Islam in Latin America
Although Islam is probably the least understood religion, Islam is the second largest religion in the world with more than one billion followers, which is one-fifth of the world’s population today. Islam was first stated publicly in the seventh century and now has advanced into a variety of different forms ( Major Religions). The central theme of this paper revolves around the religion of Islam and how it is practice in two Latin American countries, Peru and Panama.
In all countries throughout the world the sources of Islamic traditions are found in the Qur’an. Similar to the Bible the Qur’an has different chapters to refer to in the holy book; the chapters in the Qur’an are called Surah’s. In the Muslim religion there are 114 Surah’s in the Qur’an that the followers of Islam hold true to their beliefs. According to Charles Shields, a Muslim and Islam follower, the most important Surah of the Qur’an is Al-Fatihah. “ In the name of Allah the most gracious the most merciful. All the praises and thanks are to Allah, the lord of the mankind, Jinn and all that exist. The most gracious the most merciful. The only owner and the only ruling judge on the day of resurrection. You alone we worship, and you alone we ask for help for everything. Guide us to the straight way. The way of those on whom you have bestowed your grace, not the way of those who earn your angry (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as Christians)” (Al-Fatihah, ayat 1-7). In all countries that practice Islam it is essential that when a Muslim makes prayer (Salat) they have to perform Surah Al-Fatihah, if they do not perform that Surah than their prayer (Salat) is invalid to Allah. This belief is not an opinion of Charles Shields, these are what can be called guidelines for ever Muslim including Muslims in Peru and Panama.
Years after the Muslim religion evolved, Muslims came to Peru with the coming of the Spaniards. Muslims were then called “Moros” and they were even called Moors by the Spaniards, the Muslims came to Peru to escape persecution in Spain. They stayed in many places in Latin America, particularly in Peru, where they had a strong influence on the local way of life including, dress, food, architecture, and the social and political systems ( History of Islam in Peru). Similar to the Muslims in the U.S. the woman of Islam in Peru wore hijab’s until just recently, they were called "Las Tapadas Limeñas” for a long period of time.
In 1940 even more Muslims fled to Peru, from the migration of Palestine and Lebanon, they were fleeing the Jewish persecution. Coming to Peru was very beneficial to them as far as wealth was concern; the only bad thing was for the time that they were in Peru they began to lose their Islamic identity. Information as to why the Muslims that fled to Peru lost their Islamic identity, I think is obvious because they had to adapt to a different atmosphere. As times begin to persist...