Latino Muslims are part of US Religious Lanscape
By embracing Islam, Hispanics are reclaiming the history of Al-Andalus, stripped from them by slavery and imperialism.
On January 30, Latino Muslim leaders from around the United States gathered in Houston, Texas, for the opening of IslamInSpanish, a spacious, state-of-the-art community centre. As children bounced around in an inflatable castle, hundreds sat under an awning decorated with flags from across Latin America, listening to community elders describe just how historic this occasion was for Latino Muslim history.
"This is a dream come true. Never did I think I would see this happen," said Nahela Morales, the outreach coordinator for the centre, describing how she had moved to different parts of the country looking for a Spanish-speaking Muslim community and had finally settled in Houston.
Rising Islamophobia concerns US Muslims
Speaking in Spanish, English and Arabic, Mujahed (Jaimie) Fletcher, the founder and chief executive of IslamInSpanish, explained how the centre grew out of his own efforts, more than a decade before, to create material on Islam for his Colombian family who wanted to understand the faith that he had embraced as a 22-year old.