the stories of international students and their religious communities

Aneesa Ahmed '24


I belong to the ninth generation of Tibetan Muslims. My grandparents moved from Lhasa to Kathmandu during the 1950s when the Chinese started restricting the free practice of religion. Historically, around the 17th century, Muslim traders from around the world had come to Tibet during the coronation of the fifth Dalai Lama and later continued to stay and establish their lives in Tibet. They stayed after they were granted permission to build mosques and have burial ground along with other privileges such as being able to buy land and continue their trade. As these traders started settling in they married Tibetan women who converted to Islam, slowly expanding the Tibetan Muslim community. After the Chinese annexation in the 1950s freedom of religion was restricted and the lives of people were all under strict control and scrutiny. Most Muslims migrated to Nepal and India with the Dalai Lama and other Tibetans and started building communities there. My grandparents along with many others moved out of Tibet because of concerns for their religion. Living in Nepal my grandparents never really felt like outsiders and always tried to give back to the community by helping the less fortunate. Currently, there are about 120 Tibetan Muslim families in Nepal who have settled here, started businesses, and embraced the customs of Nepal. I have relatives all over the world in the UK, US, Canada, Lhasa, Kalimpong, Kashmir, and Darjeeling involved in various professions which shows how we as a community are slowly growing and making an impact on society.

Below are some pictures that go along with the text.

Thank you