The Latino Muslim Voice

The April-June 2003 newsletter features:

1. Quotes of the Month
2. "Motherhood" By Samantha Sanchez
3. "Menace to Society" By Juan Galvan
4. "My Hajj Experience" By Yusef Maisonet
5. "Una Casa Bonita" By Ghadah Ali Gutierrez
6. "Now or Later?" By D. Garcia
7. "Latinos In Atlanta" By Siri Carrion
8. "Living in Islam" By Ghadah Ali Gutierrez
9. "Encontrando a Dios en Texas" Por Juan Galvan
10. "Andalusian Reflections" By Dr. Umar Faruq
11. "The History of the Moriscos and Mudéjares!" By A.B. Rodriguez
12. "El Islam Rechaza El Terrorismo" Por Yahya Suquillo
13. "Who is Allah?" By A.R. Robert Squires
14. "Fact Sheet: Islam in the United States" From US.St.Dept.
15. "Family Values Examined in CAIR Ad Campaign"

Quotes of the Month

"Have they not observed, bowing in humility before Allah that the shadows of everything which Allah has created shift from the right and from the left, and they are being humbled?" - Quran 16:49.

"A good action and a bad action are not the same. Repel the bad with something better and, if there is enmity between you and someone else, he will be like a bosom friend." - Qur'an 41:34.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, "Shall I tell you who are the best among you?...The best of you are those who when seen are a means of God being brought to mind." - Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1302.

A person asked the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), "What is faith?" The Prophet replied, "When a good deed becomes a source of pleasure for you and an evil deed becomes a source of disgust, then you are a believer." - Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 8.

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle.


By Samantha Sanchez

Bismillah ir Rahman ir Rahim
In the name of He who knows the contents of my womb
This womb is the birthplace of compassion
the birthplace of mercy

God makes us Um
full of mercy
full of His mercy
Motherhood is compassion from God
Motherhood is compassion towards children
Um is only a vehicle of God's infinite mercy
Rahim is only a vehicle of His infinite compassion

How blessed we are as women to be part of
this triangle
this relationship
To feel within us God's mercy
How fortunate that God entrusts
to women
for a brief period of time, to carry
and for a lifetime, to nurture
A soul

*Bismillah ir rahman ir rahim - in the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
*Um - (Arabic) mother.
*The word 'womb' or 'uterus' in the Arabic language is 'rahim'.
The 'rahim' (womb) is suspended from the throne of God.

Menace to Society

By Juan Galvan

Hi. It's nice to see you got out of jail.
Sorry, we don't sell hard liquor. No, malt liquor either.
Have a great night. I create alcoholics.

Hi. Ok, here's your Penthouse and Hustler.
Sorry, we don't carry videos. Don't know of any strip clubs nearby.
Have a great night. I create sex addicts.

Hi. I see you're coming here more and more each day.
Sorry, we only have lottery tickets and slot machines here.
Have a great night. I create gambling addicts.

I'm no menace to society.
We merely create them.

How can I help you?
Nice morning.
Eggs and orange juice.
See you later.
No problem.

Nice to see you today.
Nice kid.
Snickers and Dr. Pepper.
That'll be $1.63. Thanks.
No problem.

How's it going?
Beautiful day.
Ice cream and burger buns.
Having a picnic?
No problem.

I'm no menace to society.
We merely create them.

My Hajj Experience

By Yusef Maisonet

I performed Hajj this year. It was the ultimate experience of my life. I am a merchant seaman by trade. I have been to London, Paris, Spain, Amsterdam, Italy, Albania, all of South America, Middle East, Far East, Africa, and all the Caribbean. One of my most memorable experiences was being a witness to the shahadah of an 80-year woman in Barcelona, Spain. I used to go to church but I could not fathom the 3=1 doctrine. I was expose to Islam by a Muslim poet. When he read Sura Ikhlas, I knew that I had found the truth. About two weeks later, I took shahadah at a mosque in Brooklyn.

My family is supportive of my Islam and so are my friends. I am married to a beautiful Muslim sister. We have been married for 23 years. I now live in Mobile, Alabama. Alabama is a beautiful state. I have a daughter who is 20 years old. Although I was born in Spanish Harlem on June 2, 1951, I was raised in Brooklyn and Hastile, Puerto Rico. I had a beautiful childhood. My friends were nice people. We enjoyed going to Coney Island. While living in Puerto Rico, my friends and I enjoyed going to the beach a lot. I also played a lot of basketball. I got my GED in the U.S. Army.

I'm a well travelled man but nothing could equal the joy of Hajj. Hajj is the 5th pillar of Islam. Hajj is required of all Muslims once in a lifetime who are financially and physically able. My first stop was Cairo. We went to a nice hotel in Cairo to have dinner. Dinner was delicious. From Cairo, we went to the airport. At the airport, we got into our Ikrams. Ikram means to be in ritual purity for performing Umrah, Hajj, or both. Ikram is also used to mean the two piece garment that pilgrims wear. One piece covers the upper body, and the other covers the lower body. We also made our intentions, or niya, for Umrah and Hajj. Then, we said a dua, or supplication, called Talbeeyah.

Flight time to Jeddah was two hours. Jeddah Hajj Terminal is an airport built mainly for pilgrims. The airport was packed with people from around the world. I was excited at the idea of performing Hajj with all these different brothers and sisters. Although we spoke different languages, we would soon be celebrating Hajj together. More than 2 million Muslims perform Hajj every year. Going through immigration took us a couple of more hours. But finally, we made it.

From Jeddah, we took a bus to our hotel in Mecca. Our hotel was four blocks from the Kabba. The Kabba is located in Masjid Al-Haraam. The Kabba is a cube-shaped building that Muslims believe was built by the Prophet Ibrihim (pbuh) for worshipping God. After getting our rooms, we went to make our Umrah. Whereas Hajj is required of Muslims, Umrah is not but it is recommended. Unlike Hajj, Muslims can go on Umrah any time of the year except during the days of Hajj. Many Muslims call Umrah the "little pilgrimage." When we got to the Kabba, I almost fainted because of the beauty of the Kabba and the entire experience of being there. What I've been praying toward all of these years was right in front of me.

First, we walked counterclockwise around the Kabba seven times. Each time around the Kabba is called a tawaf. The first three tawafs are walked very quickly, and the last four are walked at normal walking speed. After the seven tawafs, we made two rakats at the station of Abraham, or "Maqam Ibrihim" which means Ibrahim's stepping stone. Then, we drank water from the well of Zam Zam. Next, we went to the Mes'aa which is a stretch between the hilltops of As-Safa and Al-Marwa.

At the Mes'aa, we made Sa'yi which means we made seven rounds between As-Safa and Al-Marwa. Going from As-Safa to Al-Marwa is one round and returning is another round. Some parts of Sa'yi are walked, and other parts are run. At the end of each round, we stopped to say a few prayers. The Sa'yi commemorates when Hajar was looking for water for Ishmael. It took us about two hours to complete. Afterwards, we ended Umrah by clipping our hair. We were able to take off our Ikrams and get into some regular clothes. We stayed in Mecca for a week. We prayed every salat at the House of Allah.

We went to Medina next. We stayed at the Dallah Hotel. Our hotel was about four blocks from the Prophet's Mosque. After reaching the Prophet's Mosque, we prayed two raka there. I almost fainted again at the mosque. We prayed salat there. We visited the Prophet's tomb, Umar's tomb, and Abu Bakr's tomb then we prayed at the Quba Mosque and visited Al-Baqee to visit Uthman's grave. We also went to Mt. Uhud to visit the graves of martyrs like Hamza. We went on other tours, too. We stayed in Medina for a week. But it was tough because we were not getting any sleep. From here, we went to start our Hajj, which was something else.

We put on our Ikram again. Then, we went to Mt. Arafat where we would spend the day. The day is called the "Day of Arafat." The Prophet (pbuh) said his last sermon on Mt. Arafat. On Mt. Arafat, we prayed Talbeeyah, asked God to forgive our sins, and made other dua. At sunset, we left from Mt. Arafat to go to Muzdalifah to say prayers and to get our stone pebbles for the Jamarah. Before sunrise, we went to Mina to stone a Jamarah. Each of us threw seven stones one right after another at that Jamarah as a symbolic stoning of Satan. I will never forget this because the crowd lifted me up. I didn't have any control until the crowd eased up. After the stoning, pilgrims usually celebrate the beginning of Eid Al-Adha with a sacrifice slaughtered. This is done to remember Ibrihim's intention to sacrifice. Next, we walked to Mecca. Walking to Mecca took us about an hour and a half. Once there, we performed Tawaf and Sa'yi as before. After performing Tawaf and Sa'yi, we got our heads shaved.

We would stay in Mina for two more days. We stoned three Jamarah in the afternoon on those two days. After all this, we returned to the Kabba for the farewell Tawaf. Although that was the end of Hajj, it was not the end of our trip. We stayed in Jeddah for two days. We did a lot of shopping. Alhamdulila, I was able to perform Hajj this year. My goals in Islam are to be a good Muslim, a good father, a good husband, and a loving granddaddy.

Here I am. Can you guess exactly where this picture was taken?

Picture of a Latino Hajji

Una Casa Bonita

By Ghadah Ali Gutierrez

Is it haram to ask for a better life than we ever thought possible? Is it uncool to actually talk about having your prayers answered? Call me superficial, but one of the things that I've noticed the most since my reversion is that circumstances in my life seem to be coming together in amazing harmony. In other words, Allah is answering my prayers, sometimes without me even asking! All of a sudden, everything is just falling into place. My husband's green card was approved after two very long years and a LOT of paperwork. My bestfriend has found a potential husband. Most amazing, I'm getting a house!

