Books, Dawah, Islam, Latino Muslims, Other

Representation Matters: Islamic Books for Latino Children

By Wendy Díaz

May 8, 2021

Original link: Representation Matters: Islamic Books for Latino Children | About Islam

Fifteen years ago, my husband and I, both Latino converts to Islam, welcomed our first son to this world. Alhamdulillah, he was the first Muslim child born into our families, a blend of Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian heritages living here in the U.S.

His fitra, that innate faith in one Supreme Creator, was untainted unlike ours had been. He did not have to discover Islam later in life in his teens and twenties like his parents had.

We named him Uthman after the third Khalifa in Islam, the son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, bearer of the two lights. And so began our Muslim parenting journey, one that we are still striving to navigate efficiently as more and more challenges and blessings present themselves.

As convert parents, our objective is to raise righteous Muslims by Allah’s Will; as Latinos, we endeavor to preserve our culture within the confines of Islam. We learned early that despite what we heard from some well-intentioned Muslims, Islam did not come to take away our identity.

In fact, Islam is part of our rich history as Latinos – an inheritance left behind by our ancestors that has been buried and forgotten.

Unfortunately, this reality is one that has not been explored enough in contemporary circles of knowledge. Muslims from other parts of the world do not consider Latin America part of the Islamic narrative. Yet, as more of us return to Islam, we are unearthing this truth and we are eager to pass it on to our children with pride.

When we began searching for Islamic books and material to teach our first son in our native language, we were unsuccessful. However, as a mother who wanted to instill a love of reading in my child, I settled with purchasing books in English and translating them simultaneously as I read them to Spanish.

Soon I began reaching out to publishing companies that specialized in Islamic books and offered to translate their children’s books. After receiving no response or downright rejection because as they said, there was “no market for Spanish material,” I realized that if I wanted books for my children, I would have to create them.

Thankfully, I loved writing as much as I loved reading, but I knew from my experience with traditional Islamic publishers that it was unlikely my manuscripts would be accepted. My husband and I investigated self-publishing, and after investing our own capital, we published our first bilingual Islamic children’s book in 2010 called, A Veil and a Beard.

Other books followed, including a series on the Prophets, a book about Ramadan and one on Friday prayer, an artistic representation of the hadith of Gabriel for children, and others. We sought support from friends and family through our non-profit social project and dawah organization, Hablamos Islam, Inc.

Due to a high demand for these books all over Latin America, we were able to supply needy communities with Islamic children’s books in their own language in over a dozen countries.

Alhamdulillah, we also began creating children’s programming in Spanish on our YouTube channel, Hablamos Islam, that has been viewed in over 40 countries worldwide. Nevertheless, this was not enough.

After my first, then second, then third child entered school, I began to see another concerning trend. The three of them were the only Latino children in their Islamic schools.

As such, they experienced some alienation and bullying. My eldest was often taunted by his classmates, who called him Mexican and said he ate tacos, despite him telling them that he was half Puerto Rican, half Ecuadorian and tacos are not a staple of either country.

My second son’s teachers complained about his behavior and suggested that the reason for his troubles in class were due to him not having many Muslim relatives as role models (because we were converts). Their last name, Guadalupe, that is in fact, a blend of Arabic and Latin (Wadi – valley, al – the, and lupus – wolf) was always mispronounced and ridiculed. Despite bringing this up to the school’s administration, little was done to curb these occurrences and the misconceptions that fueled them.

At this point, I understood that it was not just Islamic books in Spanish that were missing for Latino children, but also Islamic books with Latino representation for all Muslims – children, parents, and educators included.

Latin-American Muslims needed to see themselves represented in Islamic literature and it was imperative that other Muslims accept them as part of the general Islamic community.

Later, when we moved and I was forced to put my children in public school, there emerged a need to also educate non-Muslims about my Latin American Muslim family. This is when the idea for my most recent books was born. 

Since the beginning of 2020, I have published six important pieces of literature that represent our experiences as Latino Muslims here in the U.S., both inside and outside the Islamic community. They are:

De Puerto Rico to Islam With Love: A collection of poetry about identity and faith – A book of memoir and poetry detailing the events that led to my conversion to Islam and the aftermath of that decision.

The Secret of My Hijab (English and Spanish) – a children’s picture book reaction to the questions my daughter encountered in public school while wearing the Islamic veil.

The First Day of Ramadan/El primer día de Ramadán (second edition)– a bilingual children’s book that follows a Muslim family on their first Ramadan fast with a glossary of both English and Spanish vocabulary related to Ramadan.

Yo Hablo Islam/I Speak Islam – A Spanish-English dictionary for Muslim children to learn Spanish vocabulary, including terms related to their identity as Muslims.

Why Do Muslims… ? 25 Questions for Curious Kids – A Q&A children’s book with other 25 facts about Islam and Muslims with a Latino main character.

Eid Empanadas – A book celebrating the Ramadan and Eid traditions of a Latin-American Muslim family.

My mission is to be a voice for the underrepresented Latin American Muslim community, and especially for our children. Insha’Allah, I hope these books and more to come, will help us understand each other and be more welcoming to those we do not know.

