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Latino Muslims Celebrate Spanish Islam

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  • ummyakoub
    USING HISTORY TO FIND COMMON ROOTS Julia M. Scott, Jersey Journal, 7/28/03 http://www.nj.com/search/index.ssf?/base/news-1/1059387008155480.xml The Islamic
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 6, 2003
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      USING HISTORY TO FIND COMMON ROOTS
      Julia M. Scott, Jersey Journal, 7/28/03
      http://www.nj.com/search/index.ssf?/base/news-1/1059387008155480.xml

      The Islamic Educational Center of North Hudson took its message to a
      new demographic yesterday: Latinos.

      In a one-day celebration at the Union City center, Muslims and Latino
      converts sought to teach their neighbors, the vast majority of whom
      are Latino, about the Spanish Moors, who ruled Spain from the eighth
      century to the fifteenth century.

      The Moors, who were Muslim, brought irrigation techniques, farming,
      and superior schools and hospitals to Spain, said Mariam Santos, who
      presented a slide show on the Moors in Spain.

      Latino and Hispanic are terms used to describe primarily people in
      the United States who come from a Latin American country. Spain
      greatly influenced indigenous cultures after it conquered such places
      as Mexico, Cuba and Bolivia.

      "We want them to know their Islamic roots and what Islam has brought
      to their culture," said Imam Mohamed Al Hayek, who is the spiritual
      leader of the congregation. Al Hayek estimated that there are about
      250 Latino Muslims in Hudson County.

      "We share so many things," said Al Hayek, who added that Spanish and
      Arabic have thousands of words in common.

      The "Latinos Rediscovering their Roots" celebration included a
      keynote address by Omar Pacheco, who is an imam at a mosque in New
      York City. Pacheco was born in Spain, grew up in Argentina, and
      studied theology in Saudi Arabia.

      He spurned his Catholic upbringing for the lack of answers the
      religion offered him and urged Latinos to look into their Muslim
      roots.

      "We have to open our doors to educate people what Islam is about,"
      said Alex Robayo, a Latino who converted seven years ago.

      "It's needed today more than before," said Mariam Elayan, a member of
      the committee which welcomes people to the congregation. Elayan said
      that Muslims as a community are misunderstood by many Americans,
      especially after Sept. 11…

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