Bustle magazine talks to Latinx Muslim women (Latinx is the gender-neutral alternative for Latino or Latina). The piece makes the pivotal point that for Latinx Muslim women, “life as part of a group so underrepresented that many of your fellow Americans don’t even know it exists is a particular kind of balancing act. These women exist at the intersection of multiple identities, all of which are under fire by the Trump administration — and they must navigate that intersection with very little support or notice.”
Here are some snippets from these women on what drew them to Islam (as most of Latinx Muslims are converts):
— Mariana Aguilera, 38, was raised Catholic but stopped practicing after the death of her mother as a young girl. As an adult, she wanted to come back to faith. “When I was researching different faiths, Islam kept popping up, but I refused to look into it because in my head, at that time, “es cosa del diablo” (it’s harmful).” Ultimately, she was drawn to Islam because of the way the Quran talks about women, and at 27, she took the shahada (declaration of faith).
— Azmia Magane, 32, says she found the tenet of tahwid (pure monotheism) appealing. “I didn’t understand why I needed to access God through a priest, or why people believed they could do whatever they wanted as long as they went to confession and said some ‘Hail Marys’ after.”
— Vivian Billings, 41: “I just felt like, why is there a middle man?” Why can’t I just go directly to God?”
— Ivana Daher, 28, was raised Catholic though also had Muslim family members living in Lebanon. She tried out some of the practices before committing to the religion — like fasting during Ramadan and wearing hijab “What drew me to Islam was simple — it made sense to me. I may not have understood or knew every single facet of the religion ( I still don’t!), [but] there were reasons for why things were the way they were.”