General Information

Socialist Republic of Vietnam

National name: Công Hòa Xa Hôi Chú Nghia Viêt Nam

Land area: 125,622 sq mi (325,361 sq km); total area: 127,244 sq mi (329,560 sq km)

Population (2007 est.): 85,262,356

Capital (2003 est.): Hanoi, 2,543,700 (metro. area), 1,396,500 (city proper)

Largest cities: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), 5,894,100 (metro. area), 3,415,300 (city proper); Haiphong, 581,600; Da Nang, 452,700; Hué 271,900; Nha Trang, 270,100; Qui Nho'n, 199,700

Monetary unit: Dong

Languages: Vietnamese (official); English (increasingly favored as a second language); some French, Chinese, Khmer; mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)

Ethnicity/race: Kinh (Viet) 86.2%, Tay 1.9%, Thai 1.7%, Muong 1.5%, Khome 1.4%, Hoa 1.1%, Nun 1.1%, Hmong 1%, others 4.1% (1999)

Religions: Buddhist 9%, Catholic 7%, Hoa Hao 2%, Cao Dai 1%, Protestant, Islam, none 81%

Literacy rate: 94% (2003 est.)

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2007 est.): $221.4 billion; per capita $2,600. Real growth rate: 8.5%. Inflation: 8.3%.

Vietnam occupies the eastern and southern part of the Indochinese peninsula in Southeast Asia, with the South China Sea along its entire coast. China is to the north and Laos and Cambodia are to the west. Long and narrow on a north-south axis, Vietnam is about twice the size of Arizona. The Mekong River delta lies in the south.

The Vietnamese are descendants of nomadic Mongols from China and migrants from Indonesia. According to mythology, the first ruler of Vietnam was Hung Vuong, who founded the nation in 2879 B.C. China ruled the nation then known as Nam Viet as a vassal state from 111 B.C. until the 15th century, an era of nationalistic expansion, when Cambodians were pushed out of the southern area of what is now Vietnam.

A century later, the Portuguese were the first Europeans to enter the area. France established its influence early in the 19th century, and within 80 years it conquered the three regions into which the country was then divided—Cochin-China in the south, Annam in the central region, and Tonkin in the north.

France first unified Vietnam in 1887, when a single governor-generalship was created, followed by the first physical links between north and south—a rail and road system. Even at the beginning of World War II, however, there were internal differences among the three regions. Japan took over military bases in Vietnam in 1940, and a pro-Vichy French administration remained until 1945. Veteran Communist leader Ho Chi Minh organized an independence movement known as the Vietminh to exploit the confusion surrounding France's weakened influence in the region. At the end of the war, Ho's followers seized Hanoi and declared a short-lived republic, which ended with the arrival of French forces in 1946.

Paris proposed a unified government within the French Union under the former Annamite emperor, Bao Dai. Cochin-China and Annam accepted the proposal, and Bao Dai was proclaimed emperor of all Vietnam in 1949. Ho and the Vietminh withheld support, and the revolution in China gave them the outside help needed for a war of resistance against French and Vietnamese troops armed largely by a United States worried about cold war Communist expansion.

A bitter defeat at Dien Bien Phu in northwest Vietnam on May 5, 1954, broke the French military campaign and resulted in the division of Vietnam. In the new South, Ngo Dinh Diem, prime minister under Bao Dai, deposed the monarch in 1955 and made himself president. Diem used strong U.S. backing to create an authoritarian regime that suppressed all opposition but could not eradicate the Northern-supplied Communist Viet Cong.

Skirmishing grew into a full-scale war, with escalating U.S. involvement. A military coup, U.S.-inspired in the view of many, ousted Diem on Nov. 1, 1963, and a kaleidoscope of military governments followed. The most savage fighting of the war occurred in early 1968 during the Vietnamese New Year, known as Tet. Although the so-called Tet Offensive ended in a military defeat for the North, its psychological impact changed the course of the war.

U.S. bombing and an invasion of Cambodia in the summer of 1970—an effort to destroy Viet Cong bases in the neighboring state—marked the end of major U.S. participation in the fighting. Most American ground troops were withdrawn from combat by mid-1971 when the U.S. conducted heavy bombing raids on the Ho Chi Minh Trail—a crucial North Vietnamese supply line. In 1972, secret peace negotiations led by Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger took place, and a peace settlement was signed in Paris on Jan. 27, 1973.

By April 9, 1975, Hanoi's troops marched within 40 miles of Saigon, the South's capital. South Vietnam's president Thieu resigned on April 21 and fled. Gen. Duong Van Minh, the new president, surrendered Saigon on April 30, ending a war that claimed the lives of 1.3 million Vietnamese and 58,000 Americans.

Islamic History and Muslims

Islam in Vietnam is primarily the religion of the Cham people, a minority ethnic group related to Malays; however, roughly one-third of the Muslims in Vietnam are of other ethnic groups.

