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Number of Mexicans converting to Islam rises

Source : Agencies | 22 Apr 2013

Against the backdrop of the ongoing violent gang wars in Tijuana, a city on the Mexican-US border, conversions to Islam are rapidly increasing among the local residents.

Statistics gathered by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life suggest that there were about 110,000 Muslims in Mexico in 2009.

As the number of mosques has increased to two with the rise in the Muslim population, the newly built Islam Mosque has become a place where believers can worship and engage as a social community.

The community of the 2 year old mosque is predicted to be around 200 believers.

The congregation consists of members from several countries, such as India, Costa Rica, Caribbean countries, and Mexico and the United States.

In an interview with the University of San Diego’s KPBS public broadcasting station, a regular of the mosque named Amirr Carr stated, “Islam has changed my life, I was formerly a member of street gangs. I was a courier would, and one day I got shot with a gun and have been confined to a wheelchair. I sat down and listened for the first time in my life, and listening to Islam really changed my life.”

Originally born in California, Amirr Carr was deported after his release from prison with his Mexican wife Naema. He says that 5 years ago “We were deported so fast, not even an hour passed.”

Samuel Cortes Latin gangs in the streets of Los Angeles / New Muslims has grown. "By continuing to çeteciliğe Cortes / or killer / or the deceased would be / he says. That his life has changed from top to bottom with Islam / Cortes, due to certain crimes involving gangs period / recording had been deported from the United States. Cortes, also left all his family in Los Angeles, /

Cortes and Carr, 2000, the Council of American-Islamic Relations in 2011, is constituted 6 percent of Latinos in the United States 12 percent of the total Muslim population raises the most obvious indicators of the report explains.

Samuel Cortes is also a Muslim convert who grew up on the Los Angeles streets among Latin gangs.

He explains that if he had continued in gangs, we would have either been a killer or killed. Expresisng that conversion to Islam changed his life, Cortes records that he was deported from the US due to crimes he had committed as a gang member. His family remains in Los Angeles.

A report by the Council of American-Islamic Relations records that Muslims constituted 6 percent of Latino population in the United States in 2000, a percentage which rose to 12 percent in 2011.

According to an article by University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Inside Islam, approximately half the Muslims in Mexico today are converts or reverts.

Muslims in Mexico since early colonial period

Zidane Zeraoui, a professor of international relations at the Technological University of Monterrey who was interviewed for the Inside Islam article, explains that the history of Islam in Mexico goes back to its earliest days.

Muslims and Jews actually came to Mexico early in the colonial period as marranos, or

‘False Christians,’ who travelled to Latin America as forced converts to Catholicism. They were officially Catholics, but still practiced their religions in their private lives.

Zeraoui expresses that there are many indications of early Jewish and Muslim migrations in Mexico, as in the buildings which reveal an architectural style called “Mudéjar,” a term referring to Muslims living under Christian rule in Spain.

Zeraoui told the interviewer that Monterrey, the city of his residence, was founded by marranos, and that Jewish and Muslim influences remain strong in the city, as evidenced by the population’s preference of goat meat over pork. They even have a type of meat they call “Sarassan meat,” Sarassan being a term referring to Muslims.

Muslims in Mexico are generally concentrated in four cities: Tequesquitengo in Morelos, Torreón in Coahuila, San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, and Mexico City.

In Chiapas, Mexico, portions of the indigenous populations, such as Mayans and Tzotzils, have embraced Islam.