April – June 2012

April - June 2012, Latino Muslims

Various Latino Muslim Events

Yo y mi Gente!


Saturday, May 26, 2012

7:00pm until 8:30pm in EDT

Feat. Brother Mujahid Fletcher & Imam Abdullah Daniel Hernandez
Understanding our unique position as a Latino American embracing Islam. Defining who were are to our love ones. Redefining our new identity within the Muslim community and overall society.

Entender nuestra posición única como Latinos Americanos quien abrazar el Islam. Definir quiénes somos a nuestros seres queridos. Redefinición de nuestra nueva identidad dentro de la comunidad Musulmana y la sociedad en general.

Date: Saturday, May 26th, 2012
Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm

~ This is a part of the 2012 ICNA-MAS Convention ~


The Turning Point in Their Lives. When, Where, Why Islam?


Sunday, May 27, 2012

3:00pm until 5:00pm in EDT

ICNA-MAS Convention 2012 Parallel Session:

Date: Sunday, May 27th, 2012
Time: 3:00pm – 5:00pm
Room: 21
Panelist: Br Ryan Harris, Br Mujahid Fletcher, Imam Abdullah Daniel Hernandez, Sr Hujrah Wahhaj and Sr Wendy Diaz

Thousand of converts revert to Islam here in the west. Many don’t have the support from their families yet with patience, courage and strong faith in the the one and only Allah SWT; they continue to over came trials and obsticles along the way. Please, join us and learn about the turning point in their lives. When, Where, Why Islam…


Muslim Convert Social – Cinco de Mayo

By The Institute of Islamic Information and Education


Location: IIIE, 4390 N. Elston, Chicago, IL

Saturday, May 5, 2012
3:00pm until 5:00pm

Come join the blossoming Muslim Convert community of Chicagoland in our first monthly Convert Social! For this Cinco de Mayo themed gathering, we will feature authentic Mexican cuisine prepared by our beloved Latina Muslim sister Raquel. Sharing a unique life experience as a recent Muslim Convert will be sister Kanika Aggarwal, entrepreneur and founder of Habibi Halaqas. Our goal in hosting this event to have a regular informal gathering where new Muslims can meet, network, bond, and share their experiences in a fun, relaxed atmosphere. This event is geared to Muslim Converts, but all are welcome to come, meet new people, and enjoy the festivities of Cinco de Mayo!


Latino Muslim in Toronto


‘Latino Muslim in Toronto’ is a unique group made up of Spanish speaking women, Muslim and non-Muslim who share an interest in Islam. Our goal is to create friendships, built a strong sisterhood, grow together in knowledge and come together to remember Allah.

We believe together we can encourage and support each other and with Latinos being the fastest growing minority in Islam we want to bring the Latino Muslim community together in Toronto and if Allah wills bring the message of Islam to our non-Muslim brothers and sisters in our Latino community.

We meet weekly every Saturday at 5pm.

Location: Toronto, North York, ON M3J 2M9, Canada (address can be given over the phone or via email)


Islam in Mexico

As Salamo Aleikom,

I hope inshAllah this e-mail reach you in the best of health,

AlhjamduliAllah Allah Sw has open the heart for a Brother who is not Spanish to help Brs and sis. in Mexico. We haven’t have the chance to help him but now is our chance. Attached is the picture of the Masjid in San Cristobal. The Brother standing on the right is the imam from the Masjid in Mexico City, the one next to him is the Iman in Chiapas. He is original from that land. People from that part of Mexico are indigenous Maya. There are 500 Muslim amongst them MashAllah.

After helping in Mexico City Masjid, Br. Abdul Qadir is going to travel the first week of January to Chiapas. He needs money for the masjid carpet and roof. If you cannot donate money you can donate used hijabs or abayas in good condition .

Please bring your donations to Al-Huda Books before the Dec 30Th.


Chicago Events

Assalam Aleikum sisters!

It has been a great blessing last Friday, April 20, 2012 to begin studying The 40 Hadith of Iman al Nawawi presented by sister Hazel Gomez.

