Islam in Argentina

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King Fahd Islamic Cultural Center, Buenos Aires, the largest mosque in Latin America.

Islam in Argentina is represented by one of Latin America's largest Muslim minorities. Although accurate statistics on religion are not available (because the national census does not solicit religious data) the actual size of Argentina's Muslim community is estimated around 1% of the total population (400,000 to 500,000 members) according to the International Religious Freedom Report 2010.[1] The Pew Research Centre estimates about 1,000,000 Muslims in Argentina in the year 2010.[2] The Association of Religion Data Archives however approximates that 1.9% of the population profess Islam as their faith.[3]

Early Muslim immigration[edit]

There are some indications that the Muslim presence within present day Argentinian territory dates back to the time of the Spanish exploration and conquest. The first mentioned Berber settlers were the 15th century's Moorish-Morisco (Muslims of the Iberian peninsula of Moroccan North African and Spanish descent) who explored the Americas with Spanish explorers, many of them settling in Argentina who were fleeing from persecution in Spain such as the Spanish Inquisition.[4]

However, in the 19th century Argentina saw the first real wave of Arabs to settle within its territory, mostly from Syria and Lebanon. It is estimated that today there are about 3.5 million Argentinians of Arab descent.[5] The majority of these Arab immigrants were Christians and Sephardic Jews, and though accurate information is unavailable, probably less than a quarter of Arab migrants were actually Muslim. The descendants of Arab Jews are more likely to identify themselves as Jewish rather than Arab today. Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim movement first entered the country in 1936.[6]

Islamic institutions in Argentina[edit]

There is a prominent mosque on Alberti St. in Buenos Aires, in the city center, that was built in 1989 by local Argentine Muslims. There are also several mosques in other cities and regions throughout the country.

The King Fahd Islamic Cultural Centre, the largest mosque in South America, was completed in 1996 with the help of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the then King of Saudi Arabia, Fahd, on a piece of land measuring 20,000 m². The total land area granted by the Argentine government measures 34,000 m², and was offered by President Carlos Menem following his visit to Saudi Arabia in 1992. The project cost around US$30 million, and includes a mosque, library, two schools, a park, is located in the middle-class district of Palermo, Buenos Aires.

The Islamic Organization of Latin America (IOLA), headquartered in Argentina, is considered the most active organization in Latin America in promoting Islamic affiliated endeavors. The IOLA holds events to promote the unification of Muslims living in Latin America, as well as the propagation of Islam.

See also[edit]

  • KUSUMO, Fitra Ismu, "ISLAM EN AMÉRICA LATINA Tomo II: Migración Árabe a América Latina y el caso de México (Spanish Edition)" [2]
  • KUSUMO, Fitra Ismu, "ISLAM EN AMÉRICA LATINA Tomo III: El Islam hoy desde América Latina (Spanish Edition)"[3]


External links[edit]