Muslim outreach programs reaching Hispanic converts

Photo: Ken Chitwood / Religion News Service

Photo: Ken Chitwood / Religion News Service

SAN ANTONIO — PEARLAND — Carlos Lopez earns money in the U.S. and sends some of it home to his family in Mexico. He also sends pamphlets and testimonies about his new faith.
Last December, Lopez took the “shahada” — the profession of the Islamic faith — joining the ranks of what the American Muslim Council estimates is a 200,000-member Hispanic Muslim community across the United States.

Unlike previous generations of Hispanic Muslims who were attracted to the faith by their own spiritual explorations, Lopez and many others like him are converting as a result of targeted Islamic outreach efforts.

This new form of Islamic “da'wah,” or outreach, aims to translate being Muslim into a Latino cultural and linguistic vernacular.
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“To reach Hispanics, we have to be practical,” said Imam Daniel Abdullah Hernandez, who teaches an “Islam in Spanish” course in Pearland where Lopez converted. “Islam is practical. It's social. It's very easy to translate it into Hispanic culture, and it's even easier to communicate it in the Spanish language.”