Sister Hazel explained: – Who was Iman Nawawi?
– His qualities
– Why he was successful
– The Significance of the 40 Hadith
– Why he chosed 40 Hadith


Prophet Muhammad PBUH not only encourages Muslims to seek knowledge in order to convey Islam to others but also invokes prayer for those who teach and transmit Islamic knowledge to others. Keep in your Duas sister Hazel Gomez for imparting Islamic knowledge in the Halaqas(Islamic circle of study) for sisters in North East Chicago.


Among the most accepted and comprehensive collections of Hadith is Iman al-Nawawi’s (40 Hadiths).
The text contains great precepts of the religion. Join us! for this great opportunity to study with sister Hazel Gomez, a young community leader. She will explain the hadiths narrated by Iman al-Nawawi.


1. Next presentation of The Study of the 40 Hadith by sister Hazel Gomez is Friday, June 15, 2012 at 6:30pm at sister Rebecca’s house.
Sisters interested in this study contact sister Rebecca for address information. This is also an email address to keep you informed on the halaqas for sisters, and other activities, festivities, programs for the community hosted by Muslimahs Of Chicago. Find Muslimahs Of Chicago on Facebook.


Saturday, May 12, 2012 at the Muslim Community Center; 4380 N Elston Avenue, Chicago, IL 60641 (Red Room, 1st floor) at 3:00pm-5:30pm.

Theme: ETHICS TO DEVELOP THE BONDS OF SISTERHOOD. Topics presentations based on the theme by sisters Amal Ali and Amina Sayeed.

Dinner, child care…Entrance is Free! meet and bond with your sisters in Islam!


Since the first Halaqa and Annual event started for convert Spanish speaking sisters with our beloved sister Mary Ali (May Allah be pleased with her) in North East Chicago with her great presentation: The Rights And Duties of A Muslim Wife in September 8, 2001, SUBHANALLAH!!

The halaqas or Islamic Circle of studies continues, The Annuals sisterhood events continues, so many get together activities flourished such Iftars togethers, Eid pot luck, picnics in Summer and more social events. Many sisters contributed to enrich this community, may Allah bless them.

It is also beautiful to see in the Halaqas the diversity of women coming and getting together for the cause of Allah.


Brother Quadri Syed
As many or some of you know, the Islamic classes for Spanish speaking sisters started at MCC, the Muslim Community Center, Elston Avenue
in March 29 of 2003 and continued there for several years. The presence of this group of sisters was acknowledged by MCC Administration. One day I received a phone call of MCC office to ask of how are the sisters and if the classes continues. I responded that Alamdulillah we are fine and the classes for sisters continues in sister’s houses for the comfort and lectures are in English in North East Chicago.

It was good news for MCC administration to know that the sisters continue with their Islamic studies(Halaqas)
MCC opens its doors to continue with the halaqas, dawa events, get together activities that allow sisters to come together for the sake of Allah.

Alhamdulillah! MCC is our home base to continue with the halaqas and much more that benefit us in Islam.
Brother Quadri Syed, MCC Da’wa Chairman sends special salaams to all of you.


InshaAllah after Ramadan and Eid celebrations, to continue in deep study the 40 Hadith with sister Hazel Gomez; the Halaqa will be twice a month.

One presentation will be at sister’s Rebecca house and the other presentation will be at MCC on Friday evenings.

April - June 2012, Dawah

Latino American Dawah Organization (LADO)

From Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History


Founded in September 1997 by a handful of U.S. Latina/o Muslims in New York City, LADO, the Latino American Dawah Organization, has become one of the most important and influential organizations among Latina/o Muslims in the United States. Juan Alvarado, Samantha Sánchez, and Saraji Umm Zaid, its founders, formed the organization to promote Islam among Latina/os in the United States and to create a network of support among them. From LADO’s inception, the Internet has played an important role in the organization’s attempt to create a sense of Latina/o-Muslim community. A month after forming this grassroots organization, the leaders created a Web site and an online newsletter, which features conversion stories and the testimonies of Latinao Muslims across the United States.

