The Virtual Mosque

Conversions threaten Pakistan’s “Macedonian” tribe

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Nestled among the valleys of Pakistan’s mountainous northwest, a tiny religious community that claims descent from Alexander the Great’s army is under increasing pressure from radicals bent on converting them to Islam.

The Kalash, who number just about 3,500 in Pakistan’s population of 180 million, are spread over three valleys along the border with Afghanistan.

For centuries they practiced polytheism and animal sacrifice without interference from members of Pakistan’s Muslim majority.

But now they are under increasing danger from proselytising Muslim militants just across the border, and a hardline interpretation of Islam creeping through mainstream society.

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