Latinos continue to embrace Islam in growing numbers
By Camilo Smith
Muslims around the country will be celebrating the end of the holy month of Ramadan, a holiday known as Eid al-Fitr, and among those celebrants will be the Latinos who make up one of the fastest growing segments of the Muslim population. According to a Pew Center study 4 percent of American Muslims are Hispanic, and one in 10 U.S.-born Muslims claim Hispanic ethnicity.
Hispanic Muslim converts have been on the rise over for more than 10 years, according to reports. One analysis by the Divinity School at the University of Chicago says that the first wave of Hispanic Muslim converts came in the 1980s and 1990s, largely influenced by African-Americans who were part of the Nation of Islam. The second wave came following 9/11 when interest in Islam and Muslims was an an all-time high in the U.S., and the third recent wave is due to outreach efforts by Hispanic-Muslim such as Islam in Spanish organizations, a Houston-based website that focuses on translations of Muslim religions texts. Another website, LatinoDawah.org lists U.S. Latino-Muslim groups around the country and also has an extensive list of groups throughout Latin America.
Katherine Ewing, a Columbia University religion professor agreed that more and more Latinos were converting to Islam, and in a 2013 interview put the number at between 50,000 and 100,000 U.S. Latino converts.
According to Houston Imam Isa Parada, in a 2012 Houston Chronicle profile, there could be more than 100 Latino Muslims in Houston alone.