In this video clip for Vice News, reporter Lee Adams traveled to Houston Texas, home of America’s first “Islam in Spanish” center, to ask the question: “Why are so many Latinos converting to Islam”?
Founded fifteen years ago, “Islam In Spanish” was started by Jaime Fletcher, a Colombian American convert, who says that the intersection of Islam and the Latino heritage is no accident. “Latinos might be thinking Muslims face similar obstacles — with all the racism and xenophobia happening — and I think a lot of people are seeing Islam and Islamic tradition as being more tolerant of race. One of the most racially diversity religions in the world is Islam.”
Statistics suggest that there are approximately 250,000 Latino Muslims in the country and that number is said to be growing. The epicenter of the movement is in Houston, Texas, home to one of America’s largest Latino and Muslim communities.
Scholar Ken Chitwood writes about the growing Latino Muslim community and says that “Islam In Spanish” is doing the work of “identity construction” noting that the organization has “been able to really define very significant and strong Latino and Muslim identities, and to merge the two together.”