Why Latinos Are Converting to Islam

Why Latinos Are Converting to Islam

I had a friend a guy who I used to work with you know at a real estate company and he was like hey man can I ask you a question you won’t get offended none is it true in your religion part of your religion is like taking your life like you know like like blowing yourself up so I was like if that were the case we wouldn’t be here we be all over the place you know Islam’s the fastest-growing religion in the world and it is the most misunderstood terrorism is not so Islam these types of X are not you know from this religion and that’s when I really started getting an idea what is Islam how deep it was and it wasn’t what the media was portraying when you embrace Islam it’s like this way that you have has been lifted are you in breed for the first time yeah you just feel like why are Latinos converting in your opinion the statistics suggest that the Latino segment of the overall Muslim population is the fastest-growing they’re leaving cultural Catholicism they don’t really understand what they’re leaving thank you my dear how large is this movement it’s got to be at least 250,000 Wow but it’s growing what Mexico sends its people they’re not sending their best with all the racism and the xenophobia happening where are the Catholic Christian leaders in this country really taking the strong stand on that a lot of Latinos are saying maybe Islam is offering something that for sanity doesn’t offer I’m worried absolutely I’m worried Islamic culture is extremely different [Music] inside America’s Islamic community one of the fastest growing populations is Latino and the epicenter of that movement is here in Houston Texas home to not only one of the largest Latino communities but also one of America’s largest Muslim communities just 350 miles away from the Mexican American border during one of the worst deportation crises in recent history and less than a year from the Muslim ban we got to go and we got to knock the out of these people [Applause] I’ve come here to meet Jaime I mean yeah Lee the founder of America’s first Islam and Spanish Center to find out why two of America’s most discriminated groups are actually coming together whatever people come in we let them know that look it’s not a traditional mosque we’re the only producers in the world producing material in the Spanish language and distributing it you know at the mass level people come through the center today I’m here thinking in the ways that the media has portrayed Muslims most of their believing the things that the media is portrayed about most most definitely in fact that’s the default when people come in here before coming in here we know they have preconceived notions you know if I didn’t know Chinese people and on the media says Chinese people kill people who are not Chinese I wouldn’t want to Chinese neighbor right you know it’s just common sense that’s the reason why we built this place yeah getting rid of some of these misconceptions then they start thinking you know why don’t I know this stuff [Music] I’m a what brought you to Islam you know I grew up in Houston and when I came here I was eight years old all I knew was Colombia and Venezuela I previously lived there so I’m one of those immigrant youth that came to America my parents wanted for me to have a better future when I got here I realized that the culture here was a bit different than what my parents expected and we were having a lot of issues in regards to gangs popping up in the environment and there was some trouble times where unfortunately I saw some of my friends get killed people getting strung out on drugs and it was a survival mode I look for answers and I looked at so many different religions and someone who gave me the quarter and I began to read it and the more I read it the more life made sense my mother thought I was brainwashed when I became Muslim because I stopped drinking alcohol going out you know the girls all the stuff that I had easily I let go of it and it was great that I did it at the time I did it because few months later a lot of my friends got caught and some stuff that put them in trouble and I’m like man that choice of me accepted Islam saved me from that America is not the most kind place to Latino immigrants right now so why would you subject yourself to being that double minority I don’t think being a Muslim and being Latino is putting me in a position of weakness it actually puts me in a position of strength I have to be the best Latino I could be now you got to be the best Muslim while Latinos are the fastest-growing population within Islam very little research has gone into discovering why so I’m heading the rice university to meet with professor Considine a religious studies expert to gain clarity on why so many Latinos are becoming Muslim during such a critical and divisive time in America why is it that Latinos are seeking out Islam does it have anything to do with the common experience between Muslims and Latinos in this country absolutely especially after the election in 2016 where a lot of these people felt purged when Mexico sends its people they’re not sending their they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us they’re bringing drugs they’re bringing crime they’re rapists a lot of Latinos are recognizing that not being white in this country comes with certain barriers Latinos might also be thinking Muslims generally speaking they faced similar obstacles with all the racism and the xenophobia happening from the top of the government just a five-year ban to an everyday existence on the street who knows what they’re gonna bring it in this country we’re gonna bombs Isis what they need to go I think a lot of people are seeing Islam and the Islamic tradition in general as being more tolerant of race people have to recognize you know one of the most racially diverse religions in the world is Islam we stand in opposition to them how large is this movement the statistics suggest that it’s got to be at least 250,000 Latin Muslims in this country Wow but it’s growing this is the future of America Houston is a microcosm of the future of America it’s the Browning of America you know they say by 2050 you white people are not gonna be the majority hangul 34 percent of the American Catholic population is Latino mainly immigrants and many of those converting to Islam are coming out of this community so I sat down with a group of members from st. Cyril’s Catholic Church in Houston to get their thoughts on the Latino Christian move to embrace Islam what has been your experience with the number of converts moving from Catholicism to Islam within the Latino community so it’s a very complicated issue actually rights it’s multifaceted but there’s also a concerted effort by the Muslim community to reach out to Latino communities I think it’s no secret especially in the climate that we have now and this has been an issue for years with immigration especially when you look at the disenfranchisement of people’s right and that’s what we’re seeing in the immigration stay I’m and they turn to something and of course I think the Islamic community something that I think that they target and they look for thank you look at the rise of Islam within Arab or parts of on Middle East where do you see its greatest growth is the same place you see its greatest extremism but you do feel as though they may like placate to this demographic or have a do I think it’s a I think it is a it’s a concerted effort I do but I’m worried real worried absolutely I’m worried I’m worried from an anthropological standpoint Islamic culture is extremely different we see what’s happened in Europe we see what’s happening in England how do you think they’ll be received by the larger American community skepticism I would say very skeptical very skeptical you know anyone who says that we target disenfranchised individuals they don’t know us people