Many years ago, I had the honor to meet Imam Yahya of CENTRO
ISLAMICO DEL ECUADO in Spanish Muslims conference in Dallas. . May Allah
SWT bless his efforts in Dawah in Ecuador. He provided me with many
articles in this section.
Link could not be ound
Diversidad de cultos en Ecuador
Thirty to fifty centuries ago, the native Ecuadorian Indian cultures were known
as: "Chordeleg, Machalilla and Chorrera" they were to believe sun worshippers.
Their Indian chief was to believe sent by their "Sun god". They practiced
religious ceremonies offering young virgin women for sacrifice as sign of
thankfulness for the goods harvesting.
Indian tribes believed in physical resurrection after dead. Therefore, they used
to be buried with lots of food, drinks, spears, gold, ect. to survive for a big
journey they thought they were going to face after death.
Later on , the Inca Empire that conquered the southern tribes of Ecuador, used
to have almost the same practices and beliefs.
When Spaniards came to conquer the new Continent, the change was not that big,
because they only switch the "sun god" for the pathetic statue of the "Son of
God", half necked on the cross. Idol for idol replacing (sun god for son of god)
of course, not any big change!. The Theology of god rendered by the Catholic
conquerors showed the classic naive primitive mind as the people of "Dunia", who
only believe what is in front of their eyes.
The Inca king, named "Atahualpa" was burned alive because he rejected the
Christianity. It is well known the passage when He threw the Bible to the
ground, due to Spaniards wanted to force him to believe in it as the "word of
God". This was the cause to dictate his execution as a blasphemer.
Ever since then (around five hundred years ago), Roman Christian Catholic
religion is the predominant and official religion in Ecuadorian land.
A little bit over a hundred years ago, Christian Protestants from the Evangelic
sect are working in Ecuador. They are to believe the second largest religious
group after Catholics.
Adventists, Mormons, Gnostics, Anglicans, Bahais and some other Protestant sects
and cults are working hard in the last two to three decades bringing people to
their own sides.
Philosophies from India and Far East were seeking followers about twenty to
thirty years ago.
Jews had no visible head until 2001 were someone was appointed from the
Argentinian jewish community.
BRIEF HISTORY ABOUT MUSLIMS IN ECUADOR.
The first Muslims settlers were primarily Arabs from what is known to us now as
Lebanon, Palestine, Syria (Bilad Sham) and Egypt.
They emigrated to Ecuador by the same reasons they came to the rest of the Latin
world, escaping from World War I and II. These Arab Muslims entered to these
lands under Turk passports from the Ottoman Empire; therefore these first Arab
Muslims were known as "Turks".
The settlements were basically in the Capital city Quito, also in Guayaquil the
largest seaport by the Pacific Ocean. However, some went to the coast side by
Manab?, Los Rios and Esmeraldas provinces..
Ecuador's peace environment attracted them very much. Family wise oriented
society of these new Continent perhaps reminded them home Arab societies.
The big majority of these first Muslims were traders. Ecuadorian economy at the
beginning of the century was most likely based on interchanging products.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the first two to three decades were very
rough for the settlers. They used to walk long distances, following the post
service done at that time on the back of mules, trying to reach the nearest
village to start up business.
These first Muslims settlers now in Latin America experienced different type of
customs, fashion and food. They had to exchange their "Tamar" (dates), "maiy
zahar" (rose water), "falafel" (mashed fried peas), "basbusa and baklawa"
(laborious sweets) for banana, panela (dark sugar cane), agua arom?tica (herb
water), and pinol (wheat flour).
MUSLIM IDENTITY AND FAMILY
Due to these Muslims came seeking the "dunia", worldy life and their religious
background was very poor, the Muslim identity melted very easily with the strong
predominant Roman Christian Catholic religion.
Few of them brought later on their own spouses from their motherlands. The
majority got married in the new world with native women.
Among these pioneers Arab Muslims settlers were Dassum family, Soloh family,
Shayyeb, A'riz, Becdach, Jairala, Elmer families and others.
Unfortunately some Muslim descendants had to take Christianity as their only
option in religion, just few Muslim families could sent their children to Muslim
countries, to get Arabic and Islamic education. Inshallah Allah will pay their
GROUPING & ORGANIZING
By the late forties Arab Christians and Muslims were grouping on the same
ethnical background bases. "Lecla" was the name of their first organization.
Nothing about religion was touch dawn.
Another social organization came out by the mid eighties. They were "The Arab
By mid eighties, migrating trends were going on in Ecuador. Around twenty men
from Egypt were trying to reach United States ports at any price. Their
dishonest travel agents were using Ecuador as pass by point to aim their goal in
the States. Lather on, almost all of them left Ecuador except a few, who decided
to search for the life living in this country.
A minor Indian Pakistani migration took place by the beginning of the nineties.
Many of them have already reached their migratory goals in U.S.A. or Canadian
In religious matters, they left almost no tracks to follow.