After more than a decade of being involved in this work, my family and I are now beginning to see other authors and even publishing companies starting to work towards filling this gap of missing Spanish material and representation for Muslim children. For that, we are profoundly grateful.

However, there is still a lack of support for these important resources. I hope that you, my dear reader, will aid us in raising awareness for this cause by adding these books to your home library, discussing diversity within the Islamic community with your children or students, and sharing this article for others to benefit. May Allah reward you and may He bring back the unity in our commUNITY. Ameen!

About Wendy Díaz

Wendy Díaz is a Puerto Rican Muslim writer, poet, translator, and children’s book author. She is the Spanish content coordinator for ICNA-WhyIslam and a MuslimMatters columnist. She is also the co-founder of Hablamos Islam, a non-profit organization that produces educational resources about Islam in the Spanish language.

Latino Muslims, Other, USA

Latino Muslim Survey Report

Latinos are the fastest-growing segment of the US Muslim population. According to some estimates, there are between 55,000 and 198,000 Latinos practicing Islam in the country. At a time when President Donald Trump has issued a ban on Muslim refugees from seven countries and fortified Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, the group has become particularly vulnerable. However, research explaining why many Latinos have converted to Islam or shedding light on the group’s experiences in the United States remains scarce. Hoping to fill this gap, Gastón Espinosa, Professor of Religious Studies at Claremont Mckenna College, conducted the first-ever, large-scale survey research of Latino Muslims.

This Comprehensive Study Sheds Light on the Latino Muslim Experience

The term Latino Islamidad may not yet be mainstream, but a new report explores why a growing number of U.S. Latinos convert to Islam in hopes of understanding what it means to be a Latino Muslim today. The report is published in last month’s Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion.

Findings come from the Latino Muslims Survey (LMS), the most comprehensive social science oriented study of U.S. Latino Muslims, which examines an intersection of religious beliefs and practices; spiritual, moral, social, and ethical views; and the social, civic, and political attitudes of self-identified Latinos and Muslims. Findings are based on an online, bilingual survey of U.S. Latino Muslims conducted from Sept. 8 to Dec. 15, 2014. More than 560 Latino Muslims participated in the nationwide survey.

New report explores the identity of Latino Muslims in the United States

Latino Muslims have emerged in a religious landscape that is “diverse and fluid” and in a public discourse that too often frames Latinos and Muslims as foreign and problematic in the U.S. (PEW 2014). This was nowhere more evident than in the wake of the 2016 Election when President Donald Trump issued a 90-day ban on Muslim immigration from seven countries, citing national safety concerns regarding the vetting process. While Latino Muslims were not part of this ban, because of their religion, immigration status, similar physical characteristics, and/or intermarriage, many Latinos (Muslim and non-Muslim) felt the ban reinforced negative stereotypes and created a hostile environment to live, work, and raise their families. For this reason – along with talk about building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, Latino Muslims worked across racial, class, and religious lines to oppose the ban and “anti-immigrant” policies.

At one interfaith rally in San Antonio in January 2017, three Latino Muslim children held up a sign that read: “All this Cuteness Courtesy of Latino Muslim Immigrants: No Ban, No Wall” (Davis 2017, Natiral 2017). These stories of Latino Muslims help to denaturalize popular assumptions about religion in public life, such as that all Latinos are Catholic, all Muslims are Arabs, and all Americans are Christian. They also raise important questions about the complex relationship between Latinos, Muslims, conversion and the growth and role of Islam in the new religious U.S.

Latino Muslims in the United States: Reversion, Politics, and Islamidad (Download the full report)
Oct - Dec 2012, Other

Latino Muslim events, etc

Latino Muslims: A Merging of Cultures


Monday, October 15, 2012
7:00pm until 9:00pm in EDT

Manhattanville College Student Center Theater
2900 Purchase Street
Purchase, NY 10577

Join us for an intimate discussion with a panel of Latino Muslims
Bring your questions for an interactive Q&A session!


Sponsored by: Muslim Chaplaincy, World Religions Department
Muslim Student Association (MSA), Latin American Student Organization (LASO)


Halal Expo Chile 2012

October 12 at 3:00pm until October 14 at 7:00pm



at the Sheraton Hotels in Vina del Mar Chile. Halal Expo 2012 Chile,
the South American Halal lounge, fully dedicated professionals from
all sectors of Halal, wants to become space must of Halal in Latin
America, a platform international professionals from the 4 corners
of the world. For more information please visit our web :

Del 12 al 15 octubre de 2012 a el Hotel Sheraton de Viña del Mar Chile.
Halal Expo Chile 2012 ,un proyecto dirigido a los profesionales dedicados
en todos los sectores del Halal, este evento quiere convertirse en el
espacio mas importante del Halal en América Latina, una plataforma
internacional para los profesionales de las 4 esquinas del mundo. Para
mas informaciones visiten la pagina web :

Du 12 au 15 Octobre 2012 au Sheraton Hotel à Viña del Mar
au Chili. Halal Expo Chile 2012, le salon Sud Américain du Halal,
entièrement dédié aux professionnels de tous secteurs du Halal,
veut devenir l’espace incontournable du Halal dans L’Amérique
latine, une plateforme internationale des professionnels venant
des 4 coins du monde. Pour plus d’informations veuillez visiter
notre page web : www.halalexpochile.cl