I'm a ghetto kid. I was raised in the worst part of Denver. I also raised my kids there as well. We managed to escape the hood a few years ago for a new neighborhood that is considered ghetto to most people but is downright ritzy to us! This neighborhood doesn't even have "sides." You know like "east side," "west side," etc. Here the cops don't sit outside your house waiting for you to peek out so they can "hem you up." Your friends don't break into your house. The crackheads actually ask for money! When you buy something new, you don't have to wait until after dark to carry it into the house. You can actually let your pets outside without them disappearing. You can even park your car on the street, and it will be there in the morning. Ok, so I do still have black paper taped over my car stereo. Some habits are just hard to break!

Anyway, so we are basically hood rats. The only house that I've had in my entire adult life was a deathtrap located on a corner by the park where all the homies, or gangbangers, hung out. A night without gunshots was what kept you awake there! You could sit in the yard on the weekends, and it was better than television. I saw more police chases, wrecks, and arrests from my backyard than I ever saw on NYPD!

Then, we moved to this new hood. A few years later, I reverted to Islam. Unfortunately, the apartments where I live are Little Mexico. Live music from the mojados living next door every weekend night. I mean LIVE as in fifteen drunk Mexicans singing their hearts out. Vicente Fernandez would be proud. One of the Mexicans bought a guitarra a couple of weeks ago so now it's really on!

The vieja upstairs waits until her husband leaves for work and then cranks up la musica LOUD at 6:45am. Just in case anyone in the complex can't hear it, she opens her sliding glass door! I swear I hear Halcon de la Sierra in my dreams. Then, there's the tamale guy, the pan dulce lady, the paleteros, and the CD guys knocking on every door and the occasional migra raid. None of the apartment office workers speak enough English for me to convey that my bathroom sink is stopped up and needs to be fixed. Just in case you ever need to know, a bathroom sink in Spanish is a "lava manos." It was tolerable for a while. Noise, broken beer bottles, and all. However since my reversion, I have come to hate living here. Even the mayates smoking blunts in the stairwells are starting to give me the creeps. And everyone here seems to be named "guey." Why is that? If they're not named "guey" then they have a surname of "dog". C dog, Bull dog, Runt dog. Anyway I wanna move!!!

Now Allah has opened up a door for me to escape this barrio as well. Una casa bonita in a much quieter neighborhood. Not only did He drop it in my lap, but He's pushing hard! The house has been for rent for months. The possibility of renting it first came to me about four months ago, but I was in a lease that I couldn't break without costing me a lotta lana. If you lived in Denver, you would know that the likelihood of a house, any house, being for rent for that long is about the same as an open apartment with a view of Central Park in NYC. La duena is willing to hold the house for two more months until my lease in Little Mexico is up. That she wants to rent me the house is a miracle in itself. She even hunted me down at work to give me the paperwork! A nice little carneceria is right around the corner. No liquor store is for at least ten blocks. And, the house has two bathrooms! Dos baños. Can you imagine? And a garage! Ah, the privileges of wealth!

This is milagro numero uno. The second is that my son recently took his GED exam and passed with flying colors! He is a former gangbanger. His highest aspiration in life was to stay out of jail as long as possible. Now, he is getting ready to start college. Alhamdulilah!!! There might be hope if my daughter will just quit hanging out with people named C-Note and Lil Liq.

Maybe this Chicana can escape the hood once and for all. I have a car now and am proud to report that my phone has stayed connected for four years continuously and my electricity has too! I donate to the food bank, instead of living out of it. I even have real sheets on my bed. Some things haven't changed much though. I still can't bear to pay $20 for a pair of pants, and the Segunda is still my second home. I still duct tape plastic over my windows every winter and not just because the president seems to think it's a good idea. I admit it; the only glasses I have in my house are from Burger King. I still save aluminum cans and tin foil, and none of my pots and pans match. But hey! Allah isn't done with me yet!

Now or Later?

By D. Garcia

I was in denial about my own identity although society, namely my peers, were a constant reminder of that reality. I walked through the long hallways looking for a friendly face, some sign of a kind life form. There was none. Crowds of people lined the hallways talking about things that most certainly were of no importance to me. Yet, I envied them, longed to be part of any of the cliques' that wandered, chitchatting throughout the hall. I stopped at the end of the long row of gray lockers, in front of my own, glad that the day was over. The day was over, but tomorrow I would return and have to face the cold stares once more. In fact, it would be a long while yet until I overcame the feelings of alienation, of the frustration caused by the duality of my existence: living in a Western society where Islam is yet to be fully propagated.

Looking back, one realizes that everything occurs for a reason. One pebble in the road we stumble upon, as absurd as it might sound, may have a critical effect upon our lives. That night as the car sped on, blurring the street lights together in the darkness like a continuous ray of light, I was hit by a pang of guilt. I converted at a very young age, I reasoned with myself, I haven't had the opportunity to enjoy myself. This guilt had been incited by a reminder of my own identity.

Among all the other people crammed like sardines in the darkness, one of them had succeeded in catching my eye. Omar, a gorgeous, Arab, Muslim. He was tall, broad-shouldered, and even in the darkness, I managed to see his perfectly shaped mouth and huge brown eyes that were hiding under thick eyelashes. Some force pushed me towards him, and the crowd parted before me like a planned out scenario. I was directly in front of him before I realized what I was doing. I took hold of his hand and saw the slight look of surprise and amusement that came over his beautiful face as I started dancing in front of him. As our bodies moved together, he reached out and moved his hand through my hair. We both danced, and for a while it seemed as though we were the only ones there.

Before we knew it, it was closing time. We both gathered our friends and met at a restaurant, trying to hold on to the night as long as we possibly could. Everything that had happened before seemed to be a dream, but sitting there in a booth with bright red cushions somehow told me it wasn't. It was a warning. "What are you doing?" the little voice inside me --my conscience-- said. "This definitely isn't right, these guys are Muslims; you're Muslim!" In hindsight, this guilt was the beginning of an internal struggle. I didn't realize the brevity of the situation while I sat there, but from this guilt sprang the desire to reform.

A few weeks later, I sat cross-legged in the dark at the mosque discussing the supreme being. "You must realize that every action has repercussions, either now or in the hereafter," Fatima said calmly, her face cover falling, revealing her exquisite face. She had come to be my rolemodel throughout the summer. How could a woman so young have so much fear and awareness of God? So much love and conviction? The more time I spent with her, the more I realized that there was something I was lacking. High on the mosque's white walls, a solitary window let in a ray of light which fell upon her petite figure. She was like an angel in my mind, no matter how blasphemous the thought is.

My only response to her question was a slight nod and a tear that almost reluctantly fell down my face. Inside me the response was greater. It was as if someone had suddenly struck me on the face. How could I be so blind? All these years I had professed my belief in this faith and my longing to be increasingly spiritual. Yet, what was holding me back? As if on cue some miraculous play by God, an indescribable feeling of inner peace filled me. It continued to gush forth until my body couldn't take it anymore. I began to cry. As Fatima hugged me, I realized that this moment was of great importance, a turning point in my life. I have always claimed to 'pride myself in my uniqueness', but I had been afraid to be identified as a Muslim mainly because of other people's reactions, a concept that went totally against my philosophy on life.

Looking up at the sky, I decided to take full advantage of the 'strange' state of mind I was in. I didn't want to let the opportunity slip me by this time. I had to do something about my spiritual condition -or the lack thereof- while I was determined to do so. Instinctively, I thanked God as I felt a breeze gently touch my face and brush my hair against my back. I became increasingly aware that not wearing my scarf was a sign of my love for this world and my vanity. I dreaded to think that these artificial sentiments outweighed the only TRUE love: devotion to God. So there, in the heat of the middle of the day, I decided to wear it. I spread out in the grass and closed my eyes. I was completely conscious of the fact that that moment was one of the last my hair would ever be seen in public.

The next time Omar saw me he had almost the same look of surprise on his face as he had the first time I met him. Although this time, I can say I was proud of the reason behind his surprise. The scarf I wear is not only a symbol of my modesty. It has been an aid in the source of my pride. It is a sign of my new conviction and dedication to my beliefs. It became a question of "Do you choose now or later?" I could choose the gratification of NOW or I could choose to strive to indulge in activities that will enable me to stand behind the shaded doors of paradise LATER. I made the choice to be proud of who I am.

Latinos In Atlanta

By Siri Carrion

A reporter's name and email address was forwarded to me recently. The reporter wanted to do a story about Latino Muslims in Georgia and their views on the war. My first thought was no. However; my curiosity got the best of me. I wanted to know who else lived in Atlanta, Georgia that was Latino and Muslim besides me, my husband, my bestfriend, and my brother. I refuse to believe there are only four people in the state of Georgia who is Latino and Muslim!

Consequently, I called the reporter and introduced myself to her. I also asked her about others she had on her contact list because I would like to meet them. I was excited at the thought of more Latino Muslims! She told me I was the only person so far that contacted her. I can't be the only person! That same night I sent out a mass email to all the people I knew and requested them to ask around about Latino Muslims. The very next day I got a hit! A sister that lives around the corner emailed me. She was just as excited as me to know that other Latino Muslims in Atlanta exist. She said she knew a couple of more Latina sisters who don't speak much Spanish. I told her, "I don't care just pass my email along to them."

The next day, I got another hit! So, now I am counting: four, five, six, seven. There are now seven Latino families in Atlanta! Alhamdulillah!!! I actually had tears in my eyes. I knew there were more of us out there. Just today, I had a sister email me from Athens, Georgia who is interested in meeting some Latino Muslims.

Now my thoughts are on, "What are we going to do as a group?" Inshallah, in the future, I would like to see this group grow into an organization that will reach out to the general Latino community and gather those who are lost or curious about Islam and welcome them into our Latino Muslim family. I would pray that we as Latinos can show the general Latino population a new way of life and a more humble way to worship Allah (swt). I would like to see us Latino Muslims grow into a source of support for new Muslims. New Muslims need someone or something to turn to for help in their Deen. InshAllah, this organization will strengthen their Taqwa in Allah (swt). When you feel that you actually belong to a community, this sense of community makes life a little more pleasant.

