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The Muslims of Latin America and the Caribbean
 9781626379817

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Muslims OF Latin America AND THE Caribbean THE

Muslims OF Latin America AND THE Caribbean THE

Ken Chitwood

b o u l d e r l o n d o n

Published in the United States of America in 2021 by Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc. 1800 30th Street, Suite 314, Boulder, Colorado 80301 www.rienner.com

and in the United Kingdom by Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc. Gray’s Inn House, 127 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1 5DB www.eurospanbookstore.com/rienner

© 2021 by Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Chitwood, Ken, 1984– author. Title: The Muslims of Latin America and the Caribbean / Ken Chitwood. Description: Boulder, Colorado : Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc. [2021] | Includes bibliographical references and index. | Summary: “Uniquely tells the historical and contemporary story of Muslims and Islam in Latin America and the Caribbean”— Provided by publisher. Identifiers: LCCN 2021016143 (print) | LCCN 2021016144 (ebook) | ISBN 9781626379480 (hardcover) | ISBN 9781626379817 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Muslims—Latin America—History. | Muslims—Caribbean Area—History. | Islam—Latin America—History. | Islam—Caribbean Area—History. | Latin America—Ethnic relations. | Caribbean Area—Ethnic relations. Classification: LCC F1419.M87 C45 2021 (print) | LCC F1419.M87 (ebook) | DDC 305.6/97098—dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2021016143 LC ebook record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2021016144

British Cataloguing in Publication Data A Cataloguing in Publication record for this book is available from the British Library.

Printed and bound in the United States of America

The paper used in this publication meets the requirements of the American National Standard for Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials Z39.48-1992. 5 4 3 2 1

Contents

Acknowledgments

1 Putting Muslims on the Map in Latin America and the Caribbean

Part 1 Historical Lineages

2 The Question of Pre-Columbian Contact

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3 Los Moros, Spain, and the Making of the New World

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5 Indentured Servants and Immigrants

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4 Enslaved Muslims and Their Enduring Legacy

Part 2 Contemporary Communities and Global Entanglements

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6 Halal in Brazil and the Global Muslim Economy

127

8 Seeking a Better World in Mexico

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7 Islamophobia and the War on Terror

9 The Contest for Sunni Hegemony in the Caribbean

10 The Dream of a Latinx Muslim Homeland v

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203

223

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Contents

Part 3 Conclusion

11 The Americas as Part of a Broader “Muslim World”

Bibliography Index About the Book

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257 277 285

Acknowledgments

THIS ACKNOWLEDGMENTS SECTION WAS EXTREMELY GRATIFYing to write. Perhaps this has become trite to say, but after such an undertaking I can attest that completing this book would have been impossible without the help of others. I am indebted to each and every one of the following individuals and to many others. The debts of gratitude and appreciation that I have accumulated are vast, and I ask forgiveness from all those I neglect to name here. And, it must be said, any errors in this book are solely my own and are not the responsibility of those who provided input throughout the process. First, to the students in my spring 2017 Islam in the Americas course at the University of Florida: You gave me the idea for this book. Thank you also to the graduate students in my course at Otto Friedrich Universität Bamberg in Germany. Beyond inspiration, you helped develop, think through, critique, and expand some of the ideas that formed the backbone of this work. You also researched and wrote your own papers, which informed my knowledge and expanded my understanding of the landscape of this field. Best of all, you challenged me with your questions, comments, and critiques. You are already contributors to this field, and I thank you for your continued engagement with it. To those I spoke with at the Latin American Studies Association Congress, the Caribbean Studies Association Conference, the American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, the University of Florida and its Center for Global Islamic Studies, the Florida Caribbean Students Association, Florida International University, Otto Friedrich Universität Bamberg, HumboldtUniversität zu Berlin, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, and Freie Universität Berlin: My presentations at these venues helped me to elucidate and elaborate on some of the themes in this book. Preparing these presentations vii

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also allowed me to work out some of the devils hiding in the details. Thank you to the participants, presiders, and panelists for your critical feedback and insightful questions. Thank you to the editors of the extraordinarily helpful Critical Muslim series and Hamsa: Journal of Judaic and Islamic Studies. Thanks also to Frank Usarski and the International Journal of Latin American Religions and its editorial team for publishing an early review of literature that came to form the basis for this book’s outline. Thank you also to Celso Luiz Terzetti Filho for recommending me for its inaugural issue. Thank you to the people behind The Encyclopedia of Latin American Religions—senior editor Henri Gooren, the contributors to my section, and the editorial staff at Springer—for allowing me to serve as a section editor for the entries on Islam and Judaism in Latin America and the Caribbean. Readers will note that I have referenced entries from the encyclopedia in this book, which is a testament to the essential nature of the work, especially with regard to its emphasis on religions too often ignored (Islam, in particular) when surveying religion in the region. To the Muslims and others who invited me into their homes and mosques, who told me their stories, or who shared their insights and experiences with me: I dedicate this book to you for good reason. There would be no book without you, plain and simple. I am humbly honored to learn from you in each conversation and new experience that I stumble and bumble my way through. Thank you for your patience, your confidence to speak, and your permission to allow me to share these stories. Gracias a Dios, alhamdulillah, and great thanks to each and every one of you. This book is my perspective on your narrative, and I respectfully submit it to you for critical feedback. I look forward to the conversations to come. To the many scholars whose work I turn to in this book: This is your book, as well. As I state in Chapters 1 and 11, the book is meant to be an overview of an ongoing conversation in which you are all vital parts. Thank you for allowing me to be a co-collaborator in this field. I hope the book helps all of us continue to teach, learn, and delve deeper into the topic. Specifically, I would like to thank several individuals whose work I reference or allude to and with whom I was able to speak about their particular areas of expertise and research: Carlos Jair Martínez Albarracín, Patrick Bowen, Philipp Bruckmayr, Karoline P. Cook, Kevin Funk, Michelle Romero Gallardo, Juan Galvan, Hazel Gómez, Cynthia Hernández González, Nik Hasif, Aisha Khan, Aliyah Khan, Schuyler Marquez, Arely Medina, Harold Morales, Alaina Morgan, Madelina Nuñez, Luciana Garcia de Oliveira, Lucía Cirianni Salazar, Omar Ramadan Santiago, and others. As I recently said to Schuyler Marquez, “A win for one of us is a win for all of us” in this emerging field.

Acknowledgments

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To my family and friends: Thank you for your cheerleading, encouragement, and forbearance as I talked about my project, retreated into my writing cave, or cut you off as I jotted down an idea that popped into my head. Thanks especially to my parents, Bob and Sandy: You have always encouraged me, no matter what I have done. When I was worried, stressed, or overwhelmed, you gave me proper perspective and the support to keep me supple to the strain of life and work. You gave me life—literally, figuratively, and spiritually. Thank you to Brett, who taught me the meaning of perseverance in the face of adversity and can always make me smile. Thank you to my German family and friends, including Karl Knaack (also known as Stefan Müller) and his electronic music, which helped me work through hours of manuscript writing, editing, and research. Thank you to Michael and Emily Knippa for a lovely stay in St. Louis, where I was able to write the bulk of Chapter 9. Thank you also to Andy and Faye Scott, whose lovely farmhouse in Bend, Oregon, permitted me to write the concluding chapter in peace and comfort while admiring the cloud-covered Cascade Mountains. Despite my weaknesses as a writer, I would like to thank all those who taught me how to research, write, and edit my way through an essay, a paper, a blog post, a news story, or a book: Mrs. Kelly, Mrs. Campbell, Mrs. Davis, and editors at the various papers, magazines, and portals in which I have had the honor to be published. Thanks also go to professors, mentors, and colleagues at Concordia University Irvine, who specifically helped refine my academic research and writing skills—Christine Lawton, Eshetu Abate Koyra, Korey Maas, James Bachman, Steven Mueller, and Jack Schultz, among others. I still have much to learn, and any shortcomings in my syntax or style are solely my responsibility. I am forever thankful for the pure privilege it was to conduct research with, learn from, and grow alongside the faculty, staff, and fellow researchers at the University of Florida, its Department of Religion, the Center for Latin American Studies, and the Center for Global Islamic Studies. Terje Østebø, Anna Peterson, Benjamin Soares, Efraín Barradas, David Hackett, Robin Wright, Whitney Sanford, Zoharah Simmons, and others provided the space for me to explore the themes of this book and write its first draft during my time in Gainesville. Thanks also to Barbara Mennel and Sophia Krzys Acord at the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere and their sponsorship of my attendance at the 2018 Writing Retreat at the Austin Cary Forest Learning Center, where I was able to put the final touches on the first draft. I would also like to thank those who provided funding to support revisions of the manuscript. First, thanks to Ermin Sinanović and the Center of Islam in the Contemporary World at Shenandoah University for a grant that supported significant revisions in fall 2019. Thank you also to the Fritz Thyssen Foundation for funding my research at the Berlin Graduate School

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Muslim Cultures and Societies at Freie Universität Berlin, where I was able to make final revisions (even amidst the Covid-19 pandemic) with the full security of a research position in a supportive environment of colleagues. In particular, I thank Konrad Hirschler and Lars Ostermeier for their leadership and direction, Nadja Danilenko for writing tips, Antje Müller for taking care of the logistics of my position, Giulia Brabetz for her assistance and critical feedback on the manuscript along the way, and the fellows who participated in my Theorizing Global Islam reading group, in which we discussed this book’s main arguments and themes. Thank you to the team at Lynne Rienner Publishers. I appreciate (and tremble a bit at) being able to follow in the footsteps of Judith Elkin, who published The Jews of Latin America with the same independent academic publishing house many years ago. While my work cannot hope to compare, Lynne Rienner, Caroline Owen Wintersgill, Nicole Moore, Sally Glover, Allie Schellong, Diane Foose, and others were gracious throughout the process as we sought to provide a companion to such a seminal work. My thanks also go to the anonymous reviewers who provided critical, detailed, and constructive feedback that improved the final version of the text significantly. Unfortunately, that type of review feedback can be a rare commodity in academic publishing. Therefore, I am extremely grateful. Finally, Paula, how can a paragraph express how much you have given to me in life and how much you have contributed to this book? In short, it cannot. Let this suffice for now: Thank you for your fierce intellect, constant encouragement, contagious joy, and for providing proper rhythm in life. Thank you for allowing me time to explore mosques and other sites of interest in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil, New York, Iowa, Florida, the Bahamas, and elsewhere. Thank you also for reading the manuscript and providing feedback, specifically in matters related to Arabic. You were gracious to take time out of your schedule to do so. What’s more, every time I finished a chapter, wrote a few thousand words, or just stared at the computer for a while trying to figure out where to go next, you were always ready with an encouraging word, an insightful comment, or an offer to get snacks. You are the most amazing best friend and partner I could ask for.

1 Putting Muslims on the Map in Latin America and the Caribbean

THE RHYTHMIC BLAST OF THE LATEST REGGAETON HIT REVERberates in my chest cavity as the music pumps from a Jeep Wrangler, tricked out with trunk-mounted speakers and cruising down the main drag of Loíza Aldea. On the northeastern coast of Puerto Rico, Loíza Aldea is known as a hub for Afro–Puerto Rican culture, music, and dance. Suddenly, a cacophonic intermingling of the deep beats of the reggaeton mixes with the music making of a truck full of bomba y plena instrumentalists that suddenly appears from around the corner. In response to this combination of sounds, a woman who seems to be at least in her sixties shoots up from her wicker chair to dance like a teenager at the local discoteca. The oppressive humid heat of the tropical Caribbean summer day seems not to deter the throngs of people lining the streets for a procession of SUVs, cars, golf carts, pedestrians, bikes, and parade floats that stretches for miles through the coastal communities that make up the Loíza municipality. The festival is loud, it is hot, it is popular. It is also joyous and full of smiles, warm embraces, and enthusiastic dance. At the head of this lively procession is a group of garishly dressed vejigantes—bogeyman-looking characters arrayed in bright colors and carnivalesque costumes with batwing-like features. They wear masks adorned with horns, handmade from coconuts, and painted in bright and bold orange, yellow, pink, black, and the colors of the Puerto Rican flag—blue, white, and red. This particular group leading the procession in Loíza are known as los diablitos—“the little devils.” They take pride of place at this widely honored multiday festival, La Fiesta de Santiago Apóstol (The Festival of St.

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James the Apostle) in Loíza Aldea, one of the largest public festivals in Puerto Rico.1 For locals and, according to Puerto Rico’s cultural politics,2 the fiesta is a celebration of Afro–Puerto Rican identity and religion. The vejigantes are symbols of the strength of African traditions in a place where they have often been marginalized or neglected in normative understandings of Puerto Rican identity. They are also a celebration of mestizaje, the mix of American cultural antecedents from Spanish, African, and Indigenous roots. Puerto Rican national symbolism is expressed in the faces of the vejigantes, some of which are emblazoned with the Puerto Rican flag, held up as material embodiments of the diversity of Puerto Rican national culture. Afro-Caribbean culture is a point of pride in Puerto Rico, a vital element of the tres raíces (three roots) that make up the sanctioned and celebrated national Puerto Rican culture (the other two being Spanish colonial and Indigenous Taíno culture). The vejigantes can represent the embodiment of evil, the forces of darkness, the dead, or simply a robust mixture of multiple cultures—most notably those of African descent. At their point of origin, the vejigantes represented a particular, and poignant, people group for the Spaniards who brought the festival to Latin America and the Caribbean. When the festival first arrived, los vejigantes represented the enemies of Catholic Spain. They represented Andalusian Muslims, los Moros—“the Moors.”3 Thus, beyond representing Afro–Puerto Rican culture and invoking images of good versus evil, the history of the Festival of St. James the Apostle in Loíza Aldea reveals a deeper resonant meaning behind the vejigantes, their masks, and the processions that serve as an easy excuse to dance, sing, gather with friends, and drink sangria from sunrise to sunset. This festival also hints at the role that Muslims—in memory and in body—played in the colonization, establishment, and cultural development of the Americas. Nonetheless, Loíza-based artist Samuel Lind, known for producing posters for the annual event and a local legend in Afro–Puerto Rican art, told me that, “if you asked any man in the street, or even someone dressed as a vejigante, they would think they are heroes—not enemies, not Moors.”4 He said, “The Muslim presence in the festival has been forgotten. Now they represent African pride.” 5 While acknowledged and noted by scholars and researchers, the Muslim influence on the festival, as Lind said, has long “been forgotten” among the masses. In this, the festival is perhaps prototypical of a general amnesia when it comes to the ways in which Muslims came to, and came to shape, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the American hemisphere—comprised of North and South America, but encompassing connections to other parts of the globe. It is a testament to their “absent presence” in the Americas. Often influential— and frequently present in flesh and blood—Muslims have too often been erased, forgotten, or neglected in recollections of the hemisphere’s story. Far from being a foreign entity or some distant civilization, Muslims

Putting Muslims on the Map in Latin America and the Caribbean

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helped make the modern-day Americas and define its political, social, and religious development from the fifteenth century forward. They continue to do so today. The people of Loíza can little be blamed for not recognizing much about the Muslim presence in, and influence on, their festival. For them, the story and ritual of the vejigantes and the caballeros took on other resonant meanings and their recasting of the vejigantes as the point of pride in the festival became a critical part of their resistance to White, hegemonic rule. And yet, the too often forgotten influence of Islam and Muslims on the festival speaks to a larger ignorance concerning how both have long been part of the American hemisphere’s story. This is only one example of how Muslims have been, and continue to be, left out of the narrative of the region and its negotiations of race, ethnicity, and religion. This ignorance, both willful and passive, raises questions about why Islam and Muslims have been sidelined in the narrative of the Americas. Despite having been a continuous part of the narrative of the Americas for the past 500 years, their story is rarely represented in discussions of the American hemisphere’s history or contemporary dynamics. In light of this, it is one of this book’s central claims that Islam and Muslims should be rethought of as part of, rather than foreign to Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Americas as a whole.6 This book offers a corrective to this oversight and provides a synthetic account of Islam and Muslims across Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Americas over time and in the contemporary scene. The aim is not to make an excessively academic argument, but to evince a sensibility and provoke a conversation around the question of “how” and not “if” Muslims are a significant part of the American hemisphere’s story. Related to this claim is my suggestion that the Americas should feature more prominently in our discussions of global Islam. My hope is that, after reading this book, readers will walk away with a deeper appreciation for, and a vaster understanding of, global Islam—one that includes the stunning diversity of people and circumstances across Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Latinx United States. While we may already know some of these histories or situations (Muslim enslaved persons in Brazil, Mexican Muslim converts, Indigenous Shi‘i in Peru, etc.), the issue of how these numerous episodes fit into a collective narrative remains unclear. The goal of this book is to offer an expansive—if not comprehensive—view of how the various, dynamic, and globally interconnected stories of Islam and Muslims in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Latinx United States fit into the story of the Americas on the one hand and that of global Islam on the other. This helps us gain a deeper appreciation of both the Americas and global Islam as two interwoven threads of a much more entangled story than previously told. Expanding the geography of global Islam and the religious narrative of the American hemisphere through the stories and data in this

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book permits us to appreciate an expanded conceptual framework of what constitutes global Islam and the American hemisphere that is more inclusive and complex. With that said, it is an introduction to a broad field of research that continues to develop. Thus far, this field has coalesced around a few central themes, which this book uses as its general lines of argumentation. They are: (1) Islam and Muslims are not foreign to this region, but an integral part of the history and contemporary narrative of Latin America and the Caribbean; (2) Latin America and the Caribbean can be considered part of global Islam despite relatively lower numbers of Muslims; and (3) recognizing these two facts helps us see both Latin America and the Caribbean and global Islam in new light, thus opening new avenues for historical understanding, contemporary research, and public discussions and debates over identity and religion, culture, and history. As a general outline, and overall, three-pronged argument, these points form the backbone of the book. Thus, they deserve a bit more unpacking. The next two sections examine these primary themes in more detail with a focus on how the first two points might lead us to the third—that of seeing our world in a new light with a renewed emphasis on how the story of Islam and that of Latin America and the Caribbean are more intertwined than we might currently imagine.

