In the Hispanic community, summer can mean a variety of things. For some, it is fun in the sun with beach parties, picnics and family reunions. For others, summer is when work hours pick up and school ends for the year. For a growing sect of the Hispanic population, however, this summer brought Ramadan. Ramadan, a holiday celebrated by Muslims, is becoming more important as more members of the Latino community are converting to Islam.
According to the 2010 Census, there are more than 40,000 Muslims of Hispanic heritage living in the United States today. Those who revert to Islam cite reasons such as the objectionable history of the church, the plight of the poor and the polytheistic nature of Christianity. The reversion rate is roughly equal among men and women and continues to rise annually.
This growing trend began, ironically enough, after the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Although the events sparked much hatred towards Muslims, many people who were previously unaware discovered Islam and began researching it. Today, Hispanic reverts make up twelve percent of all reverts in the United States.
Many people who find Islam today will find much comfort in its simple teachings and the focus on peace. They will be drawn by the similarities to Christianity that they find hiding in the beliefs. In the end, however, they will stay because they feel that it is pleasing to Allah.