I would like to see this new community of Latino Muslims do tons of things in the future. But for right now, I am just excited to know there are more people in Georgia like me that are both Muslim and Latino. I would like to plan a get together for the Latino community in Atlanta. We are now seven families strong. Inshallah, together we can let all Muslims know that there is a young Latino community in Atlanta, Georgia that is ready to blossom.

Living in Islam

By Ghadah Ali Gutierrez

As a relatively new Muslim and a revert at that, I constantly find myself falling short of my religious goals. Each and every day I rise with the intention to get all five salats in, to do some random act of kindness, to read a chapter of the Quran, and yet most days I fail. Life just somehow seems to get in the way and time is something I'm always too short of. Words cannot express the depth of meaning that the following haddith holds for me.

Narrated Abu Huraira (RA): The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) said, "Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded; and gain strength by worshipping in the mornings, the nights." - Bukhari 1.38.

So many times, I see Muslim acquaintances who are very dedicated in the deen. Never do they miss making salat, no matter where they are. They dress in full hijab whenever leaving their home. They are able to recite long passages of the Quran from memory. It doesn't help that many of these people have been Muslim for less time than I. Am I inferior? Am I less devoted to the deen? What exactly is wrong with me that I can't seem to put the same amount of effort into something that means so much to me? Is it me? Am I just lazy? Endless questions plague me because I feel myself to be lukewarm in my devotion.

In Christianity, it is preached that being a lukewarm Christian is worse than being ice cold. Perhaps this concept is what makes me feel like a failure time after time. Although I would like, I simply do not think of my religion 24 hours a day. Too many other demands are made upon my time and thoughts. I feel a certain degree of shame admitting this because our religion should permeate and dictate all aspects of their daily lives. But, should it be a conscious permeation? Or should it be allowed to gently inhabit the daily life of the believer?

I have noticed that those born into the deen seem a little less rigid than many reverts. To them the deen is simple and natural. It comes easily. In fact, I have been told that they find the fanaticism of some newcomers amusing. To those born in the deen, it is a part of every fiber and molecule of their being. It is very simple. In the mere act of "being," they are practicing their deen. Perhaps then, this is what I should strive for rather than kicking myself every time I miss salat. I am not saying that neglecting salat, or any of the pillars of Islam, is right. Rather, maybe being a Muslim is just that......being a Muslim.

Nearly every major religion teaches that in all things one should strive for balance. I have to constantly remind myself that what is balance for me may not be balance for you. While you may be able to devote hours each day to the study of Islam, I cannot. It does not mean that my religion is any less important to me than yours. I have merely chosen to approach my practice of Islam in a different way that does not overburden me. We must continue to strive toward perfecting our Deen. The words of the Prophet (pbuh) seem to support this, and for that I am eternally grateful!

Encontrando a Dios en Texas

Por Juan Galvan

Durante la preparatoria, mi fuerte creencia en el cristianismo recibió una sacudida cuando un amigo me dijo que la Sagrada Trinidad no existía y que Jesús no era Dios. "El esta equivocado," me dije a mi mismo. Jesús tiene que ser Dios porque Dios y la humanidad se desconectaron cuando Adán y Eva cometieron el pecado original. Razonando después, pensé que Dios ha enviado al único hijo al que ha perdonado por el gran amor que nos tiene. Dios es el único que perdona y es por eso que Jesús tiene que ser Dios. Tenia conmigo las referencias de la Biblia para poder defender mi creencia. Siendo un devoto Católico leí casi por completo la Biblia. Durante la preparatoria, dirigía conferencias, ayudaba en la Iglesia, era clérigo de la Eucaristía, maestro de Biblia en la iglesia, y padrino de un sobrino y una sobrina. La idea de que Jesús era Dios tenia mucho sentido.

Soy un Mexicano-Americano que viene de una familia modesta. Pase mi adolescencia y mis años de pubertad en ciudades muy pequeñas al norte de Texas, tales como Quitaque, Turky, Lakeview, y Memphis. Dichas ciudades son tan pequeñas que ninguna tiene un centro comercial, un cine, o un McDonalds. La ciudad de Memphis, localizada en Texas, tiene una población de 2,300 habitantes y se dice ser la capital mundial de algodón. En esta ciudad, sí se escucha la sirena de los bomberos o de una patrulla, es porque la casa de tu vecino esta en llamas o porque a tu vecino lo arrestaron. Así de pequeña es la ciudad de Memphis. El haber crecido en ciudades tan pequeñas me dio una apreciación más grande hacia el concepto de la creación de Dios.

Me gradué en 1994 de la Preparatoria de Memphis, fui a la Universidad de Texas Tech University y me gradué como Licenciado en Administración de Sistemas de Información de la Universidad de Texas en Austin en el 2001. No tan mal para ser un niño que veno de una ciudad tan chica que los veranos durante la secundaria los pase recolectando algodón y durante la preparatoria vendía ropa y artículos escolares. Mi papa era un experto en algodón. Ahora, trabaja en el departamento de limpieza en una Preparatoria en Pampa, Texas. Tengo 8 hermanos, en el año 2000 mi hermana de 17 años de edad murió en un accidente automovilístico.

Siempre he respetado otras religiones. Con frecuencia iba a otras Iglesias y atendía grupos de estudio de la Biblia. En uno de esos grupos, le dije a mi amigo Chris que yo era Católico y deliberadamente me respondió que el Catolicismo era una "falsa doctrina." Como se pueden imaginar, defendí mi religión a capa y espada. Chris me acusó de venerar a la Virgen Maria, a los Santos, y al Papa, yo le respondí que los Católicos solo los respetan y adoran, no los veneran. Más o menos en esta misma temporada, me encontré con una persona que estaba rezando. Sus rodillas, manos, y frente tocaban el piso; él estaba descalzo. Cuando terminó, me presente ante el. Me dijo que su nombre era Armando y que era Musulmán. Enseguida pensé: A ver fulano, eres Musulmán. No puedes ser Musulmán. ¿Que hace este Latino rezándole a Al-lah1? Después él me contó que España fue una colonia Musulmana por aproximadamente 700 años y que miles de palabras en español vienen del Árabe. Algunas Mezquitas antiguas con grabados del texto del Corán han sido encontradas en Cuba, México, Texas, y Nevada. Pero lo más importante fue que Armando me explico la religión del Islám. Empecé a darme cuenta que mi adoración a la Virgen Maria y a los Santos era más que una simple adoración. Chris tenía razón. Sin embargo, los dos estábamos venerando a Jesús. Armando recalcó que Jesús era solo un Profeta para los Musulmanes y que nada ni nadie es digno de ser venerado mas que Al-lah.

Muchas de mis preguntas se fueron aclarando. ¿Cuál es el propósito de la vida? ¿Cómo es que el Padre puede ser el Hijo al mismo tiempo? ¿Por qué Dios no puede perdonar a quien él desee? ¿Qué pasa si un bebe muere antes de ser bautizado? En el Corán (Sura 5:83) Al-lah1 dice: "y cuando escuchan (en este caso los Cristianos) lo que fue revelado al mensajero (Mohammed) tu ves sus ojos derramar lagrimas, al conocer la verdad y dicen: ¡Señor Nuestro! Nosotros creímos. Inscríbenos entre aquellos que atestiguan (que atestiguan la verdad del Corán.)"

Verdaderamente, mis ojos se llenaron de lagrimas cuando leí ese verso. Aun así no acepte la religión del Islám hasta tres años después, porque no quería cambiar. Es una continua lucha contra todos, a diario, y en todas partes. Nos esforzamos por obtener lo que es más importante para nosotros mismos. Al tomar el Islám, le decimos a Al-lah1 que él es el mas importante y que estamos preparados para luchar por lo que es correcto y para evitar lo que esta mal. Yo soy un Musulmán Mexicano-Americano.

Andalusian Reflections

By Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah Wymann-Landgraf

The Message International, 2000

In the 10th century C.E, Hroswitha Saxon princess and earliest known German poetess wrote of Cordoba, the caliphal capital of al-Andalus, that it was: "the ornament of the world." In the Age of Hroswitha, Islam and civilization were synonymous. The Abode of Islam had a brilliant beacon in the east: Sunni Persia, and another, more spectacular, in the west: al-Andalus.

Christian historians in the Middle Ages spoke of "the two Spains," one Christian and the other Muslim. They meant by Spain, "Hispania": the Iberian peninsula Spain and Portugal not the political entity called Spain today. There was no doubt which of the "two Spains" was the greater and more splendid. Europeans have called the Andalusians Moors and their culture, Moorish. Our names: Moore, Morris, Maurice, and Moritz, were medieval forms of "Moor" and "Moorish".

Muslims, on the other hand, spoke of" al-Andalus," embracing all parts of Iberia that were Muslim. "Al-Andalus" expanded or receded, as the fortunes of Islam in Portugal and Spain ebbed and flowed. Muslims focused not on the phenomenon of the "two Spains" but on that of the "two banks" [al-"˜udwatan]: the northern and southern shores of the straits of Gibraltar. The immense cultural, commercial, political, and military power of al-Andalus lay in the secret its "the two banks." When the banks were united or well linked, al-Andalus was the richest, most formidable land of Europe. When the "two banks" and their peoples were severed, al-Andalus weakened and faced defeat before the barbarous armies from "the vast land" [al-ard al-kabirah]: Europe beyond the Pyrenees.

Al-Andalus was among the greatest manifestations of civilization Europe has ever witnessed. The Andalusians were consciously European and cultivated that identity in their poetry. An Andalusian poet might depart from norms and speak, for example, of a beautiful woman with green eyes and red hair, not the traditional Arabian beauty with black hair and big dark eyes. Ethnically, Andalusian Muslims did not differ significantly from their Christian neighbors to the north.

