Houston's Hispanic imam bridges cultures

By Ken Chitwood Updated 5:01 pm, Thursday, July 5, 2012

Working with Mujahid Fletcher, another Hispanic convert from Houston, the pair now produce Spanish-language videos, audio files and literature to educate Latinos about Islam. Their website is called IslamInSpanish.org.

Manuel Morales, a Hispanic house church planter in the Fifth Ward, said he is concerned about such similarities and the appeal that Islam has for Latinos. He worries that some may not fully understand the differences between Christian and Muslim faiths - believing they are more alike than they actually are.

"There are familiar names like Jesus and Mary, so it is easy for some Latinos to think that Islam and Christianity are one and the same," Morales said.

Though Parada notes the differences between Islam and Christianity, specifically the fact that to Muslims Jesus is purely a prophet and teacher, not the "Son of God" or "Savior" as in the Christian faith, he believes that Islam is a completion of everything he learned growing up as a Roman Catholic altar boy. He said, "Isa is my name; it means Jesus. I still respect and represent him. I still follow Jesus, but now I follow his full teachings."