Publication Date

2005

Abstract

The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and various other sources of media have indicated that Islam is the fastest growing religion in North America. In 2003, the Census Bureau reported that the Latino population is the largest minority group in the United States. Furthermore, preliminary data gathered by the Council of American-Islamic Relations indicates that Latino and Hispanics are increasingly converting to Islam. The research question this study will explore is two-fold: Why are Hispanic/Latinos in North America converting to Islam and does this affect their cultural identity? The primary source of data was gathered through a self administered, English-only questionnaire, distributed to Latino/Hispanic Muslims throughout North America. The answers were coded and distributed into four separate categories of further analysis through a literature survey. These four categories are: Demographics, Why Islam, Community Impact, and Culture Then and Now. All of these categories were sub-categorized for further analysis and understanding of the implicit and explicit implications of the respondent's answers to build theory on the topic.Though the sample size for the study is not sufficient in providing connections between the fastest growing religion and population in North America, the research does initiate conversation amongst Muslims and non-Muslims about the possible trend of Latino/Hispanics leaving the Christian Church and practicing Islam and can help both faiths in understanding how to retain members. There is a connection between converts and the impact on their cultural identity-as defined by Mary Collier's cultural identity model based on modes of communication, where there is an adoption of Islamic norms, symbols, and meanings coexisting with Latino/Hispanic modes. This study can also help in understanding the fluid model of cultural identification.

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