Andalusian civilization was tolerant and cosmopolitan. It embraced Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Its Muslim population was diverse: Iberians [Latins and Celts], Berbers, Arabs, Teutons, sub-Saharan Africans, Slavs, Persians, and others. In its darkest times, al-Andalus knew ugly racial divisions especially between Berber and Arab but succeeded rapidly in Arabicizing its population and weilding them into one body. Many Christians and Jews embraced Islam. Maimonides [Musa ibn Maimun] the great Jewish physician and Talmudic scholar of Cordoba is reported to have held that the greatest danger before an Andalusian Jew was attraction to Islam. The Muslims of al-Andalus had a sincere and deep attachment to Islam and Arabic. In practice, their society was trilingual. It cultivated a sophisticated Qur'anic Arabic but also used Andalusian colloquial Arabic and "al-"˜Ajamiyah" [ aljamiado], a romance tongue close to Castillian Spanish but written in Arabic script.

The appeal of the Andalusian way of life enticed Christians and Jews and many populations on the perimeters. Andalusian Christians and Jews took pride in the Arabic tongue and Arab habits and styles. Several Andalusian Jews wrote on the virtues of Arabic and held it superior to Hebrew. Judah ben Tibbon a physician and translator of Arabic works into Hebrew held that Arabic was the richest language in the world and the best suited for every type of writing. He felt Arabic as opposed to Hebrew was the supreme poetic language and the perfect language for philosophy, since, by its nature, it penetrated the hearts of matters, made the obscure clear, and expounded subtleties.

People of the Book especially Christians were called "musta'ribun" [mozarabes]: "those who imitate the Arabs." When Alfonso VI reconquered large regions of northern and central Iberia in the 11th century, he had to "Europeanize" the Christians of his new domains and make them "Latin" Christians again instead of the Arab Christians they had become. Alfonso introduced the Roman liturgy in place of the Mozarabic. He patronized Romanesque art instead of Moorish and spread the Carolingian script. From the time of Alfonso VI on, one of the chief offices of the Church and, later, the Inquisition would be to obliterate Moorish culture and replace it with that of Latin Christianity.

The "Arabic speaking" phase of Islamic civilization in Iberia lasted more than eight hundred years from 711 until after the fall of Granada in 1492. But Muslim influence in Iberia lasted longer. Millions of Muslims remained in Iberia after Granada's fall. Those of them who could not leave freely or flee successfully were forcefully converted to Catholicism in the 16th century and forbidden to speak Arabic or keep their Moorish culture. The Church divided Iberia between Old Christians and New, two distinct and unequal social classes kept under the Inquisition's scrutiny for centuries. Forcefully converted Muslims were called "Moriscos" [little Moors], while forcefully converted Jews were called "Marranos" [swine]. Often Morisco children were taken away to be raised as Christians in monasteries, cloisters, and other Church institutions.

Large populations of Moriscos were expelled from the south of Spain and from its eastern coastal regions and were resettled in the north. But extreme measures could not kill the spirit of Islam in Moriscan hearts. They rebelled frequently and continually begged Muslim powers to come to their rescue. Ultimately, Spain expelled hundreds of thousands of Moriscos from 1609 to 1614. But this same act helped break the power and wealth of Imperial Spain, which relied on the energies and skills of its Moriscos. It marked the end of Spain's golden age. Never again would "the Catholic kings" recapture their lost glory. The French cardinal, Richelieu, chief minister of Louis XIII, said of the expulsion of the Moriscos that it was: " . . . the most audacious and barbarous counsel recorded in the history of all preceding ages."

The genocide of the Moors and Moriscos, Jews and Marranos contrasts to the Islamic toleration, which had been the hallmark of al-Andalus from its beginning and one of the secrets of its great achievements. The "Grand Inquistion", which began in 1483, was "the first act of united Spain." Most European Christians loathed the Inquisition, especially when Spain in its Inquisitorial spirit sought to crush Protestant movements. Philip II sent his "Invincible Armada" with such an intent against newly Protestant England in 1588. Spain's murderous wars against the Dutch Protestants, which went on intermittently from 1579 until 1648, were the Inquisition's work. European hatred of the Inquisition and reaction against it were among the reasons for the Protestant Reformation's success. The 19th century French historian, Charles, Comte de Montalembert said: "I grant indeed that the Inquisition in Spain destroyed Protestantism in its germ, but I defy anyone to prove that it has not given it throughout Europe the support of public opinion and the sympathies of outraged humanity." Yet the Inquisition's long and grotesque shadow has hung over the West for centuries. The bloody Spanish civil war ( 1936 1939 ) was in part the fruit of the brutal division of Spanish social classes that the Inquisition fostered. Even the ku klux klan, the genocidal policies of nazi fascism, and Slobodan Milosevic's policies of "ethnic cleansing" belong to its bastard offspring.

Andalusian Muslims were generally conservative. New developments in the eastern Islamic world were not readily received in al-Andalus. But its civilization was not rigid. Rather, it blended a profound understanding of Islamic tradition with unique originality and improvision when circumstances required. Andalusian legal scholars allowed their Christian minorities to erect new churches, for example, whereas other Islamic lands only allowed them to keep their old ones.

Cordoba and other great Andalusian cities were brilliant centers of learning. Students from as far away as England and continental Europe came there to study. Roger Bacon was among them and held that learning Arabic was essential to scientific progress. Like their counterparts in the east, Andalusians made intelligent use of waqf properties, which supported free hospitals and free schools, maintained roads and bridges, quartered armies and garrisons, provided for official journeys into Europe to free captives and prisoners of war, and even provided mercifully for beasts of burden too old to labor. The legal precedents of Islamic Iberia are an important source of minority fiqh for Muslims in Europe and America today, and the discipline of minority fiqh in Islam may probably be said to have had its origin in al-Andalus.

Al-Andalus produced many of the greatest minds of the Islamic and Arabic sciences. Their works remain unmatched even now. Andalusians also mastered mathematics, geometry, the physical sciences, and medicine. They put down the foundations of the history of science. Even Moorish music was an advanced science, Andalusian music being among the most highly developed music forms the world has known and one of the sources of our classical music. Andalusians did not just use their music for enjoyment but also to cure the insane. Moorish architecture and fine arts developed traditional models with distinctive originalilty. The profound developments of Andalusian art may be traced through the centuries from the great mosque of Cordoba to Granada's al-Hamra' in its silent majesty.

During its illustrious centuries, al-Andalus was powerful on land and sea. Like Spain in its golden age, the force of Andalusian arms was based on sea power. Formidable strength in arms was matched with cultural, economic, and political prowess. For centuries, al-Andalus enjoyed an economic prosperity that eclipsed the former achievements of Roman Spain. Andalusian economic power effected continental Europe, Britain, Ireland, and Scandinavia and altered earlier trade patterns. The powerful Andalusian economy brought prosperity to those within and around Iberia, but it triggered unwittingly centuries of poverty and backwardness in northern Europe by siphoning off the flow of its traditional commerce.

Throughout the world, Andalusians were famed as craftsmen, agrarians, and breeders of horses and livestock. For centuries, the Andalusian Arabian was the finest horse known to Europe. It was also the ancestor of the American Indian pony, which descended from horses the Spanish had brought to the New World. Andalusians mastered waterworking to a degree not thoroughly understood even today. They produced brilliant steels and alloys, fashioned excellent swords and weapons. They built ships worthy of the Atlantic and mosques and other edifices that will be admired until the end of time.. They fashioned silks and made quality textiles, leather goods, ceramics, furnitures, lamps, chandeliers, perfume burners, and jewelry. It was said that in Moorish Seville, one could find anything imaginable, even "sparrows' milk." The Muslims of al-Andalus introduced oranges, lemons, cotton, and mulberry trees to Europe and led the medieval world in an agricultural revolution. Olive trees last for centuries, and it is said many of those on the hills of Spain today were planted by Moorish hands.

The Spanish and Portuguese identities are linked inseparably to the heritage of al-Andalus, although, even today, few Iberian historians have been able to come to terms with that legacy. But they are not the only heirs of the Andalusian past. The histories of Europe and the Americas are also tied to al-Andalus in subtle and unexpected ways. The emergence and dominance of the vikings from the 9th till the 11th centuries is a profound part of western European and Russian history. This complex phenomenon had several causes, but the powerful Andalusian economy of the time, which sapped economic growth in northern Europe, was among them. The Norman kingdom of 10th century France, which conquered Britain in the 11th, is among the critical developments of medieval history. The Normans originated as Danish vikings whom the Andalusians defeated on the Atlantic in one of the greatest naval battles in history. Victory saved al-Andalus from predations but sent the defeated viking remnants to northern France, where they cut out for themselves their new "Norman [northman] kingdom". In the 10th and 11th centuries, Muslims had a small governance in Switzerland and eastern France. Toynbee regarded this presence as one of the crucial developments of the Middle Ages prior to the crusades. Swiss Muslim power was related to al-Andalus, directly and indirectly. The Swiss were the only Muslims ever to make the Roman Pope pay jizyah. It took the combined armies of Byzantium and continental Europe to defeat them.

There seems to have been a friendly connection between al-Andalus and medieval Ireland. At the time, Ireland was a land of learning and had the most advanced civilization in northern Europe. The Andalusian period of Jewish history was Judaism's golden age. Arabized Andalusian Jews studied Hebrew grammar and lexicology in the light of the great Arab grammarians and cultivated other Arabic and Islamic sciences. Andalusian Jews produced many of the great books of Judaism. The banishment of Jewry from Spain and Portugal in the 15th and 16th centuries dealt Judaism a blow from which it never recovered. Zionism also has roots in al-Andalus, and it has been said that the Zionist movement should be dated from the destruction of Andalusian Jewry. Formerly Andalusian Jews were behind the principal intellectual developments of Judaism in its post-banishment period.