An Americas Approach to Global Islam In 1883, Walt Whitman ruminated on how certain stories about the United States were forgotten or sidelined by dominant, European frames of “American” history. He wrote, “We Americans are yet to really learn our own antecedents. . . . Thus far, impress’d by New England writers and schoolmasters, we tacitly abandon ourselves to the notion that our United States have been fashion’d from the British Islands only . . . which is a very great mistake.” 7 While Whitman had only New England and the United States in mind, and wanted to enlarge our view to include only “Spanish” influence, his sentiment might well apply to the whole of the American hemisphere. If one were to substitute “Western” for “New England” and “the Americas” for the “United States” or insert references to “Christianity,” the point would still hold. The Americas were not made of purely European stuff. First, European colonizers found the Americas inhabited by numerous complex and sophisticated Indigenous societies, upon which they relied for knowledge, labor, and resources. Despite being dominated by European colonial powers, and their populations and societies irreparably decimated, Indigenous peoples left an indelible imprint on the Americas, and the populations that survived continue to

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play a significant role across the hemisphere. Since that first contact in the fifteenth-century, the hemisphere’s various identities at multiple scales (regional, local, hyperlocal, etc.) also include an amalgam of influences from across the “Atlantic world” in interaction with the Americas and those already present there.8 The “Atlantic world” is a constructed category meant to encompass the interactions between peoples and empires bordering the Atlantic Ocean rim—Africa, Europe, and the Americas— from the Age of European Discovery to the present. It also includes nations, cultures, and peoples farther from the Atlantic Ocean’s rim but who came to play a certain role in the development of this vast area, such as the Middle East and the Sahel. The people and empires who interacted, and continue to interact, in this Atlantic world have done so for various reasons and with many motives. Some were forced to move from, or defend, their homelands. Some came to escape an old society or to launch a new one. Some sought to maintain the society they already had built or conquered. Others came to acquire riches. Others set up shop when the economy shifted. Yet as John Elliott alludes, they faced similar challenges of movement and new settlements, the confrontation of unknown people, places, and technologies, and coming to terms with alien dynamics that demanded diverse adaptations and a range of responses.9 In his work, Elliott focuses on the influence of European empires—the British and the Spanish in particular—in shaping the responses of various emigrants to the American hemisphere. His point is well made. While the American local context—with its diverse ecological, material, political, sociocultural, and religious environments—shaped the contours of American colonization and conquest, the colonial world was simultaneously defined and influenced by its transatlantic nature and its European antecedents. Significantly, the historical and legal dimensions of imperial statecraft conditioned the experience of various constituencies in even the most far-flung reaches of American empires. At the same time, the accepted Euro-American liturgical history that posits the New World as a place of overwhelmingly European and Christian influence, whether of the Protestant or Catholic varieties, is little more than myth. The truth is that there were many more influences, individuals, and imaginations at play in the development of the Americas that emerged from the age of European encounter. European civilization10 was far from the only cultural, political, social, architectural, or religious influence on the hemisphere. Various cultures—both Indigenous and imported from across the Atlantic world—came to shape what we now know as Latin American and Caribbean culture. Material artifacts, ritual practices, linguistic elements, culinary dishes, and many more cultural expressions that make up the region’s particular flavors, textures, and impressions today came from places such as the West African coast, the mountains of Europe,

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the Amazonian jungle, and elsewhere. This book sheds light on the ways in which the culture of Latin America and the Caribbean was shaped and molded by Muslims and elements of Islamic faith and practice. In this way, this book pushes back against popular perceptions that “Islam” and “the West”—however they are essentially imagined and constructed as coherent wholes—are locked in a “clash of civilizations”11 and sees them, in this instance, as co-constitutive in the creation of multiple aspects of historic and contemporary American culture. On that note, this book takes a decidedly more hemispheric approach to understanding “American” religion, politics, economics, and culture. Furthermore, it seeks to not delimit the boundaries of global Islam, but expand them to include people, practices, and places hitherto marginalized or altogether ignored. To view the Americas more hemispherically and transregionally means that I do not limit the Americas to the group of nation-states and territories traditionally included in North America, Latin America (those areas where Spanish, French, or Portuguese are predominate), and the Caribbean. Instead, I take a broader view of these states, cultures, people, and geographic areas to include the Americas as a hemispheric whole and as entangled with numerous other stories beyond the hemisphere. This means keeping in mind how this region is part of the Atlantic world (including Africa and Europe) and other regions of the globe via historical and modern communications, trade, and travel. More specifically, taking an “Americas” approach also means paying attention to certain themes in the story of Islam and Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean. At its most foundational, an Americas approach appreciates the hemispheric continuities and connections, contested borders, and tense boundaries that exist across the Americas as they are conceived and constructed, lived in and between, by a multitude of people. For example, the life of a Puerto Rican Muslim whose family resides in Ponce, Puerto Rico, was born in Miami, lives in Newark, New Jersey, studied in Saudi Arabia, and regularly travels to Sweden and Spain for conferences and work as part of a transnational network of teachers headquartered in Stockholm and with members in places such as Australia, Kenya, and Indonesia cannot be limited with the monikers “Latin America” or “Caribbean” alone. This individual lives within, across, and between the American hemisphere and the transregional networks of global Islam. They are American in a fuller sense than can be encapsulated in just the North/South/Latin/Anglophone/Hispanophone varieties. Furthermore, their life includes economic, political, social, and religious dimensions and decisions that transcend the Americas and connects them across the Atlantic and with other parts of the globe. What is more, this person’s life is not necessarily abnormal in this day and age. Instead, their cosmopolitan existence is more the norm than anything else. Hence, there

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is a need for us to think outside the traditional “Latin America” and “Caribbean” box as we consider the story of Islam and Muslims in these regions. With that said, there is a there, there. And so, this book focuses on Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Latinx United States in particular,12 all the while maintaining in our peripheral vision their connections and contacts with other areas, regions, and hemispheres. Following the disestablishment of religion in Latin America and the Caribbean came the concomitant “growth” of non-Catholic (and in some cases non-Protestant) religions in the region, including Islam. These non-Catholic traditions were already present in some shape or form, but following disestablishment, the enforcement of orthodoxy was no longer tied directly to the state and “nonCatholic religions were able to emerge and expand” in ways hitherto hindered by the Catholicism hegemony.13 While the Catholic Church still maintains a place of privilege and processes of disestablishment vary across the region, over the past several decades they have only been exacerbated by the global movement of people, ideas, technologies, finances, and media.14 Along with, and as an integral part of, these “flows” of globalization have also been religious currents that “have left traces, transforming peoples and places, the social arena and the natural terrain” across Latin America and the Caribbean.15 Concomitant with the rise in pneumatic or spirit-centered Christianity and the “Protestantization” of the Americas, there has also been an increase in affiliation with, and practice of, alternative Christian traditions, New Age religions, Afro–Latin American and Caribbean religions such as Santería or Candomblé, and religions conventionally seen as “foreign” such as Buddhist and Hindu Traditions, Judaism, and Islam. This has led to transformations within Christianity and other religions as they found new acceptance and ascendancy in the region. While Latin America and the Caribbean have always been religiously diverse, the scope and intensity of the region’s religious diversity have been irrevocably exacerbated at local, national, and hemispheric scales. Although cross-fertilization and creolization have long been features of religion in the region, along with a related desire to impose orthodoxy on such miscellany, today these juxtaposed processes occur against a backdrop of global exchange and transnational immigration and movement, which allows for a widespread and intense tension when it comes to beliefs, systems, symbols, practices, and even more creative recombinations of various religious fragments in everyday experience.16 Furthermore, and thanks to increased communication and the importance of transregional academic networks, more scholars have endeavored to approach Latin American and Caribbean religion in a broader, interdisciplinary, and comparative fashion. This has expanded the scope of studies of religion in Latin America and the Caribbean, with recent overviews and encyclopedias including an ever broader array of religious phenomena and

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communities beyond Christianity and Indigenous traditions. This has meant more research and appreciation of such topics as “popular religion,” AfroLatin religious traditions such as Umbanda or Obeah, the New Age Movement, Judaism, and Islam.17 With that said, and with the exception of single chapters or sections in specific anthologies and encyclopedias, surveys and investigations of Latin American and Caribbean religion still lack a thorough appreciation and analysis of Islam and Muslim socialities. This book aims to address this deficiency and further integrate the study of Islam and Muslims into considerations of Latin American and Caribbean history, culture, society, and religious change. With this in mind, themes that are important to the study of religion in Latin America and the Caribbean appear throughout the book. Issues such as globalization, transnationalism, borderlands, and migration flows emerge in multiple chapters, whether discussing South Asian immigrants in the Anglophone Caribbean or Arab immigrants, their descendants, and converts in places such as Brazil. Questions of hybridity and postcolonial identification come to the fore when discussing Muslims in Trinidad and Suriname. Cross-fertilization, creolization, and hybridity have long been features of religion in the Americas, along with a concomitant desire to impose orthodoxy, but today that occurs against a backdrop of expanded global exchange and transnational immigration and movement. This allows for a widespread and intense set of divergent affective tendencies and tensions when it comes to beliefs, systems, symbols, material cultures, practices, and creative recombinations of religious fragments in everyday experience. Muslims are as much a part of this process as others and I hope the examples offered in this book reflect that reality. Indigenous identities and communities receive attention in Chapter 8 on Muslims in Mexico, specifically when addressing Tzotzil Muslims in and around San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. I also pay attention to popular representations of religion and its more institutional manifestations. That means that I consider Muslim actors and traditional institutions (mosques, madrasahs, ulama, caliphs, rulers, scholars, etc.) and outside of them as Islam is lived in the material contexts of everyday existence. I do not try to play the game of “orthodoxy” versus “syncretism” and, instead, recognize the agency of multiple actors as they contest what these categories mean across the Americas. The same goes for my approach to global Islam. Furthermore, the themes of race and ethnicity—perennially complicated subjects in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States—percolate throughout the book, whether that be in the analysis of Muslims’ place in the racial categories of the Spanish Americas or of Arab migrants in countries such as Brazil and Argentina. Muslims have never sat comfortably in any of the racial schemas that have been produced and reproduced in the Americas. While Islam is not a race, Islam and Muslims have long been racialized in

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multiple contexts across the globe. The same can be said in the Americas, where Muslims have been made both enemy of the elite, racialized state apparatuses and welcomed as part of a process of elite, postcolonial blanqueamiento (whitening). They have both added new elements to processes of mestizaje and mestiçagem and been prevented, or held themselves apart from, the racial mixing that has long defined the region. Moreover, being Muslim in the region, especially since September 11, not only has been a complex negotiation of a pluralistic national religious field, but also the globally circulating images of, and narratives about, Islam and Muslims. The ways in which they navigate these tensions depends on careful attention to leadership, resources, interrelational dynamics, networks, membership, reception in the larger society, and specific histories and stories, including those about race. By connecting the story of Islam and Muslims to some of the overarching themes that encompass the study of religion, culture, politics, and society in Latin America and the Caribbean, I hope to show how they are an integral part of the hemisphere’s overall dynamics. I believe Muslims deserve more focused attention by scholars interested in some of the continuities and contrasts in the study of the Americas. I also try to balance between the continuities and ruptures that have occurred across time and space in the region. This means that I situate Islam and Muslims within the historical narrative of the region as well as focus on contemporary communities and their variances across the hemisphere. The book is split half-andhalf in this sense. In Part 1, I concentrate on historical narratives that are important to properly situate Islam and Muslims in the hemisphere and to contextualize contemporary dynamics. Focusing on contemporary communities, Part 2 is not an attempt to capture all of the dynamics at play among Muslims in the region. Instead, I simply hope to point readers to some important themes, fruitful lines of inquiry, and critical axes and junctures of interest in the study of the Americas and global Islam. These themes deserve more attention than I give them. Hence, Part 2 is more of an introduction—or perhaps an invitation—to further study. This book also seeks to further “decenter” the United States in the study of Islam in the Americas. Over the preceding decades, there has been a flood of publications on Muslims in the United States. While not wanting to discount the importance of the millions of Muslims in the United States, this book is a humble effort at seeking to balance our understanding of “American” Muslims by relating the narrative of the millions of American Muslims outside the United States. At the same time, I do not treat these socialities as wholly separate entities. Instead, I view Muslims in the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America as mutually entangled in global dynamics and intertwined in some sense across the hemisphere, via economic, political, religious, or societal issues of common concern. In

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the current era of globalization, marked as it is by time and space compression, interactions between nations and communities have multiplied. Latin America and the Caribbean, as the first “Americas”—defined as the place of encounter between Indigenous and European people and cultures—provide fertile ground for exploring and unpacking the potentials and pitfalls of the late modern era and its superabundance of global interaction. This is as true of the study of Islam and Muslims in the region as it is of other topics of importance to Latin American, Caribbean, or broader “American” studies. Thus, this book seeks to draw our attention to the hemispheric, transnational, and transregional dynamics at work beyond the United States, all the while paying attention to specific, local, regional, and national processes and settings. Its aim is to provide a richer, integrative, and more complicated picture of “American Muslims.” In this regard, it is important to note that Islam and Muslims have been both included and excluded across the Americas since the 1500s. As this book makes clear, there is a paradoxical phenomenon of inclusion and exclusion that has taken place with regard to Islam and Muslims in, and of, the Americas. Discussing Islam in the United States in particular, Mucahit Bilici remarks that Muslims in the twenty-first-century United States “are susceptible to exclusion only because, for the first time, they are being included. Awareness of Muslims, even as it remains discriminatory, makes them part of American society.”18 What is true of Islam and Muslims in the twenty-firstcentury United States is also true of Islam and Muslims across the hemisphere. It is also true across the past 500 plus years of history. The historical overview in Part 1 makes clear this simultaneous inclusion and exclusion of Islam and Muslims. Although the form and shape of this “absent presence” has changed over time—from the representation of Moors as vejigantes in the Festival of St. James the Moorslayer to the modern image of Muslims as terrorists in our midst—the inclusion/exclusion paradox has generally remained consistent. While Muslims are often imagined as becoming “domestic” to the Americas in only the twentieth century, Muslims have long been part of the American story. However, as Bilici’s comment points out, the story of their inclusion in this narrative must also incorporate their corresponding exclusion from it in policy, practice, and prejudiced perspective. Even as Islam and Muslims shaped the history of this place, they were frequently imagined, constructed, and forced into being “foreign,” “Other,” and from “over there.” With that said this book tells the story of how Muslims have actively sought to navigate, and push back against, this exclusion either by counteracting the fear and anxiety through assimilation and adaptation to American cultures or by rejecting and resisting them, or as often is the case in human history, by engaging in a combination of both. For Islam and Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean, the story has frequently been one of “negative incorporation,” wherein “being targeted mean[t] being recognized.”19

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For the Muslims who were simultaneously targeted and recognized, this opened up the path for incorporation, as rocky as it may have been and continues to be. It is incorporation through exclusion, fear, and crisis, but it is incorporation, nonetheless. As Bilici comments, the “fear and vigilance of the broader public bring the minority group to center stage. Recognition, whether positive or negative, is the crucial raw material for cultivation of citizenship.”20 In this way, this book is a humble effort at decolonizing the study of Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Latinx United States by turning the focus away from European and Christian impact and focusing, instead, on that of Islam and Muslims. By doing so, it is my hope to disrupt the binaries and reifications that tend to define the region according to solely Catholic/Christian and European identities or influence. Specifically, this book situates the story of Islam and Muslims—past and present—as part and parcel to the narrative of the Americas. Rather than telling these stories in isolation from one another, this book is an overview of the historical and contemporary story of Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean that does not lose sight of hemispheric connections spanning the American hemisphere and across the Atlantic. In so doing, it is an attempt to situate the story of global Islam in Latin America and the Caribbean while, at the same time, situating Latin America and the Caribbean in the narrative of global Islam. By doing so, it is my aim that when telling the story of Latin America and the Caribbean, Islam and Muslims are no longer excluded or relegated to the margins as mere sideshows to a grander mestizo (mixed) Euro-Indigenous culture in the Americas. Instead, by relating how Islam and Muslims “are part of, rather than foreign to,”21 Latin America and the Caribbean, this book can help challenge the prevailing notions and opinions that continue to frame Muslims as strangers and foreigners in a region they have long been part of, helped to shape and build, and continue to actively participate in. As Edward E. Curtis IV writes in the introduction to The Bloomsbury Reader on Islam in the West, this book “rejects the idea that homo islamicus (‘Islamic man’) is a fundamentally different species than Western man” and turning to “contemporary scholarship it reveals a far more nuanced and ultimately humanistic view of Muslims in the West”22 and more specifically in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Latinx United States. This point may seem subtle, but it is vitally important in a climate—both popular and academic—that imagines Muslims as outsiders and unassimilated foreigners in discussions of public policy, religion, and culture.

