Islam and Mexico

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The Murabitun have been active in Mexico, spreading in the Chiapas region where the Zapatistas are. I’ve been able to find some interesting sites about their efforts there. A short academic article on them is called Coversions & Conflict: Muslims in Mexico Here is the group’s Mexican website The Murabitun are also very active in Spain and have even established a mosque there. So you could also check the group’s Spain website (Their mosque happens to be located in Granada and has a certain amount of historical significance as the first mosque built in Spain since the Reconquista). Islam gains toehold in Mexico’s Zapatista country is a recent Reuters piece about the Murabitun activities. Islam taking root in southern Mexico is an older article from the Houston Chronicle. And In Chiapas, missionaries battle for converts is from Knight Ridder Newspapers.

In the long run I wonder how successful the Murabitun efforts will be? They have sometimes been described as “extremist” Malikis who strongly believe in following the example of the first Muslim community in Medina. So if I understand them correctly they seem to want to set up whole communities in particular localities based on Islamic principles. It’s an approach which seems to make a certain amount of sense if you have a critical mass of people and enough space to set it up. There are certainly aspects of being Muslim which are enhanced by having more of a community aspect. (making salat in congregation, producing food, collecting zakat, civil law, etc.)

I’ve known people who were Hebrew Israelites (there are many distinct but similar groups which call themselves “hebrews” or “israelites”. The link is only to one of the most prominant) and talked about leaving the US eventually; perhaps to the community that they have in Dimona, Israel. And it seems to me that regardless of whether one agrees with the specific beliefs and practices, I think you have to respect the integrity and dedication of someone who picks up and moves to a different country in order to more fully implement their own religious principles.

La Voz de Aztlan is a somewhat contraversial website which is from a Chicano perspective but for some reason the contributors have chosen to take a more international perspective and are strongly anti-Zionist and against the war in Iraq. It is interesting to see how certain coalitions can potentially form among groups with superficially very different concerns or agendas. In this case, I think certain members of the Chicano movement see Palestians and Iraqis and identify very much with a strong desire for autonomy from outside forces, whether that foreign force is conceived as Anglo or Zionist or American.

An interview with Mexican intellectual Carlos Fuentes called the Invention of the Frankenstein Monster on US foreign policy in the Muslim world.


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