Andalusians may have reached America before Columbus discovered the west Indies in 1492 He claimed to have seen populations there dressed like Granadan Moors. The discovery of the Americas should not be separated from the Andalusian background and the broader relation between medieval Europe and the Islamic world at large. Moriscos built Columbus' ships in Moorish dry docks. The theory that the earth is round was Moorish, not Christian. Muslims had elaborated the idea and measured the earth's circumference seven hundred years before Columbus. Columbus brought an Arabic translator to the Caribbean Luis Torres [a Morisco or Marrano] hoping to find and communicate through Muslim populations in the Far East which he imagined he had found. Thus, Arabic was the first language Europeans used on American soil to try to speak with the native populations.

Even the brutal Spanish conquests of native Americans from the late 15th until the mid 16th centuries must be understood against the backdrop of the "Moorish problem" of Catholic Spain. Ponce de Leon's Caribbean battle cry was: "Santiago mata Moros" [Saint James, kill Moors]. It was the old battle cry against the Moors. Ponce de Leon and his Iberian soldiers had been galvinized by the genocide they and their forefathers perpetrated against the Andalusian peoples. Spain's American conquests enacted the reconquest of Iberia. But it is also said the conquistadores sought to outdo the great deeds of the Islamic conquerors of the 7th and 8th centuries. Sometimes they imitated them, as, for example, when they founded Lima (Peru) and Popayán (Columbia) after the model of the Arab garrison cities, al-Kufah and al-Basrah. The spirit, techniques, and treacheries of the Spanish campaigns in America had been honed in the long and difficult campaigns against the Moors. Officially, Moriscos were forbidden to emigrate to the Americas, but in reality they came in large numbers, especially to Mexico, Guatamala, Cuba, Columbia, Peru, and Bolivia. Moreover, the Jesuits spread in Latin America a special type of indolent and indulgent Catholicism, which the Inquisition had tailored to depoliticize and control the Spanish Moriscos.

Many Andalusians Moors and Moriscos were able to escape Iberia and the Inquisition. They had a tremendous influence on the Islamic world, to which they emigrated. Andalusians helped Arabicize many parts of Africa, especially what are today the Sudan and Mauritania. Andalusian soldiers and sailors made up powerful contingents in the Muslim forces of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and other Islamic lands. Many of the corsairs and "Barbary pirates" were Andalusians, some of whom saw themselves not as pirates but as worthy fighters trying to get back the Andalus their forefathers had lost.

Today, the legacy of al-Andalus has many lessons for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. We, Muslims, think of al-Andalus as an Islamic "paradise lost." In reality, it was not a paradise on earth. It had beautiful and ugly sides. It accomplished great achievements but had terrible failures. We must not romanticize al-Andalus but ponder what of its legacy was good and what was bad. Had it not been for its dark side, al-Andalus would have never ceased to exist.

Among the greatest lessons al-Andalus teaches is the nobility of toleration and harmonious coexistence between peoples and faiths. But it also narrates a tale of oppression and genocide that must be told the world. Today, the Spanish and Portuguese governments have changed and taken praiseworthy stances toward Muslims in their countries. They have also opened the Inquisitorial files. A modern Tunisian scholar tells of going to Spanish municipalities and requesting their Inquisitorial records. In some cases, women officials would bring them to him and hand them over with tears in their eyes, asking the Muslims to forgive them. The history of al-Andalus also shows the absolute necessity of unity and cooperation: a lesson we refuse to learn. Our fledgling Muslim communities in Spain, Britain, and America are as divided as they are small and the nation states of the Muslim world are no better. Indeed, they sometimes work against each other in a manner that would have shocked even the "petty factional kings" [muluk at-tawa'if] of al-Andalus.

Dr. Umar Faruq is now teaching in Chicago and conducting research in Islamic studies and cognate fields. Copyright 2000.

The History of the Moriscos and Mudéjares!

By Ah'med Birzali Rodriguez

Assalaamu 'alaikom, I shall attempt to explain the history of the Mudéjar, Morisco or in Arabic, Mudajjaan, Mawaarika! In the year of 711 A.D., a herd of horses came brooding into Spain like a storm led by a Berber by the name of Tarik ibn Ziyad, governor of Tangier in Northern Morocco, who led an army of 12,000 Berbers and Arabs into Spain, out of the appeal of Akhila son of the late Witizia of the Northern Visigoths, who under the threat of Roderick, the heir of the Southern Visigoths, had been declared by the nobles the new king of the Visigoths in Andalusia and of other areas of Spain! It is very important to point that out because many Christian historians have claimed the Moor's invasion was a brutal and savage altruistic foray into Southern Spain! Many Christian historians spoke of the "Two Spains," one Christian and the other Muslim. What they basically meant was Hispania or Spain which also included Portugal and Moorish Andalus, which befell under the domain of the Moors (Al Baladiyyun)! Historians can debate and argue about whether or not the details of the Moor's entrance into Southern Spain was an unjust invasion or more a plead for help! What cannot be debated though is the vast wealth of contribution that the Moors contributed to not only Islamic and Arab identity. But as well, to the vast wealth of knowledge and prestige it gave to Spain in general!

The connotation given to the Moors was truly in earnest, a bad connotation, imposed by the Christian Europeans. They ignorantly thought that all of these so-called Moors were all of darker skin. But history itself tends to deviate from the truth, as in the case of the Moors themselves. As Muslims we know, that the Berbers and Arabs who made up the conglomeration of the Spanish Moor (the Mudajjanee or Mawrikee or in Spanish, the Mudéjar or Morisco) where mostly light skinned or fair skinned. Though there were several darker skinned Moors such as the Maures and Sub-Saharan Africans whose descendants were the Moriegos. And some Central-Asians whose descendants were the Morunos. And as well some Balkan Muslims, whose descendants were the Morovos. All, the Mudéjar, Morisco, Moriego, Moruno and the Morovo, were part of Al Andalus! It was known that the Moors had also mixed with the local Castilians, Visigoths, Portugueses, Galicians, Basques, Catalans, and finally Andalusians of the local population.

From that mixture came as well the Mudéjar and Morisco, apart from the Arabs and Berbers! What was Al Andalus like before the Moors arrived in southern Spain? Feuds, one kingdom or faction fighting against each other! What was Al Andalus like under the dominion of the Moors? The greatest manifestations and wonders of civilization that Europe itself had ever witness until this day! Al Andalus was a place where Jew, Christian, and Muslim alike were all free to practice and worship in their religion. Religious tolerance and cultural tolerance was the trademark of the Moors. Under the Ummayad Dynasty, this form of tolerance was prevalent and rife! In fact the Sephardic Jews were admirers of the Arabic zajals and scholars. In fact, Musa ibn Maimun, the known Jewish scholar, was quite an admirer of Islam and Arabic! As for the Christians, they too likewise became enamored with Islam and the Arabic language.

What was unique about the Morisco and Mudéjar was the fact that he was trilingual. He spoke Arabic, Hebrew, and as well Aljamiyah, a version of Spanish. In fact, it could be said that for nearly eight hundred years the heart of Islam and the learning center of Islam laid there in Al Andalus itself! It was in a simplistic sense the Mecca of Arab learning and civilization! The greatest scholars of math, literature, art, architecture, poetry, and science came out of Al Andalus indeed, such as Ibn Rushd, Ibn Hazim, Ibn Bassam, Ibn Malik, Ibn Qutiyyah, and many more! Essentially for eight hundred years, the Morisco or Mudéjar contributed to the great vast wealth of knowledge of Islam in general!

But history would take precedence, and unfortunately, it would spell disaster for the Morisco or Mudéjar in the form of the first wave of expulsion at the fall of Granada in 1492! An expulsion like no other in which the Moriscos were forced to flee into Northern Africa! Many fled to Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria, Tunisia, and the Spanish Sahara. But what is not well known is that many stayed behind - even after the Treaty of Granada was broken by the Castilian Spaniards. Under the provision of the Treaty of Granada under article 2, they permitted the Morisco, Mudéjar, to remain in Spain and practice their religion, and keep their identity, language, and above all property! Due to the betrayal of the Castilian Spaniards, many were forced to convert to Catholicism, were not allowed to speak their languagee, nor could they practice their religion - Islam!

The word coined for the Moors who stood behind, was in Spanish "Moriscos, Mudéjares" or in Arabic "Mudajjaan, Mawaarika!" Sadly enough, many of the Moriscos, Mudéjares, were taken to monasteries, and unwillingly forced to be baptised and endoctrined within the Catholic religion itself! Or worse, many of them were butchered and slaughtered for failing to convert, thus by the sword of the Castilian Christian during the Spanish Inquisition, led by the fundamentalist Cardinal Ximénez de Cisneros! Thus, many Moriscos and Mudéjares were forced to take on Castilian names, the Castilian religion, and above all, the Castilian identity! The Moriscos and Mudéjares were scattered from the south to the north in an effort to maintain dominion upon them and systematically wipe them out through ethnic cleansing!

In following years, one last ditch major rebellion was made by the Moriscos and Mudéjares who had beseeched their brethren in Northern Africa to come to their aid. But unfortunately, the uprising was quelled. In the years from 1609 to 1614, the Morisco and Mudéjar was at last either expelled, absorbed, or worse exterminated. What is not really known nor told is the fact that many of the Moriscos and Mudéjares emigrated to the Americas in mass numbers!

Though in time, the Morisco and Mudéjar serve mainly as a connotation to what was once a great empire. Forgotten in the pages of history books is that the Morisco, Mudéjar is slowly reverting, not converting, back to Islam in numbers. And more importantly, they are once again returning to their ancestral religion, language, and identity. They are yearning to return as a strong vibrant community as before in Al Andalus! Slowly the Morisco and Mudéjar is gaining ground.

