Abstract and Keywords
New religious movements have emerged in Muslim society that have developed separate traditions and communities of their own, often with a global expanse. Sparked by a complex combination of factors, including the spread of European colonial rule, proselytizing by Christian missionaries, and growing trends toward Westernization, Muslim activists sought a revitalization of Islam and Muslim societies through programs of religious and social reform. In some instances, the reformers perceived themselves to be messianic individuals on a divinely sanctioned mission to herald a new Islamic millennium. Among these reformers, Bahaullah of Iran and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of India are of particular significance, for their teachings led to the emergence of the two most highly controversial movements in modern Islamic history, the Bahai and Ahmadiyya movements. Subject to intense persecution in their homelands, the Bahais and the Ahmadis began to propagate their beliefs on a global basis, particularly in regions such as North America and Europe that did not traditionally have significant Muslim populations.
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