Book distribution to Bolivia and Ecuador

Book distribution in Bolivia

Book distribution in Ecuador


Open House: The Call of Abraham


Latino Muslim Narratives


The Message International, Latino Muslim issue, bilingual
November-December 2012

Oct - Dec 2012, Other

Tenth Annual Hispanic Muslim Day


Tenth Annual Hispanic Muslim Day / Décimo Día Anual del Musulmán Hispano

Sunday, October 7, 2012
1:00pm until 6:00pm in EDT
2500 Kennedy Blvd. Union City NJ 07087

Asalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakutuh:

Free registration and program updates here: http://nhiec-10th-annual-hispanic-muslim-day.ticketleap.com/10th-annual-hispanic-muslim-day-/

The NHIEC masjid invites all Muslims, converts and their families to our 10th Annual Hispanic Muslim Day. Please encourage your non Muslim friends and neighbors to attend this Islamic Educational event.

1:00p – Dhuhr Prayer / Meet & Greet with Refreshments

1:30p – Program Commencement / Br. Alex Robayo MC for the day

1:40p – Quran Recitation with Translation (English/Spanish) Br. Wesley Lebron

2:00p – Welcoming Address/ President of NHIEC, Br. Hamadi Bengabsi

2:10p – Celebrating Our Faith and Unity / Imam Mohamed AlHayek

2:20p – Prophet Mohammed (saaw): The Best Role Model for Humanity, Sr. Fatima Marleny Vargas

2:40p – Restoring Family Ties: Imam Abdullah Daniel Hernandez

3:00p – Life with a Purpose: Imam Abdullah Daniel Hernandez

3:10p – Pt. 1 Journeying to the Lord of the Worlds / Pt.2 How Prophet Isa’ (alayhi asalaam) and Maryam (alayhi asalaam) coped with Trials and Tribulations, Br. Hamza Perez (New Muslim Cool Documentary)

3:40p – Islam our Birth Right: Imam Abdullah Daniel Hernandez

4:00p – Women’s Panel: Sisters Linda, Nahela, Shinoa and Nylka

4:20p – Islamic Roots in Our Latino Culture: Imam Abdullah Daniel Hernandez

4:40p – Prophet Muhammed’s (saaw) Character: Imam Mohamed Musa

5:00p – Asr’ Prayer

5:20p – 6:0p Dinner / Closing Remarks

Free food, entertainment, contests, and free Islamic literature!!
El Centro Islamico de North Hudson los invita a el evento anual celebrando el musulmán hispano, su cultura y su identidad musulmana. Lectura educativas,Preguntas y Respuestas, espectáculos y concursos.


Sheij Mohamed AlHayek, (Director de el comite NHIEC Dawah) Celebrando Nuestra Fe y Unidad

Imam Abdullah Daniel Hernández (Triplex Islamic Center, Texas) Necesidad de la familia Latina para el Islam – Restauración de los Vínculos Familiares, La Vida con un Propósito, El Islam Nuestro Derecho de Nacimiento, Raices Islámicas en nuestra cultura Latina.

Fátima Vargas: Profeta Mohammad SAAW: El Mejor Modelo para la Humanidad.

Hamza Pérez (Nuevo musulmán Cool): Tema Especial
Viaje al Islam, y un grupo de mujeres musulmanas que discuten sobre sus experiencias en el Islam.

·Oracion, habrá cafe y postres, tiempo libre / social desde las 1p-2p
·El evento es bilingüe en Español e Inglés
·El evento se llevará a cabo en el Union City High School, un complejo arte que consiste en un asiento 970 proscenio de teatro y un cine asiento 99 cuadro negro.
·Entrada es gratuita, sin embargo se requiere una registration y ticket para la entrada. Regístrese para recibir un número de ticket.
·Tcket de entrada se utilizaran para rifar premios: $ 100, $ 50, $ 50.
·Los musulmanes y las personas de todas las creencias son bienvenidos.
·Asientos limitado para los niños será designado. Por favor, especifique si va a llevar a su hijo para hacer los arreglos necesarios en la configuración de asientos.
·No habrá cuidado de niños en las instalaciones.
·Comida y bedidas gratis.

Gracias. Jazaak Allahu Khairun. Esperamos contar con su presencia, in sha’ Allah!