By late nineties Ecuador was experiencing Muslim migration, mainly from West
African Countries (Liberia, Nigeria, Ghana.) whose internal disruptions led them
to search a place to live.
LOCAL ECUADOREAN RE-CONVERTED PIONEERS
By the mid eighties there were a handful of local native Ecuadorian people who
embraced Islam overseas. They never heard the word Islam in their own Ecuador.
They were highly influenced by pious Muslims while doing University studies in
Europe and United States. They realized that all the teaching of Islam are
harmoniously working, bringing peace and logic they never found in Christian
teachings. They were highly enthusiastic propagators, but swing against current
was not easy.
By middle nineties there were more Ecuadorians who embraced Islam. Today every
single friday, there is at less one "Shahada" that takes place Alhamdulilah!.
This trend was not easy due to criticisms, and some times rejection, coming even
from inside their own blood relatives.
According to a rough estimation, our Muslim population in the whole country is
around five hundred people.
The first masjid attempting was done from a handful of Muslims who decided to
rent an apartment to used as a "Mussala" on "Salat Aljumuah". Lather on the
Egyptian Embassy facilitated an apartment for the same purpose, but could not
stay for long.
The second attempting was done on October 1988. A social organization was
founded with the purpose of being a masjid, they are: Asociacion Cultural Khaled
bin Al Walid.
THE CENTRO ISl�MICO DEL ECUADOR - MASJID " ASSALAAM"
( Verily, mosque whose foundation was laid from the first day on piety is more
worthy that you stand therein (to pray) Qur'an 9:108.
This is the first Muslim religious organization credited as such by the
The Centro Isl?mico del Ecuador is a non-profit organization founded by the
Grace and Mercy of ALLAH SWT on October 15, 1994.
The religious activities, as well as social, cultural and educational are
conducted according to Muslim Sunni Traditions.
This Center alhamdulilah is organized in various committees to attend the needs
of the Muslims and it has no financial support from any foreign Country.
(Let there be among you a community who invite unto all that is good, enjoing
what is right, and forbid what is wrong.) Qur'an - Al Imran 3:104
Native Ecuadorian Muslimas are a little bit over 50% of the entire Muslim
Their understanding an attachment to Islam is reflected in the Islamic dress
code, almost all of them are using hijab and long dresses on daily bases.
They constitute an example of a well organize group with their own committee
that holds religious classes.
The Center is translating and publishing into Spanish language some topics of
Islamic literature such as:
-Introducing Islam to non-Muslims -comparative religion studies. -Sunni Islamic
There are already translated into Spanish five books:
1) What the Bible says about Muhammad? by Ahmad Deedat. 2)Understanding Muslims
and Islam. 3) Tawheed by Ibrahim Hussein. 4) Muslim Christian Dialogue by Dr.
H.Baagil. 5) The truth about Jesus by Wamy.
The Center has lately published and printed fourteen different themes in
pamphlet forms, they are: (all them in Spanish) 1) Islam at glance, 2) Mount
Arafat Sermon, 3) Do you know that...(the Pope at the time of our Prophet
Muhammad SAAWS, embraced Islam?) 4) General aspects about fasting in Ramadan
5)Misconceptions about Jihad. 6) Danger in dancing. 7) Is Jesus really god?. 8)
You should know about this great man (Prophet Muhammad SAAWS). 9) Who invented
the trinity? 10) What is Islam?. 11) Islamic Fundamentalism?. 12) what Islam is
not about. 13)Muhammad in the Bible.14) Fire in your stomachs (about alcohol).
15) According to the Bible jews have no right on Palestinian land.
Alhamdulilah the Center is able to hold:
Friday Khotaba, marriages, tarawee, salat ul Eidain and salat ul Janaza.
The Islamic Center of Ecuador sends annually its religious representative to the
Latin Muslims Leaders gathering that usually takes place in Argentina.
After September 2001 the increase of presentations and contacts has increased a
great deal. Dawah work is going on through presentations on Auditoriums,
Universities, schools, radio news papers, magazines and TV. There is no reason
for not working openly in Da'wa, since the constitution stands for freedom of
thought, as well as freedom of religion.
1) The Center just finished last Ramadan 1422 H. the project of widening and
enlarging the masjid
2) A Muslim school and a cemetery is an urgent need for the community.
SHARING STRATEGIES IN DAWAA' WORK.
The following could be good strategies to work out with the Islamic Centres in
the neighbouring countries.
- Preparing Spanish speaking Daiyas (propagators) in various areas, such as
comparative Religion, Islamic leadership.
- Sending brothers and sisters overseas to get educated in Islamic Universities.
- Encourage the rest of brothers and sisters to get register in open Islamic
- Advise Muslim world organizations about the culture and the way to approach
- Muslim Camps to invite our counterparts in South America.
WE ASK ALLAH SWT. TO FORGIVE ALL THE BELIEVERS AND TO
BESTOW HIS PEACE AND PRAISE UPON OUR PROPHET MUHAMMAD.
Yours in Islam: Yahya Juan Suquillo. Director of Propagation.