10 January 2011

Adding Islam to a Latino Identity

Adding Islam to a Latino Identity by James Estrin (New York Times Lens, 8 January 2011)

[Why Latino Muslims? Why do you think so many are converting?]
Many describe disillusionment with the practices of Catholicism and the church establishment. These Latinos are lured by Islam’s simplicity and the Muslim’s independence from a mediating clergy in his or her relationship with God. Converts are seeking a different identity. Islam provides a moral code of conduct in everyday life, providing them with a more regimented and disciplined lifestyle.

I met women who were affiliated with the North Hudson Islamic Educational Center in Union City, N.J., which has a large Latino Muslim congregation. They have created an extended family for themselves. I was fascinated by the duality of being Latino and Muslim and how religion could bring two disparate cultures together. Most converts were still immersed in their original culture — through food, music and closeness to their families — but had created a Muslim identity through their daily devotion to the religion, modest dress, prayer, preaching and fasting.
Link: Adding Islam to a Latino Identity