I am often asked the difference between the Moriscos and the Mudéjares. The major difference is simply that the Moriscos unlike the Mudéjares though they fled Al Andalus were able to retain their identity, language, and their religion. On the other hand, the Mudéjares were forced to give up their identity, language, and religion. The Mudéjare was absorbed by the Castilian way. He accepted another language, another identity, and another religion, Catholicism! As for the Moriegos, they were Sub-Saharan Africans who migrated back to Northern Africa. The Morunos who were Central-Asian Moors of Al Andalus migrated back to Central-Asia. The Morovos who were Balkan Muslims returned back to the Balkan peninsula. They were mostly like the Morisco, able to retain their Islamic identity with the exception of the Morovos. Although only a few, the Morovos are seen today in countries such as Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Albania, and Kosovo.

Inshallaah, while we have our mosque in Córdoba and an Islamic University as well, the message of Muh'ammad (peace be upon him) is being heard. The more the truth of the history of the Morisco, Mudéjar is told and known to the Hispanic Muslim, the more the spirit of not only Islamic renewal is once again resurfacing, but also the whole Mudéjar or Morisco identity is being reclaimed, and consequently, they are gradually returning to their ancestral roots! With our Moriego, Moruno, and Morovo brethren, the history of the Moors is alive anew! Peace be upon Muh'ammad and Islam! Allahu Akbar!

El Islam Rechaza El Terrorismo

Por Yahya Suquillo

El ataque terrorista perpetrado en el Centro del Comercio del Mundo, en Nueva York, en la mañana del 11 de septiembre de 2001, costó la vida a miles de personas inocentes. Este acto terrorista de barbarie empañó una vez más la paz y la fraternidad de la humanidad.

El terrorismo en general
El terrorismo es un crimen contra la humanidad. Su objetivo es esparcir el temor en la sociedad matando gente, y así ganar fuerza para sus fines políticos. Incluso desde el pasado, las diferentes ideologías han recurrido al terrorismo. Los Jacobinos, que llevaron a cabo la Revolución Francesa, usaron primero el concepto de terrorismo durante "˜El período del terror', cuando miles de personas fueron enviadas a la guillotina.

En 1870, la organización racista Ku Klux Klan, en los Estados Unidos, atormentó y mató despiadadamente a muchas personas por el solo hecho de ser negros. Así también, el terrorismo racista vino a ser la norma del Estado en la Alemania Nazi durante los años treinta. Los nazis aplicaron una norma sangrienta de terror en contra de todos quienes se oponían a ellos, comenzando por los judíos.

Durante esos mismos años, otra ideología aplicó también el Estado de terrorismo: 40 millones de personas murieron durante el régimen de Stalin por oponerse en contra de la ideología comunista.

El terrorismo comunista surgió en Europa en 1960. En ese tiempo, las organizaciones opuestas al Estado comenzaron una matanza. Las Brigadas Rojas en Italia y la llamada Facción Roja de Ejército en Alemania llevaron a cabo numerosos bombardeos, ataques y matanzas.

La unión de terrorismo comunista con aspiraciones de separatista generó organizaciones aun más sanguinarias. El grupo comunista más sangriento en España era ETA, y en Turquía se organizó el PKK, que mató despiadadamente a unas 30.000 personas.

El racismo es una consecuencia bastante natural del fascismo o del comunismo. En el racismo, el fascismo o en la teoría comunista, el terrorismo se alienta y es justificado. En años recientes, sin embargo, otra forma de "˜terrorismo' se ha presentado a la orden del día en de mundo, aunque esto con un concepto totalmente contradictorio: "˜terrorismo islámico.'

El concepto es contradictorio porque en el Islam no hay cabida para el terrorismo. En el Corán, Dios ordena a todos musulmanes promover la paz, la armonía y la fraternidad al mundo. La moral islámica no es la causa de terrorismo, sino al contrario, es la solución contra el mismo.

La moral islámica
La palabra Islam viene de la misma raíz árabe que la palabra paz. Dios ha revelado esta religión para invitar a toda la humanidad a que se guíe por el sendero verdadero y los llama a la paz y la armonía.

Las características fundamentales de la moral islámica son las virtudes tales como el amor, la compasión, el sacrificio, la tolerancia, el perdón y la justicia. En el Corán, Dios ordena a los musulmanes tratar bien a todas las personas. Los musulmanes son los encargados de dar ejemplo a los miembros de otras religiones, observando una moral virtuosa y digno ejemplo de tesón y entrega. En un verso del Corán, se dice a musulmanes:

"Sois la mejor comunidad humana que jamás se haya suscitado: ordenáis lo que está bien, prohibís lo que está mal y creéis en Aláh. Si la gente de la Escritura creyera, les iría mejor. Hay entre ellos creyentes, pero la mayoría son perversos". (El Sagrado Corán 3:110)

En otro verso, Dios ordena a los musulmanes "responder al mal con la bondad": "No es igual obrar bien que obrar mal. ¡Repele con lo que sea mejor y he aquí que aquel de quien te separe la enemistad se convertirá en amigo ferviente!" (El Sagrado Corán 41:34)

El derramamiento de sangre, la guerra y la crueldad son pecados terribles condenados por Dios. En un verso, Dios dice esto a los que cometen estos pecados: "Sólo incurren en él quienes son injustos con los hombres y se insolentan en la tierra injustamente. Esos tales tendrán un castigo doloroso" (El Sagrado Corán 42:42)

Según el Islam, la matanza a gente inocente es uno de los pecados más terribles. Otro verso dice: "Por esta razón, prescribimos a los Hijos de Israel que quien matara a una persona que no hubiera matado a nadie ni corrompido en la tierra, sería como si hubiera matado a toda la humanidad. Y que quien salvara una vida, sería como si hubiera salvado las vidas de toda la humanidad. Nuestros enviados vinieron a ellos con pruebas claras, pero, a pesar de ellas, muchos cometieron excesos en la tierra." (El Sagrado Corán 5:32)

La importancia que enfatiza el Corán, respetando la vida humana, se ha visto a través de la historia de Islam, comenzando en los días del Profeta Mujammad (PBAE) mismo. Nuestro profeta hizo el más grande esfuerzo para proteger a la gente inocente. Nunca comenzó una guerra, excepto por defensa propia. Aun entonces él advirtió a sus comandantes que ninguna persona inocente debe ser dañada, y que las iglesias y las sinagogas deben ser respetadas. La justicia y la tolerancia se han manifestado a lo largo de la historia de Islam, y los cristianos y los judíos hallaron en tierras musulmanas la tolerancia y la paz que ellos no podrían encontrar en los estados europeos. Por lo tanto, se concluye que el Islam es una religión de paz y armonía. Es deber de un musulmán comportarse amablemente y con justicia con todas las personas y luchar contra la crueldad en el mundo; pues el pináculo de la crueldad lo ocupa el terrorismo.

El terrorismo
El terrorismo ataca injustamente a gente inocente. Mata despiadadamente a niños pequeños", deja a otros huérfanos",destruye las ciudades y mata las familias; inflinge sufrimiento a millones de personas. Además, algunos terroristas llevan a cabo este mal en nombre del Islam y lo ennegrecen ante los ojos de muchas personas. La gente que hace esto no puede ser musulmana.

Aunque se aparente que los terroristas tengan las identidades musulmanas, el terrorismo que ellos perpetraron aquel día de septiembre no puede ser catalogado como "˜terrorismo islámico,' así como no se llamaría "˜terrorismo judío' si los perpetradores fueran judíos o "˜terrorismo cristiano' si fueran cristianos. Esto es porque asesinar a gente inocente en el nombre de la religión es inaceptable.

La religión ordena el amor, la misericordia y la paz. El terrorismo, en cambio, es lo contrario de la religión: es cruel e inmisericorde, trae derramamiento de sangre y miseria. El terrorismo es una herramienta empleada por racistas, fascistas y comunistas; en resumen, por todas esas ideologías que rechazan la religión y la moral religiosa. No compaginan, bajo ningún punto el terrorismo y la religión. Como se dice en un verso del Corán, "Si sufrís una herida, otros han sufrido una herida semejante. Nosotros hacemos alternar esos días entre los hombres para que Aláh reconozca a quienes crean y tome testigos de entre vosotros -Aláh no ama a los impíos-" (El Sagrado Corán 3:140).

El Corán se refiere en otro verso, a quienes recurren al terrorismo y causan la corrupción en la tierra, de esta manera: "Pero quienes violan la alianza con Aláh después de haberla contraído, cortan los lazos que Aláh ha ordenado mantener y corrompen en la tierra, esos serán malditos y tendrán una morada detestable". (El Sagrado Corán 13:25)

Por esa razón, todos aquellos verdaderos musulmanes deben oponerse contra el terrorismo, diciendo a viva voz y demostrando al mundo entero que el Islam es una religión de paz y amor, y que por lo tanto el Islam rechaza el terrorismo.

Who is Allah?

by Abu Iman 'Abd ar-Rahman Robert Squires

Some of the biggest misconceptions that many non-Muslims have about Islam have to do with the word "Allah". For various reasons, many people have come to believe that Muslims worship a different God than Christians and Jews. This is totally false, since "Allah" is simply the Arabic word for "God" - and there is only One God. Let there be no doubt - Muslims worship the God of Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus - peace be upon them all. However, it is certainly true that Jews, Christians and Muslims all have different concepts of Almighty God. For example, Muslims - like Jews - reject the Christian beliefs of the Trinity and the Divine Incarnation. This, however, doesn't mean that each of these three religions worships a different God - because, as we have already said, there is only One True God. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all claim to be "Abrahamic Faiths", and all of them are also classified as "monotheistic". However, Islam teaches that other religions have, in one way or another, distorted and nullified a pure and proper belief in Almighty God by neglecting His true teachings and mixing them with man-made ideas.