From 1997 to 2001, LADO focused on forming alliances with local organizations throughout the country. In 2001, Juan Galvan, who later became executive director, helped to shift the direction of the movement. Galvan sought to raise the public profile of the organization, and in July 2001, LADO obtained endorsements from the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), and began working closely with the ISNA’s own Latina/o coordinating committee. As part of this new approach, Galvan began to rethink and redesign the Web site, which was finally unveiled in May 2005.

LADO also coordinated the first magazine issue dedicated to the presence of Latina/o Muslims in the United States, which appeared in ISNA’s Islamic Horizons in July-August 2002. Included was the first comprehensive history of the community by Galvan and Samantha Sanchez. The mainstream press noticed the issue and followed up by interviewing members of LADO and other U.S. Latina/o Muslims. LADO also coordinated the coverage of the community in the November-December 2004 and the December 2005-January 2006 editions of the Message International, the monthly magazine of ICNA.

Since December 2003, LADO has also written and translated materials about Islam into Spanish and has given an increasing number of public presentations on the topic of Latina/o Muslims. According to some observers, this highprofile coverage has turned LADO into the most popular missionary organization among Latina/o Muslims in the United States. Their Web site and newsletter have been used not only for education but to make connections with other members of the community across the country. LADO has publicized the conversion stories of Latina/o Muslims in the United States, which has in turn created a better understanding of Latina/o Muslims among non-Muslims.

Further Information:

Galvan, Juan. “Who Are Latino Muslims?” Islamic Horizons (July-August 2008): 26—30.

Islamic Horizons (July-August 2002): 22—42.

Latino American Dawah Organization. Available online. URL:http://www.latinodawah.org. Accessed March 20, 2009.

The Message International (November-December 2004).

The Message International (December 2005—January 2006).

Citation Information:

Text Citation (Chicago Manual of Style format):

Martinez-Vazquez, Hjamil A. “Latino American Dawah Organization (LADO).” In Curtis, Edward E., IV, ed. Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2010. American History Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?

Other Citation Formats:

Modern Language Association (MLA) Format
American Psychological Association (APA) Format

Additional Citation Information

Record URL:

April - June 2012, Islam

Latin American & Carribean Muslim & Jewish Leaders Conduct High-Level Talks in Washington DC

From IslamToday

April 1, 2012


A delegation of Muslim and Jewish leaders representing five Latin American countries and two Caribbean islands ended two days of high level meetings in Washington, DC vowing to strengthen ties between their two communities.

The Mission of Latin American Muslim and Jewish Leaders to Washington, DC was hosted by The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). 14Fourteen Muslim and Jewish leaders from Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay, Barbados and St. Croix were introduced to the pioneering work spearheaded by FFEU to strengthen Muslim-Jewish relations in North America and Europe. The major goal of the mission was to jumpstart the process of dialogue and cooperation between the Muslim and Jewish communities throughout Latin America.

Participants in the Mission held meetings with high level officials at the White House and State Department, met with Muslim and Jewish Congressional leaders on Capitol Hill, visited the U.S. Holocaust Museum and were hosted at the Embassies of Argentina and Brazil.

At the end of the Mission, the participants issued a joint statement affirming a commitment to build “solid Muslim-Jewish relations in our countries and communities and show our two peoples and the world that Muslims and Jews can work together fruitfully for the betterment of all, while building ties of friendship and trust.”

In pursuit of that goal participants in the Mission promised to endeavor to take part in the upcoming 5th Annual Weekend of Twinning to take place on the weekend of November 16-18, 2012. During that weekend, mosques and synagogues and Muslim and Jewish student, young leadership and women’s groups around the world will join together with each other to hold Muslim-Jewish encounters.

FFEU President Rabbi Marc Schneier commented, “I am deeply inspired by the enthusiasm and commitment expressed by the visiting Latin American Muslim and Jewish leaders for the cause of strengthening Muslim-Jewish relations. We welcome them to our ever-growing international movement dedicated to bringing about Muslim-Jewish reconciliation and cooperation.”