Oct - Dec 2012, Other

Historic Event this Friday

December 4, 2012

Bismillah… (English below)

Asalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatuallahi Wa Barakatuh Hermanos y Hermanas,

Al Huda Masjid cordialmente les invita:

“Viernes Familiar Hispano”

Fecha: Viernes, 7 de Diciembre
Khutbah Completamente en Español
Hora: 11:00am – 7:00pm
varias charlas durante el día, insha’Allah
Lugar: 3424 Kennedy Blvd, Jersey City, NJ

Khutbah en Español: Imam Abdullah Daniel Hermandez
Invitado especial: Hermano Isa Parada (graduado de la Universidad de Medina en Saudi Arabia)

Entretenimiento, Serviremos Almuerzo y mucho más…


As salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu Brothers and Sisters,

Masjid Al Huda cordially invites you to:

“Hispanic Family Friday” (open to all)

Date: Friday, December 7, 2012
Khutbah will be in Spanish (English translation will be provided)
Time: 11am-7pm (Programs all day in Spanish!)
Various lectures during the day, insha’Allah
Place: 3424 Kennedy Blvd, Jersey City, NJ

Khutbah in Spanish: Imam Abdullah Daniel Hernandez
Special guest: Brother Isa Parada (graduate of Islamic University of Madinah, KSA)

Entertainment, lunch will be served, and much more…

Please invite your friends and family and let’s make this event a successful and memorable one, insha’Allah!

Check out the event page and flyer on Facebook:


First Jumu’ah Khutbah to be given in Spanish… – Your aid and assistance is sought!

By Abu Sumayyah Lebron

November 29, 2012

O my beloved Imams, Da’ees and community leaders, I would like to request a favor from all of you. We are having the first Jumuah in Spanish here in Jersey City, NJ on December 7, 2012. I want to see if you can post our event on your facebook pages, twitter sites, email out to those whom you may know in this area, etc for those who visit your page to see and hopefully more people who live in this area would come out and support this event. We will have a translation of the lectures that will be given in the afternoon into English via PPT. Khutbah will also be translated after the salah.

For us as Latinos in this country, this is enormous. We truly and sincerely ask Allah to make it the first of many more jumuahs, classes, lectures that are given in the Spanish Language regarding our beautiful faith of Islam here in NJ and other than it. It will be a historical day for Latinos here. We would love for our brothers from NY, CT, NJ, RI, MA, etc. to come and share in this day with us.

Baraka Allahu Feekum.

July - Sept 2012, Other

ICNA Events

August 13, 2012

Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah,
Dear brothers and sisters,

We have reached the last ten days of Ramadan, Alhamdulillah! I pray that Allah (SWT) makes these days a source of purification for us all.

As you know, Dawah is a large part of ICNA’s work. ICNA brings knowledge of our deen to our friends, neighbors and communities; our Dawah programs are extremely important in bringing the true message of Islam to the public at a time when Islamophobia and hate are on the rise.

I write to you to ask for your support of these efforts. Your contribution to ICNA will support major initiatives such as:
Islamic literature & DVDs: Thousands of informational brochures, Islamic books and multimedia items on various topics are provided for the general public. Brochures are available in English, Spanish and Chinese, and translations of the Quran are also available in numerous languages.

Dawah to Latinos: ICNA hopes to increase its Dawah efforts amongst the Hispanic community in the future InshaAllah. Several new initiatives like all Spanish booths, more trained Spanish speaking volunteers, Spanish literature, Spanish language support on the 1-877-WhyIslam hotline etc have already been launched and several other initiatives are planned.

Dawah to the movers and shakers of society: With your help, ICNA will focus its efforts on educating community leaders, elected officials, interfaith leaders, educators and media personnel on Islam. This will help us take the message of Islam to those who have the means to shape the narrative on Islam.

Call centers: Trained volunteers operate national hotlines dedicated to answering questions about Islam and arrange local mosque visits for those interested in learning more. Currently we have the 1-877-WhyIslam, 1-800-662-Islam (by GainPeace) and the 1-855-Shariah for the Shariah campaign.

Information booths: Arranged at street fairs, malls, book fairs, and high traffic areas across the country, Dawah booths provide the public with the opportunity to ask questions about Islam. Thousands visit these booths and ask for brochures, DVDs and translated copies of the Holy Quran.

Social services: Projects such as the Back to School Giveaway are a form of Dawah through action. ICNA’s social services create a sense of community and bonding between Muslims and their neighbors.

Dawah ad campaigns: Billboards on major freeways are covered with Islamic messages and an invitation to call the Dawah hotline. ICNA also sponsors radio, TV and subway ads in major cities across the country.

Dawah in prison: Volunteers have established direct contact with prison inmates through personal correspondence. Hundreds of inmates have turned their lives around and accepted Islam through the correspondence system.

As Ramadan comes to a close, let us look back and reflect on what we’ve done to make a difference this month. Your donation to ICNA will bring the light of Islam to others. Commit to making a difference and donate today.

July - Sept 2012, Other

Get your ‘Yo Hablo Islam’ T-shirt today!

By Wendy Diaz

July 19, 2012

As salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu Brothers and Sisters,

In an effort to raise funds to keep our Islamic children’s books (bilingual in English/Spanish) in print, Hablamos Islam is selling the “Yo Hablo Islam” T-shirt! “Yo Hablo Islam” means “We Speak Islam!” It is a way to bridge gaps between us and those who speak Spanish, and insha’Allah, open up opportunities for dialogue. And besides that, it just looks cool!

If you have been wondering where you can get one, we have a box full of them from sizes Small to X-Large! They are only $12 each! You can order one personally from us by emailing hablamosislam@gmail.com or order online: http://nuestratiendita.bigcartel.com/

All proceeds to to Hablamos Islam dawah projects! There is no better time to contribute to this cause than now, as we enter into the blessed month of Ramadan.

