San Cristóbal de Las Casas.- For allegedly being living under semi-slavery, a group of eight Chamula families professing the Muslim religion in the highlands of Chiapas abandoned the group formed in 1994, said the indigene Carlos Arturo Gomez, whose Islamic name is Moustafa.
He explained that they decided to leave the group because they were exploited, since they had to work for over 12 hours a day and received less than 1,000 pesos per month. In addition, they were not allowed to speak their mother tongue tsotsil and eating corn and tortillas was prohibited.
He said in a press conference that this Islamic group was founded for several Spaniards, leaded by Aureliano Pérez Iruela, who “used to speak us nicely and then exploited us for several years”.
Arturo Gómez said they will retain the Muslim faith but will live integrated to the rest of society because “being a Muslim does not mean living apart.”
About 50 families remained in the initial group founded by Aureliano Pérez until 2007, when they left the group definitively.
The problem now -he explained- is that the children of the families that left the group are not being accepted at official schools, because they took their first classes at the Muslim school, which does not have official recognition by authorities.
It is worth to remember that in 1999, another Chamula indigene separated from a Muslim group too and formed the community known as Molino de los Arcos, with about 200 members, which is the largest Muslim representation in the highlands zone of Chiapas, currently.
Source (in Spanish): http://www.oem.com.mx/elsoldetijuana/notas/n1057307.htm