Saturday 28 January 2023

Why Latinos are Reverting to Islam in the USA?

Reading revert experiences is both educative and reassuring: Educative in the sense that these experiences give an insight into the mindset of the non-Muslims that finally leads them to reverting to Islam, and Reassuring for despite a n immense number of negativities being shown on social media and labeling Muslims as terrorists and unsuitable for "civilized' societies, thousands enter into the fold of Islam every day around the world.

AS for the USA, it is one single country were ratio of those accepting Islam is much more than in any country otherwise. As per estimates, 25,000 Americans convert to Islam per year. The conversion rate of Americans has become 4 times more since September 11. As of now, the Latino Muslim community is estimated to be between 40,000 and 200,000.

Of those reverting to Islam, there is measurable number of Latinos and Hispanic Americans who are willingly attracted to Islam for they believe that Islamic values harmonize with the traditional values of Latino culture. Converts have cited such similarities as respect for social solidarity, the family, the importance of religion, and education. Some Latino Muslims claim conversion to Islam as a return to their true heritage. 

Another imposing factor is that most Latinos who revert to Islam are Catholics, who find an intrinsic closeness to Islam, leaving aside concept of Jesus being God or son of God.  Similarities like the belief in Monotheism, reverence of Mary, mother of Prophet Eesa (Jesus, peace be upon him), pilgrimage, praying (Salat for Muslims), fasting and charity, attract Latinos to Islam for the concept of all these factors is clearer in Islam than Christianity.

In one of the revert experiences of a Catholic Latino, the one-to-one connection between God and the Muslims, was the deciding factor for they have been approaching God with priests acting as mediators. There is a relative simplicity within Islam with structure and theology in this respect.
Many Latino converts come from Catholic backgrounds and the similarities between Catholicism and Islam give them a sense of familiarity with their new religion. However, some Latino Muslims had difficulty with the Church, believing in original sin, and in the Holy Trinity. Islam solves the problems many Latinos have with the Catholic Church. 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 some Latinos converting to Islam. [1] 
Twenty-year-old Gabby Gonzalez. like other converts, found the Catholic Church too bureaucratic and too impersonal. She also had a hard time with certain aspects of the faith, like the hierarchy of the church, belief in the Trinity and original sin. She remembers going to mass weekly with her grandmother and cousins, and just feeling lost.
As per a report, "Latinas Choosing Islam over Catholicism", published by NPR, at the North Hudson Islamic Education Center, weekly classes on what it means to be a Muslim cater to the mosque's growing Hispanic population. Mosque leaders say 10 years ago there were only a handful of Hispanics at Friday prayers, and today there are roughly 150. On this night a couple dozen new Spanish-speaking converts gather in a small classroom next to the main prayer room. [3]

The concept of repentance and forgiveness of sins by God is one of the major contributing for criminals and prisoners reverting to Islam. This perhaps is a major breakthrough in the reformation of criminals who otherwise do not find a respectful place in society. But once in the fold of Islam, they not only are reassured that whatever sins they had committed as non-Muslims will be washed away and their life starts as if they are born afresh. Not only this, their lives as Muslims are a complete transformation from their previous life and they become very useful part of society. 
Islam allows those convicted of crimes to recover from the stigma of being a "criminal".[9] By following the teachings of Islam, people who are convicted of a crime have a moral framework for rehabilitation and recovery as well as providing prisoners with a more positive way to cope with the harsh environment in prison, which in turn lessens their likelihood to have to turn to violence and aggression.[13] Spalek and El-Hassan suggest that the work of prison Imams is vital and needs to have greater support, especially during the transition period when individuals and adjusting to life after being released from prison.[13] Studies also show that rates of recidivism are lower for Muslim converts. [1]
The Latino and Hispanic reverts, like elsewhere in the world, draw a severe reaction from their friends and families. Specially women, who when start wearing Hijab, become instant target of fury of their relatives. But it is very reassuring to know that most of the reverts are getting along with the negative outburst by their near and dear ones, and are continue to cling to their new found faith and are even helping others reverts who take these negativities rather seriously and need counseling. Although, Islam may restrict freedom of women while wearing Hijab, yet women feel they are now more respectful than before.

We may go on and on to talk on the subject as the experiences of Latinos and Hispanic American are never ending. But the purpose of this post is only to share how the Latino and Hispanic feel about Islam and how their grievances with the Church and concepts of Trinity, Jesus being God are leading them to find a soothing solace as Muslims.

To sum up, please watch the video below which says it all about reversion of Latinos to Islam in USA:
Disclaimer: The data / video for this post has been collected from the references given below or YouTube. If anyone 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 read personal accounts of many a celebrity who have reverted to Islam, please visit our page: Embracing Islam: Revert Experiences.

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
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