According to Muhammad Yusuf Hallar of Argentina, Secretary General of the Islamic Organization for Latin America and the Caribbean, “This Mission is very important for the future, because it will start a process of strengthening ties not only between participants in the Mission, but between Muslim and Jewish communities throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Dr. Juan Suquillo, chairman of the Islamic Center in Quito, Ecuador, also emphasized the importance of the Mission.

Rabbi Michel Schlesinger of Sao Paulo, Brazil, commented, “Until now, dialogue between the Muslim and Jewish communities of Brazil have not reached their full potential. But after taking part in the Mission I am optimistic that we can learn from the experiences of the Jewish and Muslim communities in the United States to strengthen our own efforts to build understanding and trust.”

Dr. Juan Suquillo, chair of the Board of Directors at the Islamic Center in Quito, remarked, “I am inspired by taking part in this Mission that we can do so much more in strengthening Jewish- Muslim ties. After this Mission, we understand each other and our needs much more than before.”

Rabbi Daniel Goldman of Buenos Aires, Argentina, commented, “It is vital for both of our communities that we stand together to fight Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry. This must be our common cause.”

During a meeting at the U.S. State Department, Hannah Rosenthal, Special Envoy To Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, told the Mission, “No words can express how important is your work to build partnerships between Muslims and Jews in Latin America and around the world.”

According to Joshua DuBois, Special assistant to President Obama and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, “As a former community organizer, President Obama understands very well the importance of building positive relations across religious lines. He sees tremendous value in the work that FFEU is doing in bringing together Muslims and Jews.”

Representative Andre Carson (D-Ind), one of two Muslims in the U.S. Congress, commented, “I believe that this effort to build Muslim-Jewish understanding in Latin America and around the world is a game changer. Those of you involved are dragon slayers overcoming bigotry and hatred.”


“Latin American Muslim and Jews Vow To Strengthen Ties During Mission to Washington” Capital Wire April 1, 2012

“Come Together! Latin American Muslim & Jews Mission To Washington” Global Grind March 30, 2012

Nathan Guttman, “Interfaith Effort Boosts Latin Ties” Forward March 30, 2012

April - June 2012, Islam

Muslims discriminated against for demonstrating their faith

From Amnesty International

23 April 2012


European governments must do more to challenge the negative stereotypes and prejudices against Muslims fuelling discrimination especially in education and employment, a new report by Amnesty International reveals today.

“Muslim women are being denied jobs and girls prevented from attending regular classes just because they wear traditional forms of dress, such as the headscarf. Men can be dismissed for wearing beards associated with Islam,” said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s expert on discrimination.

“Rather than countering these prejudices, political parties and public officials are all too often pandering to them in their quest for votes.”

The report Choice and prejudice: discrimination against Muslims in Europe, exposes the impact of discrimination on the ground of religion or belief on Muslims in several aspects of their lives, including employment and education.

It focuses on Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland where Amnesty International has already raised issues such as restrictions on the establishment of places of worship and prohibitions on full-face veils. The report documents numerous individual cases of discrimination across the countries covered.

“Wearing religious and cultural symbols and dress is part of the right of freedom of expression. It is part of the right to freedom of religion or belief — and these rights must be enjoyed by all faiths equally.” said Marco Perolini.

“While everyone has the right to express their cultural, traditional or religious background by wearing a specific form of dress no one should be pressurized or coerced to do so. General bans on particular forms of dress that violate the rights of those freely choosing to dress in a particular way are not the way to do this.”

The report highlights that legislation prohibiting discrimination in employment has not been appropriately implemented in Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Employers have been allowed to discriminate on the grounds that religious or cultural symbols will jar with clients or colleagues or that a clash exists with a company’s corporate image or its ‘neutrality’.

This is in direct conflict with European Union (EU) anti-discrimination legislation which allows variations of treatment in employment only if specifically required by the nature of the occupation.

“EU legislation prohibiting discrimination on the ground of religion or belief in the area of employment seems to be toothless across Europe, as we observe a higher rate of unemployment among Muslims, and especially Muslim women of foreign origin,” said Marco Perolini.