who talk like this they have any Letus mentality possibly how are we targeting we’re not targeting disenfranchised people we’re on digital media saloons this so this is the brain man of the whole operation right here we reached 14 million people just in a month in Ramadan Wow sometimes there’s some attacks you know and they come due to some bias sometimes and people have some agendas this is our podcast station right here I mean had you had to contend with Islamophobia or racism because you’re a Latino you know when I became Muslim it was three months before September 11 I was one of the few Spanish speakers in the community and so the Muslim community asked me to speak in front of the media Univision Telemundo to explain about why Islam was not what people were thinking just happened over there you know with the team’s Twin Towers you know that some Colombians for drugs doesn’t make me a drug dealer because I’m from Colombia that some Muslim goes in commits a you know a wrong act of violence shouldn’t make me feel bad about being Muslim friends and family that were so emotionally charged regarding what happened over there in New York that they were like how could you write be part of that is that the case for most Latinos converting the family is the first shock yeah we’re in the north side of Houston about 45 minutes from the Islam and Spanish Center we’re gonna go meet up with Raul Raul is a daca dreamer from Mexico that converted to Islam in 2011 at the age of 19 and has since become an active member of the Islam and Spanish center but like many Latino converts Raul’s family disowned him for becoming a Muslim I was in high school I was not doing so good spiritually you know I was going through a depression also like I’m under daca as well at the time I didn’t have papers so you know I’m getting paid you know like five bucks to to to wash the dishes and our and stuff like that a lot of people take advantage of immigrants and that’s when I really started getting an idea of what with what is Islam and how deep it was and how it wasn’t what the media was portraying and what’s what literally cured my depression are you concerned at all being a docker dreamer and now being Muslim oh man it’s like a double whammy for me yeah and with Trump I’m just I won I’m lucky no I’m – I’m Muslim and she does anyone get attacked from all sides I’m you know long or even huh me that [Music] basically my mom found out that was funny in Islam and she pretty much kicked me out of the house and the moment closed out she said I was joining a terrorist organization a cult and they were training me to kill at the time like also I stopped being important so my mom was just like when I fed you beans I would put pork on there on purpose he’s playing straight-up objection [Music] I remember eventually my mom started coming into the community seeing the rest of the people there really all these people would come up to my mom’s like hey do you know your son’s like going out there feeding the homeless being a good member of the community and stuff like that all they steamed them all on comes up to me she’s like how come he didn’t tell me you did all these things he never asked you weren’t interested in tell me I believed them seeing how much change aslam had in me it’s like when you started seeing this like okay this isn’t necessary for back in Michigan he’s still all and if anything he’s becoming a better person my mom accepted Islam just a few months ago and sent three slamming Rivera when she did well yeah most definitely she decided to do out on her own and and it was very very mind blowing you say ton difficile I mean falafel be here okay you’re a chef Kenobi must serve this family camp ya que estoy the next day my mom told me that she hasn’t felt that much peace in years his LOM it changes everything we’ve heard from a number of conference that we spoken to that there was an immediate rejection within their family to their conversion and I’m curious if you can comment on that why members of the Latino community are so resistant to their own neighbor his sons daughters wives and husbands converting the Islam in one word ignorance its lack of education its misinformation right so this is part of the hangover from 9/11 a lot of people in this country who are not Muslim have certain ideas which are steeped in stereotypes so they see Islam as oppressing women they see Islam as being backward they see Islam in association with Isis and al Qaeda and violence all things which can be factually disproven if we just look at the reality [Music] today’s the Muslim holiday of Eid and for a number of the members of the Islam and Spanish Center this is going to be their first major Islamic holiday so we’re gonna go inside and meet some of the members of this community and find out what this transition has been like did you guys have any misconceptions about Islam or about Muslims before you became Muslim yes my family makes jokes my brothers mostly they’re like oh you’re going to the Masjid oh they’re teaching you to make bombs or something I’m like no terrorism is not so Islam these types of acts are not you know from this religion what I knew before when I became a Muslim to now there’s so many different how has Islam impacted your cultural identity I’m still we still have our culture we still have our language and everything’s you know I’m still Mexican I still like the same food I still eat all of y’all so then I just you know my faith has changed one of the things that I think that we’re gonna see at some point is probably a backlash into the fact that in the Islamic communities when you grow up with that you grow up with Sharia law there’s a Sharia law you mean like separation of gender is things like separation of genders some of the things you know they even brought that out well how you know why would women go to such what they seem as they more oppressive one of the interesting things is that reading some of these young women is they love where in the Hajj ah what does it represent it represents modesty and a sense of purity it is what I feel like is they feel like when they go to Islam they’re hitting the reset button really and this is something that that Islam does do in this it’s sort of a demonizing of white culture so do you think that conversion is a misguided decision I do I do I think it’s a lack of understanding what they’re leading is there something that Islam has to offer the Latino community that maybe Catholicism or Judaism or just like another religion doesn’t the core principle that is so enticing of Islam that you have a very personal relationship with God without any intermediaries there is nothing between you and God you know traditional ways of teaching religion has been because I said so right because my father did some but when you look at Islam you’re encouraged to ask questions in order to meet doubt many of us came to the United States from immigrant parents how many youth came to America and lost our way how many of us lives because of the choices that were made how can someone look living as a Muslim as a minority in America right now and look at what’s being said in the mainstream but what they’re saying the little way they’re talking about what’s little what they think how many of us put ourselves in that situation is that well victimized mentality or how many of us look at these circumstances and say you know what these are just challenges in life I’m gonna head forward and I’m gonna deal with this in the best of ways America at its foundation is a land of religious freedom and it’s a country that was built by immigrants but in today’s political climate Muslims seeking religious acceptance are being discriminated against just like the immigrants seeking a new home [Music] ironically this intolerance and oppression has brought these groups together and from that shared trauma a supportive and accepting community is growing [Music]