Further Globalizing Global Islam I also seek to expand and diversify our notion of “global Islam.” Talal Asad famously wrote that Islam is “a discursive tradition”—a set of religious

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symbols that take on meaning, value, and expression in various social and political situations where multiple processes, discussions, and negotiations are involved.23 What this process produces can, at times, seem somewhat contradictory. As Shahab Ahmed intimates, the main challenge in interpreting global Islam is coming to terms with its considerable diversity of beliefs, practices, and postures while simultaneously appreciating that there are shared principles that act as a cri de coeur for Muslims across the world.24 While it is convenient to use terms such as Muslim world or Islamic civilization to denote the ideas, practices, and traditions that Muslims share across the globe, pragmatic contextual differences disrupt the idea that there is any kind of bounded or monolithic “Islamic” or “Muslim” identity. This is true in local contexts and at global scales. The diversity of Muslim voices shows that globalization has not produced a single form of Islam or sociality of Muslims. Likewise, local dynamics do not allow for the top-down reproduction of global forms of Islam in regional, national, or local contexts. Instead, Islam has been interpreted and reinterpreted, applied and reapplied, transformed, translated, and transplanted across, in, and between various localities, languages, and landscapes over its centuries’ long history. Thus, it is important to avoid the idea that all Muslims think and act as one or that “Islam” is a given, sui generis category for investigation. Islam has been, and still very much is, made up of a stunningly diverse array of people, practices, and perspectives. It could be said that the “term Muslim tells us next to nothing about a person’s beliefs and orientation.”25 Moreover, terms such as Muslim world and Muslim ideology mean almost nothing. At worst, the term Muslim world seems to suggest that Muslims live on a separate planet detached from the world as it is (or for some, as they hope it would be). The use of the terminology says more about the individual using it and what their assumptions are than any “real” entity, place, principles, or persons. Scholars have questioned the objectivity of such a thing as “the Muslim world” arguing that it is instead a cultural, and colonial, constructed category that allows for “the West” (whatever that may refer to) to homogenize, subvert, and dominate those areas and regions deemed to be part of “the Muslim world.”26 Cemil Aydin demonstrates how European intellectuals, politicians, and thought-leaders racialized “Muslims” as a homogenous whole and constructed a geography of the discursive category labeled as “the Muslim world.” The very fact that the Muslim world has never existed as a distinct object has simultaneously made its production as a colonial subject possible in the first place. In this colonial reading and guise, the Muslim world was limited to the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Asia. At the same time, readers might wonder, “Isn’t there something to the idea of ‘the Muslim world’?” To be sure, there is something to be said for

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paying attention to population percentages, historical influence, and cultural, social, political, and economic impact and dominance. On all of these measures, Latin America and the Caribbean may pale in comparison to places such as Iran, Indonesia, or India. Nonetheless, there are serious intellectual, social, and political dangers to delimiting the area of the so-called Muslim world to restricted geographies and particular mappings. Not only do these constructions belie colonial designs and potential platforms for political denigration, but they also ignore vast swathes of Muslim history and Islamic influence across the globe. For scholars researching Muslim cultures and societies, such center-periphery models are increasingly called into question for their lack of explanatory power. In particular, scholars researching on the so-called periphery or edges of global Islam have found that such models fail to address the complex and networked ways in which Muslims themselves understand and make manifest global Islam. This range of scholarship challenges the politics of area-ization27 and the “politically-informed-defining and ‘scaling’ of localities, ethnicities, languages, religions, and cultures”28 that have long dominated Islamic studies. Pushing back against the “gridded landscapes” such as “the Muslim world” and “the West,” a new emphasis on transregional networks,29 rhizomes,30 assemblages,31 and processes of cosmopolitanization32 that include Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Latinx United States (as well as other geographies) are helping decenter the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in the study of global Islam. These discourses help us make better sense of the co-constitutive connections and continuities that exist between seemingly disparate Muslim socialities, whether those distances be geographic, ethnic, or ideological. It also helps us test these connections’ progeny, their endurance, and their makeup.33 The result is that “global Islam” is no longer viewed as a contained, monolithic whole, but as an ongoing process and ever expanding network of bodies, socialities, and traditions that is messy, unstable, and full of “divergent affective tendencies”34 as much as it is commonalities and connections. It is a perspective that posits global Islam is defined more by flows and relations, “frictive intertwining” and “dialogic interdependence,”35 than any particular landscape, people, or place. Although this process is complex, it focuses attention on intellectual production, networks of text and media, institutional systems, transregional personal histories, and other lattices of relation that are often artificially sequestered from each other by nationalized or area-ized discourses. By moving away from centerperiphery models of global Islam, we can perhaps see and study the lateral networks, ill-fitting incidents, and unexceptional encounters better than our previous frameworks and rubrics of study. Hence, while I use the term Muslim world from time to time, I do so reluctantly, with an eye toward critiquing, interrogating, and expanding our conceptualization of it. Instead, I

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try to view the world as a method in the study of Islam and, therefore, opt to use the term global Islam. I define global Islam as the complex and dynamic nexus of people, material, institutions, ideas, texts, and contexts encountered at, across, and between a lattice of landscapes, socialities, and traditions variously identified as “Islamic.” More essentialized conceptualizations of global Islam fail to appreciate and incorporate the tensions, slippages, alterations, and negotiations that characterize lived Islam in interaction with myriad contexts and nonMuslim actors. Any understanding of global Islam has to appreciate the text and traditions of Islam along with the diverse contexts and conduct of Muslims throughout the world and come to terms with the resulting—seemingly contradictory—apperceptions, appropriations, and applications of what Islam is and is not. This includes non-Muslim imaginings and interactions as well. Whether Muslim or not, all of our conceptions of Islam help make it what it is and, sometimes, are implicated in the making of “global Islam.” As Ali Mian writes, Islam “on its own terms” is never on its own. It necessarily involves Islam and Muslims in relationship to the Other. There is, after all, no “identity without difference.”36 Thus, in trying to understand Muslim identity, it is perhaps critical to look at “Islam on the edges”—those places that are often seen as peripheral to a core “Muslim world” and where Muslims are, more often than not, in the minority. There, scholars can investigate the “structural tensions” and “divergent affective tendencies” of global Islam within historically situated and context-specific case studies and analytical frameworks. This helps us avoid “reifying orthodoxy” and, thus, the power to define what is orthodox or heterodox, whether by Muslims or non-Muslims, in the study of Islam. Therefore, I suggest that the study of Islam and Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean should no longer be viewed as peripheral to a perceived MENA core. While on the rise, studies of Islam and Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean remain secondary to scholarship on Islam in the Middle East, North Africa, Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, the anthropological, cultural, and sociological study of Latin America and the Caribbean continues to regard Islam and Muslims as outside of American culture rather than appreciating, and integrating, the study of Islam and Muslims as intrinsic to Latin American and Caribbean heritage. At best, scholars and various publics laud Muslims who make the Americas their home and tell their stories in one-off articles, journalistic pieces, and blogs. However, this trivial and limited treatment assumes, and undergirds, the pervasive idea that Muslims are foreign to the region and not thoroughly American. This could not be further from the truth—their history and presence here is long, robust, and significant. Yet because of continued marginalization and underappreciation in the academy, there are relatively few studies that have fully investigated the linkages between Latin Amer-

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ica, the Caribbean, and global Islam more broadly. This book aims to build on the scholarship that does exist to point out how the story of global Islam—past and present—is woven into the very fabric of Latin America and the Caribbean. And vice versa. It is perhaps self-evident to many readers that the Americas are marginal in relation to a MENA core. And yet this does grave injustice to the historical and contemporary realities of many Muslims across the landscapes of global Islam. In fact, I suggest that a paradox still seems to lie at the heart of the contemporary study of global Islam. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent war on terror, which has recapitulated the Huntingtonian clash of civilizations thesis and its emphasis on the false binary between “Islam” and “the West,” essentially conceived, there has concomitantly been an increase in the academic attention afforded to the study of Islam in places such as the United States, Canada, and throughout the American hemisphere. Although the number of Islamic studies degrees conferred has more than doubled in the past decade, Islamic studies has also been reified as the domain of Middle East, or Near East, studies, leaving Islam and Muslims in Africa, Asia, Oceania, Europe, and the Americas to the wayside. As Scott S. Reese notes, “The Western academy has emphasized the dominance of the so-called Arabo-Persian ‘Islamicate’ center” to the neglect of other communities beyond the scope of this narrow geocultural focus.37 This is also why, as Michael Amoruso writes, “Islam in Latin America has eluded sustained scholarly attention.”38 In a word, even with the rise of the study of global Islam, its scope has failed to fully incorporate other geographies and the study of Islam beyond the Middle East remains underrepresented. Too often, visions and explanations of global Islam still imagine the direction of influence as radiating out from a MENA core and largely being nonreciprocal. The truth is, there is still a pertinent need to globalize the study of global Islam. This problem comes into focus when considering the general neglect that regions such as Latin America and the Caribbean have received thus far in the study of global Islam. Indeed, the Americas are often, quite literally, left off the map of global Islam. When one peruses a selection of books introducing the topic of Islam to the general reader, there is usually a map to be found in the opening pages or in the appendix. For example, the widely utilized Islam: The Straight Path by John L. Esposito features a map of “The Muslim World” immediately following its Introduction.39 The map is a screen shot portion of an oft-published equirectangular world map focusing in on the landmasses of Eurasia, Africa, and the Asian Pacific. Not all countries are named, only those deemed to have a significant enough Muslim population to note. A key is included with five categories of “Muslim percentage of the population,” ranging from 86 to 100 percent down to 5 to 15 percent. The Americas, nor half of Australia, all of New Zealand, and many other

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nations and geographies are not included in this map of “The Muslim World.” The inference seems to be that these other regions and nations are not part of the Muslim world and that this area lies within a specific geography stretching as far west as Senegal and Bosnia and Herzegovina, north to Kazakhstan and Mongolia, east to Indonesia and the Philippines, and south to Mozambique and Mauritius. Moreover, this cartography of the Muslim world is centered around places between Morocco and Mauritania to the west, Somalia and Yemen to the south, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the east, and Turkey to the north. The locus of the Muslim world is limited by the percentages of the population contained within the geographic bounds of modern nation-states. As such, more often than not, Latin America and the Caribbean are excluded. Furthermore, in surveys of global Islam, Latin America and the Caribbean are almost always ignored or not acknowledged.40 Even in the most generous works looking at Islamic and Muslim phenomena from a global perspective, Latin America and the Caribbean are rarely referenced, researched, or written about. For example, in the otherwise commendable introductory book Islam in World Cultures: Comparative Perspectives, edited by R. Michael Feener,41 Latin America and the Caribbean do not make an appearance or even appreciate a mention. The aim of the book is to “provide a deeper grounding for discussions of contemporary Muslim societies”42 and to do so from a decidedly global perspective with chapters focusing on various cultures including Turkey and the Arab Middle East, Iran, South Asia, Central Asia, China, Indonesia, Ethiopia, South Africa, and the United States. While Feener and colleagues admit that the “short volume can provide only a critical selection of studies rather than comprehensive coverage of all Muslim societies,”43 it is lamentable that Latin America and the Caribbean could not be included as means of expanding readers’ concepts of what “Islam in world cultures” might consist of. I raise these examples not to lambast these particular scholars, but to comment on the broader sidelining of an important set of stories that make up the narrative of global Islam—past and present. This evaluation is a form of “critical intimacy,”44 not just deconstructing the ways in which we have constructed our view of global Islam, but also seeking to reconstruct, expand, and improve on our vision so that we might better understand our field of study. This limited geographical view of global Islam helps contribute to what Gyatri Spivak calls the “monolithized view of Islam that rules the globe today.”45 In view of that fact, Talal Asad wrote, “[It] is too often forgotten that ‘the world of Islam’ is a concept for organizing historical narratives, not the name for a self-contained collective agent . . . the integrity of the world of Islam is essentially ideological, a discursive representation.”46 The production, and reproduction, of knowledges and the educational resources that undergird them train us to see certain places as

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“Muslim” and to not see other areas as such. That, in turn, permits the pernicious and pervasive idea that Muslims are foreign to certain places and native to others. In this book, I try to make clear that we need new maps of global Islam. Our maps of global Islam remain largely medieval, pinned to a narrow geographic radius that encompasses only the Middle East and North Africa and perhaps the Balkans and South Asia. But the Islamicate world and Muslim communities have long been more diffuse than our conceptual or physical maps can encompass. While not dominant, Islam and Muslims have played a role in geographies across the globe for hundreds of years, from China to Northern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa to the Americas. Geographies and maps, both real and imagined, popular and academic, are vital to understanding Islam and Muslims in the past and the present. Therefore, I argue, both the academy and the general public need to include Latin America and the Caribbean in our conceptual mapping of global Islam’s terrain. What I suggest in the following pages is that the emerging subfield of studies focusing on Islam and Muslims in the Americas offers such opportunities to further complicate and interrogate our conceptualization of global Islam’s landscapes—both literal and imagined. This view from the perceived margins of global Islam helps Islamic studies scholars (and others) reimagine the Middle East (or Indonesia, or Eurasia, or Asia, or North Africa, or Latin America) as only one contributing region, or representative site, of global Islam, rather than as its singular, inevitable, and irrevocable center. Moreover, this body of scholarship sheds light on the plurality, changeability, and global connectedness of Muslim cultures beyond the MENA region, and specifically in the American hemisphere. There, what we see is a landscape that has been in process for over 500 years through the movement of people, ideas, and things variously defined as “Islamic” or “Muslim.” Viewing Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Latinx United States as one of the “process geographies”47 or representative sites of global Islam provides a more robust vision of global Islam. With that said, I do not want to reify the idea of “global Islam,” anachronize it, or negate its capability for multiplicity, dynamism, evolution, and entanglement. The frame “global Islam”—or “the Americas,” for that matter—encapsulates an enormous range of elements. These frames reflect less how populations and phenomena are bound together, but which characteristics we believe they have in common. As the ensuing chapters show, there is not a single, definitive pattern of Islamic practice or Muslim sociality in Latin America and the Caribbean. If anything, diversity and divergence are the prime characteristics to be found across the American hemisphere. Thus, I do not play the “orthodoxy” game in my treatment of Islam and Muslims in the region. Instead, I incorporate practices and groups

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that are sometimes deemed un-Islamic, such as the use of amulets, the Ahmadiyya, the Nation of Islam, or certain Sufi socialities and rituals. It is also a story of networks forged, lost, and reforged over multiple centuries and between various nodes in Europe, North Africa, West Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, North America, and elsewhere. Thus, I try to describe a mutable and protean picture that highlights the cultural, economic, and political mestizaje of global Islam. Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Latinx United States can be seen from demographic perspectives as locales on the frontiers, or edges, of Islam—but to speak of many frontiers is not necessarily to speak of a singular center. These frontiers also offer the opportunity for us to trace and map the limits of global Islam and to seek to understand its dynamism, contingency, and contested expression in the interstitial space of various types of boundaries—religious, cultural, economic, material, affectual, or geographic. Here, I suggest, we find an augmented vision of global Islam that encompasses places, people, and processes that we have hitherto sidelined or ignored for political, social, and cultural reasons. Adding them to the mix in our understanding of global Islam gives us a richer, more complex, and expanded vision of what being Muslim in the late modern world is and can be. When raising these points, I am often asked “How many Muslims are there in Latin America and the Caribbean?” It is true that the number of Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean is perhaps negligible compared to other nations, regions, and areas of the globe. Moreover, while there are numerous works that estimate regional and national populations of Muslims across the Americas, the numbers are largely unreliable due to a lack of consistent data, under or overreported population statistics, and a constant flux of migration and conversion in multiple directions. At the very best, demographic research can serve as an invitation to whet the researcher’s appetite concerning understudied Muslim populations throughout the Americas and provide nuanced representation of them.48 While we cannot say for certain exactly how large many of these populations are, scholars have noted both long-standing Muslim communities and noteworthy and growing communities of converts across the Americas.49 For example, there are significant populations in Suriname, Trinidad, and Guyana, as well as large concentrations in the urban centers of countries such as Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina, which have invited a range of studies and deservedly so. There are also historic, dynamic, and substantial constituencies in places such as Jamaica, Colombia, or among Latinx Muslims in the United States. At the same time, outside of places like Suriname and Trinidad, percentages do not rise above 5 percent of the total population and Muslims in the Americas must be viewed according to their status as minorities. And yet beyond population percentages often being a poor marker of social and cultural significance, this book’s challenge is for scholars to think beyond

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numbers and appreciate impact, influence, and other markers of significance and relevance. For example, there are numerous communities—such as those in Barbados, Puerto Rico, Chile, or Belize—that deserve more attention, despite what their overall population numbers are. There, scholars cannot reflect only on the uniqueness of some of these socialities, but also on their connectedness to Islam’s representative sites across the world. It also provides opportunity to analyze some of the similarities and disparities between Muslim minorities in the Americas with those of other geographies and localities. Therefore, setting numbers aside, at least for now, I argue that treating Latin America and the Caribbean as a veritable sideshow in the grander narrative of global Islam not only does a vast disservice to the millions of Muslims in the hemisphere as a whole, but also misses out on critical junctures in the story of global Islam over time and in the contemporary scene. This book remedies this oversight and seeks to widen our view of global Islam to include Latin America and the Caribbean. I suggest that if scholars of the Americas are not considering Islam and Muslims and those in Islamic studies are ignoring the Americas, we are missing critical stories and vital insights on some of the most pressing themes in both fields. Moreover, incorporating one into the other not only allows for certain stories to be shared and themes to be better explored, but also challenges colonial conceptions of global Islam that landlock it to certain continents and nationstates or certain forms of Islamic tradition and practice. This challenges scholars and the wider public to consider the globe as the locus of Islam and Muslim activity, to make the world our framework and method, rather than any one locality, region, or network. By doing so, it pushes back against notions that Islam, and Muslims, are foreign to certain parts of the world and should be relegated to other parts of the globe. The relevance of this point in regard to debates surrounding refugees, immigration, global politics, nativism, and nationalistic populism cannot be overstated.