We are currently raising money to send a box of books to Masjid Othman ibn Affan in Barranquilla, Colombia, South America. At the request of the imam there, they are in need of books to distribute to the Muslim children during the month of Ramadan, insha’Allah.
The approximate cost to print the books they need and ship them to Colombia is $600.

Read about our books here: http://www.muslimlinkpaper.com/community-news/community-news/3110-local-muslim-authors-investing-in-future-with-books-for-children.html


Ideally, we should send the books no later than mid-Ramadan so that they can arrive before Eid. With your purchase of a T-Shirt, you will be helping this cause, insha’Allah. Donations are also welcome. Please email me if you are interested. JazakumAllahu khaiyran.


July - Sept 2012, Other

Guia De Viaje Al Arte Hispano-Musulman

By Aznar Fernando

Guia Total, Anaya Touring Club, 328 páginas, 2005.

http://www.laislalibros.com/libros/guia-de-viaje-al-arte-hispano-musulman-guia- total/l6542001805/978-84-9776-217-5

Comentario Bibliográfico

Un apasionante y exhaustivo viaje por la cultura hispanomusulmana que nos llevará a atravesar nuestra geografía desde los castillos fronterizos de las tierras del Duero o el Ebro levantados por el califato hasta las plazas fuertes que defendieron el reino nazarí, el valle del Guadalquivir, los desiertos almerienses o las fértiles tierras levantinas. Un recorrido en el tiempo por lugares tan unidos a la leyenda como La Alambra o Medina Zahara, pasando por alcazabas como Toledo, Ronda, Córdoba o la perdida Medina Siyasa en Cieza, Murcia, todo ello apoyado en una completa documentación gráfica.Una obra imprescindible para viajeros y estudiosos ya que, de manera general y como complemento a las fichas de acceso y descripción de cada monumento, se incluyen introducciones a la historia y al arte andalusíes acompañadas de tablas cronológicas y dinásticas.

July - Sept 2012, Other

Postgraduate: Education with a soul

From New Straits Times


March 15, 2012

Conventional postgraduate studies with an Islamic essence are what the International Islamic University Malaysia offers its potential students. A form of blended studies where students have the opportunity to obtain an orthodox graduate degree and on top of that, Professor Dr Hassanuddeen Abd Aziz, Dean of IIUM’s Centre of Postgraduate Studies, points out that Islamic approaches in all disciplines will be given

“In all our programmes, students are exposed to the Islamic vantage point. Using what they have learned, we expect our students at a postgraduate level to be able to formulate solutions to issues that may arise in their field of study by incorporating an alternative way of thinking. Doing so allows them an escape from repeating the same mistakes that occur when the standard solutions are offered time and again.”

The holistic nature of Islamic approaches in education at IIUM works as a much needed counterbalance to the customary western-based programmes. When reviewing the corporate and economic situation thus far, and how the pillars of western education have not been able to shoulder the burden of the new world economy in a sustainable way, it is only natural for academicians seek out auxiliary sources to replace the current structure. With a rich history and ethics-bound tradition, specialised practitioners from Islamic backgrounds would be a welcome change from the tales of corporate greed that have become all too common these days.

In terms of unique education, IIUM has been a front runner in many Islamic-based programmes. Islamic banking and finance, while gaining enthusiastic global recognition in the past decade, has been on IIUM’s programme list since the university itself first began in 1983. Currently IIUM has continued this focus on education with a religious basis through programmes under the Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization, the Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance as well as through discussions and studies carried on throughout all their offered courses in all the faculties. IIUM is a comprehensive university offering basically all branches of knowledge.

Postgraduate Priorities

The Centre for Postgraduate Studies (CPS) acts as a gateway for postgraduate students. All admissions pass through CPS to ensure applicants are of the minimum grade before being handed over to the individual faculties, where the students are chosen according to criteria and screened for suitability. This screening process is one of the methods IIUM implements to ensure the quality of its students, and subsequently, its programmes.

“Students that are up to par allow our education processes to evolve with them,” says Professor Hassanuddeen, who assures that the success of a student’s entry is wholly merit based. “This is important in maintaining a high standard of education. Most of our teaching and learning processes are ISO approved, and when push comes to shove, getting better students allows our programmes to achieve the standards that we had promised them in the first place.”

The postgraduate programmes at IIUM are constantly evolving and improving, and this is reflected in the attributes of the students they turn out – well-spoken, in possession of clear communicative skills and capable of laying out intelligent ideas concisely. “It is the environment here that shapes them,” Professor Hassanuddeen avers. “As the Garden of Knowledge and Virtue, we champion the Islamisation of knowledge. This gives our students a sturdy foundation to stand on.”

A strong grasp of English is another aspect that allows IIUM students to flourish once they graduate. The university is licensed to teach in English from the top down, and Professor Hassanuddeen believes that this fluency and exposure to English helps the students by giving them confidence in their communication.

