Latino Muslims Struggle to Help Family Understand Conversion

July 31, 2005

Source: The Denver Post

On July 31, 2005 The Denver Post reported, "Latino Muslims say it's a lot easier to convert to Islam than to convince family members it's a good idea. Some Latino Muslim converts gathered in Denver on Saturday to discuss problems they have in adjusting to their new religion, keeping up family relationships and putting up with rejection from people who fear Muslims. Misunderstandings about Islam are rampant, said the converts, many of whom were reared as Catholics... [Juan] Galvan, who is with the Latino American Dawah Association, the organization for Latino Muslims, said no one knows the number of Latino Muslims, but estimates are from 25,000 to 75,000 in the United States... Latinos come to Islam through various routes. Some have dated or married Muslims, others were on a religious search and settled on Islam, and others began studying the religion after the 2001 attacks because they wanted to understand the religion. Many take Muslim first names. 'Roman Catholicism never sat well with me. I always felt we were praying to saints and statues. Now I pray to God,' said Missy 'Nada' Sandoval, who married a Muslim."