Hazara are a minority, Shia
Muslim, Turko-Mongol people,
speaking a Persian language,
from the high mountains of
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down into more manageable parts:
Hazara are a minority. The Hazara
make up about 20% of the population of Afghanistan.
Their Asian (Mongolian) features immediately distinguish
them from other peoples of Afghanistan. The Hazara
are visually, linguistically and religiously different
from all the other peoples around them. Because
of these differences, they have long been despised
and persecuted by majority groups. Persecution of
the Hazara continues today.
Hazara are Shia Muslim. The Hazara's
identity as a people is largely defined by their
Islamic faith. Most Hazara believe that to be Hazara
is to be Muslim—they cannot imagine any other
alternative. Moreover, they are surrounded by Muslim
peoples in every direction. Geographically, they
are almost in the very center of the Muslim world.
While 85% of all Muslims, and virtually all the
other major people groups of Afghanistan, are Sunni,
the Hazaras are predominantly Shia. As Shia Muslims,
they are inspired by their historical leader Hussein,
who was martyred. Many Hazara identify with Hussein
in their suffering and persecution. The rift between
Sunni and Shia dates back to the 8th Century. Today
there is still serious tension between Sunni and
Shia Muslims, occasionally erupting in violence.
Hazara are Turko-Mongol. The Hazara
are of predominantly Mongolian ethnic stock. They
look like Mongolians and East Asians, but they share
a cultural heritage with many of the Turkic peoples
of Central Asia. Some scholars speculate that the
Hazara are descendants of the warriors that flooded
into Central Asia under the command of the infamous
and brilliant leader, Ghengis Khan.
Hazara speak a Persian language.
Most Hazara speak Hazaragi, a variant of the more
widely used trade langauge, Dari.
Hazara are from the mountains of central Afghanistan.
These mountains are among the most
rugged, least traveled mountains in the world. Consequently,
the Hazara have been geographically and culturally
isolated from the rest of the world. As a result
of this isolation, they remain a predominantly tribal
people, relating to one another through family and