Why This Book? The idea for this book emerged out of the vexations of a cohort of students I had the honor of teaching at the University of Florida in spring 2017. The course was Islam in the Americas. It was a joint offering from the Department of Religion and the Center for Latin American Studies at the university. The course aimed to familiarize students with the multiple historical and contemporary narratives, representations, and manifestations of Islam across the American hemisphere. Furthermore, it sought to provide students with resources and opportunities to explore the historical and contemporary Muslim socialities between Cape Columbia, Canada, and Tierra del Fuego,

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Argentina. Finally, I hoped that it might foster the students’ ability to think deeply about, and be critical of, the production and reception of scholarship and popular representations of Muslims in the Americas. In doing so, it was part of a larger project to help students learn how to reflect critically on how they, as students of religion, arrive at their beliefs, values, and practices and bring to consciousness the degree that these might shape how they report on the various cultures and subcultures that they encounter in their lives, their studies, and in popular media. The same purposes lie at the foundation of this work. Students in that class sought to answer the questions such as: Why does Islam matter in the Americas? When did it arrive here? What values, practices, traditions, and tensions exist within its histories and social dynamics in the West? How can we study Muslims in this hemisphere? Similar to how that course sought to place Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Latinx United States within a broader Islamic framework and locate Muslims of various backgrounds and experiences within the hemisphere from the 1500s to today, so too does this book. The difference, however, is that while the resources that helped the students learn in this course were cobbled together from various articles, edited volumes, dissertations, blogs, and specialized monographs, this book aims to put the story together as one narrative whole. This was one of the central complaints of my students—that although they thoroughly enjoyed the course and learned much from it, they desired “one book that would rule them all,” as it were. They wanted a general introduction that could help them frame the overall narrative and that could be used as a base to delve further into specialized topics and specific areas of research and discussion. This book is meant to be an answer to that yearning. Thus, it is my hope that this book helps (re)place Latin America, the Caribbean, and North America within a broader Islamic framework and locate Muslims of various genealogies within the hemisphere over the longue durée. Furthermore, it aims to incorporate local values, practices, traditions, and tensions placing these within larger questions about what kinds of histories, social dynamics, and meaning production make Islam significant, or how its significance is denied, in a part of the world that has not recognized its history here or its contemporary configurations or impact. In particular, this book is inspired by Judith Laikin Elkin, whose work on Jews in Latin America and the Caribbean showcases, in part, some of the best of what this book hopes to do. Originally published in 1980, Elkin’s The Jews of Latin America50 presents an overview and a history of Jewish presence in Latin America. She found in her teaching and writing that there was no continent-wide historical or contemporary account. This drove her to produce an overall scholarly work that documented the Jewish experience in Latin America. At the same time, she was finding that “Latinamericanists”—those who study Latin America as an academic dis-

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cipline—“seemed to dismiss Jews as too small in number to have significantly impacted the region” and that “those who studied Jews typically considered Latin America outside the scope of their history.”51 And yet her work demonstrated the opposite. In carefully detailing the ways in which Jews came to, and impacted, the historical trajectory of Latin America and how Latin America impacted the broader Jewish world, she was able to challenge the prevailing paradigms and open up a new field of research that thrives today in associations and organizations such as the Latin American Jewish Studies Association (LAJSA).52 The parallels to the aims of this book are clear. The English-language literature on the topic is largely made up of focused histories, edited collections, or anthropological studies. They are, for the most part, highly specialized. The literature also lacks a broader hemispheric or (trans)regional perspective, instead favoring local, national, or minimally comparative foci. There has also been little attempt to weave an overall narrative or story together. Drawing on my fieldwork, journalistic activity, media analysis, collaborations and discussions with colleagues based on their expertise, and a growing body of interdisciplinary literature on Islam in the Americas, this book aims to communicate to a broad audience and offer an overall narrative of Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean. In doing so, it corrects visions of global Islam that exclude the Americas and understandings of religion and culture in the American hemisphere that marginalize Islam and Muslims. I am humbly aware that I am far from the first to write on these topics and issues, in English, Spanish, Portuguese, or otherwise. In addition to the aforementioned authors, research on Muslims in the Americas is on the rise. There are now entire books, numerous journal articles, encyclopedia entries, and conference presentations on the topic. More and more are emerging every day, which is in turn inspiring present and future scholars to turn to the topic as a way to understand culture, politics, religion, and economics in the region. In part, this book is a celebration of the field and the scholars who have been, and currently are, part of making it what it is. In fact, I view this book as a chance to highlight the breadth and depth of the topic and scholarship on it. That is why I am proud to reference so many scholars I respect53 and whose research has helped shape how I see Latin America, the Caribbean, and global Islam. In my teaching on the topic, I have often turned to two significant, and pathfinding, edited collections. The first, edited by Aisha Khan and entitled Islam and the Americas helped show the ways in which we are not dealing simply with “Islam in the Americas” but an “Islam of the Americas.” The second, Crescent over Another Horizon: Islam in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latino USA, edited by María del Mar Logroño Narbona, Paulo G. Pinto, and John Tofik Karam, likewise helps place “Latin America, the Caribbean, and

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Latino USA within a broader Islamic world and [locate] Muslims of varied genealogies within [the American] hemisphere over the longue durée.”54 Drawing on highly specialized, interdisciplinary research from a variety of scholars, both works are of inestimable value. However, as a generalist approach to this field of study, this book is an attempt to weave over 500 years of history and various microstories into a coherent, readable, and informative account to provide a foundation for further exploration for the introductory student and general reader. Thus, I present a reasonably coherent overall story and offer frequent references to a wide array of works to provide possible pathways to understand the existent literature in the field and furnish inroads for future research. I do not claim to be an expert in all of these fields. I have drawn on those more knowledgeable than myself to paint a “big picture” of the topic as an introduction for students and the general reader.55 For more in-depth explorations of these topics, I highly recommend the inestimable work of specialists in the many subfields in this area to supplement this more general account. Hence, I reference their work frequently throughout this book and encourage readers to peruse and explore the endnotes and references to learn more from these scholars’ expertise. I ask these same scholars to please forgive my generalist approach, my reliance on their ideas and research, and any of my “trespasses into their various territories”56 that I commit along the way. In addition, I ask forgiveness of the scholars whose works I did not include. In a synthetic account of this sort, it is almost impossible to cite everything relevant or related to the conversation. Relying on this previous scholarship, this book gathers together many strands, and adds new fibers from some firsthand research throughout the region (in places such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States), to weave a synthetic account of Islam and Muslims in the region. Existing, and emerging, scholarship on the subject has generally moved along two axes: one historical, the other contextual. First, a burgeoning body of scholarship has opened the doors to investigating Muslims’ presence and history in Latin America and the Caribbean for at least the past 500 years. This scholarship has been successful in looking at the ways that were present and active in the shaping of the American hemisphere, but have often been left to the wayside in the telling of that story. The latter type of scholarship features interdisciplinary approaches to exploring how Muslim populations in places such as Trinidad and Mexico, Cuba, and Brazil, have sought to be, and become, Muslim in contexts where they are a minority. What becomes clear is that while there are general themes and historical periods to pay attention to, there are also disparate stories and wayward narratives to take note of across the ages and the hemisphere. In this way, this book also contributes to the field by highlighting new, or understudied,

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aspects of Muslim presence and impact in the Americas. The truth is that we still lack a basic understanding about the history and culture of Islam and Muslims in the region. This work, while purposefully wide-ranging, is tentative and incomplete. The overall picture I present in this book is meant to be expanded on and problematized by subsequent contextualized research, both historical and contemporary.

Overview of the Book Building on this theoretical foundation, this book places Latin America, the Caribbean, and the American hemisphere within a broader Islamic framework and locates Muslims of various backgrounds and experiences within the hemisphere from the 1500s to the twenty-first century, from north to south across the hemisphere and in many periods and places in between. It covers a lot of ground, both historically and geographically, ranging across over 500 years of history and numerous nation-states across the globe.57 Therefore, it is divided into Part 1, “Historical Lineages,” Part 2, “Contemporary Communities and Global Entanglements,” and a concluding Part 3. Part 1 addresses the history of the presence, and influence, of Islam and Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean. The principal point of Part 1 is to look back on how Muslims traveled to the Americas, took part in, shaped, and were molded by its American context even as they adapted to and resisted broader Euro-American power, culture, and its attendant lifeways. It is meant to ponder the role of the imagination—that of Muslims and non-Muslims—in shaping and telling this story. It also begins to show the networked, interconnected, and complex narrative of contemporary Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean. It illustrates how significant Islam and Muslims were to the development of Latin America and the Caribbean, especially as it grew out of the contact between Europe and Indigenous Americans. Furthermore, it begins to prod us to think of the many ways that Latin America and the Caribbean, and the multifarious forces at work in shaping this region, have also come to influence global Islam. These are themes that pick up even greater pace when we transition to the contemporary scene in Part 2. Part 1 begins with Chapter 2, “The Question of Pre-Columbian Contact,” which looks back to the idea of precolonial contact between Muslims and the American hemisphere to navigate the imagined deeper roots of Islam in the Americas. This chapter reviews the proposed evidence for precolonial Muslim contact and presence in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Americas as a whole. While the evidence is far from convincing, it offers readers an opportunity to consider the degree to which Muslims want to validate their presence here and why the crown of “first contact” with the

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Americas is so coveted by various communities in the present age. This chapter invites readers to see how claims of Muslim first contact are part of American Muslims’ postcolonial arts of memory, seeking a place and space in a cosmopolitanized hemisphere. Chapter 3, “Los Moros, Spain, and the Making of the New World,” explores the influence of Andalusian Spain on Latin American and Caribbean cultures and histories. Readers not only encounter and explore how individual Muslims came over as conquistadors, servants, interpreters, and colonizers, but also the extent to which the specter of the Muslim “monster” was brought over from Europe and influenced language, ideas of citizenship, material culture, religious practice, and the representations and constructions of Indigenous peoples. Readers see how, once here in the hemisphere, Muslims took part in, shaped, and were molded by their American contexts even as they adapted to, resisted, and surrendered to the broader Euro-American worldview and its attendant lifeways. In the words of John Tofik Karam, looking at this “longue durée of Muslims” in the region helps us “globalize our view of what constitutes the ‘Islamic world’ itself.”58 Chapter 4, “Enslaved Muslims and Their Enduring Legacy,” segues from Spain to examine the forced importation of Muslim slaves to Latin America and the Caribbean. Focusing on Muslim slaves from West Africa, this chapter notes the tribe-based singularities, individual stories, and significant influence of Muslim slaves in the New World. It not only illustrates the importance of Islam and Muslims in our considerations of the transatlantic trade in enslaved persons, but to the broader “Atlantic World” as a whole. Chapter 5, “Indentured Servants and Immigrants,” picks up on the story of indentured servants as a bridge to begin talking about more modern Muslim immigrations to the region. As such, it moves forward in time to provide an overview of later Muslim migration to Latin America and the Caribbean, largely focusing on South Asian, Indonesian, and Arab immigration. This chapter helps transition the narrative to “contemporary communities and global connections.” Picking up where Part 1 left off, Part 2 illustrates how the varied and multivalent historical streams in Part 1 have produced a high degree of diversity among Muslim socialities in the Americas today. It shows how contemporary “American Muslims” do not conform to any single tradition, but instead select, abandon, practice, and identify with a range of Muslim identities—Sunni, Shi‘i, Sufi, Salafi, etc.—through translocal networks of encounter and exchange. These stories continue to underscore the plurality, changeability, and entanglements within and across global Islam. Thus, Part 2 includes discussions of some of the most pressing themes in global Islamic studies alongside important aspects critical to understanding the Americas today: religious change and diversification, the cold war for Sunni hegemony, South-South solidarities, the halal economy, terrorism and the global war on terror, Shi‘i diaspora commu-

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nities, a variety of popular political movements, Ahmadiyya missionary efforts, Sufi orders, Islamic finance, global imaginaries of the ummah, and more. Furthermore, in keeping with the book’s overall dual focus on global Islam and the Americas, it helps readers think more deeply about how Islam and Muslims in the region are situated in broader American social orders. Specifically, it addresses ways in which Muslims in the Americas are implicated in current discussions about frontiers and borderlands, alterglobalization, postcolonial politics, indigeneity, contemporary religious pluralism in the region, diaspora religion, race and ethnicity, transnationalism, and cultural hybridity. To do so, the second part of the book takes a closer look at specific countries and regions ranging from North America to Latin America and the Caribbean. Each of the chapters raise particular questions to address communities in particular places (Trinidad, Suriname, Brazil, Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, and the Latinx United States) and to explore salient themes in the study of both global Islam and the Americas. The aim of Part 2 is to create a diverse portrait of Muslim experiences in the contemporary Americas and explore how Muslims’ presence and practice is influenced by their American context and their rhizomic connections to other Muslim networks, discourses, and dynamics across the world. Part 2 begins with Chapter 6, “Halal in Brazil and the Global Muslim Economy,” which focuses on the economic networks that have made Brazil into one of the largest exporting nations of halal products. This presents an opportunity to discuss how global Islam not only includes ideological or religious networks and “scapes,” but also an economic lattice that is both Islamic and neoliberal, capitalist, and evidence of the fragmentation of identity and belonging throughout the Americas and the global ummah. Next, Chapter 7, “Islamophobia and the War on Terror,” presents some case studies on contemporary discussions about Islam, violence, jihad, and Salafism in Latin America and the Caribbean. This chapter also provides an overview of Argentina’s Muslims to further examine how they occupy a tenuous space in the American public sphere as a whole. There are both internal and external events and pressures that come to define the presence of Muslims in Argentina, including the election of public leaders, terror attacks, and a generally low public opinion of Muslims in the country. Together, these disparate narratives show the global nature of the war on terror and its inflections across the Americas. Chapter 8, “Seeking a Better World in Mexico,” starts in a rural community outside San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico, and connects its story to the global diversity of Islam and Muslims present in Mexico. This chapter also explores the fortunes, fissures, and frictions between global Muslim missionaries, alterglobalization movements, the neoliberal economic world order, and religious diversity in Mexico. Chapter 9, “The Contest for Sunni Hegemony

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in the Caribbean,” is based on firsthand research in Havana, Cuba, and an analysis of Turkey’s reemergence on the global scene in contestation with other actors. It introduces readers not only to the thriving Muslim community on the island, but also to the ways in which global Islam is concerned and involved with it, specifically when it comes to a contest for “Sunni hegemony” between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Chapter 10, “The Dream of a Latinx Muslim Homeland,” relies on extensive research on Latinx Muslims in the United States to review how, and why, Latinx people convert to Islam against a backdrop of increasing religious diversity across the hemisphere. Furthermore, this chapter discusses how these conversion narratives serve as a means of community cohesion amidst significant societal pressure and multiple marginalities. Finally, it seeks to bring the conversation full circle by showing how these “dreams of al-Andalus” parallel the dreams of Muslim first contact with the Americas. Tying in the aforementioned chapters and strands of argumentation, Chapter 11, “The Americas as Part of a Broader ‘Muslim World,’” weaves together the overall narrative and reemphasizes the book’s critical attempt to establish the story of Muslims in Latin America, the Caribbean, and across the American hemisphere, while at the same time situating the region in the narrative of global Islam.

Notes 1. For visuals of these celebrations in the past, see Alegría, Las Fiestas de Loíza Santiago Apóstol. 2. See Dávila, Sponsored Identities. 3. The term los Moros, used frequently in this book, is a historically ambiguous term that could refer to those from what is now modern-day Morocco or could be used as a broad signifier for “Black” or “dark-skinned” people. This means that over time, the term Moor (or el Moro) was used to refer to Africans of many kinds, Muslim and non-Muslim, from North Africa or sub-Saharan Africa. As shown in this book, it was also used at times to refer to the Indigenous peoples of the Americas and—I have been told—is still used by some to refer to Muslims in the Philippines. 4. Samuel Lind, artist, interviewed by the author, Loíza Aldea, Puerto Rico, July 24, 2017. 5. Ibid. 6. See Curtis, The Bloomsbury Reader on Islam in the West. 7. Walt Whitman, “The Spanish Element in Our Nationality,” Letter, 1883. 8. This is not to mention the “Pacific world” and its own stories and influences. This book focuses primarily on the Atlantic world. 9. See Elliott, Empires of the Atlantic World. 10. European civilization, it should be said, was also far from a unified whole in the sixteenth century. 11. See Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. 12. Although there is more work to be done in researching Islam and Muslims in North America, there is far more research in this area when compared to the his-

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tory and communities to the south. Latinx, Caribbean, and other Muslim stories from across the American hemisphere are more hidden from our historical view and our contemporary conversations. 13. Peterson and Vásquez, Latin American Religions, 2. 14. See Appadurai, Modernity at Large. 15. Tweed, Crossing and Dwelling, 62. 16. Peterson and Vásquez, Latin American Religions, 254. 17. Usarski, “Editorial: The International Journal of Latin American Religions,” 1–4. 18. Bilici, Finding Mecca in America, 9. 19. Ibid., 143–144. 20. Ibid., 144. 21. Curtis, The Bloomsbury Reader on Islam in the West, 1. 22. Ibid. 23. See Asad, “The Idea of an Anthropology of Islam.” 24. See S. Ahmed, What Is Islam? 25. R. Ahmed, Sharia Compliant, 27. 26. See Aydin, The Idea of the Muslim World; Afsaruddin, “The Myth of the Muslim World”; Amer-Meziane, “Strategic Muslim Worlds?” 27. See Shipley, Comaroff, and Mbembe, “Africa in Theory.” 28. Derichs, “Shifting Epistemologies in Area Studies: From Space to Scale,” 29. 29. See Cooke and Lawrence, Muslim Networks. 30. Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus. 31. See Verne, Living Translocality Space, Culture and Economy in Contemporary Swahili Trade; Knight, Muhammad’s Body. 32. See Beck, Cosmopolitan Vision; Leichtman, Shii Cosmopolitanisms in Africa. 33. Verne, Living Translocality Space, Culture and Economy in Contemporary Swahili Trade, 23–25. 34. Mian, “Shahab Ahmed’s Contradictions,” 240. 35. See Manjapara, Age of Entanglement, 6 and 291. 36. Mian, “Shahab Ahmed’s Contradictions,” 239–240. 37. Reese, “Islam in Africa/Africans and Islam,” 18. 38. Amoruso, “Review: Crescent over Another Horizon,” 1165. 39. This is referencing the seventh edition of Esposito’s Islam. It must be said that I often use this text when I teach Introduction to Islam. 40. A notable exception is Westerlund and Svanberg, Islam Outside the Arab World, which includes a chapter on Islam in the Caribbean and Latin America by Muhammed Abdullah al-Ahari. Another is Aminah Beverly McCloud, Scott W. Hibbard, and Laith Al-Saud (eds.), An Introduction to Islam in the 21st Century. 41. See Feener, Islam in World Cultures, 1. 42. Ibid. 43. Ibid. 44. See Paulson, “Critical Intimacy.” 45. Spivak, Death of a Discipline, 87. 46. See Asad, “The Idea of an Anthropology of Islam,” 15. 47. See Appadurai, The Future as Cultural Fact. 48. See Foroutan, “Misunderstood Population?” 163–176. 49. See Chitwood, “The Study of Islam and Muslim Communities in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Americas,” 57–76. See also Galvan, Latino Muslims. 50. Elkin, The Jews of Latin America. 51. Mayer, “Review: The Jews of Latin America,” 243–245.

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52. Lockhart, “The Latin American Jewish Studies Association (LAJSA),” in H. Gooren, ed., Encyclopedia of Latin American Religions. 53. And those scholars I disagree with as well! 54. Narbona, del Mar, Pinto, and Karam, Crescent over Another Horizon, 6. 55. See Foltz, Religions of the Silk Road. 56. Ibid., xi. 57. The book focuses on national and regional contexts in the Americas, but also shows those communities’ linkages to countries more often associated with global Islam or the Muslim world, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Senegal, Gambia, Morocco, Spain, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Palestine, Libya, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Egypt, Jordan, and others. This is one more way I make the case that the Americas are part of the broader networks that make up global Islam, both today and over the longue durée. 58. Karam, “Muslim Histories in Latin America and the Caribbean,” 258.

