July - Sept 2003, USA

First Annual Hispanic Muslim Day

By Shinoa Matos
CommUnity Magazine

July 27, 2003, North Hudson, NJ – On a beautiful Sunday morning (Alhamudullah), North Hudson’s Islamic Educational Center hosted a Latino Muslim event filled with lectures, open discussions, free literature, and dinner to celebrate Islam as part of their Latino heritage.

With a huge Latino / Hispanic population in the area, the local Masjid held the event to explain Islam’s deep root in Latino culture and thus how the two are very similar from holding the same values ​​regarding morals and family to the Arabic origins of many Spanish words .

After Zhuhr prayer, over 60-70 brothers and sisters from all nationalities as well as many non-Muslims filled the main hall as moderators informed them of what the day’s event held. Each person was given a folder filled with flyers and brochures both in English and Spanish, touching on many specific subjects such as “What is Islam?”, “Jesus in Islam” and more. Those who did not understand Spanish were given electronic earpieces where they could listen to a translator in English.

Sister Mariam Santos Garcia walked everyone through a PowerPoint presentation reflecting on Islamic Spain, the prosperity and knowledge that grew out of that specific period, and the legacy it left behind. “Islam is part of our heritage and we must stand up and be proud of that” said Garcia. Refreshments were handed out as Omar Pacheco special guest spoke on his life in Argentina, his conversion, and towards the later part of the day, held a Q&A with the audience and Imam Mohamed Al Hayek, the Imam of the Mosque.

In between speakers, a youth Choir performed songs in Arabic and English encompassing their faith in the One God (Subhanna Watallah) and the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him). Daycare was provided on another floor so parents could enjoy the event at ease. The Islamic Center is located at 4613 Cottage Place (47th Street between Kennedy and Bergenline Avenues) Union City, NJ 07306.