Number of Muslims Growing Among Mexico’s Zapatistas

January 25, 2005

Source: Yahoo! News

Wire Service: Reuters

On January 25, 2005 Reuters reported, "Islam has joined a battle for the hearts and minds of Mexico's volatile Tzotzil Indians in Chiapas state, home of Zapatista rebels and a hotbed of sectarian strife between Christians. In an unlikely meeting of two worlds, an idealistic Muslim sect has converted some 300 Tzotzils, a Maya Indian group known for drink-fueled fiestas and religious fervor...The growth of Islam in such a restive area has raised the eyebrows of Mexico's intelligence agency, wary of possible terrorist activity aimed at the neighboring United States. But the Tzotzil Muslims have little interest in holy war, having seen religious and political conflict close up. Many are former evangelical Protestants who were thrown out of a nearby town by fellow Tzotzils who practice a mixture of Catholicism and ancient Maya Indian rites in a conflict that began in the 1970s."