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Description of religions


The religion, culture & status of the Roma

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Roma are also known as Gypsies, Rom, Rroma, Romani, Sinti, etc.


The Roma people migrated from north-west India to Persia between 224 and 642 CE. By the 14th and 15th centuries, some had migrated to western Europe. Some came to North America in the 19th and early 20th centuries. There are about 12 million Roma in the world. It is impossible to estimate the total population with accuracy since many governments do not record Roma in their census figures. Also, many Roma conceal their ethnic origin out of fear of discrimination.

They are very heavily persecuted, particularly in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. According to Amnesty International, of the ten million Roma living in Europe, almost 80% live in European Union states. "The Roma population is the poorest and one of the fastest growing in the region, living predominantly on the margins of society. Roma are one of the largest ethnic minority groups in Europe." 1

Topics covered in this section:

bullet History, names, and persecution in past centuries
bullet Recent persecution of the Roma:
bullet Part 1
bullet Part 2
bullet Beliefs and practices
bullet Recent news in the media and human rights reports on oppression:
bullet 2007 & 2008
bullet 2009

A Roma blog:

Pesha Tshaya maintains her "Peshas Gypsy gital blog" in English and French at:

Reference used:

  1. Amnesty International, "Document - Europe: Discrimination against Roma," 2007-OCT-25, at:

Copyright 1998 to 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 1998-JUL
Latest update: 2009-AUG-29
Author: B.A. Robinson

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