In the last decade, pupils have been forbidden to wear the headscarf or other religious and traditional dress at school in many countries including Spain, France, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

“Any restriction on the wearing of religious and cultural symbols and dress in schools must be based on assessment of the needs in each individual case. General bans risk adversely Muslims girls’ access to education and violating their rights to freedom of expression and to manifest their beliefs.” Marco Perolini said.

The right to establish places of worship is a key component of the right to freedom of religion or belief which is being restricted in some European countries, despite state obligations to protect, respect and fulfil this right.

Since 2010, the Swiss Constitution has specifically targeted Muslims with the prohibition of the construction of minarets, embedding anti-Islam stereotypes and violating international obligations that Switzerland is bound to respect.

In Catalonia (Spain), Muslims have to pray in outdoor spaces because existing prayer rooms are too small to accommodate all the worshippers and requests to build mosques are being disputed as incompatible with the respect of Catalan traditions and culture. This goes against freedom of religion which includes the right to worship collectively in adequate places.

“There is a groundswell of opinion in many European countries that Islam is alright and Muslims are ok so long as they are not too visible. This attitude is generating human rights violations and needs to be challenged,” said Marco Perolini.


Europe: Choice and prejudice: Discrimination against Muslims in Europe


Muslims across Europe belong to many different ethnic groups and follow diverse cultural, religious or traditional practices. They are discriminated against for different reasons, including their religion or belief, ethnicity and gender. This report highlights discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief and illustrates some of its consequences. Restrictive dress-code policies and legislation are enforced in several states. Muslims, and especially Muslim women, who express their cultural or religious background by wearing specific forms of dress or symbols have been denied employment or excluded from classrooms.

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.

April - June 2012, Islam

Hablamos Islam – Exclusivo/exclusive

By Wendy Diaz

April 4, 2012

(English below)

As salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu Queridos Hermanos y Hermanas,

¡Hablamos Islam Niños está en el proceso de publicar nuevos libros, insha’Allah! Alhamdulillah, hemos tenido éxito con los primeros 3 y estamos anciosos de terminar los próximos, insha’Allah, pero necesitamos su ayuda.

Si nos ayudan a recaudar fondos, podremos procesar e imprimir los nuevos libros más rapidamente, insha’Allah.
Pueden donar por medio de nuestra página: www.hablamosislamninos.com (opríma el boton para “chipin” en el derecho de la pantalla) y también enviarle este mensaje a sus contactos.

Para las personas que contribuyan $50 o más, pondremos su nombre en una sección especial en nuestra página web dedicada a nuestros patrocinadores y les mandaremos una copia de uno de los nuevos libros, gratis, insha’Allah.


Los proximos títulos seran: (insha’Allah)

Las aventuras de Suleiman/ The Adventures of Suleiman

Yaumal Yummah con Ahmed/ Yaumal Jummah with Ahmed

¿Qué puede ser un musulmán? Libro para colorear/ What Can a Muslim Be? Coloring Book

Que Allah los recompense por sus esfuerzos y todo su apoyo. BarakaAllahu fikum.

As salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Hablamos Islam Niños is in the process of publishing more books, insha’Allah! Alhamdulillah, we have been successful with the previous 3 and we are anxious to finish the next ones, insha’Allah, but we need your help.
If you help us to fundraise, we can process and print these new books much faster, insha’Allah.
You can donate through our website: www.hablamosislamninos.com (click on the “chipin” button on the right of the screen) and you can also forward this message to your contacts.

For those people who donate $50 or more, we will put their name on a special sponsors section of our website and we will send them a free copy of one of the new books, insha’Allah.


Here are the new book titles: (insha’Allah)

Las aventuras de Suleiman/ The Adventures of Suleiman

Yaumal Yummah con Ahmed/ Yaumal Jummah with Ahmed

¿Qué puede ser un musulmán? Libro para colorear/ What Can a Muslim Be? Coloring Book

May Allah reward you all for your efforts and your support. BarakaAllahu feekum.