2 The Question of Pre-Columbian Contact

“DON’T YOU KNOW THAT MUSLIMS WERE THE FIRST TO DIScover the New World?” This is how Shaikh Youssef kicked off our conversation in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico. I was conducting research with Muslims in Puerto Rico and he wanted to make sure that I knew this one thing before I went any further in my investigations. He quickly followed his initial incredulous question with a bold claim: “Muslims came here long before Columbus and Cortes and all the rest,” he said, “they were the first to come here and they did not colonize or destroy the place. That’s the difference between us and them.”1 Shaikh Youssef is not alone in his reading of history. Far from it. Instead, his remarks reflect a widely held belief among Muslims—in the Americas and elsewhere—that long before Europeans set foot in Latin America, the Caribbean, or elsewhere in the American hemisphere, there were Muslim navigators, explorers, and settlers who arrived on these shores and who left evidence of their presence in maps, records, language, and cultural artifacts. This chapter is an exploration of these claims, stories, the supposed evidence that supports them, and the ways in which Muslims utilize them as a means of claiming space and authenticity in the region today. Before we can deal with the documented historical evidence about Muslims in the Americas arriving alongside and after European colonizers, it is important to first address claims such as Shaikh Youssef’s. Is it possible that Muslims “discovered” the “New World” before Europeans did? Whether or not they did, why does it matter who encountered the Americas first? With these questions in mind, in this chapter I review the claims

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for precolonial Muslim contact and presence in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Americas as a whole. Although the evidence is spurious, it affords an opportunity to consider why it is that so many different cultures and countries claim that they were the ones to “discover” the Americas in the first place. In the end, I suggest that although the claims lack scientific proof, it is not in architecture, society, or genealogy that we should begin thinking about Islam and Muslims in the Americas, but in the realm of ideas, identifications, and historical claims. On the one hand, we must take the claims at their word and analyze the evidence critically. On the other hand, we must see them—whether or not they are historically “true”—as what they are: claims. The assertions of pre-Columbian contact, so adamantly proposed and defended by many Muslims in the Americas and other Muslims around the globe, showcase two things that we must keep in mind throughout this book: (1) the desire of Muslims to belong to the Americas and its story; and (2) the concomitant desire that the Americas belong to global Islam and its story. Whether they are made by Muslims or non-Muslims, Europeans or Africans, claims of first contact with the Americas are claims of authenticity and power. They are the attempts of a sociality to define or claim ownership over the Americas for material reasons—good, bad, and in between. They are, by extension, a way for Muslims—whether they are from majority Muslim countries or minority communities in the Americas—to say that Islam and Muslims belong here in the Americas. And those claims, in and of themselves, point to the significance of the Americas in the imagination of Muslims within and beyond the hemisphere. Whatever it is that is remembered in this narrative, it is not verifiable facts, or in any case not just facts. Claims of first contact are an attempt to underscore fluctuating, marginalized, and uncertain identities with historical primacy and critique those who are able to control the narrative of a region’s identity and history. They represent a struggle over portrayals of the past in order to redefine relations in the present. In the case of the Americas, it is a means of pushing back against Eurocentric (and predominately Christian) frames that dominate our understanding of the hemisphere. Even if the claims are not true, they illustrate the importance of the Americas in the global Muslim imagination and the importance of discussing and debating the place of Islam in the Americas. Thus, any assessment of these claims needs to not only examine the available evidence but, perhaps more poignantly, explore the claims’ contemporary significance for Muslims across the hemisphere. In this chapter, I explore the question: What does the possibility of preColumbian Muslim contact signify for Latin American and Caribbean Muslims today and why has it become such a notable touch point for them? Fictions can be full of useful truths that do real work in the world, even though

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they are not true. To craft a sense of belonging takes more than facts, it takes faith. To belong is, in a sense, to believe in more than what is simply historical fact. While we must distinguish between fact and fiction—and critique the myths we know we are making—we cannot dismiss fictions that take on a truth of their own in the lives of those who believe them, claim them to be true, and advance them as historical fact. In this chapter, I review the evidence presented and while finding it vague and insufficient to support such claims, attempt to situate the assertions within a broader narrative of belonging that many Muslims in the Americas seek to undergird with their insistence on the historical veracity of pre-Columbian Muslim contact with the New World.

A Question of History In February 2015, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan went on a tour of Latin America. Traveling through Colombia, Mexico, and Cuba, he tried to strengthen Turkey’s ties with the region. Along the way, he met with leaders of various Muslim communities. Prior to his trip, at a gathering at the Latin American Muslim Religious Leaders Summit in Istanbul, he said “America was discovered prior to 1492.” He claimed that Muslim sailors reached the Americas in 1178.2 He asserted that none other than Christopher Columbus (or Cristóbal Colón) wrote about sighting a mosque off the coast of Cuba in his memoirs. While various historians, anthropologists, and scientists have challenged, or openly refuted, Erdoğan’s claim, he is not alone in this assertion. A slew of scholars, shaikhs, Muslims, and non-Muslims believe that it was explorers from medieval Islamic empires who first encountered the Americas in their travels. The debate over the truth—or fiction—of these accounts is controversial. However, proponents of a “Muslim first contact theory” feel that the questions swirling around the truth, fiction, and history of the matter are open for debate. On the question of history, they have a general point. Postmodern scholarship makes critically clear that “history” can be a fickle foundation for making ready assertions or reaching confident conclusions. As Ferruh Yilmaz writes, “Historical accounts do not merely describe historical facts. They (re)write history through significant elements of the contemporary discourse.”3 Postmodern historians and philosophers—in keeping with more general trends in postmodern scholarship and theory—generally deny, reject, or simply abandon the modern approach to history that seeks to be absolutely certain about its claims. While postmodernism has come in many forms and varieties, it has generally questioned whether “history” is an authoritative and neutral means of understanding what actually happened in the past. Instead, postmodern historians have sought to reveal the “fictions”

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at work in supposedly historical narratives of the past such as the idea of the “discovery of the Americas” itself. Significant postmodernists such as Jacques Lacan, Hayden White, and Michel Foucault made the case that what gets counted as historical “fact” is often simply the product of discourse or systems of knowledge and power and the individuals who are implicated in them. For Foucault in particular, truth and knowledge of the past were constructions that were made by these systems so that people could be persuaded, coerced, and controlled. For him, these were fictions made into history.4 A postmodern approach to history means bringing a critical eye to historical records, narratives, and sources and realizing that our reading and understanding of them does not provide the basis for positivistic, or purely “scientific,” postulations, but a discussion of portraits, perspectives, and possibilities that form the foundation of conversations with regard to identities and initiatives in the present.5 In this view, history becomes a conversation rather than a means of coercion and control. It is treated as a discourse rather than a strictly scientific discipline. Postmodern historians have helped unearth ideas, beliefs, power dynamics, narratives, social systems, and cultural influences hitherto hidden in modern, rational, and positivistic historical narratives. By pointing out the power of cultural constructs, knowledge production, and power systems in the writing of history they have helped put people, often those on the margins of society or left out of grand narratives, back into history.6 To be sure, much of the postmodern dissatisfaction with the idea of the discipline of history is that it often fails to deal with extreme examples, marginalized narratives, and people who lose the struggle over power. For many populations sidelined in traditional historical accounts, the discourse of postmodern history meant representing their experiences in new ways in literature, film, and art. Walter Benjamin is especially helpful here. He wrote of how professional historiography has often been associated with, and told from the perspective of, the “victors”—those who were most closely aligned or associated with the systems of knowledge and power active at the time of these historical events.7 His work opened up the way for “history from below” that sought to resurrect long-oppressed or forgotten memories that had been suppressed by accounts written by the “victors” and give the oppressed the opportunity to rewrite the histories that defined and limited them. Far from perfect, the postmodern desire to course-correct dominant historical narratives with oppositional historiographies struggles with many demons. One of the most difficult is the lack of data and source material. Not only are secondary materials—history books, review articles, metaanalyses—often biased, but many primary documents are as well. Beyond that, many primary documents, artifacts, and historical materials have been suppressed, destroyed, lost, or forgotten in the process of constructing a

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dominant, and official, historical narrative. Often, the material needed to tell the story of the fringe and the forgotten is simply not there. Thus, postmodern history’s greatest strength is not necessarily in its establishment of the truth, but its satisfaction in appeasing an individual or group’s desire for meaning in the late modern age. Moreover, the desire of those appealing to competing histories is often to establish the authenticity of a particular identification or narrative, especially one that has been subjugated, repressed, or sidelined in favor of others. Or, it should be said, postmodern history is useful for those who at least feel, or are convinced that, their sociality has been, or is being, subjugated, repressed, or sidelined from dominant historical discourses.8 Although they may not identify as “postmodern,” various Muslims have interrogated centuries-old records, sources, and archives to show how Muslims came over on European ships and helped populate the Americas—as colonizers, captives, and discoverers. Their aim is to refashion the story of the Americas as it currently stands and insert Muslims into the foundational script of the hemisphere. Their approach is revisionist and in keeping with many of the features of postmodern historical deconstruction and its tools—insofar as they question conventional historical narrative forms and engage the imagination to envisage alternative histories. In this chapter, my focus is on how Muslims attempt to cast dispersion on metanarratives about European colonization to question the very foundation of the American idea—that it is about the encounter between European Christians on the one hand and Indigenous peoples on the other. Instead, they propose that Muslims were here prior to Europeans and that they left their indelible mark on the place before Europeans did. Moreover, they claim, that mark was much more benign and positive than what the Europeans would later bring. In these ways, they not only are inserting themselves into the story; they are trying to rewrite the cosmogony of the contemporary American sociality and cast themselves as benevolent, but often disregarded, heroes of its past. To do so, Muslim scholars and writers have deployed a variety of tools at the historian’s disposal—from tantalizing details in ancient maps, to puzzling observations made in travelers’ notebooks and journals, to literature. Regardless of the source material, these individuals are trying to make more than historical claims. They are making moral ones. Take the opening quote from The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami. While Lalami never claims that Muslims “discovered” the Americas before Europeans, she does use fiction to retell an early American colonial story through the eyes of one of the hemisphere’s first Muslims. Lalami’s award-winning book tells the story of Castilian conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez’s fated 1527 journey across the Atlantic from Spain to the Gulf of Mexico and “La Florida” from the perspective of Mustafa Azemmouri,

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more widely known as Estabenico—a Moroccan enslaved by one of the Spanish explorers. Variously called “El Moro,” “El Negro,” or “El Árabe” in the account of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca—one of the other four survivors along with Estabenico, his Spanish enslaver Andrés Dorantes de Carranza, and Alonso del Castillo Maldonado—Estabenico’s story is framed by Lalami as fictional, yet moral in function. Even in her character’s opening words, he mentions that in telling stories such as his, “what each of us wants, in the end, whether he is black or white, master or slave, rich or poor, man or woman, is to be remembered after his death.”9 Lalami’s account in the voice of Estabenico is designed, in some sense, to offer a “truer” report of the travels and travails of the explorers than the more widely accepted account of Cabeza de Vaca. Or, if not “truer,” at least to highlight the significant role a Muslim played in encounters with American Indigenous peoples, European explorations around the Gulf of Mexico, and in establishing Nueva España as a Spanish American colony. If that seems partial, let us keep in mind that while Cabeza de Vaca’s description is the sanctioned version of their explorations across Florida, the Gulf Coast of the future United States, Texas, the Southwest, and parts of Mexico, it is unashamedly biased. In his introduction to a translation of Cabeza de Vaca’s account, Ilan Stevens writes that it might be better to treat Cabeza de Vaca’s Relación as “a fictional account, or perhaps a factual novel” rather than an accurate, objective, eyewitness, historical report.10 It seems that the story of one of the first Muslims is plagued from the start with the question of historical accuracy, fairness, and a thin line between truth and fiction. If all we have are competing fictions about the past, what is the student in search of the story of Islam and Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean left with? How do we chart our way across and through the “ocean of fog and darkness” that seems to be the competing claims of history? Is all we have recourse to the fiction of Cabeza de Vaca, or the fiction based on the fiction of Cabeza de Vaca written by Lalami? Is all of it entertainment in the guise of truth, or could it be “truth in the guise of entertainment”?11 I return to the story of Estabenico and his companions in Chapter 3. For now, we must begin to consider and explore the artifacts and documents that are used to argue for a pre-European Muslim presence in the Americas. Thus, we not only must consider the claims of scholars regarding the pre-European Muslim presence in the Americas, but simultaneously recognize them as another claim on a geographic region by a particular people group who is seeking to establish their own particular authenticity and belonging in Latin America and the Caribbean. That in and of itself is significant, regardless of the veracity of the claims, and I return to this theme at the end of the chapter. For now, this is a brief review of the supposed evidence.

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Quick and the Question of Pre-Columbian Contact in the Americas Shaikh Youssef and President Erdoğan are not alone in making the claim that there is evidence to suggest, if not confirm, that Muslims from West Africa and Spain arrived in the Americas up to 500 years before Columbus. Many of them are cited in what follows. By far, the most influential is Abdullah Hakim Quick’s12 Deeper Roots: Muslims in the Caribbean Before Columbus to the Present.13 Thus, in my overview of the existing evidence for Muslims being the first to make contact with the Americas, I predominately reference his work. However, I also consider the scholarship and commentary of others along the way as they discuss Quick’s claims or reference the same documents, inscriptions, and maps. Quick’s main claim is that “the history of Islam and Muslim peoples in the Caribbean stretches back over one thousand years, predating European contact by over six-centuries.”14 While Quick’s claims focus on the Caribbean, other scholars such as Youssef Mroueh have sought to extend this claim to apply to other parts of the Americas. Still, even with a focus on the Caribbean, Quick’s claim is bold and demanding. In making this claim, he challenges the popular and accepted opinion that it was Columbus who first steered his ships into the same Caribbean Sea and pushes back against narratives of the Americas that favor European first contact and its attendant assertions of the advancement of European culture, technology, politics, and economics over and against other cultures and societies. As he makes his argument, Quick divides the historical narrative of Muslim contact with the Caribbean into four periods: first, the period of exploration and commerce; second, the period of slavery; third, the period of indentured labor and economic migration; and, fourth, the period of what he calls “the Islamic re-awakening and re-connection to the Muslim world.”15 The thesis about pre-Columbian Muslim first contact and its significance cannot be overlooked simply because the evidence to support it is spurious and in short supply. Behind the evidence is an idea and a claim. That idea is that Muslims in the Americas, as small of a constituency as they might be, are part of the broader “Muslim world” and have been for a very long time. Quick’s claim is that Muslim communities in the Americas have been—for hundreds of years—a part of the global Islamic population. The growth of these communities today is not new and novel, but grounded in a history that stretches back centuries. That argument appeals to Muslims in the Americas and elsewhere because it does two things at the same time and in different directions. First, it validates the idea that Muslims in the Americas are part of a global community within which they often find themselves marginalized. Second, it validates the global aspirations of Muslims everywhere who want to see the Americas as part of the Muslim

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world. As we review Quick’s supposed evidence, we would do well to keep these mutually reinforcing yearnings in mind. In brief, Quick’s argument is based on three principal pillars: historical documents, diaries, narratives, and maps; inscriptions, language, artifacts, and place names; and some other secondary scholarship that also attests to these possibilities.16 Each of these are explored in more detail below.

Documents, Diaries, Narratives, and Maps

It begins with al-Ard al-Majhula—the unknown territory or “Terra Incognita”—in the world atlas of Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn al-Husain alMas‘udi (or simply, al-Masudi). The tenth-century Arab historian and geographer wrote and mapped lands far outside the realms of the known “Islamicate world.” His work included sketches of lands, cultures, and history of faraway places such as China, the Byzantine Empire, Britannia, and India. Quick, and others, believe that the land labeled as “the Unknown Territory” by al-Masudi is “the Americas.” They contend that another of al-Masudi’s statements undergirds such a claim, when he wrote that “a young man of Córdoba [in Muslim Spain] named Khashkhas Ibn Saeed Ibn Aswad . . . crossed the Atlantic Ocean and returned in the year 889 C.E.”17 He continued, “They set sail on the ocean in ships they had fitted out [from the port of Delba (Palos), the same port from which Columbus would sail]. After a rather long absence, they returned with rich booty. This story is famous, and well-known to all Spaniards.”18 The story goes that Ibn Aswad and his “young men” were mugharrirun, brave, adventurous, curious, but otherwise ordinary men of Andalusia—then the Umayyad caliphate of Córdoba—who crossed the Bahr al-Zulamat, Sea of Darkness. Depending on which direction Ibn Aswad and his fellow young men sailed, it is perceivable that they plundered Portugal, France, or England to the north or even sailed south and chanced across unplundered lands in West or southern Africa and brought back stories to tell and wares to sell. However, al-Masudi is read by Quick and others to imply that they sailed even farther west. Such an inference then leads them to ponder what the nearest lands west across the Sea of Darkness were. The Atlantic was known as Mare Tenebrosum in Europe and as Bahr alZulamat within Arabic-speaking lands. Both meant “Sea of Darkness” and suggested evil and chaos. For Christians, the Sea of Darkness became the abode of darkness and malevolent forces. For Muslims, Surah 24 of the Quran (called al-Nur, “the Light”) could come to mind, in which the state of unbelief is described as “like utter darkness in the deep sea: there covers it a wave above which is another wave, above which is a cloud, (layers of) utter darkness one above another; when he holds out his hand, he is almost unable to see it; and to whomsoever Allah does not give light, he has no

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light.” The “Sea of Darkness” was one of the names given to the Atlantic Ocean (in addition to al-Bahr al-Muhit, “The Circumambient Ocean,” alBahr al-Muzlim, “The Dark Sea,” al-Bahr al-Ahdar, “The Green Sea,” or alBahr al-Aswad, “The Black Sea”). And so, when Quick reads about the voyage of the mugharrirun across the Sea of Darkness, he posits that they came across the Caribbean. Thus, it is inferred that Ibn Aswad, in the years between 889 and 933 was the first to “discover” the Americas and, possibly, establish colonial holdings there for a time. However, more plausible is that Ibn Aswad and his young men could have encountered and explored the Canary Islands (known as Jaza‘ir al-Khalidat, “The Eternal Isles,” in Arabic) or the Azores, which lie almost 800 miles west of Portugal, almost a third of the way to the Americas. Quick also claims that the Muslim geographer and cartographer Abu Abdullah Muhammad al-Idrisi al-Qurtubi al-Hasani as-Sabti (1099–1166, better known as al-Idrisi) wrote that a group of North African seamen sailed across the Sea of Darkness from Lisbon, Portugal, to discover its extent.19 It is inferred that al-Idrisi is perhaps writing about Ibn Aswad as well. While this is unclear, al-Idrisi did describe men who traveled across the Sea of Darkness to make contact with people who Quick and others make out to be Indigenous Caribbeans, people al-Idrisi described as “with red skin,” without “much hair on their bodies and their hair was straight,” who “were of tall stature,”20 and who could speak Arabic.21 This, Quick claims, shows that Muslims not only crossed the Atlantic as early as the ninth century, but also possibly had such regular transatlantic contact with the Americas that there was a transfer of the Arabic language across the sea and fog. This regular contact and intimate knowledge, Quick and others argue, was passed on to the Christian conquerors who took the Iberian Peninsula from the Moors in the fifteenth century.22 The last Muslim stronghold in Spain (Granada) was taken by Christian forces in 1492, just before the Spanish Inquisition and concomitant with Columbus’s much-lauded journeys. Quick and others assert that at least some of the documents, stories, and accounts from before were available to the Spanish court of Ferdinand and Isabella and their commissioned explorer—Christopher Columbus. At the very least, it is said, Columbus had possession of al-Masudi’s map when he departed from Delba (the port of Palos), where Ibn Aswad is supposed to have also started his journey. For those who claim pre-Columbian Muslim presence in the New World, the “Piri Reis map” becomes another possible piece of evidence. A sixteenth-century navigator, cartographer, and admiral in the Ottoman navy also known as Ahmed Muhiddin Piri, Reis’s claim to fame is the collection of maps and charts that he published in 1513 and 1528. His maps are the oldest known Ottoman atlases showing the Americas. 23 His 1528 map includes a fragment that shows Greenland, vast swathes of North America,

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Florida, Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and parts of Central America. While he wrote that he drew on various Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Greek maps, Reis also mentions Arab and Indian sources. Muslims the world over refer to the Piri Reis map with pride as it is supposed to illustrate the widespread geographical and technical knowledge of Muslim empires and polities over and against later European powers. On a recent trip to Istanbul, I saw a portion of the Piri Reis map reproduced as a mural on the grounds of Yeditepe University. There, it stands as a testament to Ottoman knowledge, power, and geographic reach—“even before the Europeans,” I was told by a guide. Such supposed evidence is woven together by these authors into a complex quilt meant to warm readers to the idea that Muslims beat Columbus to the Americas. But if Muslims were the first to “discover” the New World, why is this not more widely known? Why are students duped into thinking it was Columbus and the Europeans? Quick wrote, “Despite the numerous voyages undertaken by Muslims of Spain and North Africa, their contact remained limited and fairly secretive.”24 Hence, he would add, why people of the age, let alone modern readers, were unlikely to hear of it or contemporary archaeologists likely to find any extensive evidence. Nevertheless, Quick tries to provide a treasure trove of tantalizing threads for those inclined to believe that Muslims came to the Americas before Columbus (and other Europeans) did. In the effort to claim history—and geography—these maps, historical documents, and historians’ accounts can prove powerful to those willing to be persuaded. And yet as even Quick admits, they are not enough. Still, there is more to be claimed than simple signs of contact and discovery hidden in maps and ancient chronicles. Instead, advocates of the pre-Columbian Muslim contact theory also turn to supposed archaeological and anthropological evidence as well.

