Latinos are Converting to Islam more than any other demographic in America. Twelve take their shahada during Ramadan at one Los Angeles Islamic Center

Posted: May 9, 2022

LALMA Organizer Sister Hawa Vivian (right) at Masjid Bilal Islamic Center in Los Angeles

Over the past decade, the rise of Latinos in converting to Islam has become a new phenomenon in America. Never was this more evident than during this past Ramadan. With Latino Muslim groups now located in nearly every major American city, social gatherings and Eid celebrations were on full display by many of these communities.

At Masjid Bilal Islamic Center in Los Angeles, nearly a dozen Latino Muslims took their shahada (declaration of Islamic faith) during Ramadan in 2022. According to Pew Research, Latinos are the United States fastest growing Muslim group. In fact, roughly 25% of all new US converts are Latino, astonishing when you consider they represent less than 20% of our nation’s population.

La Asociacion Latino Musulmana de America, better known as LALMA, has become a leading organization for connecting these rapidly emerging Muslim communities.

“We just see the number growing and we see that in Los Angeles a lot,” said Hawa Vivian, an organizer for LALMA. “One of the things we really like about Masjid Bilal is that it's a very open community. We able to hold classes there in Spanish and people trickle in to learn about Islam.”

Latino Muslims take their shahada at Masjid Bilal in Los Angeles 

LALMA also partners with groups throughout Mexico including Ciudad Juarez, Guadalajara, and Tijuana.

“I was in Tijuana praying at the mosque there and there was a sister that came in and said, I don't know why but I just wanted to come in here and pray. I asked her to come over and pray with me. Then I took her to the Imam, and he didn’t speak Spanish. That’s the problem we have. A lot of our members are bilingual, like me myself. I was born in Los Angeles, my parents are from Mexico, so I can speak and read both. We need more Spanish speaking Imams.”

During Ramadan, LALMA hosted an iftar dinner at Masjid Bilal Islamic Center, which features a large African American Muslim presence. Members of the group introduced themselves to the Bilal community and spoke about their shared experiences.

Hawa Vivian addresses Masjid Bilal and LALMA members

“Hispanic and black communities are both the largest minority in the U.S. and are still striving for their civil rights. We're fighting for good and equal education from K-through-12 and just access to higher education. You know, so it's something that we need to strive for together,” added Vivian. “Christianity was forced on both African and indigenous people in the new world.”

Latino Muslims at Masjid Bilal in Los Angeles

Latino Muslims hold classes during Ramadan

LALMA hosts iftar meal during Ramadan

Before the iftar meal was served, 12 Latino-Americans took their shahada in front of family, friends, and members of the Bilal community. Imam Rushdan Mujahid-Deen of Masjid Bilal Islamic Center performed the service. “We are honored to be a part of this,” said Imam Mujahid-Deen.

“You are now Muslims and can go anywhere in the world and be recognized as Muslims. The mystery that was before you, is no longer a mystery.”

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