Hispanics Converting to Islam

January 7, 2001

Source: The Washington Post

On January 7, 2001 The Washington Post reported that "in growing numbers, Hispanics, the country's fastest-growing ethnic group, are finding new faith in Islam, the nation's fastest-growing religion. Moved by what many say is a close-knit religious environment and a faith that provides a more concrete, intimate connection with God, they are replacing Mass with mosques...The steadily increasing number of Latino Muslims illustrates how deeply rooted Islam has become in the national landscape -- even spreading to communities not normally associated with the faith, religious scholars say. The Muslim population in the United States is estimated at more than 4 million, nearly six times the number in 1970, but still a fraction of the nearly 1 billion Muslims worldwide." The American Muslim Council estimates there are 25,000 Hispanic Muslims in the U.S., with the largest communities appearing in New York City, Southern California and Chicago. Many Hispanics say they converted because in the more traditional Hispanic Catholic tradition they felt distant from God; they feel their relationship with God is made more direct through Islam.