Mysterious Inscriptions, Language, Artifacts, and Place Names

If readers are not convinced by evidence from Spain, North Africa, or sixteenth-century Turkey, Quick proposed that the most significant wave of contact came from Mali, via the thirteenth- and fourteenth-century wealthy and wonderful rule of West Africa’s greatest son—Mansa Musa. Quick wrote, “Enroute to Mecca during his famous legendary and lavish pilgrimage in 1324, [Mansa Musa] informed the scholars of Cairo and the Damascene historian al-Umari that his predecessor had undertaken two expeditions into the Atlantic Ocean in order to discover its limits.”25 Shihab al-Din Abu al-Abbas Ahmad ibn Fadl Allah al-Umari (al-Umari) assumed this Malian expedition encountered the closest landmass across the Atlantic from West Africa.26 Quick interpreted this as making contact with Brazil.27

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Linguistic evidence looms large in this line of argumentation. Specifically, various works look for a connection between the Mandinka people and cultures in Brazil, Mexico, and elsewhere in Central and South America. The Mandinka (also referred to as Mandingo or Malinke) are a West African people who reside in countries such as contemporary Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Senegal, Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau. During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the Mali Empire dominated the west coast of Africa. The aforementioned Mansa Musa (or Musa the First of Mali) was one of the rulers of this vast, powerful, and wealthy empire. The claim is that Mandinkas under Mansa Musa’s rule were sent to explore parts of the Americas, including Brazil, Mexico, Mississippi in the United States, and even the Four Corners of Arizona, where they are rumored to have brought elephants.28 As part of these explorations, it is also asserted that they founded trade outposts, set up small colonial holdings, and built entire cities in the interior jungles of the Americas.29 Through extensive contact between explorers, traders, and inhabitants, Quick posited, “Islamic words having a West African, Mandinka, root have been found in native languages not only in the Caribbean region but also in North America.”30 Most of the words that Quick brings forth as evidence refer to “gold,” which would later become a grand desire of those coming from across the Atlantic from Europe. For example, Quick wrote that the American term “goana” or “guani(n)” is derived from the Mandinka word group that includes “Ghana,” “Kani,” and “Ghanin.” Additionally, these authors proposed that there are 565 place names in the United States and Canada with Arabic roots. Villages, towns, cities, mountains, lakes, and rivers from across North America are cited as evidence that Arabs and Muslims were in the Americas and helped Amerindians come up with names for where they lived, what they saw, and how they navigated between and across the American geography.31 Overall, the evidence presented is vague, scattershot, and highly inferential rather than well documented and conclusive. Furthermore, it has been refuted by those who regard this as tantamount to robbing Indigenous American cultures of their own accomplishments, languages, architecture, art, and societies.32 Finally, while it is true that some Mandinka converted to Islam as early as the twelfth century and some of their famous emperors were Muslim, it was not until the late nineteenth century that the Mandinka converted en masse. Thus, even if Mandinka were spread across the Americas from Panama to Honduras, Brazil to Ohio, the majority of them would not have been Muslim at the time Quick and others proposed they were there. This makes Quick’s report—among others—that Christopher’s son, Ferdinand Columbus, recorded the presence of Black people called “Almamy” (inferred to mean Al Imamu, or prayer leaders) near the Nicaraguan border at Tegulcigalpa highly questionable.33

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However, this does not stop some from trying to amass more evidence to support their claims. Particularly, the accounts of explorers, colonizers, and conquistadors are used to claim, for example, that Christopher Columbus and other early explorers were well aware of Muslim presence prior to their arrival. Using evidence from two reports, Quick claimed that the Carib—an Amerindian people who lived in the Lesser Antilles—were Muslim and spoke Arabic when Columbus encountered them.34 Moreover, Columbus wrote in his papers that on Monday, October 21, 1492, while his ship was sailing near Gibara on the northeast coast of Cuba, he saw a mosque on top of a beautiful mountain. This is the same poetic journal excerpt that Erdoğan referred to as he sought to build Cuba’s first masjid on the spot that Columbus referenced. Quick and Mroueh also wrote that the ruins of other mosques and minarets with inscriptions from the Quran have been found in Cuba, Mexico, Texas, and Nevada.35 Columbus is also supposed to have been told by Amerindians of Hispaniola (modern Haiti) on his second voyage that “Black people” had been to the island before his arrival. For proof, they presented Columbus with spears that Mroueh claimed came from African Muslims. Mroueh also asserted that the weapons were tipped with a yellow metal that the Amerindians called “guanin,” or “gold,” which is also derived from a corrupted Arabic word “ghinaa,” meaning wealth.36 It is also said that the conquistador Hernán Cortés described the dress of the Amerindian women as “long veils” and that of men as “breechcloth painted in the style of Moorish draperies.”37 This has led some to believe he was describing hijabs, abayas, and other modest clothing used by Muslims. To further this point, Quick wrote that Ferdinand Columbus called the Indigenous clothing “breechcloths of the same design and cloth as the shawls worn by the Moorish women of Granada.”38 This comes as no surprise to Quick, who wrote that Columbus’s own notes seem to suggest that he knew that Africans were trading with Americans before his arrival. For those prone to believe, the evidence appears to quickly pile up. And yet the reports are circumstantial at best, often contradictory, or conflated with later tales from individuals such as Bartolomé de las Casas.39 Moreover, since most of the evidence relies on the competence and corroboration of Christopher Columbus, Cortés, and Ferdinand Columbus, we must also note that their perceptions do not necessarily correspond with reality. They often dealt in fanciful fiction to support their own claims on the American landscape. Furthermore, we must keep in mind that the framework—or cultural lens—they brought to the scene heavily influenced how they interpreted what must have been shockingly new and indescribable for them in the Americas. The Europeans assumed the Amerindian peoples could not have produced the cultural artifacts that they encountered, assuming it must have come from elsewhere. Hence, they were quick

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to ascribe outside influence on what was simply Amerindian culture and progress. We are in danger of erasing Amerindian history, presence, and culture if we simply take the European conquistadors and colonizers at their word. Nevertheless, what this does speak to is how “Muslims” in the imaginations of European explorers, colonizers, and conquistadors did play a significant role in the contact Europeans had with the Americas and their colonization of the peoples they encountered. What the Europeans saw among the Indigenous peoples and their environs was viewed according to what the Europeans already knew—an Iberian world heavily influenced by the centuries-long presence of Muslims.

Secondary Sources

Beyond presenting the above as primary evidence, Quick, Mroueh, and others also appealed to a range of secondary scholars as authorities in the attempt to assert the primacy of Muslim contact with the Americas. Chief among these is Leo Weiner. Both Quick and Mroueh appealed to Weiner and his book Africa and the Discovery of America.40 In it, Weiner wrote that Columbus was “well aware of the Mandinka presence in the New World and that the West African Muslims had spread through the Caribbean, Central, South and North American territories, including Canada, where they were trading and intermarrying with the Iroquois and Algonquin Indians.”41 Weiner was indeed a Harvard professor, but not of history or even African cultures. Instead, he was a lecturer in Slavic cultures and literature and an expert in the writings of Leo Tolstoy. He traveled widely, having originated in Russia before coming to the United States in the hopes of starting a vegetarian commune in Belize.42 That is not to say he could not have extended his expertise to include African ventures across the Atlantic (it is said he was a polyglot who spoke between twenty and thirty languages). Even so, it is most likely his Harvard credentials rather than his actual bona fides in this kind of research that have made him a standard source for those seeking foundations on which they can argue for an African, and more specifically Muslim, first contact with the Americas.43 In his three-volume tome on the potential African “discovery” of the Americas, he laid out a case for Mandinka peoples coming to Mexico. He also claims they helped give rise to various Mesoamerican cultures and kingdoms. His argument, like Quick’s above, was based on linguistics and parallels between certain words in the Mexican language and the Mandé vocabulary of the Mandinka.44 These supposed linguistic links form the basis for his case that there was an Afro-Muslim presence in Mexico before Columbus and the Europeans came along. There is widespread skepticism about Weiner’s chains of linguistic transplantation. First, one of Weiner’s now debunked propositions was that

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any two words that had similar spellings must be etymologically connected. However, such a theory has been abandoned. Second, even if one accepts that the Mandinka came to Mexico and helped found what we know as Maya and Mexica culture, one must also keep in mind that the Mandinka were not solely Muslim. While today the vast majority of Mandinka are Muslim, the conversion of the people to Islam took place over multiple centuries. There are even some who propose that the Mandinka did not convert in large numbers until the seventeenth or nineteenth centuries.45 For Weiner, this was not a problem as he also proposed that Indigenous American religions were derived from what he described as “Mandinka animistic shamanism” or what now might be called “Indigenous African religious traditions.” And so, those who turn to Weiner as a secondary source to confirm their suspicions of pre-Columbian Muslim contact with the Americas might be remiss to discover that Weiner would claim no such thing. At the same time, it seems that even if aware of this contradiction in claims, the authors who appeal to Weiner seem not to care that Weiner does not really support their view that early Muslim transatlantic voyages predated those of Europeans. Finally, Weiner’s claims should be suspect for anyone turning to them for pre-Muslim contact in the Americas because he almost completely ignores the rich, developed, and powerful social, political, and religious cultures that existed in Mexico and the Americas before the arrival of anyone from across the Atlantic. Positing that the Mandinka arrived and provided the foundation for Maya and Mexica cultures commits the grave sin of not recognizing the vivid and varied Indigenous cultures that were here previously. Likewise, in seeking to establish the authenticity of their own American identifications, the authors—and their supporters—who assert the pre-European arrival of Muslims in the Americas run the risk of erasing Indigenous histories and peoples from the very lands that they first dwelt in, long before anyone else arrived. To have the struggles, successes, and stories of Indigenous Americans across the hemisphere made invisible by these claims is demoralizing. It is another example of the use of historical claims to colonize and control. Although this may dissuade those who believe in pre-European Muslim contact, it should lead them to a humbler conclusion at the very least, that perhaps “insofar as travel in both directions may have enhanced the prospect of the trans-Atlantic exposure to Islam, West African versions of Islam might have been influenced by indigenous American concepts as well.”46

Name It and Claim It If the explicit evidence of pre-Columbian Muslim contact with the Americas is scant and spurious, what is the implied purpose of the claims being made

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by authors such as Quick? Why is it so important to claim that Muslims came to the Americas first? Alan Yuhas writes, “The idea that any group discovered a supercontinent inhabited by thousands of native people for well over 10,000 years has long been pilloried.”47 And, the claimants are many. Among them, the Vikings are the most likely culprits for being the first “Old Worlders” to arrive on the eastern shores of the Americas. At L’Anse aux Meadows and Baffin Island in Canada,48 Leif Eriksson encountered a full-fledged Viking community living off the whales and cod to be found off the coast, building extensive halls, houses, and horticulture. He founded his own colony, Vinland,49 and attempted to leave a permanent Viking imprint in the Americas. Many others have made first contact claims as well: Basques, Bristolians, Pacific Islanders, Chinese, Polynesians, Africans, and others all have been cited as potential spoilers of the “Europe first” theory of American contact.50 Each in their own way—and at different times—cultures, explorers, and colonists have been put forward as potential “discoverers” or “cultural founders” of the Americas. Some claims are stronger than others (as mentioned with the Vikings above), but many of these claims suffer from the same plot holes as those of Muslim first contact: scant evidence and spurious documentation. As mentioned before, the whole idea of the “discovery” of the Americas is problematic, ignoring a 10,000-year Indigenous presence in the Americas before the arrival of any of its supposed “discoverers.” Many pre-Columbian contact theories, Quick’s included, rob Indigenous cultures of their history and heritage by claiming that it was not the Indigenous peoples themselves, but other cultures and communities that helped create aspects of their architecture, language, religion, and so forth. Their ancestors were those who arrived late in the last Ice Age to then spread throughout the continent and become the Indigenous groups we know from history, before the arrival of the many claimants noted above. The purpose of this brief review, however, is not to offer expert opinion on the potential validity of the various claims. Neither is my goal to eviscerate and discredit Quick, Mroueh, or others who make them. Instead, it is my aim to review their assertions, critique them, but then to view them as part of a broader postmodern search for authenticity and belonging through the lens of historical literature. Taking note of the sheer magnitude and variety of interlocutors involved in this debate, the slew of ideas presented here may come as a surprise. For some readers, this may be the first time to see that European first contact was up for debate at all. European first contact in the Americas is treated as a truism of sorts—a historical fact so obviously true that it is not to be questioned. And yet this has not stopped various contestants from objecting to this thesis, questioning it, and proposing other arguments in its place. Furthermore, these theories—pseudoscientific as some may be—are robustly popular among various communities seeking to connect their heritage to the story of the Americas and its development into

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what we know today. This sentiment is even stronger among minority communities such as Black Americans or, in this case, Muslims. As mentioned in reference to Erdoğan’s claims, that is because the Americas themselves are a “claim space.” They are a space where people of various backgrounds seek to make claims about who belongs, who is the most authentic, or who has power over that space. Americans of Western European descent enjoy the privilege of the “Columbus discovered the Americas” truism by their claim on the land being vaulted to near axiomatic status. Oddly enough, Indigenous peoples in the Americas do not enjoy the same claim status. Even though they were here first, they still struggle to claim space—physical, political, cultural—in the Americas. However, along with the privilege of not having their claim seriously questioned, Americans of Western European heritage are also privileged to decide who belongs to the space, who gets to be in the club, who gets to be classed as truly “American” or not. As ironic as this may be for newcomers on the historical scene, it is a symptom of the systematic erasure of Indigenous peoples in the Americas and a consequence of colonization at the hands of European powers. As I noted at the beginning of this chapter, history plays a significant part in permitting this claim and this power to be so staunchly in place. Other people groups and identities also struggle to claim their belonging, authenticity, and space against Western European claims. For my purposes, I was primarily concerned with how Muslims claim to belong, be authentic, and be at home in the Americas. And so, it seems that in trying to weave together various strands of historical, documentary, archaeological, anthropological, and secondary evidence, Muslims who posit that their religious kith and kin first encountered the Americas before others boils down to an attempt to assert that they belong in the Americas. The thinking seems to be that if Muslims careened into the Caribbean before Christopher Columbus, then they belong on the streets of Havana. If Muslims first formed friendships with Mesoamerican peoples, they belong in Mexico City. If Muslims made maps of the Americas that helped Europeans travel here, they belong in the geography of culture that makes up the modern Americas. Quick’s, Mroueh’s, and others’ claims are less about confirming preColumbian Muslim presence in Latin America and the Caribbean in the past and more about claiming the region as their own today. To do so means challenging the claims of others and pushing against the privilege of Western European assertions of primary ownership of these lands. Quick said as much. He wrote that one of his principal motivations was to help many young people in the Caribbean “searching for their ‘roots’ and yearning to know their true history.”51 He also wrote that his composition was a conduit for the Caribbean, Latin American, and broader American

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hemisphere to be “re-connected” to the “Muslim world.” This is reflected in myriad ways across contemporary Muslim communities in the Americas today.52 Quick, himself a Muslim directly concerned with Caribbean Muslim affairs, could have known that the intimations of the historical evidence were not enough, or not fully understood and fleshed out, but that may have been perfectly fine for him. That is, beyond making specific historical claims, Quick and others sought to hint at how the Muslim world has long been engaged with the Americas and continues to be so, at least in part, to encourage more active propagation of the religion through dawah (the “call” to Islam) today. Postmodern history’s greatest real-world application is not necessarily in its establishment of the truth, but its satisfaction in appeasing an individual’s or group’s desire for meaning in the late modern age. Thus, the desire of Muslims appealing to competing histories is often to establish the authenticity of their own narrative or identification, one that has been subjugated, repressed, and sidelined in favor of other, predominantly Christian ones. More poignantly, they perhaps point to the desire of Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean to link their region to the global ummah and to the American hemisphere in which they live, deep in the annals of history. As such, the claims are part of a wider postcolonial search for lost origins and to counteract potent feelings of loss, trauma, and nostalgia. The irony is that such “nostalgia for lost origins can be detrimental to the exploration of social realities within the critique of imperialism.”53 Thus, by focusing too much on whether or not Muslims were the “first” to “discover” the Americas, many Muslims (and non-Muslims) miss out on the lived realities, and continuing subjugation, of Muslims across the past five centuries and throughout the hemisphere today. At the same time, to ignore this nostalgia in treatments of Islam and Muslims is to sideline an aspect of contemporary Muslims’ antiimperial sentiment and struggle. That is to say, these historical revisions, while not historically accurate or verifiable, are important to many Muslims across the Americas today. Another irony is that while the evidence of the claims in this instance is weak, their sentiment is correct. The Americas have long been connected to a broader, global Muslim population than we at first might imagine. However, if it was not before Christopher Columbus that Muslims first traveled to the Americas, it was with Columbus and his fellow explorers, conquerors, and colonizers. Muslims do not have to look as far back as the 1300s to find such a historical anchor. Rather, they can look to the “long sixteenth century” and the arrival of Muslims from Spain for their “deeper roots.” With substantial historical evidence at hand, scholars have shown how Muslims first arrived from the Iberian Peninsula along with Spanish Catholic ships and began to have an impact on the lands that were to be called the “New World.” Exploring this chapter of history illustrates again

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how history becomes a way for Muslims in the Americas to claim the region as their own. It reveals how their forebears in the hemisphere take on an iconic aspect as they represent the importance of Islam to the region over time. Moreover, it cements Muslims’ important place in the landscape, culture, and religion of the Americas in the past, rather than simply being a geographic relocation, migrant presence, or foreign introduction in later centuries. Instead, their story becomes intimately intertwined with the making of what we know as “the Americas” today.