April - June 2012, Mexico

An Islamic Expedition to Mexico

By Sadeel Allam

June 26, 2013


Can you picture 115,296,797 persons? Now, out of that amount, 3,700, according to a 2010 census by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography are Muslim, with a one third concentrated in Mexico City. Over the past 10 years in the conflicted area of Chiapas, reside approximately 300 native people, some which are from the ancient Mayan civilization that don’t speak Spanish, but have reverted to Islam.

This is where the heart of the journey begins for Nahela Morales, a Mexican American Muslim who has taken it upon herself to carry through a project that aids and builds a bridge for people around the world to needed Muslim communities throughout Mexico. An expedition that initiated today with her travel to Mexico along with 11 full bags of donated clothing such as scarves, overgarments, and other items from people around the U.S.

It was during the revert’s panel at the ICNA Convention in May 2013, that I met Nahela Morales. She is part of WHY ISLAM? and was holding a panel of stories by reverted Muslims. After the panel, I followed her to a video recording session about more stories on reverts and it was in the waiting area that I heard her story and what she was preparing to embark on. During 2011 while vacationing in Mexico, Nahela Morales was looking for a mosque to pray the Friday prayer, but had a very hard time finding one. It was on this trip that her initiative to help the much needed Mexican Muslim community in Mexico awakened. After meeting with community organizers and leaders like Isa Rojas, a Mexican national who studied Islamic Law in Saudi Arabia and leads various Mexican Muslim communities and before departing from Mexico, Nahela Morales vowed to return in a year with donated items and $500 dollars. A year later and a month before her take-off to Mexico, she found herself in a bit of frustration due to the lack of support including from recognized Muslim leaders in the U.S. who literally turned her down. It was also during the ICNA time while Nahela Morales was in the elevator making a supplication where things changed around. After putting her son to bed and heading to the hotel lobby to get coffee, she gets off the elevator and sees Muslim leader Nouman Ali Khan. Nervously and courageously, Nahela Morales told him about her initiative. He didn’t just offered monetary aid in a tripled amount to what she had already raised, which surpassed the initial $500 goal, but himself and his wife’s presence as well. Interesting enough, the Islamic leader that turned her down came up and joined them at that same moment, which he then also agreed to help.

mexico2013cNahela Morales and her strongly belief in this initiative is something very close to heart, because it is not only about helping out the neighbor as Islamic scriptures asks Muslims to do, but aiding people in the most of their basic needs. A need that is not seen, lived nor even smelled for many people who live in America or even heard of. The need of essential clothing, food and housing in addition to support new Muslim communities with knowledge and everyday faith struggles. Nahela Morales tells a story of her while in her 2011 vacation in Mexico on how she stood up the whole night sharing her knowledge about women issues with a group of eager learning Mexican Muslim women. The need is clear at all levels and should not be understated nor should our responsibility to comply. It doesn’t stop there for Nahela Morales. She has another goal in mind when she travels to Chiapas.

mexico2013aHer goal is to rebuild the mosque that has sheets as dividers and exposed wood and brick walls with the money she has received in donations for the Muslim community that reside in Chiapas. Islamic leader Nouman Ali Khan along side his wife will be accompanying Nahela Morales and others on this building project and to Chiapas too. Nahela Morales also counts with the support of WHY ISLAM? This will be also the first time for Nahela Morales to travel to the southern region of Mexico in a state that has been know for continuous warfare between Mexico and Zapatistas since the early 1990’s. All in the exact one year as she vowed by the grace and permission of Allah(God), The All Mighty and All Merciful.

Nahela Morales and friends will be traveling throughout Mexico to different communities in different states throughout Mexico during a month to give their collected donations along with their support. The expedition may be followed through Facebook page Unidos Para El Dawah En Mexico(United For The Dawah In Mexico). Nahela Morales advised pictures will be continuously posted as they travel and stop at their travel points. We asked Nahela Morales what is one way for the everyone to help and she responded that by joining her in her initiative.