Industry Needs

How does IIUM serve postgraduate academics looking for studies with aspects in Islam, while at the same time fulfilling the needs of the industry in a satisfying manner? The key to this is the programme reviews that are carried out every two years. “Once a cohort graduates, we carry out a thorough review of that programme, adjusting it to contemporary demands,” explains Professor Hassanuddeen. “We convene a board of studies for the review, which includes specialised practitioners, invited from the corporate world to give their input based on experience, as well as our own academics.”

While most universities conduct reviews every half a dozen years, IIUM carries it out at a regular interval as part of their culture of quality, ensuring that changes for the best can be incorporated as soon as possible into their programmes.

CPS also hopes that its active postgraduate community will help in the university’s bid for Research University (RU) status from the Ministry of Higher Education. “A large postgraduate community is integral to attaining and maintaining RU status, and the CPS will play an important role in this,” Professor Hassanuddeen states. In anticipation of a heightened research status, IIUM has encouraged graduate studies in all spheres, and tried to address the needs of research and funding constructively to provide a well-rounded postgraduate education.

International Plans

“Right now, IIUM has students from about 106 countries, and we are looking to increase that number,” Professor Hassanuddeen reveals. “For now, we are interested in creating awareness in Latin America. We have been working closely with NGOs in South America. These NGOs are interested in the Islamic component of the education that we offer, and this would appeal to the Muslim community in Latin America.”

Latin American students who choose to study at IIUM should rest assured that their welfare will be well taken care of. The International Affairs Division and the CPS work closely together to lend international students a helping hand, whether it is a pickup from the airport to the university, or assistance in finding accommodations.

Why does IIUM hold such an appeal to students throughout the globe? “We have always been foremost about our intention to champion the ummah,” answers Professor Hassanuddeen. “During Friday prayers, you can hear the students answering the call to worship together, and later they talk to each other in different languages and accents. We welcome them from every part of the world, and their presence here creates a deep sense of community while at the same time showing the diversity of Islam.”

This is the very essence of IIUM, and through its graduate students who form a community of specialised knowledge, it embodies an ideal of a university with a soul.

April - June 2012, Other

Community offers culturally diverse taco stand

By Mohammed Haider

March 21, 2012

The Daily Cougar

Community offers culturally diverse taco stand

This beef fajita taco, topped off with a spicy Indian-Parkistani sauce was inspired by the diverse streets of Houston.

A person cannot drive anywhere in Houston without noticing a taco truck, but there is one taco truck that is slightly different.

Hamza Halal Taco is where South Asia meets Latin America, fusing two sides of the world.

The term “halal” is the Arabic word for lawful, the dietary law that identifies which meats are permitted for Muslims.

The truck usually sits at 3514 Hillcroft in the heart of the Mahatma Gandhi District. Owner Faiza Khatra, a Pakistani immigrant who moved to Houston three years ago, was the first to start a taco truck that served halal meat, catering to both the Muslim and Latino community.

“When I saw so much Mexican fast food here, my husband said we needed to start something too,” Khatra said.

“There wasn’t a single halal Mexican restaurant at the time and now we’re planning to open more. We will also start serving chicken bryani, thikkah and hot wings with Indian spices.”

I wanted to try out some of the common items first, so I decided to go with the traditional beef fajita taco.

The meat was grilled to perfection, which was not too chewy or over-cooked and was marinated with traditional Indian-Pakistani Masala spice. It was topped off with classic cheese; diced tomatoes and cilantro giving it a cool, minty touch at the end of every bite.

My friend got the Mexican-style shredded chicken soft taco garnished with cheese, diced tomatoes and sour cream and all stuffed into a warm chapatti, the Indian equivalent of a tortilla.

The best part was the green chutney sauce that was provided. Although I love traditional salsa, the green chutney is an amazing substitute that I have not seen anywhere else.

I was not completely full just yet, so my friend and I decided to share the ultimate burrito, which had juicy ground beef, melted white and yellow cheese, peppers, tomatoes and sour cream wrapped in a toasted chapatti.

The best part of it wall was our bill was only $6.

The owner was also kind of enough to give us a complimentary homemade pineapple beverage to wash down all those spices.

If you want fast and quality Mexican food with a South Asian kick, then Hamza Halal Taco is the perfect spot for a quick bite.

Hamza Halal Taco is located on Hillcroft, just 25 minutes away from campus making it accessible and affordable for UH students.

Oct - Dec 2011, Other

Hispanic Muslim Day 2011



Sunday, October 23, 2011 @ 1:00 AM

Event contact:



North Hudson Islamic Educational Center
4613 Cottage Place
Union City, NJ 07087


We welcome people of all faith to join us in celebrating the 9th Annual Hispanic Muslim Day. It is a day of recognition, support and encouragement for our new Muslim brothers and sisters. This gathering is to invite our neighbors to learn more about Islam and to celebrate those who already have embraced it. Our mission: to share guidance of the glorious Quran, and the mercy of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with our neighbors and friends and to empower Muslims to be advocates of the message of Islam. Bring with you your non-Muslim friends. Free admission, lectures, entertainment, Q&A, and raffles. Come and win electronic prizes!