Notes 1. Shaikh Youssef, interviewed by the author, Vega Alta, Puerto Rico, July 7, 2017. 2. Tharoor, “Turkey’s Erdogan Wants to Build a Mosque in Cuba.” 3. Yilmaz, “Right-Wing Hegemony and Immigration,” 376. 4. Foucault, Power/Knowledge, 193. 5. See Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity. 6. See Richard Evans, “Postmodernism and the Study of History,” History Today, n.d., https://www.historytoday.com/archive/postmodernism-and-study-history. 7. See Benjamin, Über den Begriff der Geschichte. 8. A dark example of this would be those in what is now called the “alt-right,” but which is historically known as the “white supremacist movement,” rewriting histories of the Holocaust, American chattel slavery, or European colonialism to inject doubt or denial into official or dominant accounts of these events and periods. See Eaglestone, Postmodernism and Holocaust Denial (Postmodern Encounters). 9. Lalami, The Moor’s Account, 3–4. 10. Stevens, “Introduction,” xxii. 11. Lalami, The Moor’s Account, 4. 12. Abdullah Hakim Quick is a North American imam, historian, and instructor at the Al-Maghrib Institute in the United States. He has said in multiple venues that he is of African American, Caribbean, and Mohawk descent. He has taught and written extensively on Islamic history, especially as it relates to the Caribbean. 13. Quick, Deeper Roots. 14. Ibid., 7. 15. Ibid., 7–8. 16. This three-pillar approach to the evidence of pre-Columbian Muslim contact with the Americas is a modified version of the one first put forward by Youssef Mroueh, who is himself a proponent of pre-Columbian Muslim interactions with the Americas. 17. Al-Masudi, Muruj al-dhahab wa-ma’adin al-jawhar. Another version is available to view at https://www.wdl.org/en/item/7441. 18. Ibid. 19. Quick, Deeper Roots, 12. 20. Hamdani, “An Islamic Background to the Voyages of Discovery,” 276. 21. Quick, Deeper Roots, 12–13. 22. See Dale, The Muslim Discovery of America. 23. Juan de la Cosa’s 1500 map is the oldest known map of the Americas still in existence.

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24. Quick, Deeper Roots, 12. 25. Ibid. 26. Quick references Shihab al-Din Abu al-Abbas Ahmad ibn Fadl Allah alUmari, Masalik al-Absaar fi Mamaalik al-Amsar, translated by Gaudefroy Demomboynes (Paris: Libraire, Orientaliste Paul Geuthner: 1927); Deeper Roots, 74–75. 27. Quick, Deeper Roots, 15. 28. See Mroueh, “Precolumbian Muslims in the Americas.” 29. See Winters, “Olmec (Mande) Loan Words in the Mayan, Mixe-Zoque and Taino Languages.” See also Rafael Bazan, “Some Notes for a History of the Relations Between Latin America, the Arabs, and Islam”; Quick, Deeper Roots, 18. 30. Quick, Deeper Roots, 19. 31. See Mroueh, “Precolumbian.” 32. See Haslip-Viera, Ortiz de Montellano, and Barbour, “CA Forum on Anthropology in Public.” See also Colavito, “Did Columbus Find an Ancient Mosque in Cuba?”; Fitzpatrick-Matthews, “Barry Fell”; Yeagley, “So Muslims Came to America Before Columbus?” 33. Quick, Deeper Roots, 17. 34. Ibid., 18–19. 35. Ibid., 8. 36. Ibid., 14. 37. “Cortés Describes the Country,” in Cortés, First Letter, American Historical Association, n.d., https://www.historians.org/teaching-and-learning/teaching -resources-for-historians/teaching-and-learning-in-the-digital-age/the-history-of-the -americas/the-conquest-of-mexico/letters-from-hernan-cortes/cortes-describes-the -country. 38. Quick, Deeper Roots, 15. 39. See Casas, Historia de las Indias. 40. Weiner, Africa and the Discovery of America. The full text of Weiner’s work can be found at https://archive.org/details/africadiscoveryo02wienrich. 41. Quick, Deeper Roots, 13. 42. See Conway, Dark Hero of the Information Age. 43. Questions of authority also linger around the archaeological qualifications of another supposed expert Quick writes about: Barry Fell (also of Harvard University). Quick claimed that Fell introduced in his book Saga America evidence supporting the arrival, centuries before Columbus, of Muslims from North and West Africa. Fell is said to have discovered the existence of Muslim schools at Valley of Fire, Allan Springs, Logomarsino, Keyhole, Canyon, Washoe, and Hickison Summit Pass (Nevada); Mesa Verde (Colorado); Mimbres Valley (New Mexico); and Tipper Canoe (Indiana) dating back to 700–800 CE. He claimed to have found engraved on rocks in the arid western United States texts, diagrams, and charts representing the last surviving fragments of what was once a system of schools—at both an elementary and higher level. The supposed language of instruction was North African Arabic written with old Kufic Arabic scripts. The subjects of instruction included writing, reading, arithmetic, religion, history, geography, mathematics, astronomy, and sea navigation. The descendants of the Muslim visitors of North America are members of the present Iroquois, Algonquin, Anasazi, Hohokam, and Olmec peoples. See Quick, Deeper Roots, 16. However, while Fell was an accomplished zoologist, his archaeological methods were largely criticized and critiqued by the established anthropological community. See Fell, Saga America. 44. Weiner contended that words such as tequina (master) came from the Mandé tigi (master) or that the Nahuatl term pochteca (wealth) came down over the centuries through a corruption of the Arabic phrase fi al-mal (wealth) into faling, which then

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morphed into the pan-African word folom, which was then transported to the Americas where it became the Maya p’olom and later the Nahuatl pochteca. He builds a similar case with the word for loincloth working from the Greek zeirai, to the male Arabic ‘izar, to the female form mi’zar, to the masirili (ornamentation) of Mandé, and on to the Nahuatl maxtili, a kind of loincloth worn for modesty among the Mexica. Weiner, Africa and the Discovery of America. 45. Nicholls, The Jumbies’ Playing Ground, 168. 46. Ahmad, “The Islamic Influence in (Pre)Colonial and Early America,” 926. 47. See Yuhas, “So Muslims Beat Columbus to America?” 48. See Boisoneault, “L’Anse aux Meadows and the Viking Discovery of North America.” 49. See Wallace, “The Norse in Newfoundland.” 50. See Gupte, “The Basques Were Here,” or other works such as that of Menzies, 1421: The Year China Discovered America; Switek, “DNA Shows How the Sweet Potato Crossed the Sea”; Van Sertima, They Came Before Columbus; Thompson, “Pre-Columbian Black Presence in the Western Hemisphere.” I have also seen a popular novel (and subsequent film adaptation) of an Indonesian book, Bulan Terbelah di Langit Amerika [Crescent in the American Sky] in which it is claimed that Chinese Muslim sailors reached the Americas long before Columbus and called them “Mu Lan Pi.” Throughout the book, there are numerous other claims to the influence of Islam and Muslims in the Americas, including the writing of the Declaration of Independence. 51. Quick, Deeper Roots, 8. 52. For example, some Puerto Rican Muslims claim that the Indigenous name for their island—Borinquen—is derived from the Arabic word for “blessing”—baraka. 53. Spivak, “Can the Subaltern Speak?” 87.

3 Los Moros, Spain, and the Making of the New World

COMPLETE THIS PHRASE: IN _____, COLUMBUS SAILED THE OCEAN blue. The answer, you might have guessed, is “1492.” Every school child in the United States learns this rhyme, knows it, and remembers it for years to come. It is part of the habitus of teaching the “discovery” of the Americas by Christopher Columbus and other Europeans. 1492. This is when Columbus sailed the ocean blue, sent by the Spanish Catholic monarchs Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. This factoid is almost ubiquitously known. Relatively fewer people, however, can recall what other significant Iberian historical event occurred in 1492. More specifically, the vast majority of the public is completely ignorant of what was happening in Spain while Columbus was charting the Atlantic in search of spice routes to and from Asia on behalf of the Spanish Catholic Crown. The Reconquista (or the Reconquest) raged for hundreds of years and was an attempt by Christian kingdoms in Spain and Portugal to recapture the Iberian Peninsula from Muslim forces and rulers. Although the knowledge that Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand sent Columbus across the Atlantic in 1492 is widely acknowledged, that year also marks when the same monarchs declared the end of the Reconquista with the fall of the Nasrid Kingdom in Granada. It also marks the beginning of a concerted campaign to drive Muslims and Jews physically, spiritually, and culturally out of Spain and the Iberian Peninsula. While Columbus’s arrival in the Americas is treated as an event of global historical importance and the first step in the journey to a new world order, the fall of Granada, which occurred just ten months before Columbus set foot in the Caribbean, has

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been made into a mere footnote in the history of the Americas. And yet from the Andalusian maps and ships that Columbus used to journey to the Americas to the language they spoke, “Islamic Spain” would come to shape the Americas alongside Columbus’s Spanish Catholic sponsors because it helped shaped the journey itself and the encounters, explorations, and conquests that followed. By turning our attention to the historical connection between the socalled discovery of the New World and the declared completion of the Reconquista in 1492, we can consider the ways in which Andalusian Spain loomed large in shaping colonial Latin America and the Spanish Caribbean. These Iberian influences not only include the ways in which Islam and Muslims physically traveled across the Atlantic to the Americas, but also how Andalusian Spain came to shape Latin America and the Caribbean in the realms of law, culture, art, architecture, race, and religion. It could even be said that, in some ways, the Spanish colonization of the Americas was an extension, or outgrowth, of the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula. In part because of this, there is also a certain historical irony that runs throughout this chapter. The Catholic Spanish Crown wanted to expel Muslims and Jews physically from the Iberian Peninsula and prevent them from corrupting their New World colonies. To that end, they drafted a series of laws and institutions to do so. Nonetheless, Spanish Muslim (and Jewish) cultural, religious, linguistic, and other forms of influence continue to be seen, felt, heard, tasted, and experienced in Spain, Portugal, and throughout their former colonies in the Americas. By extension, the story of Islam and Muslims in, and as part of, the Spanish colonization of the Americas can be viewed as related to the evolving development of an imperial (and later “neoimperial”) global order from the sixteenth century to the present.1 This chapter provides a picture of how Islam and Muslims were a part of this process from early on. Later chapters continue to show, and interrogate, this presence and influence in proceeding centuries and as part of other imperial machinations and dynamics such as the transatlantic trade in enslaved people, indentured servitude, blanqueamiento (or whitening) immigration policies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the contemporary global war on terror. In this chapter, I focus on the ways in which Islam and Muslims were part of the particular formations and transformations of power and knowledge in the Spanish Americas during the “long sixteenth century.” With this in mind, this chapter illustrates how Muslims from Spain influenced the Americas as they came as enslaved persons, explorers, colonists, and in the minds and imaginations of Spanish Catholics as they encountered and conquered the New World. To do so, this chapter turns to a broad corpus of literature that has explored the influence of Andalusian Spain on Latin America and Caribbean cultures and histories. I not only

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attend to how individual Muslims physically came across the Atlantic to the Americas, but also the extent to which the specter of the Muslim “monster” was brought over from Spain and came to influence language, ideas of citizenship, material culture, religious practice, and the representations and constructions of Indigenous Amerindians by Spanish colonizers.

Longing for the “Ornament of the World” Despite the fraught politics around Muslim populations in contemporary Europe, the presence of Islam and Muslims in Europe is not a new phenomenon. Historical Muslim communities in Spain, Sicily, southern France, and elsewhere in Europe are well documented. In this chapter, I focus on al-Andalus and its eight-centuries-long constellation of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian influence and power and concomitant, alternating phases of open hostility and tentative coexistence (convivencia). Al-Andalus emerged out of the wake of the defeat of the Umayyad caliphate in the Middle East. When the Arab Umayyad dynasty disintegrated after the Battle of Zab in 750, the majority of the Umayyad family was tracked down and killed. However, a certain member of the family—Abd alRahman I—survived, escaped, and found his way to the Iberian Peninsula. There, he united the disparate forces and tribes in the “far west” of the Islamic imperial world at the time and founded an Islamic counterempire in exile, opposed to the rule of the Abbasids based first in Kufa and later in Baghdad, both in modern-day Iraq.2 Over the next century and a half and its subsequent upheaval, civil wars, and external attacks, his grandson Abd alRahman III was able to bring political peace, cultural prominence, and economic prowess to the peninsula by the middle of the tenth century. He then claimed to refound the Umayyad caliphate as “al-Andalus” with Córdoba as the new capital of the Islamicate world. Built on African gold and a vast network of trade and a “dynamic meritocracy,”3 Islamic Spain became a multicultural mix of remnants of Visigoth predecessors, Arab elites, Berber labor, African traders, and a menagerie of Christians, Jews, and Muslims. The economic, cultural, and political flowering of al-Andalus is said to have reached its peak in the tenth century under Abd al-Rahman III and his son al-Hakam II. However, the Córdoban caliphate effectively collapsed in the early eleventh century after political disintegration. At this time, the Almoravids and Almohads—Moroccan Berber lineages—became consecutive rulers of Islamic Spain over the next two centuries until around 1269. From that time on, there was a steady march of Christian forces bearing down on Muslim cities, towns, and holdings until the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada finally fell in 1492. Despite the constant tensions and outbreaks of violence, some hold that from the early 900s until the

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mid-1400s, there was a relative peace between Christians, Jews, and Muslims that brought about great cultural, literary, artistic, historical, and philosophical accomplishments. The Christians and Jews of Islamic Spain lived under restrictions as dhimmi—non-Muslims under the protection of Muslim law. Supporters of this theory contend that for the majority of these eight centuries, the three groups managed to not only get along, but also mutually benefit one another in the realms of religion, philosophy, the arts, economics, and politics. Others even claim that at various times the civilization of al-Andalus flourished to become the most cosmopolitan and advanced civilization in the world at the time, matching the efflorescence of the heights of the Roman Empire and the Italian Renaissance. They say that the pursuit of knowledge, or what Akbar Ahmed calls the “ilm ethos,”4 helped to create a spiritual, intellectual, and cultural environment marked by a hypothesized convivencia—not only an environment of relative peace between Muslims, Christians, and Jews, but a place where creativity, curiosity, and common goals brought about the brightest golden age either Europe or the Islamic world had yet known. Perhaps the most popular proponent of this interpretation of Andalusian history is María Rosa Menocal. She writes that the vast intellectual wealth, economic prosperity, and cultural effluence of alAndalus was woven into a “rich web of attitudes about culture . . . and intellectual opulence” that made those parts of the Iberian Peninsula ruled by Muslims between 711–1492 the “ornament of the world.”5 Now treated as little more than “a nostalgic curiosity,”6 Menocal writes that “there are no Muslim Andalusians visible anywhere in the world today” and yearns for a multiculturalism that would model itself on the convivencia and perhaps bring about greater peace in our globalized world.7 Despite their allure, these dreams of a cosmopolitan al-Andalus do not fit well with what is known of the era’s history. In selective historical accounts that praise Andalusian convivencia, there is nary a reference to the myriad political, theological, or cultural disputes—not to mention open conflicts, public executions, etc.—during these “golden ages,” or the fact that the respective caliphates could be dictatorial, elitist, and more intolerant than stories of intercultural harmony and interfaith utopia suggest. Indeed, the verifiability of this convivencia is critically questioned by scholars who believe it is little more than myth.8 Aaron Hughes, a scholar of Jewish philosophy, Islamic studies, and religion, writes that those who appeal to a “Golden Age” of tolerance in tenth- and eleventh-century alAndalus are not actually interested in what happened there, but in constructing a contemporary ecumenical apologetic. What is often described as “tolerance” by these authors is something Hughes claims “would have little or no meaning at that time.”9 Al-Andalus was no utopia and those versions of Andalusian history that make it out to be so are far from representing

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reality. Effectively, they smooth over and respin vast swathes of debated history to appeal to a certain component of society seeking to soften the image of Islam’s role in society, culture, and politics.10 This smoothing over and respinning also plays a significant role in the identity-making and authenticity-claiming efforts of Latinx Muslims in the United States and various Spanish-speaking Muslim convert communities throughout Latin America and the Caribbean today.11 It is this nostalgia, or yearning, for al-Andalus that is perhaps more important than any “fact” of convivencia, tolerance, or other cultural cue that people turn to in the history of Islamic Spain. In various ways, scholars, pop culture creators, and everyday religious practitioners appeal to alAndalus as “harbingers of Islam’s supposedly true heritage.”12 In the end, what they present is a “streamlined, homogenized, and essentialized”13 version of Islam and Muslims in history that ignores other historico-cultural time lines, scholars, and currents in Muslim thought and action over the centuries. These choices, of course, are not neutral ones.14 There are those who would argue that the essence of Islam passes from the time of the Prophet and the Pious Predecessors through al-Mamun’s Bayt-al-Hikma (House of Wisdom) to the philosophical intermingling of scholars in Andalusian Spain. It is their hope that today’s ummah would model itself on these periods, evincing the golden era of scientific progress, discovery, and innovation in Baghdad and the splendor, religious diversity, and tolerance of al-Andalus.

