Islam in Latin America

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Housed in LACC, the Islam in Latin America Project began in 2009 as a collaborative project of FIU and the Social Science Research Council-Carnegie foundation that aimed at addressing the significant disparity that exists between the American media’s, and by extension the American public’s, perception of Muslims in Latin America and the reality of the current state of affairs. Part of this communication problem can be attributed to the lack of sound and systematic examination of this subject in English.

Islam as a contemporary religious, cultural, and socio-historical phenomenon in Latin America is grossly understudied, especially when compared to its European, Asian, and North American counterparts. The Islam in Latin America project is a trilingual (Spanish, Portuguese and English) initiative that seeks to create a better understanding of Islam’s various manifestations in Latin America. This project attempts to start a dialogue toward answering the following questions:

What has been the historical development of Islam in Latin America? Is there a different approach to the practice of Islam between Latin American converts and Muslim immigrants from the Middle East? Can we speak of a “Creole Islam” in Latin America unique to other practices of Islam in the European or North American Diasporas? What is the social reality that Muslims face in Latin America in the post September 11th environment? How has media affected the perceptions of Muslims in Latin America?

Recent project deliverables include have included, but are not limited to: online publishing of three-part series on the topic found at: http:/www.youtube.comwatch?v=tgwtP-vLdkA; development of a LACC/FIU School of Journalism documentary film on Muslims in Buenaventura, Colombia; LACC Affiliated Faculty Interdisciplinary Colloquia on Islam and Latin America; and K-12 Teacher Training Workshops and Student Simulation on security and migration post-9/11.