Saturday 22 January 2011

Mayan Muslims

It's always inspiring to see people coming to Islam all over he world. This video from Aljazeeera is is about a community of converts from the Mayan monirity group in Mexico which has converted from Catholicism to Islam.

Mayans are perhaps not the first people who come to mind when we think of Islam, but this interesting article in German magazine Speigel Online (from 2005) by By Jens Glüsing discusses the conversions and speculates as to some reasons for them:

"About 300 Tzozil-Indians have converted to Islam in recent years and it's a development that is beginning to worry the Mexican government. Indeed, the government even suspects the new converts of subversive activity and has already set the secret service onto the track of the Mayan Muslims. Mexican President Vincente Fox has even gone so far as to say he fears the influence of the radical fundamentalists of al-Qaida.

But the Indians have no interest in political extremism. Rather, they belong to the Sunni, Murabitun sect that was founded by the Scotsman Ian Dallas and is seen as an offshoot of a Moroccan religious order. The Murabitun followers represent a sort of primal Islam: Earning interest profits through money lending is a no-no and they preach a literal interpretation of the Koran.

"The see themselves as restorers of Islam," says the anthropologist Gaspar Morquecho, author of a study of the Muslims of Chiapas. "Their defiance of capitalism is similar in many respects to the critique of globalization espoused by many left-wingers."

"In Islam, the Indians rediscover their original values," claims Esteban Lopez, the Spanish secretary general of the Muslim community. "The Christians destroyed their culture." He presents the use and abuse of alcohol as proof. Alcoholism is wide-spread under Tzotzil Indians and the strict ban on spirits in Islam helps many to break the vicious circle of addiction and poverty."

Sunday 9 January 2011

Finding Islam around the World

This video highlights how people from different countries have come to Islam and what has attracted to them to the faith.