Hispanic and Latino American Muslims

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Hispanic and Latino American Muslims are Hispanic and Latino Americans who are of the Islamic faith. Hispanic and Latino Americans are an ethnolinguistic group of citizens of the United States with origins in the countries of Latin America or the Iberian peninsula. Islam is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion articulated by the Qur'an and by the Sunnah and of Muhammad, who is believed to be a messenger to Muslims. The Spaniards took the Roman Catholic faith to Latin America, and Roman Catholicism continues to be the largest, but not the only, religious denomination amongst most Hispanics.

Reasons for conversion[edit]

As true with other religious converts, Latinos convert to Islam primarily due to their newfound belief in the teachings of Islam. For Muslims, this consists of acceptance in the belief of tawhid, which is Islamic monotheism, and a belief that Muhammad is a messenger of God. This is the basis of the shahada, or declaration of faith.[1] Many publications have quoted Latino Muslims about their decision to embrace Islam.[2]

For example, Latinos have argued that Islamic values harmonize with the traditional values of Latino culture. Converts have cited such similarities as respect for social solidarity, the family, the importance of religion, and education.[3]

Many Latino Muslims had difficulty with the church, believing in original sin, and in the Holy Trinity. Islam solves the problems many Latinos have with the Catholic Church. Dr. Fathi Osman, resident scholar at the Omar Foundation, says "in their own countries Hispanics did not see the Church supporting the rights of the poor. Rather it sided with the rich and the influential." This, he argues, has contributed to some Latinos converting to Islam.[4]

Citing the Islamic heritage in Hispanic history, dating back to the classical Islamic period in Spain, many Latino Muslims claim conversion to Islam as a return to their true heritage. Muslim Moors ruled Spain for seven centuries starting in 711. [5]

Statistics and demographics[edit]

The terms Latino and Hispanic denote an ethnicity, not a race. Many Latino Muslims live in various cities within the United States, their numbers estimated to be between 70,000 and 200,000.[6] Conversion has had a growing presence in states like New York, Illinois, New Jersey and Florida. Since the United States Census Bureau does not provide statistics on religion, statistics are scarce and wide ranging. Some estimates say there are between 15,000 to 50,000 Hispanic Muslims in the United States.[7] In 2002 the Islamic Society of North America stated that there were 40,000 Hispanic Muslims in the United States.[7] The population of Hispanic Muslims has increased 30 percent to some 200,000 since 1999, estimates Ali Khan, national director of the American Muslim Council in Chicago.[8] The majority of Hispanic converts to Islam are women.[7] Hispanic and Latino Muslims also include people with Middle Eastern descent from Latin America.[citation needed]

Latino Muslim communities have created support systems, both physically and virtually, through the presence of small masjids and online sites that provide support systems for Latino Muslims, including www.HispanicMuslims.com, www.Latinodawah.org, and www.piedadonline.com.[9]

Organizations[edit]

Latino Muslim organizations include the Latino American Dawah Organization and Alianza Islámica. The Alianza Islámica is the oldest Latino Muslim organization in the United States. It was founded in 1975 by a group of Puerto Rican Islamic converts. Other Latino Muslim organizations include the La Asociación Latino Musulmana de América (LALMA), Latino Muslims of Chicago, the Latino Muslim Association of the San Fernando Valley (LMASFV), Alameda Islamica: Latino Muslims of the Bay Area, PIEDAD, the Atlanta Latino Muslim Association (ALMA), and IslamInSpanish.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Shahada: Confession of Faith". Religionfacts.com. Retrieved 6 April 2014. 
  2. ^ http://hispanicmuslims.com/articles
  3. ^ http://hispanicmuslims.com
  4. ^ Viscidi, Lisa (June 2003). "Latino Muslims a Growing Presence in America". Washington Report on Middle East Affairs: 56, 58. Retrieved November 21, 2013. 
  5. ^ Viscidi, Lisa (June 2003). "Latino Muslims a Growing Presence in America". Washington Report on Middle East Affairs: 56, 58. Retrieved November 21, 2013. 
  6. ^ "More Hispanic Americans are Converting to Islam" - Voice of America, Steve Mort (Orlando, Florida). Retrieved on 13 February 2007.
  7. ^ a b c http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6133579 "Latinas Choosing Islam over Catholicism" by Rachel Martin.
  8. ^ Green, Amy. "More US Hispanics drawn to Islam". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 6 April 2014. 
  9. ^ Dotson-Renta, Lara N. "Latino Muslims in the United States After 9/11: The Triple Bind". Muftah. Retrieved 6 April 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]