According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Hispanic population reached 54 million and growing as of 2013, making Hispanics the fastest growing racial group in the United States. At the same time, the Pew Research Center found that, by 2050, Muslims will be the second-largest religion in the U.S. after Christians, surpassing Jewish Americans.
The population of Latino Muslims is growing rapidly in a time of increased tension regarding race and religion in the U.S. Currently roughly six percent of Muslims in the United States are Latino, an increase from years past. Also, as many as a 20 percent of new converts to Islam nationwide are Latino, according to the Census Bureau.
Latinos are a racial minority within a religious minority. Their stories are both underreported and extremely interesting as there is a common trend among Latino Muslims to return to their origins of when the Moors (African Muslim) were occupying Spain in the 700 AD. Immersion into this community could reveal to us not only the reasons behind the increased conversion rate of Latino Americans to Islam, but also give us insights into why Islam has become an effortless religion for many to join. In order to convert to Islam it is in fact require to only take an “act of faith” or Shahadah between one and God in the presence of two witnesses.
My main interest in covering these religious minorities is to discover who they truly are. I want to understand how they decide to take the ‘act of faith’ and how their Latino families perceive this. I also would like to identify how other Muslims see their decision. I would like to understand if their process of conversion differs from other Muslim converts and how, once part of Islam if they can still keep their cultural heritage as Latinos.