World Bulletin / News Desk
Latinos in the U.S. are considered to be the fastest-growing demographic as well as the fastest-growing group of Muslims in America, the Press-Enterprise reported.
Although the statistics haven't been widely tracked, there are an estimated 150,000 Islam converts among the Latino community in the U.S.
The trend of Hispanic converts to Islam has been tracked by the Islamic Society of North America, which in 2006 estimated there were roughly 40,000 Latino Muslims in the U.S.
Some community leaders said the recent growth of the demographic has its roots in a shared experience of immigration and the negative political rhetoric that advocates have deemed as anti-Muslim.
Mark Gonzales, a Muslim poet and artist in California said that immigration officials' targeting of Mexicans and Muslims after the 9/11 terror attacks helped the two demographics find common ground.
"Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world, and Latinos are converting to Islam at a rate higher than any other [ethnicity]," said Gonzalez, who is of Mexican-American and French-American heritage and converted to Islam 12 years ago.
Jihad Turk, president of Bayan Claremont, an Islamic graduate school in California, said that Islam is most similar to Catholic beliefs. Muslims believe in many stories contained in the Christian Bible, including the prophets, he said.
"Muslims not only believe in God and the Ten Commandments, but also in Jesus as Christ born to the Virgin Mary and her story is told in the Quran in more detail than it’s told in the Bible," Turk said. Organizations have formed in the U.S. to help the merging of Latino and Muslim communities.
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