First of all, it is important to note that "Allah" is the same word that Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews use for God. If you pick up an Arabic Bible, you will see the word "Allah" being used where "God" is used in English. This is because "Allah" is the only word in the Arabic language equivalent to the English word "God" with a capital "G". Additionally, the word "Allah" cannot be made plural or given gender (i.e. masculine or feminine), which goes hand-in-hand with the Islamic concept of God. Because of this, and also because the Qur'an, which is the holy scripture of Muslims, was revealed in the Arabic language, some Muslims use the word "Allah" for "God", even when they are speaking other languages. This is not unique to the word "Allah", since many Muslims tend to use Arabic words when discussing Islamic issues, regardless of the language which they speak. This is because the universal teachings of Islam - even though they have been translated in every major language - have been preserved in the Arabic language.

It is interesting to note that the Aramaic word "El", which is the word for God in the language that Jesus spoke, is certainly more similar in sound to the word "Allah" than the English word "God". This also holds true for the various Hebrew words for God, which are "El" and "Elah", and the plural form "Elohim". The reason for these similarities is that Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic are all Semitic languages with common origins. It should also be noted that in translating the Bible into English, the Hebrew word "El" is translated variously as "God", "god" and "angel"! This imprecise language allows different translators, based on their preconceived notions, to translate the word to fit their own views. The Arabic word "Allah" presents no such difficulty or ambiguity, since it is only used for Almighty God alone. Additionally, in English, the only difference between "god", meaning a false god, and "God", meaning the One True God, is the capital "G". In the Arabic alphabet, since it does not have capital letters, the word for God (i.e. Allah) is formed by adding the equivalent to the English word "the" (Al-) to the Arabic word for "god/God" (ilah). So the Arabic word "Allah" literally it means "The God" - the "Al-" in Arabic basically serving the same function as the capital "G" in English. Due to the above mentioned facts, a more accurate translation of the word "Allah" into English might be "The One -and-Only God" or "The One True God".

More importantly, it should also be noted that the Arabic word "Allah" contains a deep religious message due to its root meaning and origin. This is because it stems from the Arabic verb ta'allaha (or alaha), which means "to be worshipped". Thus in Arabic, the word "Allah" means "The One who deserves all worship". This, in a nutshell, is the Pure Monotheistic message of Islam. You see, according to Islam, "monotheism" is much more than simply believing in the existence of "only One God" - as seemingly opposed to two, three or more. If one understands the root meaning of the word "Allah", this point should become clear. One should understand that Islam's criticism of the other religions that claim to be "monotheistic" is not because they are "polytheistic" in the classic sense, but because they direct various forms of worship to other than Almighty God. We will discuss the meaning of worship in Islam below, however, before moving on it should be noted that many non-Muslims are unaware of the distinction between simply believing in the existence of only One God and reserving all worship for Him alone. Many Christians are painfully unaware of this point, and thus you often find them asking how Muslims can accuse the followers of Jesus, peace be upon him, of being "polytheists" when they were all "monotheistic Jews". First of all, it should be clarified that the word "polytheist" doesn't really sound right in this context, since to many it implies simply believing in the existence of more than one God. So in an Islamic context, "associators", "man-worshippers" or "creature worshippers" might be more accurate and appropriate terms - especially since Christians believe Jesus to be both "100% God and 100% man", while still paying lip-service to God's "Oneness". However, as we're previously touched upon, what is really at the root of this problem is the fact that Christians - as well as the members of other religions - don't really know what "monotheism" means - especially in the Islamic sense. All of the books, articles and papers that I've read which were written by Christians invariably limit "monotheism" to believing in the existence of "One Sovereign and Creator God". Islam, however, teaches much more than this.

Suffice it to say that just because someone claims to be a "monotheistic" Jew, Christian or Muslim, that doesn't keep them from falling into corrupt beliefs and idolatrous practices. Many people, including some Muslims, claim belief in "One God" even though they've fallen into acts of idolatry. Certainly, many Protestants accuse Roman Catholics of idolatrous practices in regards to the saints and the Virgin Mary. Likewise, the Greek Orthodox Church is considered "idolatrous" by many other Christians because in much of their worship they use icons. However, if you ask a Roman Catholic or a Greek Orthodox person if God is "One", they will invariably answer: "Yes!". This lip-service, however, does not stop them from being "creature worshipping" idolaters. The same goes for Hindus, who just consider their gods to be "manifestations" or "incarnations" of the One Supreme God.

Everyone should be aware of the fact that throughout the long history of the "Abrahamic Faiths", there have people who, while believing in "One God", have adopted beliefs and practices that completely nullify their claim to "monotheism". This is the Muslim view of Christians. We're well aware of the fact that they claim belief in "One God" with their lips, but this doesn't mean that they don't nullify their claim in other ways. This is because many people simply haven't been taught everything that Pure Monotheism entails. From an Islamic point of view, "monotheism" can be nullified in many ways. For example, simply believing that it is permissible to rule by Western "liberal" and "democratic" laws in lieu of the Divinely Revealed Law of Almighty God makes one a "polytheist". Certainly, a person who does such a thing, whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim, doesn't ever believe that there is another Almighty Creator and Sovereign Lord. However, for all practical purposes, such a person has taken another "god", whether they choose to admit it or not. In this way they are associating partners with Almighty God (Arabic: shirk), and thus become a "polytheist" in a practical sense, regardless of their lip-service to "monotheism". This holds true even if the person doesn't believe what they are doing is "worship". For example, Roman Catholics who pray to the Virgin Mary will staunchly deny that they are "worshipping" her. They instead call it "adoration" or some other watered-down term. However, from an Islamic point of view, what is worship if not this? Islam teaches that prayer and supplication are the marrow of worship, so if one directs their prayers to an intermediary (even if the pray is "ultimately" meant for God), then what is left of worship? Additionally, how can someone who believes in Almighty God follow man-made laws instead of God's Law, without admitting that they've begun worshipping other than God? Do they know better than God?

Additionally, the Old Testament makes it perfectly clear that making a "graven image" of any created thing (not to mention ones which are supposed to "represent" Almighty God) is prohibited. Please see Exodus 20:4-6, Leviticus 26:1 and Deuteronomy 4:16, 23, 25, 5:8 and Nehemiah 9:6 for some statements in regards to this point. Without addressing the issue that Christians commonly violate the unambiguous commandment not to even "make" representations of anything that is in the "heavens above or on the earth beneath", these verses not only teach that worshipping idols is prohibited, but also that Almighty God is eternally distinct from His creation and thus nothing in His creation can represent Him. To believe otherwise is to be a de facto idol worshipper - even if one claims belief in one, and only one, "True God". In Exodus 20:4-6 and Deuteronomy 4:16, Almighty God - who is a "Jealous God" - makes it perfectly clear that He is distinct from His creation.

By giving such clear and merciful guidance to human beings, God is establishing a universal and eternal Truth for the benefit of mankind. This eternal Truth is the bedrock of religious guidance, since once people begin to believe that Almighty God mixes with or can be represented by His creation, they can be duped into believing almost anything. Once someone accepts that God has become "incarnate" in His creation, or that someone or something is a "manifestation" - and thus representation - of Him, the floodgates are open and "Truth" becomes a matter of subjective guesswork. Once the first and most basic concept is violated - regardless of how complicated and sophisticated the rationale for it might be - it is very easy to fall further and further away from the Eternal Truth of Pure Monotheism. In the final analysis, it is not a question of whether God is capable of becoming a man, but rather a question of whether one bases their beliefs about God on clear, unambiguous and authentic guidance. Once it is left up to the human mind to decide what Almighty God can and cannot do, the stage is set for misguidance to take root. Human speculation about God only ends up leading to misguidance and despair, since no clear conclusions can ever be reached. For example, is God capable of creating an object so heavy that He is incapable of moving it? If not, does that mean that He is incapable? It is because of misguided questions like this that Islam clearly teaches that mankind should only say about God what He has said about Himself. This means all of our ideas about God must be based on Revelation - not human speculation. In short, the final prophet of Islam - Muhammad - was sent by Almighty God to preach the same Pure Monotheism that was practiced by Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus - peace be upon them all. This Pure Monotheism means not only believing that there is only One God in existence, but realizing that He is transcedent above His creation and that all worship is due to Him alone.

Before concluding, we should probably address the practice of those Muslims who insist on using the Arabic word "Allah" even when speaking English. Even though this practice certainly is not to be condemned when it is done around those who understand the meaning of the Arabic word "Allah", it is my experience - both during my years as a non-Muslim and my years as a Muslim - that such a practice can (and usually does) breed misunderstanding. It seems that often times, many of the Muslims who use the word "Allah" in lieu of the word "God", even when trying to attract people to Islam, are unaware of the severe misunderstandings that many non-Muslims have about Islam (and the distorted way which Islam has been portrayed in the West). Insisting on using the word "Allah" only fuels the flames of misunderstanding - so there's no good reason to do it. I've often wondered what value some Muslims think that using the word "Allah" adds to the Pure Message that they are trying to convey. ( . . . and I'm still waiting for an answer!) Unfortunately, those Muslims who insist on using the word "Allah" even when addressing non-Muslims who are unfamiliar with Islam and the Arabic language, do both a disservice to themselves and their religion. Unfortunately, this practice is usually based on the false assumption - by a non-native speaker of English - that the word "God" in English is incapable of expressing a pure and proper belief in Almighty God. This is certainly false. If someone says that the English word "God" cannot be used to express the Pure Islamic Belief in Tawhid, they are wrong not because they don't understand Tawhid, but simply because they don't understand the English language. Many people who insist on using the Arabic word "Allah" usually don't realize this, because in reality, they are not so much affirming the word "Allah" as they are rejecting the word "God" as unsuitable - based on incorrect assumptions. For someone to assume that the word "God" presupposes a certain theological point-of-view (such as the Trinity) is simply Wrong - and that's Wrong with a capital "W". To say the word "God" should be rejected because it can be changed into "god", "gods" or "goddess" is illogical because each of these words has a distinctive meaning and a distinctive spelling - at least to someone who knows how to speak English correctly. Using the same logic, I can demonstrate that the root letters "ktb" can be used to form the Arabic words "kitab" (book), "maktabah" (library), "maktab" (office) and "kaatib" (writer), but does that mean that these words have the same meaning? Do Arabic-speaking people go through life confusing libraries with writers and offices with books (both in conversation and in reality)? I think not! This is not to mention the fact that if the Arabic "Al-" was put in front of these words in order to make them definite, confusion would be even less likely! So the logic in both cases is the same, and this is because even though the same letters are used in "God" and "god", these two words have two different meanings in the English language. The capital "G" implies something different than the small "g" - and anyone who denies this simply doesn't know how to speak the English language.

