20 de junio de 2019
ÚLTIMAS NOTICIAS:
Hispanic World

Mexico Muslims recreate the Islamic world during Ramadan

By Manuel Soberanes Cobo

By Manuel Soberanes Cobo

Mexico City, May 25 (efe-epa).- As people approach a three-story building on Mexico City's west side, words are heard that come from other latitudes: men and women in the typical dress of Islamic countries speak in foreign tongues, people greet each other with the words "Salaam-alaikum" (Peace be unto you, in Arabic).

Anyone of any religion is welcome at the Muslim Community Educational Center, where they may take part in the different Islamic activities.

Inside the building, the impression of being whisked away to the Middle East is complete when the muezzin calls the faithful to prayer with the phrase "Allahu-akbar" (God is great), after which the imam gives his sermon, first in Arabic and then in Spanish

In Mexico, a small but active Muslim community has carved out a niche where their unity may be protected in a country where its members are a minority, a microcosm of the Islamic world that reflects the diversity of its members origins.

While the Statistics Institute has just 3,760 Muslims on record in the country based on the 2010 census, the community's own estimates indicate there are some 12,000, according to Sheik Said Louahabi, head of the Educational Center in the capital's Polanco district.

"When I got here in 1994 there were 88 of us, including the diplomats. The truth is we've grown incredibly," the sheik of Moroccan origin told EFE.

He said that Muslim immigrants have created a world where they can practice their faith almost as if they were in their countries of origin.

This can be observed particularly during Ramadan, the ninth month on the Islamic calendar (and which this year lasts from May 5 to June 4), when Muslims abstain from eating and drinking during the day and break their fast at nightfall.

"The significance of Ramadan for Muslims is above all to comply with this, one of the five pillars of Islam," the sheik said.

He added that the other four are the profession of faith, daily prayers, charity toward the poor, and the pilgrimage to Mecca.

According to Louahabi, when he came to Mexico the Muslims missed the way they practiced their religion in the lands of their birth.

"We found work, thanks be to God, and we found physical, bodily happiness. But we did not find spiritual happiness because the atmosphere of Ramadan in non-Islamic countries is nothing like in Muslim nations," he said.

"So we have tried, as founders, to create the environment of our native lands that we miss so much," Louahabi added.

He said that Muslims started bringing food and getting together to break their fasts, and gradually the word spread. "Then the embassies heard what was happening that they started bringing food as well," he said.

The more they emulated the atmosphere of their native lands, the less they missed them, according to the sheik.

That feeling is obvious at the Educational Center, a place of worship founded in 2001 by immigrants, which also gives classes in integration and subjects related to Islam.

During the daily prayers at the center, the faithful follow the imam's sermon attentively, united in their faith despite their diverse origins.

"The nature of the mosque we have at the Educational Center reflects the origins of people from Africa, Europe and Asia. We have Muslims from Indonesia, Malaysia, Albania, France, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt and Palestine. We have Muslims from everywhere," Moussa Youssef, a member of the center, told EFE recently.

He noted that there are also local Muslims among the 2,000 to 3,000 faithful who attend the center. "The great majority are Mexicans," he said.

For Youssef, a native of Egypt, Mexico is a favorable land for practicing Islam, thanks to certain cultural similarities and the religious tolerance of the Latin American nation.

Sheik Louahabi said that all Muslims in Mexico try to be united under the concept that there is but one God and Muhammad is his prophet. But he acknowledged that sects exist "for their own interests."

"That is why we are not perfectly united," he said.

For that reason, when he gives a sermon he tells the faithful that if anyone asks them to what religion they belong, they must simply answer: Islam.

"But if they are asked, 'Are you Shiite? Are you Sunni? Are you Ibadi?' I tell them to answer "I am Muslim,' because the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) said 'You are called Muslims.' We all follow the same path, the religion of the prophet Muhammad," he said.

Histórico de noticias
Trump: I expect congressional Democrats will do right thing, approve USMCA

Washington, Jun 20 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump said Thursday that the ratification of the newly renegotiated trade treaty with Mexico and Canada...

Slack shares jump 53 pct. on going public without IPO

New York, Jun 20 (efe-epa).- Slack Technologies Inc. on Thursday tried a different approach from other firms wanting to go public by listing its shares...

Iran forces say they shot down US spy drone near Strait of Hormuz

Washington, Jun 20 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump said Thursday that the Iranian downing of a US drone over the Strait of Hormuz was likely the result...

High-valuation startups flourishing in Brazil

Alba Santandreu

2 Die in violent protests in Honduras

Tegucigalpa, Jun 20 (efe-epa).- Violence surrounding anti-government protests here in the Honduran capital left two people dead and a score of others...

Asylum requests surge due to crises in Venezuela, El Salvador, Honduras

Bogota, Jun 20 (efe-epa).- Mexico and Costa Rica were the Latin American countries that received the most asylum applications in 2018 - 29,660 and 28,000...

New York reviews history of urban art in unprecedented exhibit

By Nora Quintanilla

Chilean scientists sound alarm as glaciers retreat

Santiago, Jun 19 (efe-epa).- Scientists in Chile warned Wednesday that the retreat of glaciers in the southern region of Patagonia as a result of climate...

Former Trump adviser dodges lawmakers' questions on obstruction

Washington, Jun 19 (efe-epa).- Hope Hicks, President Donald Trump's former communications director, on Wednesday avoided answering questions put to her by...

Fed keeps US interest rates unchanged

Washington, Jun 19 (efe-epa).- The United States Federal Reserve on Wednesday left its benchmark interest rate unchanged despite President Donald Trump's...

Red Cross gives Venezuelan hospitals mosquito nets to battle malaria

Caracas, Jun 19 (efe-epa).- The Red Cross will distribute mosquito nets to hospitals in Venezuela to counter the spread of malaria, a disaster management...

Messi hopes to end drought with Argentine national team at Copa America

By Sebastian Meresman

Panama's San Blas archipelago being swallowed by the sea

Maria M. Mur

Brazilian players warn that Peru's Guerrero can be a scoring machine

Salvador, Brazil, Jun 19 (efe-epa).- Brazilian national soccer team players Marquinhos and Alisson praised Peruvian striker Paolo Guerrero on Wednesday,...

Opponents say Nicaraguan gov't reneged on pledge to free prisoners

Managua, Jun 19 (efe-epa).- Members of the Nicaraguan opposition protested Wednesday outside a prison in Managua to demand that President Daniel Ortega's...

High-scoring Uruguay takes on Japan in Copa America

By Fernando Gimeno

Kate del Castillo gives voice to Ciudad Juarez victims in New York theater

By Nora Quintanilla

Aubrey Plaza about murderous Chucky: Horror is a release we need

By David Villafranca

Pence thanks Latin America for generosity in supporting Venezuela's freedom

Miami, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday renewed the "firm" commitment of the Donald Trump administration to Venezuela's "legitimate"...

Bolivia inaugurates its 1st capsule hotel

La Paz, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- Comfort and a futuristic style come together in Bolivia's first capsule hotel, which starting this Tuesday will offer lodging to...

Trump's trade rep sees progress on quick USMCA pact approval

Washington, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Tuesday emphasized his office's "constructive" talks with Democratic lawmakers...

Brazil's Dani Alves returns to the stadium where it all started

By Carlos Meneses Sanchez

Trump: Shanahan withdraws as defense secretary nominee

Washington, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- US President Donald Trump said Tuesday that acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan decided to withdraw from the process to...

OAS rejects claims of election fraud in Guatemala

Guatemala City, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- The head of the electoral mission of the Organization of American States (OAS) for Guatemala rejected Tuesday the...