41 Comments

  1. I’ve never been discriminated by Islamic people, but been discriminated by white people a shitload of times. America tells me the Muslims are my enemies, but white people have done way more harm to me. Welcome Islam to our Latin communities!

  2. I wouldn’t be opposed to Islam, people converting or following Islam, or Muslim immigration, if it wasn’t for the fact that in almost all of the countries where Islam is dominant you see less individual freedom. I’m sure many will argue there is less alcoholism, gambling, etc., and that “Islam is freedom…”. But even still, I’d rather have less Islam with more individual freedom and possibly higher crime/vices, than Islam with possibly less crime/vices and certainly less freedom.

  3. Jesus Christ is The Way of GOD . Jesus is God Flesh . Im ex catholic and a Christian , islam is a bad religion muhamad was not a prophet

  4. I'm a Catholic and people are leaving the Catholic Church because they don't know how to communicate with the people. Also, it doesn't help when priests are raping little kids everyday on the news

  5. Catholic church is boring and it's just the priest reciting the same thing every week. I could read those things on my own. Also, there's no sense of community in many churches. People come and sit with their families and leave without even saying hi to the person sitting next to them. Bunch of phony people an priests who think they are perfect.

  6. LOL parents want him to have a better future in a world that has given him EVERYTHING . and now hes taken the side of the enemy !.. brilliant

  7. People on the periphery of the world become Muslims and we here in the Middle East in Iraq are particularly inclined to atheism. ?