April - June 2012, Muslim converts

WhyIslam Goes South of the Border

By Wendy Diaz

Muslim Link

June 14, 2012


A new convert takes his Shahadah with Imam Isa Rojas
at the Al Hikmah Center in Mexico City, pictured below.

When Nahela Morales, an Administrative Assistant and National Coordinator for Spanish Dawah at WhyIslam, decided to plan her family vacation a year ago, she never thought she would be taking her work with her. Now, she is spearheading a joint effort between WhyIslam and seven other organizations, most of them Spanish-dawah oriented, to deliver necessary Islamic material to the growing Muslim community in Mexico.

Morales, who was born in Mexico City, grew up in California and moved to New York in 2000, five years later she accepted Islam and now lives in Union City, New Jersey. She has worked for the Islamic Circle of North America’s (ICNA’s) WhyIslam Project for three years, taking phone calls from curious non-Muslims through the 1-877-WhyIslam Hotline, arranging mosque visits nationwide, and coordinating Latino and reverts sessions for the annual ICNA-MAS conventions, among other responsibilities. She is also an active volunteer with the North Hudson Islamic Education Center in Union City, NJ, a mosque which hosts about 400 Latino Muslim families, making it one of the largest Latino Muslim communities in the United States.

Four years ago, Morales visited Mexico alone for the first time as a new Muslim, and had to withstand the backlash from her Catholic family members who opposed her Islamic attire and likened her new faith to trading her identity. During a visit to non-Muslim relatives, she was attacked by one of her cousins who ripped off her headscarf and told her to “stop trying to be an Arab”, an incident Morales attributes to a lack of education about Islam. This time, Morales will be traveling alongside her husband and son and decided to prepare ahead of time.

“One of the main purposes of my trip was to give dawah to my family, especially my grandmother, who is 103 years old,” Morales said. After much research, she found the email address of another Mexican convert, Isa Rojas. “I contacted Brother Isa Rojas, the Imam of Masjid Centro Al Hikmah in Mexico City, Mexico, back in January 2012 through email to ask him for directions to the masjid, to see how far it was from my grandmother’s house.” After acquiring the phone number for the center, she decided to call ahead to let them know about her visit.

During the call, she introduced herself and WhyIslam to Imam Rojas, who assured her that any material in Spanish would be welcomed. Because he was not familiar with ICNA or their dawah efforts, he was unsure of what to expect from this newcomer.

Morales recalls, “I didn’t feel the enthusiasm from him that I felt within myself! I think others may have promised to visit (the masjid) before and never made it.” However, what started off as a simple promise to deliver Spanish brochures has snowballed into a collaborative effort to deliver everything from modest clothing to siwaks to audio and Islamic children’s books. These are the type of items which are scarce in the small Muslim community surrounding Al Hikmah Center, according to the imam.

Imam Isa Rojas, who also accepted Islam in the year 2000 and was later accepted to study in the Islamic University of Madinah, Saudia Arabia, completed studies in the Arabic language and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Sharia in 2009. Upon his return to Mexico, he transformed his home into a fully-functioning masjid, now Al Hikmah Center in Mexico City, offering prayer services, Qur’an studies, and Arabic classes. Through his tireless efforts, many of his family members have accepted Islam and are hoping to educate others about the faith.

The majority of Mexico’s inhabitants are Catholic; however, because of growing tensions between Latin-American countries and the Catholic Church due to sex abuse scandals, division within the church hierarchy and severed ties between these countries and the Vatican, Mexico is fertile ground for Islamic propagation. Although it has the smallest Muslim minority group in Latin America, according to studies, it houses an entire town of indigenous converts to Islam called Nueva Esperanza or “New Hope” with an estimated population of 300 in the state of Chiapas, over 500 miles from Mexico City, and an Islamic resort with its own hotel called, El Centro Cultural Islámico de Mexico (Islamic Cultural Center of Mexico), in Tequesquitengo, Morelos. However, because of the huge distances between Islamic communities, resources remain limited.