In concluding this point, it should be mentioned that Arabic-speaking Muslims who believe in Pure Tawhid, Arabic-speaking Christians, the idol worshippers of Mecca and (so-called) Muslims who believe in "Wahdat al-Wujud" all use the word "Allah". However, does this guarantee all of them proper belief in "Allah"? Certainly not, because if they have a corrupt concept of "Allah" it doesn't matter what word they use!

This brings us to a more important point: It should be clearly understood that what Islam is primarily concerned with is correcting mankind's concept of Almighty God. What we are ultimately going to be held accountable at the end of our life is not whether we prefer the word "Allah" over the word "God", but what our concept of God is. Language is only a side issue. A person can have an incorrect concept of God while using the word "Allah", and likewise a person can have a correct concept of God while using the word "God". This is because both of these words are equally capable of being misused and being improperly defined. As we've already mentioned, using the word "Allah" no more insinuates belief in the Unity of God than the use of the word "God" insinuates belief in the Trinity - or any other theological opinion. Naturally, when God sends a revelation to mankind through a prophet, He is going to send it in a language that the people who receive it can understand and relate to. Almighty God makes this clear in the Qur'an, when He states:

"Never did We send a Messenger except (to teach) in the language of his (own) people in order to make (things) clear to them." (Qur'an, Chapter 14 - "Abraham", Verse 4)

As Muslims, we think that it is unfortunate that we have to go into details on such seemingly minor issues, but so many falsehoods have been heaped upon our religion, that we feel that it is our duty to try to break down the barriers of falsehood. This isn't always easy, since there is a lot of anti-Islamic literature in existence which tries to make Islam look like something strange and foreign to Westerners. There are some people out there, who are obviously not on the side of truth, that want to get people to believe that "Allah" is just some Arabian "god", and that Islam is completely "other" - meaning that it has no common roots with the other Abrahamic religions (i.e. Christianity and Judaism). To say that Muslims worship a different "God" because they say "Allah" is just as illogical as saying that French people worship another God because they use the word "Dieu", that Spanish-speaking people worship a different God because they say "Dios" or that the Hebrews worshipped a different God because they sometimes call Him "Yahweh". Certainly, reasoning like this is quite ridiculous! It should also be mentioned, that claiming that any one language uses the only the correct word for God is tantamount to denying the universality of God's message to mankind, which was to all nations, tribes and people through various prophets who spoke different languages.

Before closing, we would like everyone to be aware of the fact that some Christian missionary organizations print English literature intended to teach Christians about Islam which say such things as: "Allah is the god of the Muslims" and that "Muhammad came to get people to believe in the god Allah" - implying that "Allah" is some sort of false "god". However, when these same organizations print literature in the Arabic language, hoping to lead Arabic-speaking Muslims "to Christ", they use the word "Allah" for God. It seems that if they were on the side of truth, they would not have to resort to such inconsistencies. And on an even more ridiculous note . . . there are also missionary organizations that exceed this in ignorance (or deceit) by writing books that call on Muslims to give up their belief in "Allah", and instead worship the "Lord" Jesus, "the Son of God". Besides making it abundantly clear that they are outside the community of Pure Monotheism, the people who write such material don't even realize that if they wrote such a pamphlet in Arabic, it would be self-contradictory. This is because in an Arabic Bible Jesus is the "Son of Allah"! If an Arabic-speaking person gave up the worship of "Allah", they would have no God to worship, since "Allah" is simply the Arabic word for God!

Before we conclude, however, we would like to ask our readers to ask themselves what they think the reasons are behind all of these lies? If Islam was just some false religion that didn't make any sense, would so many people, from Western scholars to Christian missionaries, have to tell so many lies about it? The reason is that the Ultimate Truth of Islam stands on solid ground and its unshakable belief in the Unity of God is above reproach. Due to this, Christians can't criticize its doctrines directly, but instead make up things about Islam that aren't true so that people lose the desire to learn more. If Muslims were able to present Islam in the proper way to people in the West, it surely might make many people reconsider and re-evaluate their own beliefs. It is quite likely that Christians, when they find out that there is a universal religion in the world that teaches people to worship and love God, while also practicing Pure Monotheism, would at least feel that they should re-examine the basis for their own beliefs and doctrines.

© 1998, 1999, 2000 - MUSLIM ANSWERS, P. O. Box 1227, Windermere, FL 34786 - U. S. A.

Fact Sheet: Islam in the United States

Islam is one of the fastest-growing religions in the U.S. By the year 2010, America's Muslim population is expected to surpass the Jewish population, making Islam the country's second-largest faith after Christianity.1

The American Muslim community is a mosaic of cultures, its members having come from all of the five major continents. In fact, a recent survey showed that most Muslims are immigrants -- 77.6% versus 22.4% U.S. born.2

This same survey indicated that the ethnic origins of the Muslim community are as follows:

26.2% Middle East (Arab)
24.7% South Asia
23.8% African American
11.6% Other
10.3% Middle East (Not Arab)
6.4% East Asia

While there are no official population figures for religious affiliation in the United States, experts estimate that there are approximately six million American Muslims. Other estimates range from four to eight million.3

The Britannica Book of the Year estimated that, in mid-2000, there were 4,175,000 Muslims in the United States, 1,650,000 of whom are African American in origin. An average of 17,500 African Americans converted to Islam each year between 1990 and 1995.4

The earliest group of Muslims to arrive in America in significant numbers came from West Africa from 1530 to 1851, because of the slave trade. They comprised an estimated 14% to 20% of the hundreds of thousands of West Africans forcibly removed from their homelands.5

The next sizable number of Muslims immigrated to the United States during the early 20th century. They came from Lebanon, Syria and other countries across the Ottoman Empire.6

The post-World War II era, during the 1960s and '70s, saw the third substantial wave of immigrants from all parts of the Islamic world. This wave included large numbers of Muslims who came to study at American universities.7

Approximately a third of American Muslims live on the East Coast (32.2%), 25.3% live in the South, 24.3% in the Central/Great Lakes Region, and 18.2% in the West. 8

There are nearly 2000 mosques nationwide as well as numerous Islamic day schools and Sunday and weekend schools.9

1 Carla Power, "The New Islam," Newsweek, March 16, 1998, p. 34.
2 Source: Zogby International, August 2000, Survey commissioned by the American Muslim Council.
3 Estimates vary widely for all the figures quoted throughout this fact sheet. In terms of overall population, M.M. Ali reports that there are 6 to 8 million Muslims in America in The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May-June 1996, p. 13.
4 Encyclopedia Britannica. "Religious Adherents in the United States of America." On 5 Edward L. Queen, III, Stephen R. Prothero, and Gardiner Shattuck, Jr. The Encyclopedia of American Religious History. (New York: Facts on File, 1996), p. 319.
6 Ibid., p. 320.
7 Ibid.
8 Source: Zogby International, August 2000, Survey commissioned by the American Muslim Council.
9 Omar Khalidi, "Mosque," In Wade Clark Roof, Contemporary American Religion. (New York: Macmillan, 2000). Also, Yvonne Haddad, "Islam in the United States: A Tentative Ascent; A Conversation," U.S. Society and Values: The Religious Landscape of the United States, March 1997.

Family Values Examined in CAIR Ad Campaign

Advertisement says national security depends on strength of families

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/14/03) - Family values in the American Muslim community will be the focus in the fifth installment of a national advertising campaign designed to foster greater understanding of Islam and to counter the rising tide of Islamophobic rhetoric in the United States. SEE:

CAIR launched the year-long "Islam in America" campaign February 16 with an ad on the New York Times editorial page. The first four ads featured examples of ethnic diversity in the American Muslim community, a Muslim Girl Scout troop in California, a Muslim woman explaining why modest Islamic attire is both liberating and empowering, and a condemnation of religiously-motivated terrorism.

The text of the latest CAIR ad reads: "My name is Aminah Kapadia, and I'm a wife, a mom and a student. I'm studying for a Masters degree in education, and I volunteer at our children's school, where I'm also active in the PTA. I was born in Philadelphia, to Puerto Rican parents, and have lived in the United States my entire life.

"My husband, Zubin, is from India, but has called America home for more than thirty years. He's an attorney and former economic officer for the U.S. Department of State. Now he spends his time running a consulting firm and coaching our sons' T-ball and soccer teams.

"Like many Americans, my husband and I face the challenge of raising our children in an unpredictable world. That's why the basic principles of our religion, like tolerance, justice and devotion to family, are a central part of our lives. As the Prophet Muhammad told us, 'The best of you is he who is best to his family. None of you will have faith until he wants for his brother what he wishes for himself.'

"We believe the security of our nation is dependent upon the strength of our families, and Islam teaches us the values that provide that strength."