  8. To my Mexicans. No le hagan el favor!!! Juntémonos como mexicanos, no se junten como pendejos para sentirse seguros! Por favor, hay maneras mejores! Buena suerte amigos, si se puede

  9. only latinos who convert to Muslim are the ones in jail. because they blame the government for their bad choices!!!!!! and Muslim in jail preach that!!!

  10. They are living latin culture, not christian culture. Christianity has nothing to do with these latin America butt culture. As a result of this confusion, they seek a more "decent" life, and here it comes the conservative islam

  11. I still know nothing about Islam. This video told me nothing about the religion, or how Latinos' values are in line with Islamic values.

  12. This religion is not for black folks,
    These guys enslaved us for 1400 yrs before the Atlantic slave trade of the Europeans, black folks do some research and get the facts rights, this is not our place ,we had our religion before islam pls dont be fooled by numbers.
    Islamic culture is certainly arab culture,the quran sanctioned slavery.i speak for my group.

  13. When americans talk about human rights in Hong Kong, China, muslims in America don't get the rights they deserve. Shame on you

  14. Lots of Mexican’s Spanish ancestry are Sephardic Jews that look like Murray Perahia and Giorgio de Chirico. That's why Mexican music like by the Rondalla Tapatia sounds so Greeky. My dad’s side looks like that. My mom’s side looks “Arab”/Berber or like Rocio Durcal and Lila Borsali.

  15. If a Mexican wants some model Muslim population to reference then they’d likely match with the people of Uzbekistan, so the people in a Hulkar Abdullayeva music video because Mexicans are mostly mestizo and native Americans are closer to Turkic people, just pretend the Russian is Spanish.

  16. WHY MAKE THIS A COLOUR ISSUE RACIAL ISSUE INSTEAD OF EMPHASIZING THE HUMANITY ISSUE AS IN ONE HUMANITY UNDER GOD ???

  17. It is true latinos and middle eastern people are very misunderstood. They seem happy and are doing no harm. Who are we to judge. I know a Jewish girl who is with a Muslim Palestinian and are still together but sad the family won't accept him when he is a nice guy. As people we should learn to love. We all bleed the same color and breathe the same air. Just sad this world we live in

  18. I'm Chicano and I practice Islam but I have not forgotten my Catholic catechism. I still take the Holy Sacraments of the Catholic Church. My heart beat Adonai Tzevaot when i seen this! The Catholics had to come first to convert the Native American Indian. They were not going to bow down to a strange desert God but when the Natives saw the funeral pyre of the Spanish Conquistadors bearing the cross of Jesus Christ a lot of them converted to Christianity. Now can the indigenous people of the Americas accept Islam fully. The God Eternal requires that which is past. Praise the Lord God the Lord God of the Logos you philistines! Even Muhammad kept a picture of the Virgin Mary. What did the Knights Templar really know? Is it that Islam is the true religion? But the time was not yet the Christians still had to convert the Native American. Yet, in due season hopefully God will open his hand and the Catholic Church will accept the Holy Quran and Islam. The time is near and even at the doors. May the name Jehovah-Ali be exalted because we are at a crossroads and the crossroads desire Chivalry. Jehovah-Ali is the Greatest! Yet, the book of Psalms came from the Muslims to King David. How many of you have read the book of Psalms? Even the Psalms say Jesus is a Priest after the order of Melchisedec. Who among you say God can't make a priest cast the first stone.

  19. Seeing people embracing the medieval religion that is islam is so sad… no gender equality, submission and following the phedophile Muhammed…

  20. I am a Hispanic and proud of it but I would never revert or convert to a cult like Islam. Their stupid hadith of women being brainless was proved wrong by Spains Queen Isabella Trastamara. She was the one that the Moors or Muslims respected in battle. Her brilliant genius paid for Columbus voyage, made Spain a world power and saved Europe from the Moors or Muslims. You all need to see the Masked Arabs videos. Taqiyya is the best way to revert people. Read Isabella the Warrior Queen by Kirsten Downey and it will open up Latino eyes. Europe will be Muslim by 2020. The Moors have never assimilated and they never will. Look at the videos on you tube if you doubt me. The Moors have a higher birth rate. Once you revert or convert you can never leave. I'll bet the Moors didn't tell you that????

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