Oct - Dec 2011, Other

About “Hawo’s Dinner Party”


With tensions mounting between the U.S. and the Muslim world, integrating newcomers from those countries raises a whole set of sensitivities and challenges. That’s where “Hawo’s Dinner Party: The New Face of Southern Hospitality” comes in. This half-hour DVD serves as a tool for community leaders including educators, clergy, law enforcement, public officials, and employers who are helping to integrate newcomers with unique needs, often against considerable obstacles. By focusing on the experiences of several Somali residents in Shelbyville including Hawo, a refugee and former nurse who now works at a local poultry processing plant, and Mohamed, the local imam the module puts a human face on the complex issues we face in this time of increasing globalization.

By following Hawo through ESL classes, a tense meeting with the local reporter who has little knowledge of the community he’s reporting about and, most importantly, into her living room for dinner with her newest neighbors and as she reflects on her flight from civil war, what it feels like to live in such a radically different culture and her vision for making this small town her permanent home, the viewer is invited to take a walk in her shoes. These scenes and interviews with longer-term residents provide the context necessary to address the growing distrust of Somalis, offering a valuable opportunity to reach out to them and others from Muslim majority countries, deepen discussions, break the ice around difficult issues, and enhance cultural competency among service providers.

Oct - Dec 2011, Other

Who’s Using “Hawo’s Dinner Party” and Why


Across the country from houses of worship to YMCA’s, libraries, classrooms and more people are taking a cue from Hawo. Community leaders are using her story to bring people together in established and informal settings to help deepen discussions, build new relationships, and break down stereotypes across faith, race, culture and citizenship status. You can use it too. Below are a few highlights to help you plan!

…More than 250 people attended this first-ever collaboration between local Muslim and Latina/o communities, convened by Puentes New Orleans, the Islamic Shura Council of Greater New Orleans and the Jefferson Muslim Association. In one of their earliest calls with Active Voice, staff members of Puentes one of the newest Welcoming America affiliates explained that in the face of an ailing economy and scarce resources, these two communities could not afford to stay divided. So working together, these local leaders held a community-building dinner featuring “Hawo’s Dinner Party” to help break the ice.

The module was “instrumental in creating dialogue within our audience,” according to Scarlett Lanzas, a member of the event planning committee. “We initially feared that there would be little participation,” she continued, “but were pleasantly surprised by the audience’s reaction and level of participation.” The screening has led to newfound Muslim representation in their Welcoming Committee and they are developing a Welcoming Louisiana Family Exchange project “to help recent immigrants live meaningful, fulfilling lives through education and cross-cultural exchange.” We can’t wait to see what the future holds for this wonderful new alliance!

“While the concept of holding a simple conversation may seem rather elementary, it’s the first step necessary in creating understanding and acceptance within two groups.” – Scarlett Lanzas, Puentes, New Orleans.

Oct - Dec 2011, Other

Hawo’s Dinner Party in New Orleans

By Jenny Yanez

Assalamu Aleikum,
Peace and blessings dear brothers, sisters, friends, and colleagues,

Attached please find an invitation to a special gathering tomorrow, Friday, November 11th, from 7:00pm-9:00pm at the new Islamic Center in Kenner, LA, also known as Dar Al Salam Hall. It is adjacent to the Islamic School of Greater New Orleans.

Latinola, Puentes, Jefferson Muslim Association, and The Islamic Shura Council of Greater New Orleans have joined together in a partnership that we believe will benefit the community in general. We hope that this first gathering will help start a dialogue regarding immigrants and refugees living in New Orleans and the many issues they face when coming to a new country and experiencing a new culture. In addition, it will also provide an opportunity to learn about the different communities established in New Orleans, whether they have been here for decades or have just arrived, highlighting their culture, religion and traditions.

The documentary film, “Dinner at Hawo’s” will be shown (30 minutes) and dinner will be provided. Please note that there is free parking available at the Hall.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Jenny Yanez, MSW
Outreach Coordinator for the Islamic Shura Council of Greater New Orleans

Scarlett Lanzas
LatiNola Program Manager, Puentes New Orleans, Inc.

Oct - Dec 2011, Other

Two Latino Cultural Events at the Muslim Community Association

Home Main 3

Latin Cultural Night
MCA Banquet Hall
Friday, December 09, 2011
06:30pm – 10:00pm

Latin Cultural Night
MCA Banquet Hall
Friday, December 09, 2011
06:30pm – 10:00pm

Our Mission: We are the Muslim Community Association of the San Francisco Bay Area. In cooperation with Muslim communities around the Bay Area, our mission is to: Live our faith as a congregation, inspired by the teachings of the Quran and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as individuals and as a collective body, and to foster a mission of peace, justice and compassion for all within our Mosque, our community and the world.

Oct - Dec 2011, Other

Creación de “CAIR en Español’

Por Wilfredo A. Ruiz, Esq.

