Hispanic Muslims


Report: Latino Muslims are Growing in Numbers in USA

  • Latino Muslims and the Moors
  • Reasons for conversion
  • Statistics
  • Organizations
  • See also
  • Notes
  • Further reading
  • External links

Latino Muslims and the Moors

The Moors were the medieval Muslim inhabitants of the northernmost Mediterranean coast of North Africa, who invaded Hispania (modern-day Spain and Portugal) in the 8th century forming what became known as Al-Andalus. They were expelled by reconquering Catholics of the Peninsula in the 15th century through a process called Reconquista, after eight centuries of war.

Though Spain is and was a Christian area before the Islamic invasion, some Latino Muslims argue that the heritage of the Spanish Moors renders their affiliation with Islam a reversion as much as a conversion as some Moors and Moriscos (Christian converted Moors) from Hispania emigrated to the Americas, though the majority were expelled to North Africa.[1] For example, genetic analysis studies reveal that North African and Sephardic inhabitants played a significant role in the development of the genes of modern day inhabitants of Spain. For example, one study "indicates a high mean proportion of ancestry from North African (10.6%) and Sephardic Jewish (19.8%) sources."[2] This North African genetic ancestry originates from Arabs and Berbers, whom the Moors descend from.

Reasons for conversion

In addition to the historical relationship to Spain, Latino Muslims also state other reasons for their conversion to Islam. Latino Muslims also argue that Islamic values harmonize with the traditional values of Latino culture. Converts may, for example, cite such similarities as respect for social solidarity, the family, the importance of religion, and education. [1]

For many Latinos, this aspect of Islam is effective in bridging this void, especially in Latino communities in the US. (Compare the similar role of Pentecostalism in Latino communities.) According to Chris L. Jenkins of the Washington Post, the Catholic Church estimates that up to 100,000 Hispanics or Latinos are abandoning the faith every year.[2]

The Catholic Church's past involvement in the Spanish and Portuguese colonization of Latino America has also stained the religion. Dr. Fathi Osman, resident scholar at the Omar Foundation, says "in their own countries Hispanics did not see the Church supporting the rights of the poor. Rather it sided with the rich and the influential." This, he argues, has contributed to the popularity of Islam within Latinos.[3]


Many Latino Muslims live in various cities within the United States, their numbers estimated to be from between 70,000 and 200,000.[3] The Latino Muslim phenomenon has had a growing presence in states like New York, Illinois, New Jersey and Florida. Since the United States Census Bureau does not provide statistics on religion, statistics are scarce and wide ranging. Some estimates say there are between 15,000 to 50,000 Hispanic Muslims in the United States.[4] According to the Islamic Society of North America there are 40,000 Hispanic Muslims in the United States.[5] The majority of Hispanic converts to Islam are women.[6] Many Hispanic and Latino Muslims also include people with Middle Eastern descent from Latin America.

Persistent anecdotal evidence suggests that Latino Muslim converts face discrimination from their own families, [4] and sometimes from the wider US society.


Many Latino Muslim organizations have been developed. Various Latino Muslim organizations exist including the Latino American Dawah Organization and Alianza Isl�mica. The Alianza Isl�mica is the oldest Latino Muslim organization in the United States. It was founded in 1975 by a group of Puerto Rican Islamic converts. Other Latino Muslim organizations include the Los Angeles Latino Muslim Association (LALMA), Latino Muslims of Chicago, the Latino Muslim Association of the San Fernando Valley (LMASFV), Alameda Islamica: Latino Muslims of the Bay Area, PIEDAD, and the Atlanta Latino Muslim Association (ALMA).

See also


  1. ^ 1.Ol� to Allah, article from and Hispanic Muslims a Growing Presence in America from
  2. Both articles claim the Moors to be the original Spanish ancestors from the Latin Americans.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "More Hispanic Americans are Converting to Islam" - Voice of America,
  5. Steve Mort (Orlando, Florida). Retrieved on 13 February 2007.
  6. ^
  7. "Latinas Choosing Islam over Catholicism" by Rachel Martin.
  8. ^
  9. NPR "Islam and Hispanics" by Shirley Jahad.
  10. ^
  11. "Latinas Choosing Islam over Catholicism" by Rachel Martin.

Further reading

External links