However, there is a community describing themselves of mixed ethnic origins (Cham, Khmer, Malay, Minang, Viet, Chinese and Arab), who practice Islam and are also known as Cham, or Cham Muslims, around the region of Chau Doc in the Southwest.

Uthman, the third Caliph of Islam, sent the first official Muslim envoy to Vietnam and Tang Dynasty China in 650. Seafaring Arab traders are known to have made stops at ports in the Champa Kingdom en route to China very early in the history of Islam; however, the earliest material evidence of the transmission of Islam consists of Song Dynasty-era documents from China which record that the Cham familiarised themselves with Islam in the late 10th and early 11th centuries. The number of followers began to increase as contacts with Sultanate of Malacca broadened in the wake of the 1471 collapse of the Champa Kingdom, but Islam would not become widespread among the Cham until the mid-17th century. In the mid-19th century, many Muslims Chams emigrated from Cambodia and settled in the Mekong River Delta region, further bolstering the presence of Islam in Vietnam. Malayan Islam began to have an increasing influence on the Chams in the early 20th century; religions publications were imported from Malaya, Malay clerics gave khutba (sermons) in mosques in the Malay language, and some Cham people went to Malayan madrasah to further their studies of Islam.

After the 1976 establishment of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, some of the 55,000 Muslim Chams emigrated to Malaysia. 1,750 were also accepted as immigrants by Yemen; most settled in Ta'izz. Those who remained did not suffer violent persecution, although some writers claim that their mosques were closed by the government. In 1981, foreign visitors to Vietnam were still permitted to speak to indigenous Muslims and pray alongside them, and a 1985 account described Ho Chi Minh City's Muslim community as being especially ethnically diverse: aside from Cham people, there were also Indonesians, Malays, Pakistanis, Yemenis, Omanis, and North Africans; their total numbers were roughly 10,000 at the time. However, Vietnam's Muslims remained relatively isolated from the mainstream of world Islam, and their isolation, combined with the lack of religious schools, caused the practice of Islam in Vietnam to become increasingly syncretic. Command of Arabic is not widespread even among religious leaders, and some Muslims are reported to pray to Ali and refer to him as the "Son of God". Vietnam's largest mosque was opened in January 2006 in Xuan Loc, Dong Nai Province; its construction was partially funded by donations from Saudi Arabia.

Vietnam's April 1999 census showed 63,146 Muslims. Over 77% lived in the Southeast Region, with 34% in Ninh Thuan Province, 24% in Binh Thuan Province, and 9% in Ho Chi Minh City; another 22% lived in the Mekong River Delta region, primarily in An Giang Province. Only 1% of Muslims lived in other regions of the country. The number of believers is gender-balanced to within 2% in every area of major concentration except An Giang, where the population of Muslim women is 7.5% larger than the population of Muslim men. This distribution is somewhat changed from that observed in earlier reports. Prior to 1975, almost half of the Muslims in the country lived in the Mekong River Delta, and as late as 1985, the Muslim community in Ho Chi Minh was reported to consist of nearly 10,000 individuals. Of the 54,775 members of the Muslim population over age 5, 13,516, or 25%, were currently attending school, 26,134, or 48%, had attended school in the past, and the remaining 15,121, or 27%, had never attended school, compared to 10% of the general population. This gives Muslims the second-highest rate of school non-attendance out of all religious groups in Vietnam (the highest rate being that for Protestants, at 34%). The school non-attendance rate was 22% for males and 32% for females. Muslims also had one of the lowest rate of university attendance, with less than 1% having attended any institution of higher learning, compared to just under 3% of the general population.

The Ho Chi Minh City Muslim Representative Committee was founded in 1991 with seven members; a similar body was formed in An Giang Province in 2004.

Mosque Saigon, Vietnam

Mosque of Cham people near Chau Doc, An Giang, Vietnam


Bicylist in front of a mosque. Chau Doc, Vietnam

Blue Mosque in Saigon

  Islamic Centers and Organizations

Al Rahim, Ho Chi Minh City

Al-Noor Masjid, Hanoi

Jamiyah Islamic Community of Ho Chi Minh City-VietNam, Ho Chi Minh City
Phone: 848-8444092/8.445031

Bon Mua / Four Season Restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City
Phone: 84-8-8257186

