An Islamic Romance ethnic group

For reasons not entirely clear to me, I've always been fascinated by the idea of a Romance ethnic group converting to Islam and maintaining said religion, along with their culture and language, to the present. I've experimented several times with means of achieving this in TLs, such as a successful rebellion by Omar ben Hafsún, leading to a Mozarabic/Muladí-led Al-Andalus. But now I'm looking for something different, preferably without Al-Andalus; and, if possible, after the Middle Ages (though this isn't a fully static requirement, just a preference).

Some ideas I've heard or created, and then dismissed for various reasons:
  • Ottoman Italy; a very interesting one, but also fairly difficult to do. Everything would need to go right for the Ottomans, and they'd probably still fail to conquer North Italy directly, instead vassalizing them. It's probably also difficult to convert the Italians with the proximity of the Vatican (even if Rome is in Turkish hands)
  • Muslim Ragusa; seemed like a solid choice, until I did some more digging. It seems that the majority of Ragusa's population was ethnically Slavic, and mainly used Italian/Dalmatian as a second language.
  • Muslim Romania; this would require a direct Ottoman annexation of the Danube Principalities, rather than vassalization, and might still be difficult to do given how staunchly Orthodox the region was to my knowledge.
  • An Aromanian state in Epirus populated by converted Aromanians; this option was very interesting as well, but I'm not sure about it either. The Turks would have to convert the Aromanians, who didn't have much of a national identity until the 19th century and whose main population/cultural centre was sacked by Ali Pasha near the end of the 18th century. Still, it resonates the most with me out of all the ideas I just listed.
Does anyone else have some ideas or methods? They don't need to be ultra-plausible, I'm fine with far-fetched solutions as well. The only thing I'm going to ask for (other than no Al-Andalus and, if possible, preferably after the Middle Ages) is that it involves a Romance ethnic group converting to Islam from Christianity, without assimilation, and not a non-Romance nation simply adopting a Romance language (so e.g. Algerians adopting French as primary language doesn't count, nor does it count if converts culturally become Turks/Arabs and abandon their language). Think of the Crimean Goths converting to Islam over time, but without the whole byproduct of assimilating into the Crimean Turks.

Thanks in advance to everyone who decides to reply/like, I hope you will have a great day :)
Maybe any Romance speaking language group on the Balkans pulling a Bosnian.
Or have the Byzantine Empire convert esrly on when Latin still had been used in Army, administration and court. But thats pretty unrealistic.
Or a Rum Sultanate takes Rome succession very seriously and adopts a Latinized language.
Or a Romance speking Muslim state in Iveria during Midddle Ages.
The only other one i can think of is you greatly weaken the centrality of Arabic in early Islam so that populations don’t arabise before they islamise- then you can get romance speaking North Africa with Islam.

There are of course Islamic mottos on North African coins written in Latin- “non est deus nisi ipse solus cuius socius non est” so as well as a romance speaking Islamic polity, you could get one that uses classical latin as an official language.


Do 19th century colonial north africa count? Say, French and Italians manage to erase Arabic but fail to erase Islam.
Muslim Romania; this would require a direct Ottoman annexation of the Danube Principalities, rather than vassalization, and might still be difficult to do given how staunchly Orthodox the region was to my knowledge.
I think this is much more likely if the conversion is related to the Golden Horde rather than the ottomans- that’s before the emergence of the Romanian principalities and their association with the Orthodox Church. The vlachs were also noted for their more pastoral lifestyle throughout the Balkans so are more natural allies for the horde- so a more successful Mongol incursion into the Balkans or Hungary leads to Romanians becoming associated with the Mongol ruling class, and they then islamise along with the horde. This could potentially mean that Romanian spreads as the language of the western mongols through what otl became the Crimean khanate.

The danger is of course that if the mongols are successful enough in Eastern Europe attract a whole new ethnic group to their ruling class, they’re just as likely to Christianise as islamise.
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It would be interesting to see a timeline where a surviving Roman Empire got islamized
Like I get that a POD preventing christianization and the division of the Empire likely results in Muhammed being butterflied away, but if we were to put a butterfly net over Islam I think a Muslim Rome would be very unique
Also from that Muslim Romanians from the Golden Horde pod, you know what would be really cool?

The Golden Horde fragments into petty khanates, and the one based in Wallachia manages to sweep through the Balkans and take Constantinople, giving you a romance speaking alt ottoman state.
The Golden Horde fragments into petty khanates, and the one based in Wallachia manages to sweep through the Balkans and take Constantinople, giving you a romance speaking alt ottoman state.
How about a unfragmentated Golden Horde taking it?
I know, it'd be overstretched as f
But considering how often the idea of Russia doing it is played around with I'd like to see that
Beside Iberia only options IMO are either surviving Emirate of Sicily or islamised Romania but they seem still really stretched. Sicily would need lot of support of other Arab states and not sure if it is possible. And Romania is really hard place to convert for Ottomans.

