Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What About the Non-Spanish Speaking Latinos?

Alhamdulillah (All Praises to Almighty Allah) over the decade or so there have sprung up many dawah  groups (groups which invite to Islam) throughout the United States which focus on the Latino community. Many of these groups and organizations fashion themselves around teaching Islam to non-Muslims or new Muslims through the medium of the Spanish language. While there is a great need for such a demographic, there is also a large demographic of Latinos who either do not speak Spanish, are very poor in Spanish, are stronger in English, or are equally strong in both languages but prefer English over Spanish. Do you see where I am going with this?
         Nearly half (or more than half) of Latinos in the United States fall in this category. There are many Stateside Puerto Ricans (including NewYorkPuertoRicans), Chicanos, and other US-born or raised Latinos who fall in the this category. While many of the above-mentioned groups cater to a certain segment of the Latino community there is a whole demographic which is simply untapped. Certainly, there are many Latinos who are not immigrants and not children of immigrants. While they may be classified as Americans, they still may strongly identify with Latino culture and may fit in both categories. 
          Therefore, I am asking those established Latinos groups and organizations: "How will your efforts at Spanish language dawah benefit this segment of the Latino population?" Perhaps, there is not a plan to address that segment of the Latino population. Is it simply assumed that all Latinos are quite conversant in Spanish? InshAllah (Allah Willing) I wait to hear from you all and hear you ideas on this.

Khalil Alpuertorikani
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


  1. As salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
    Ya akhi, the problem is that we as Muslim forget that we are not supposed to emphasize on tribal, ethnic or even national lineage. Before we are Latinos we are Muslims. The fact is that there is a need for Dawah in the Spanish language world wide. Also many of the new converts in the US are immigrants who are weak in English. Masha Allah there is a strong Dawah movement in the English language world wide but we are still lacking in Spanish and other languages. Lets not become separated like the Pakistanis and other groups who build Masajid only for their people so as not to associate with the Native Muslims. Instead we should build a masjid for spanish speakers in order to facilitate their understanding of Islam. Here in Kuwait they have Khutbas and classes in the languages of the peoples who are here in large numbers such as Hindu, Malayam, Tagalog and English. This ofcourse Is spearheaded by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs. None of these programs focus on Culture except for that of Islamic Culture. That is not to say that if there is something from our culture as Latinos that does not contradict Islam we should not embrace it. Still we must remember that Islam overides everything else. We should not become like other groups who have tried to change Islam to fit their culture. May Allah guide us all.
    Ibrahim Bader Al Boreeqee

  2. Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

    Well stated. I think that there can be a balance with not being nationalist while set aside part of one's time and resources to present Islam to a particular community. This does not mean that Islam has to be watered-down or anything like that.