Thursday 7 November 2019

Islam and Life of Muslims in Non Muslim Countries: Peru

Are there Muslims in Peru, the South American country of some 32 million? Well going by the number of Muslims in Peru, the 5,000 or so Muslims are just peanuts compared to the huge population of the country rich in Amazon rain-forest and historic places like Machu Picchu, an ancient Incan city high in the Andes mountains. But these 5,000 Muslims are keeping the Islamic flag well fluttered and living with grace in the capital city Lima.

The number for unknown reasons has remained static since 1980, which represents 0.015 % of the total population. 

Islam came to this part of the world in the late 16th century but not with some good memories to carry forward, for the Spanish rulers of Peru sentenced Lope de la Pena, described as a "Moor from Guadalajara", to life imprisonment for the crime of "having practiced and spread Islam" in Cuzco and was also required to wear the Sanbenito around his neck for his entire imprisonment in 1560. As persecution increased in the Spanish dependencies, Muslims ceased identifying themselves by their religion and became nominal Christians; eventually Islam disappeared from the country entirely.

However, after centuries of absence f Islam from this region, Islam came back to Peru in the 1940s, during the Palestinian exodus, Palestinian and Lebanese Muslims fleeing from the Arab-Israeli war. In 1993, the Muslim community opened a masjid in the Jesús María District of the capital, but it was later closed due to financial difficulty. Another location was opened in the Villa El Salvador district, but met with similar difficulties and also closed.

The majority of present day Peruvian Muslims is attributed to the opening for the importation of used cars in the city of Tacna in southern Peru, on the border with Chile. This brought in Muslim merchants of Pakistani origin to Peru, who in a very short time rented a house that served as a mosque, in addition to having several musallas in their places of job. 
Mosque Bab ul Islam, Tacna, Peru [Photo: beautifulmosque.com

Mosque of Bab ul Islam located in Tacna, Peru, is wonderful piece of architecture that attracts the attention of the onlookers. It is accompanied by a formal Islamic School for Muslim children along with the education of latest technologies. It is currently being built by Sher Afzal Khan Barikoti who is building a Shah Wali-Ullah School of Sciences alongside it.

The Muslim community came to have just over 600 members, a number that has been gradually decreasing due to the change in economic policy and that has motivated emigration for commercial reasons. Despite this, many Pakistani Muslims remain in Peru, with families established in Tacna and are an active part of the economic life of the city. Like the Arab heritage in our food, Pakistani food has become popular thanks to the three restaurants that exist in the city,

There are currently about 300 Pakistani Muslims, emphasizing the high number of conversions, especially women. There are also immigrants from India, some Arab countries, as well as Chileans and Colombians.

Do Peruvians convert to Islam? Well yes but not in large proportions. One of the first Peruvian Muslims took Islam 28 years ago (paradoxically accepted Islam in Venezuela, where an Islamic community already existed), being also one of the first to make the pilgrimage to the Sacred City of Mecca. However, later several young Peruvians began to approach Islam, some of whom participated in the establishment of the An Nur Mosque, located in the Breña district in the city of Lima, which took one year of existence and that attracted many people to Islam.

Despite the 9/11 and its backlash on Muslims worldwide, the conversions of Peruvians - after that date - reached higher levels than any other time, being currently the group with the highest activity. Perhaps, for many Peruvians (and Latin Americans), this conversion is only closing the circle, which remained open for centuries, with its Islamic past.

What lies for the Muslims in Peru in future? Well the Muslims of Peru are hopeful for a better and healthy spread of Islam and development of cordial relations with the Peruvians, whom they coexist very comfortably.

How do Muslims in Peru live, please watch the video below titled "Inside The Americas - Peru’s Muslim Community":
Author's Note: The data for this post has been collected from the references as given below. If any one differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

To know more about life of Muslims in other non Muslim countries, please visit our page: Islam and Life of Muslims in Non Muslim Countries

You may also refer to our following reference pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran:
Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
For more Q&A about Understanding Islam click here
If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on Facebook

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp or any means on Social Media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Holy Qur'an - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More