Or if OP allows pre-Medieval POD then find way keep Afro-Romance language in North Africa and then they convert to Islam and still keep their language. Only thing is to avoid butterflying Islam away.
There are/were Albanian, Greek and Slavic speaking Muslims in the Balkans, so adding Aromanian/Romanian speakers to the mix should not be particulary difficutl.
I think that excluding Andalus the best case would be for the Sicilian Emirate to survive. The kingdom has most of the checks you want. I'm not very familiar with this emirate. But I think the best solution.
Seconded, although it’s debatable how “Romance” the Emirate was. By the time of the Arab conquest of the island, it’s my understanding most Sicilians in towns were speaking Greek, joined thereafter by Arabic. That shouldn’t stop you, though; the Latinate cultural influence is still great, and if anything more cultural-linguistic influences just makes the scenario more interesting.

Keeping it alive past its historical end presents some issues, but nothing insurmountable. The Sicilian Emirate tended to hitch its fate to larger dynasties in North Africa (Banu Aghlab, Banu Ziri, especially Fatimids), which sometimes came back to bite it. A big part of what made the Emirate vulnerable to the Normans was dynastic infighting between claimants variously supported by the Fatimids, the Zirids, and even the Byzantines—not to mention hostility between the Shi’a ruling family, Sunni commoners, and even more numerous native Christians and Jews. So for the Emirate of Sicily to survive, I would say you have a two main options:

a) The Emirate distances itself politically from all influences and becomes effectively autonomous. This presents its own issues, but best case scenario.

b) The Emirate decisively picks one supporter and this support and political cohesion keeps them afloat through the 12th century. This presents sub-options:

b1) Sicily allies with Zirids. They were Sunnis who controlled Ifriqiya (modern Tunisia), so they were closest in proximity and shared a faith with most Muslims on the island.

b2) Sicily allies with Fatimids. They were Shi’a, like the ruling Kalbi dynasty, and arguably the most powerful of the major Muslim dynasties of North Africa.

b3) WILD CARD Sicily strikes a deal with the Byzantines, becoming culturally autonomous and likely quite materially splendid but also an effective Byzantine protectorate

Just some disorganizes thoughts, hope they are helpful.
Even if Ottomans with some miraclous way get their boots to Italy, it just not become Muslim. Italians were far too Catholics that they just would convert and Ottomans rarely enforced anyone to convert. Greeks, Bulgarians and Serbians are still Christians despite that were centuries under Ottoman rule.
Instead of the Barbary Corsairs raiding Corsica repeatedly, have relatively local success for them there see them turn it into their new foremost home.

Then, turn them either gradually more peaceful or else more indispensable to other nations, and as this new Corsica thrives, it becomes a tolerated Islamic kingdom, with its population still mostly native Corsican, but a society and economy grown from roots in Islam, island isolation, Italian instability and piracy.
Seconded, although it’s debatable how “Romance” the Emirate was.
I mean you need of a revolution or explosion of Shu'ubiyya thought within the Sicilians to maintain romance culture. Which indicates a revolt, the Muslim Sicilians establishing a local dynasty. I would say that, curiously, the muwallads' failure to control the Caliphate of Cordoba was the biggest reason why the kingdom was unable to move forward. Without this, the kingdom was held hostage by the Berbers and what was left of the Arab elite (both a tiny minority). So basically you need a local dynasty, with strong Shu'ubiyya tendencies. Which is difficult if the kingdom is surrounded by Arab dynasties. It is easier to have a Sicilian emirate with Shu'ubiyya tendencies if Cordoba already has this trend.
not to mention hostility between the Shi’a ruling family
I think the Shia would open up the local culture more if the kingdom was surrounded by Arab Sunni dynasties. Trying to cultivate local culture to generate internal coherence improvement and an idea of us against them.
An ottoman Italy might be your best bet, especially one growth and become his own later on
It is too late for this to happen. At that time, the Mediterranean was a European lake with only the Ottomans at their peak being able to compete. Even if for some reason they manage to set foot in southern Italy this would cause a strong reaction from their ally France. As a whole the idea of an Ottoman Italy is more of a fantasy than anything else. I think if you want parts of Italy to be Islamic, the islands like Sicily or Sardinia are more likely, but this depends on a strong Cordoba Caliphate in my opinion. A Mediterranean island that is very easy to become Islamic is Cyprus.
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Okay so OP forbid Al-Andalus so this is a bit cheating but...

If you got an early discovery of the Americas you could have a islamic romance-speaking country there and still have Andalus fall around the same time as OTL, though for that you'd have to make them avoid getting their hands on giant sources of wealth like Mexico, the Caribbean or Peru

So my suggestion would be to have them follow the portuguese route and never atempt something like Columbus did, ending with them settling some areas of the coast of South America but never getting obscene amounts of money to prevent their fall

Thus a TL still without Al-Andalus(as per challenge) but with a New Andalusia here!