25 de agosto de 2011

Assalam Ailekum; Ramadan Kareem! ” Bismillah:

Sé que la mayoría de ustedes conocen la organización CAIR (Council of American Islamic Relations – http://fl.cair.com/sfl/). También estoy seguro que conocen y/o han experimentado la necesidad de nuestra comunidad de musulmanes latinos en los EEUU de tener un vehículo de representación ante los cada vez más frecuentes expresiones de islamofobia, desinformación sobre el Islam y nuestro Profeta (SWS) y en el plano personal las reiteradas violaciones de nuestros derechos civiles ya sea con problemas con patronos que no respetan el derecho de las hermanas a usar el velo (hijab), de nuestros hijos estudiantes a que se les provea un espacio y tiempo para el Salat, se respeten nuestras dietas así como que se respete nuestro derecho y de nuestros hijos de ayunar en Ramadán.

El propósito de la presente es comunicarles que CAIR Florida (http://fl.cair.com/sfl/) está dispuesto a crear para nuestra comunidad el proyecto CAIR en Español en el que nos beneficiaremos de las siguientes formas, Insha’llah:

  1. Tendremos nuestro propio departamento CAIR en Español con oficina y dirección física desde donde podremos establecernos, operar, hacer conferencias de prensa y atender las necesidades de nuestra comunidad.
  2. Tendremos personal hispano trabajando en las oficinas de CAIR en Español para atender personalmente a los musulmanes latinos.
  3. Gozaremos de una página en el Web exclusiva de CAIR en Español en la que:
    1. Mantendremos al publico general, los medios y a nosotros mismos informados de nuestra fe, los derechos y obligaciones que nos cobijan.
    2. Se colocarán, además las últimas noticias y comunicados de prensa de relevancia a nuestra comunidad.

Este es ciertamente un proyecto ambicioso pero de gran impacto nacional; como tal necesita recursos. ¿Qué nos toca hacer? Primeramente hacer Duás par que Allah (SWA) mantenga el proyecto genuino y para Su servicio. Segundo y también muy importante es apoyar financieramente al proyecto. (Por qué apoyar: https://cair-florida.org/sfl/Content.aspx?cid=35).

Te recomiendo envíes un e-mail al hermano Nassar Hamze (info @ cair-florida.org), director, notificándole que haces una contribución para el proyecto CAIR en Español.

Aquí las distintas formas de hacerlo:

  1. Enviar su cheque o giro con su contribución a nombre de CAIR Florida a:
  2. CAIR Florida; 1601 N. Palm Avenue Suite 203; Pembroke Pines, FL 33026
  3. También directamente en el web: https://cair-florida.org/SFL/Donations.aspx
  1. Es extremadamente importante que le envíe este mensaje a su lista de amigos.
  2. Jazak Allahu Khairan Que Allah les recompense!
Oct - Dec 2011, Other

Guerra y Paz

By Miguel Alvear


Este díptico es un retrato del quiteño: Dr. Juan Suquillo, Shaij del Centro Islámico e Imam de los Musulmanes en Ecuador.

Estudió en la Escuela Militar, y cuando subteniente, se enfrentó al ejército peruano en la Cordillera del Cóndor, durante el conflicto armado de 1981. Una mina le causó gravísimas heridas y la pérdida de su mano derecha. Al borde de la muerte, Juan Suquillo dice que se dió cuenta que “no estaba preparado para enfrentar a Dios”. Luego de su recuperación fue condecorado con la Cruz al Mérito de Guerra y viajó a Estados Unidos a estudiar, no obstante, su experiencia cercana con la muerte le había provocado “una búsqueda intensa hacia la Divinidad, debía encontrar un equilibrio entre el mundo espiritual y el material”.

En Ecuador se casó con Layla Dassum, musulmana de ascendencia árabe con quien fundó el Centro Islámico, “para inculcar las enseñanzas del Islam a nuestros hijos”.

Realizar esta fotografía presentaba un reto singular, por las particularidades que dicta la Tradición Profética Sunna- en el Islam. Finalmente el Sr. Suquillo aceptó ser retratado, pero no podía ser un retrato directo, había que buscar una manera indirecta de producir su imagen. De ahí que la primera foto del díptico es una composición de objetos personales: su túnica de Imam, un medallero de sus triunfos estudiantiles y deportivos con fotos elaborado por su madre, su alfombra de oración, la Cruz al Mérito de Guerra, sus sandalias, fotografías familiares.

El díptico ilustra el paso de la vida militar-laica de Juan Suquillo al sosiego de la espiritualidad y la cercanía con Dios en la forma de vida del Islam.

Fotógrafo Profesional: Miguel Alvear
July - Sept 2011, Other

The Azizah Magazine Feature Story and Cover You Missed

Azizah Magazine

“All in the Family.” Passing beauty, strength and faith from woman to woman in Muslim American families. By Amirah Abdullah.

“All in the Family” was among the
feature stories from:

Azizah Magazine
Volume 4, Issue 3 “Single Issue”
Tapping the Power Cover Story
SBN: 1530-7220 (ISSN)
Publisher: WOW Publishing Inc. (2006)

Special Report :

“Tapping The Power.” Deep inside, there is the spiritual power to propel us past difficulties and hardships. Many women are accessing that strength to survive life’s ups and downs. Survivors of tragedy and disaster share how they are coping. By Tayyibah Taylor, Renee Warner Syed & Kelly Crosby.

View More