When Morales approached her supervisor at WhyIslam with her idea, his response was positive. “This is a fantastic opportunity to expand the dawah work,” said Tariq Zamir, Director of the New Jersey Chapter of WhyIslam’s Dawah Project, who admired the initiative and prays for the success of the trip. Morales also shared her plans with friends and colleagues involved in other Islamic organizations and they expressed their desire to support the effort. She created a promotional page on Facebook, called “Unidos para Dawah en Mexico/United for Dawah in Mexico,” asking for donations of clothing items, Islamic material, and financial support.

She said, “Everyone is involved in their own world and they forget about the dawah. But there is a lot to be done.” She encourages others to volunteer with organizations such as WhyIslam and to donate to the groups that are working with the Spanish-speaking communities because they are low on funding.

As of June 9, 2012, she has raised $444, a meager amount considering the quantity of material she must purchase, the overage in her luggage, distribution costs in Mexico, and other expenses.

Morales has continued to correspond with Imam Rojas and his wife, Monseratt Pimentel, who have also begun to make arrangements for her to teach workshops about topics such as hygiene in Islam and how to better educate non-Muslim family members about Islam. Pimentel, who is impressed by the level of commitment and uniformity of the Latino Muslim presence in the US, is eager to meet Morales.

She said, “[Her trip] is a great blessing for the Muslims living in Mexico, not only because of the help and the material they [organizations] want to give us, but also because it will enrich our small community with ideas, plans, experience, and hopefully open a dialogue between Mexico and the Islamic community living in the US. At the same time, it is nice to know that the Latino brothers and sisters worry about us although they don’t live in Mexico, and in that manner express to us affection and brotherhood.”
So far, the entities that are supplying the material for Morales’ trip to Mexico are WhyIslam; Muslimahs Covered With Care (MCWC), a charitable organization that distributes Islamic clothing to needy Muslim women; RadioIslamico, a 24 hour Islamic radio channel in Spanish; IslamInSpanish, experts in audio/video production and Spanish dawah; Hablamos Islam Niños, a bilingual Spanish/English Islamic children’s books publisher; PIEDAD, a support group for Latina women and converts; and Muslimahs Couponing, one of Morales’ own personal efforts, which will supply toiletries. The North Hudson Islamic Education Center in Union City, NJ is allowing Morales to fundraise throughout the month of June in their masjid and will be donating any money gathered towards covering extra costs. In addition, individuals from all over the world have contributed by donating through Paypal or contacting Nahela@whyislam.org.

Sister Nahela Morales leaves for Mexico City on June 26, 2012 and will remain there for three weeks.

April - June 2012, Quotes of the Month

Quotes of the Month

The Prophet said, “The example of the person abiding by Allah’s orders and limits (or the one who abides by the limits and regulations prescribed by Allah) in comparison to the one who do wrong and violate Allah’s limits and orders is like the example of people drawing lots for seats in a boat. Some of them got seats in the upper part while the others in the lower part ; those in the, lower part have to pass by those in the upper one to get water, and that troubled the latter. One of them (i.e. the people in the lower part) took an axe and started making a hole in the bottom of the boat. The people of the upper part came and asked him, (saying), ‘What is wrong with you?’ He replied, “You have been troubled much by my (coming up to you), and I have to get water.’ Now if they prevent him from doing that they will save him and themselves, but if they leave him (to do what he wants), they will destroy him and themselves.” – Sahih Bukhari 3/48/851. Narrated An-Nu’man bin Bashir.

“When ye pass (Congregational) prayers, celebrate Allah’s praises, standing, sitting down, or lying down on your sides; but when ye are free from danger, set up Regular Prayers: For such prayers are enjoined on believers at stated times.” – Quran 4:103.

“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” – Quran 15:85.

“To Cordoba belong all the beauty and ornaments that delight the eye or dazzle the sight. Her long line of Sultans form her crown of glory; her necklace is strung with the pearls which her poets have gathered from the ocean of language; her dress is of the banners of learning, well-knit together by her men of science; and the masters of every art and industry are the hem of her garments.” – Stanley Lane-Poole, The Moors in Spain.