Masjid Jami-ul Islamiyah, Sai Gon, vietnam
Phone: 011-8-372-086

al-muslimin, Phan Rang

Jami-ul Islamiyah, Sai Gon, Vietnam
Phone: 011-8-372-086

Binh Son Masjid or Islah Mesjid, VUNG TAU, Dong nai

Surao Nurul Ehsan Phu Nhuan, Ho Chi Minh City
Phone: 84-918 414 113

Blue rose restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Masjid, An Giang 4
  Al Noor Mosque, Ha Noi
  Al Rahim, Ho Chi Minh City
  Al-Noor Masjid, Hanoi
  Ar-Rohmah Masjid, Vinh Truong
  Binh Son Masjid or Islah Mesjid, VUNG TAU
  Dong Du Mosque, Ho Chi Minh City
  HAIYAT AL ISLAM, Ho Chi Minh City
  Hayat Al Islam, Chau Phong
  Jami-ul Azhar, An Giang (4)
  JAMIA AL ANWAR, Ho Chi Minh City
  Jamia Al Masjid, Ho Chi Minh City
  JAMIA AL MUSLIMIN(Dong Du Mosque), Ho Chi Minh City
  Jamia Al Sa'adah Mesjid, Ho Chi Minh City
  Khoyri Yahx Masjid, Nhon Hoi
  Masjid, Phu Nhuan
  Masjid, Khanh Hoa
  Masjid Al Muslimin, Long Xuyen
  Masjid Al Wusta, Chau Phong
  Masjid Al-Aman, An Giang 4
  Masjid Al-Azhar, Phu Hiep
  Masjid Al-Ehsan, An Giang 4
  Masjid Al-Islam, Long Thanh
  Masjid Al-Mubarak, Phu Hiep
  Masjid Al-Mubarak 102, Ninh Hai
  Masjid Al-Muslimin 101, Ninh Phuoc 1
  Masjid Alsa Adah, Binh Tien
  Masjid An-Noor, Ho Chi Minh City
  Masjid An-Noor 103, Ninh Hai
  Masjid Ar-Rahim, Nam Ky
  Masjid Ar-Rohmah, Ap La Ma
  Masjid Hayatul-Islam, Hoa Hung
  Masjid Jamia Al Mukminin, Vinh Hahn
  Masjid Jamia Al-Anwar, Duong
  Masjid Jamia Al-Muslimin, Binh Thanh
  Masjid Jamiaus Sunna, Da Phuoc
  Masjid Mubarak, The Hien
  Masjid Mukor Romah (Khanh Binh), Khanh Binh
  Masjid Musulman, Ho Chi Minh City
  Masjid Nekma, Chau Phong
  Masjid Niamah 104, Ninh Phuoc 1
  Masjid Niamatul Islamiyah, Thang
  Masjid Noor Al- Islam, Tran
  Masjid Noor Al-Ehsan, Long Khanh
  Masjid Noor Al-Hidayah, Long Khanh
  Masjid Noor Al-Yakin, Long Khanh
  Masjid Noor Din, Nhon Hoi

Masjidil Ihsan, Chau Doc
  Maskinar Rahmah, Chau Phong
  Mesjid Muhammadiyah, Chau Doc
  Niamat Al Islam Mesjid, Ho Chi Minh City
  Noor Al Islam, Chau Phong
  Shariful Islamiah, Chau Phong
  Special Children, Chau Doc
Zumadul Islam, Chau Phong

  Jami-ul Islamiyah, Sai Gon
  Jamiyah Islamic Community of Ho Chi Minh City-VietNam, Ho Chi Minh City
  Masjid Jami-ul Islamiyah, Sai Gon
  Surao Nurul Ehsan Phu Nhuan, Ho Chi Minh City
Teach reciting Al-Quran, Ho Chi Minh City

  mahmudiyah school, Angiang

   Muslim Owned Business

  al-muslimin, Phan Rang
  Ali Baba Restaurant, Vung Tau
  Ali baba restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City
  Amara Hotel Café, Ho Chih Minh city
  As Na Wi السياحة و التجارة في دولة فيتنام, Ho Chi Minh City
  Blue rose restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City
  Bombay Restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City
  Bon Mua / Four Season Restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City
  Bon Mua Four Seasons Restaurant, Ho Chih Minh city
  Cafe in Amara Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City
  Fatima restaurance (Viet-Ahn), Vung Tau
  four season restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City
  Hajjah Basiroh, Ho Chi Minh City
  Kedai Shamsudin, Ho Chi Minh City
  Mach Ly Limited Company, Ho Chi Minh City
  Malaysia in Hanoi (HALAL restaurant ), Hanoi
  Muhammad zen bin yacoop, Ha Noi
  Nisa Restaurant, Ha Noi
  Omar Khayyam's, Hue
  Satay House Restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City
  Sulayman Restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City
  Tandoor Restaurant, Hanoi, Hanoi
  Tandoor Restaurant, Ho Chi Minh city, Hanoi
  محمد زين خدمة السياحة والتجاري للعربي في فيتنام, Ho Chi Minh City
  مطعم شمس الدين لخدمة المسلمين, Ho Chi Minh City
Zamzam (Taj Mahal), Ho Chi Minh City

Islam in Vietnam (  , September, 2008).
Info please (,    September, 2008).
Islam Finder (   , September, 2008).
Anonymous, Documents from Representatives of Islamic Organizations in Vietnam, September 2008.