Al-Andalus and the Making of the Americas Still, if al-Andalus plays a role in how certain histories, places, and peoples are imagined today, it also played a similarly significant role in the encounter between Spaniards and Amerindians in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It could be said that the Americas were formed in the crucible of relations between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam bequeathed by the peninsular conflicts that saw the downfall of Córdoba and the rise of Spain’s Christian empire.15 Historiographies of Spanish colonial presence in the Americas have, to their credit, often emphasized the creation of a new civilization on both sides of the Atlantic caused by the contact between the religious, intellectual, and cultural aspects of both the Spaniards and the Amerindians from the late fifteenth century and beyond. However, these histories have sometimes framed Spain as a uniform Christian empire imposing itself on the New World in a unified and singular way. As these tellings have it, faced with the gift of Christendom and European civilization, the effective holocaust of Indigenous populations in the Americas becomes little more than an unintended historical accident. Few dare to

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connect the peninsular crusades against Muslims and Jews with the decimation of Amerindian populations. Yet some scholars make those claims and connections and thus imply a link between the intentionality of the first process with the results of the second to postulate that Hispanic modernity and European nationalism emerged out of the interwoven histories of both. With these histories in mind, I suggest in this chapter that the mental universe of the conquerors was shaped by the ethnic, racial, and religious tensions of Spanish peninsular culture and history. The Spaniards who came to Latin America and the Caribbean in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were still working out their particular ethnic, racial, and religious identifications after emerging from a series of wars to claim Spain and the entire Iberian Peninsula for Christendom. They would come to work out these tensions in the Americas and against the historical backdrop of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim coexistence back in Spain.16 The temperament of Spanish colonial thought, it will be shown, was obsessed with the “Muslim danger,” as it now fixed its eyes on new lands—el Nuevo Mundo. Early explorers had fought as Spanish soldiers in Iberia and Africa and sailed across the Atlantic with the war against Muslims fresh in their hearts and minds, but now in a new land. Thus, in part, the conquest of these lands signaled a change in the fortunes of Europeans who felt besieged on all sides by the specter of Islam at home. They felt, and were perhaps correct in feeling so, that if they could control, conquer, and convert the Americas they could tip the balance of global power in their favor. The Reconquista united Christian tribes against a common enemy, promised material benefits and substantial land and properties to the conquerors, and gave Christian Spaniards a sense of cultural, intellectual, and political superiority.17 It would come to do the same in the Americas where Europeans sought to contest a common enemy (the Indigenous civilizations and peoples of the Americas), seek material wealth and geographic claims, and claim superiority over rival empires, European and otherwise. One could even argue that we are still influenced by this shift in a world that is imagined as locked in a constant and critical “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West.18 If that is the case now, it was similar to the scene in the 1400s when the “new” world came to serve as a sort of refuge for Christians feeling defeated in the “old.” Spain, as a mixed country of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim influences would come to exert an oversized influence on the formation of the patrimonio and culture of Latin America and the Spanish Caribbean. All of these influences helped form the characteristics of the contemporary societies we see today. Many features of Latin American countries and cultures are derivative of precisely the peculiar moment in Spanish peninsular history that coincided with the conquest of the New World. The conquistadors provided a medium in which the presence of Muslims, as real or imaginary

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forces, made their mark in both remarkable and everyday ways. As John Tofik Karam writes, “Multi-religious Iberia, with populations that conflicted and co-existed, frames the beginnings of Islam in the Americas.”19 This chapter is dedicated to exploring how this happened. First, I address the physical, historical, embodied Muslims who came over to the Americas as part of the Spanish conquest and investigate their activities and influence in the midst of colonial contact. Second, I examine the ways in which Muslims traveled to the Americas in the imaginations of non-Muslim Spaniards and how that came to shape the contours of that same period of encounter and colonization.

Muslim Servants, Conquistadors, Interpreters, Healers, and Colonizers Early explorers were often Spanish soldiers who had fought against Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa. And yet the story of how Muslims came to the Americas goes beyond the Spanish soldier or sailor’s imagination and previous experiences. It also includes the bodies, practices, and personal stories of the Muslims who came across the Atlantic and took part in exploring, settling, exploiting, and colonizing various geographies in Latin America, the Caribbean, and across the hemisphere. Spain, in part because the conquest of the Americas was an extension of its war against Muslims in its homeland, sought to stem this flow and stop the practice of Islam in the Americas. There is a debate over who was the first Muslim to arrive in the United States. Some argue that it was Anthony Janszoon van Salee (1607–1676). Born in Cartagena, Spain, to a Moorish mother named Margarita, it is said that Janszoon served as Moorish cavalier off the Barbary Coast. He spent time in what is now known as Algeria and Morocco. It is likely that he was raised Muslim, but others claim he “turned Turk” while in the service of the Barbary pirates. Beyond North Africa, Janszoon also moved in Dutch circles and in 1629 obtained a marriage license in Amsterdam to marry the German Grietse Reyniers. In 1630, the two sailed off to New Netherlands with the Dutch West India Company and settled as land holders in the southwestern tip of Long Island, New York. Today, that area is known as Brooklyn20 and has over twenty mosques dispersed between the bars, bodegas, boutique cafés, and grocery stores. In addition to being a poster child for globalization in the “Age of European Exploration,” Janszoon could also possibly be the first Muslim in what is now the United States. Although some question his Islamic credentials—in that they believe he was not a Muslim at all—it is likely he was not the first Muslim to come to the Americas in either case.

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Instead, that distinction could likely belong to Estabenico (Mustafa Azemmouri), the servant of Andrés Dorantes de Carranza. An enslaved North African known by his Spanish captors as Estaben de Dorantes, there is scant reliable information about Estabenico. What we do know, or what we can glean and assume, comes largely from the aforementioned Cabeza de Vaca’s La relación and Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo’s Historia general y natural de las Indias, both written in the sixteenth century.21 Born into a Muslim family in Morocco around 1500, he was sold into slavery as an adolescent and was forced into Christian conversion as part of his conscription as a servant. His owner, Dorantes, then took him to the Americas with the fated Narváez expedition to colonize la Florida. After docking at Santo Domingo, Cuba, the expedition came ashore in what is now St. Petersburg, Florida. Today, you can stop in at the nearby Jungle Prada Tavern and enjoy a beer with pretzel crostinis and crab bites before visiting the site and its signs dedicated to the arrival of Estabenico and the other explorers of the Narváez expedition, and learn of the tragedy that struck their odyssey into the Americas. Through the accidents of history, and in part because of those tragedies, Estabenico ended up becoming “one of the first men to cross the North American continent.”22 An eight-year odyssey of intercultural contact, translation, and exploration took Estabenico along the Gulf Coast of Florida and the US South, across Texas, to New Mexico, and finally to the grandeur of Tenochtitlán, today’s Ciudad de México. Reimagining Estabenico as a living, breathing, and distinctively Muslim traveler in the vein of Ibn Battuta, in her book The Moor’s Account Laila Lalami envisions his yearning for home, his experiences of change, his not hearing the sound of prayer, nor tasting a bittersweet North African lemon, nor knowing when Ramadan begins or ends, nor necessarily knowing where Mecca lies. Literate in Arabic and apparently able to speak Spanish, it is no stretch of the imagination that even as he was subjugated as a slave he was also caught up in the “disease of empire” and became his own peculiar version of a colonizer and Spanish explorer “involved in conquest,” she writes.23 However, as Dennis F. Herrick points out, Estabenico is also rarely recognized as such and not given proper recognition—for good or ill—as a contributor to the Spanish Americas in general and the modern borderlands of the US Southwest in particular, with only a couple of parks named after him in Arizona and a small bronze bust of him in an El Paso, Texas, community center. Lalami also conjures up stories of Estabenico serving as a fortune-teller, medicine man, and shaman. In this, she posits Estabenico as one who would prefigure real Muslim amulet makers and medicinal providers in the Spanish colonies of the Americas. In addition to Estabenico, there were other Muslims who came over to the Spanish Americas. Beyond the rumored Muslims who came on board Christopher Columbus’s ships—the Pinzón brothers24—there were “hun-

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dreds of North African slaves attached to the 1540 expedition of Francisco Vázquez de Coronado.”25 There were also others who came in the decades to follow. They came to the Americas for various reasons, with many motives, and precipitated by myriad circumstances. As we readily see, some were forced. Others came to escape an old society or to build a new one. Still others came to acquire riches or stake their claim. It is within this transatlantic imperial nexus of many motivations that Karoline P. Cook situates her refreshing historical work on the subject.26 Cook examines the legal category of “Morisco”—former, or secret, Muslims who converted to, or were coerced into accepting, Christianity during Spain’s reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula—in the Americas. Cook focuses on how Moriscos negotiated their lives in the Spanish empire of the Americas, relying on archival research of legal documents and attitudes toward Muslims and Moriscos. Furthermore, she pays attention not only to how Muslims and Moriscos came to the Americas, but also to some of the ways in which the images of “Islam” and “Muslims” were also transplanted to the New World. The result is an attentive exploration of citizenship, identification, and social belonging in the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century transatlantic Spanish world. As Cook explains, “By studying the often-overlooked references to Muslims and Moriscos in colonial documents, we can better understand how sixteenth- and early 17th-century inhabitants of Spanish America conceived of their relationships to each other and of their own location within the [Spanish] empire.”27 Cook’s perusal of legislation and attitudes surrounding the presence of Moriscos in Spanish America confronts categories such as “Spaniard” or “Muslim” in the colonial world. To trace this transatlantic narrative, Cook takes pains to explain multiple facets of the presence of Moriscos and attitudes toward them from the Iberian Peninsula to the Spanish Americas and in-between. In the rapidly changing sixteenth-century world of the Spanish empire, the term Morisco came to prominence as a conflation of religious, ethnic, and political identities and as a marker of Otherness in the emerging definition of what it meant to be “Spanish.” Using the term in its broadest sense, Cook looks at the transatlantic lives and legal status of Muslims, and also of “Moors” who converted to Christianity in the wake of the Reconquista. Cook starts in Spain, outlining the increasing crackdown on Moriscos who continued to practice Islam and the trials they faced before the Inquisitions. She then follows Moriscos and Muslims across the seas to the Americas, where they had to navigate, duck, and transgress restrictions on the overseas emigration of “new Christians.” The Spanish Crown put in place a series of regulations to prohibit the presence of Jews and Muslims and restrict their influence in the Americas. Starting in 1501 and throughout the sixteenth century, Spain passed a series of laws meant to keep los

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Moros out of the New World. In one of the earliest regulations, given to the first governor of Hispaniola, Friar Nicolás de Ovando, the Crown decreed: As we with great care have to carry out the conversion of the Indians to our holy Catholic faith: if you find persons suspect in matters of the faith present during the said conversion, it could create an impediment. Do not consent or allow Muslims or Jews, heretics, or anyone reconciled by the Inquisition, or persons newly convert to our Faith to go there, unless they are black slaves . . . who were born in the power of Christians, our subjects and native inhabitants.28

In another example from a decree issued in July 1556, rulers in the Spanish Indies were ordered to “repatriate to Spain all Muslims” while at the same time acknowledging—with a certain amount of annoyance, it seems—that Muslims and Moriscos were finding their way to the Americas despite previous laws barring them from doing so.29 Such laws were put in place as a bulwark to protect the Christianization project under way in the Spanish Americas and as part of emerging Spanish categories concerning race. In particular, the concept of limpieza de sangre— or “purity of blood”—was used to bar many Spaniards from emigrating to the Americas since some form of proof of not having recent Muslim or Jewish ancestors to prove such limpieza de sangre was required to do so. These laws and prescriptions even overrode desires to bring Moriscos to the Americas as slaves, interpreters, or artisans. Nonetheless, and despite such tireless bureaucratic efforts, Moriscos arrived anyway. Although the passage of Muslims to the Indies was forbidden from the beginning of Spanish incursions there, complaints and denunciations of the failure to comply with the ordinances in this respect are found frequently in the historical record. Spanish authorities were aware of the forbidden crossings of Moriscos to el Nuevo Mundo from the very beginning and sought to combat them throughout the sixteenth century. That Moriscos were present in the Americas upset notions of Spanish concerns over title, dominion, and access to Indigenous peoples. That knowledge also elicited anxiety within Spanish colonial society. Spaniards feared that Muslims would not only go to the Americas, but perhaps regain the ascendancy they lost in the peninsula. It has also been argued that a more continental concern about an increasingly powerful Muslim presence in Europe—the Ottoman Empire—was to blame for such anxieties and laws. Alan Mikhail even goes so far as to say that Europe’s exploration of the New World was an ideological extension of the Crusades in an effort to check and circumvent Ottoman ascendancy.30 Such fears might also have been exacerbated by rumors of Spanish Christians converting to Islam, including a member of Columbus’s crew, one of the first Christians to see American land—Rodrigo de Triana (or Rodrigo de Lepe).31 These fears

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played a prominent role in Spain’s motivations and machinations as a colonial power in the Americas. As Moriscos came to the Americas, they brought a variety of personal religious beliefs, practices, and material cultures influenced by class and ethnicity in their places of origin (Granada, Spain, North Africa, etc.). However, in the Spanish Americas, public devotion was observed as an outward expression of fidelity not only to the Catholic Church, but also to the state. “Public displays of heterodoxy in communal devotional spaces” could undermine one’s status in the Spanish imperial project just as “a public reputation of piety” could account for honor even without the “requisite ‘purity of blood’” expected of Spanish citizens.32 As Cook shows, Christians, Muslims, and Moriscos in the New World crossed religious, social, geographic, and political boundaries to exchange remedies for emotional, spiritual, and physical ills. These everyday interactions were cast within a constellation of legal prescriptions, debates over colonial authority, attitudes concerning citizenship, and public images and imaginaries of Moriscos in the Spanish empire. The practice of healing and the use of talismans were widespread among Spaniards and North Africans in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Among both Muslims and non-Muslims, practices of hechicería— witchcraft or magic—were prevalent. Looking to the 1659 Relación of the Holy Office of the Inquisition in Mexico City, Cook tells the story of accused heretics and “witches” such as Francisco López de Aponte. Accused of being a magic healer who carried pieces of wax, papers, and relics to cure illnesses, at the very least he was assumed to be a Muslim sympathizer, at the worst a “white Moor,” and subsequently executed as part of the 1659 auto-da-fé—the public execution of an accused heretic during the Inquisition.33 Of course, because of the widespread nature of healing practices among Muslims, Christians, Jews, and others, it is hard to pinpoint whether or not these practices were attributable to Muslims and Moriscos or if they were simply caught up in heresy-seeking witch hunts of the time. As Cook writes, this is all “subject to debate,” but what it does show is the extent to which the “religious and ethnic tensions in Spain swept across the Atlantic and inflected relationships between practitioners and their clients in Spanish America.”34 By telling everyday stories such as that of López de Aponte, Cook situates Muslims and Moriscos into the larger narrative of Spanish Empire and colonial society. Cook frames this discussion within the larger lattice of the Spanish imperial project. She adds rich archival texture to the narrative of Muslims in the Americas prior to the twentieth century. More than that, she also highlights how the imagination of Islam and Muslims was a significant aspect of the American project. Thus, it was not only Muslim bodies, but also the specter of them in the minds of Spanish-Christian colonial powers, that influenced the region.

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Muslims and the Imagining of the Americas Muslim communities and individuals from the Iberian Peninsula made significant contributions during the initial stage of the conquest and colonization of Latin America and the Caribbean. José F. Buscaglia-Salgado writes, “The legacy of peninsular Islamic civilization fell deep in the foundations of American societies and reached greater projection . . . in the general scale of that monumental and cataclysmic process that gave rise to modern American peoples.”35 One way in which Muslims contributed to the cataclysmic process of colonization in the Americas was through the imagination of those Europeans coming to the Americas. Phillip Jenkins comments that “just as Turkish power was reaching its height in the traditional Christian lands of the Middle East and the Balkans, so the seafaring Christian powers were bringing their faith to the New World.”36 Thus, having fought Muslims in Iberia and Africa, and with the specter of Muslims looming large in the European mind as they fought over, and defended, territories in and around the Mediterranean (North Africa, Italy, Greece and Turkey, and the Middle East), the European colonizers brought their vision of “Muslim monsters” to the Americas with them as well. This vision of Muslims as “American monsters,” Sophia Rose Arjana argues, is the “result of a long historical process” that began in the medieval imagination and continued through the Age of Exploration, the era of American colonization, and persists even today.37 Indeed, the image of the inherently violent Muslim has currency in US news media because it rests on many centuries of the cultural portrayal of Islam as a source of conflict and as a wholly Other people, culture, and place. This is sometimes referred to as “Orientalism.” Orientalism can be defined as a methodology or discipline introduced by Edward Said through the publication of his book, Orientalism in 1978, which critiqued the idea that the East and West are inherent opposites of each other. In his view, the concept that the West was the creative agent and the East (or Orient) the created object38 is part of a broader European strategy of domination that seeks to consolidate and justify its colonial power through the production of knowledge about the Orient. In this work, and also in later essays, Said exposes how this production of knowledge made the Orient (and other locales of empire) into a place of violence, sexual deviance, and romantic adventure (think 1001 Arabian Nights or Aladdin). In this way of thinking, the idea of “us” versus “them” was supported to institute a superior and progressive European identity against a static and exotic “Oriental.”39 Viewed against this historical backdrop, contemporary concerns about Islam and Muslims in Europe and the Americas are not new. Instead, they reflect old anxieties about Islam and Muslims on the pages of medieval manuscripts, painting canvases, ancient travel diaries, and works of Euro-

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pean drama, poetry, and fiction. In these works, Arjana argues, Muslims were portrayed as monsters—as giants, cannibals, vampires, zombies, and other demonic beings. She writes, “Conquerors and settlers thought of Indians as monsters, as seen in the genocidal campaigns launched against them, which included rape, torture, dismemberment, and murder.”40 When they came to the Americas, they brought these visions and their attendant rhetoric with them. “European explorers used a language steeped in anti-Muslim rhetoric, which insisted that Arabs, Turks, Moors, and other Muslims were non-human,” writes Arjana.41 In the Americas, they “transferred existent fears and anxieties about the Moors onto the inhabitants of the Americas whom they called ‘New Moors.’”42 Despite the sometimes, and only somewhat, favorable views of Amerindians included in the writings of colonizers and explorers such as Bartolomé de las Casas, the overall attitude toward Indigenous peoples by Spaniard conquerors was condescending, degrading, and dismissive of the common humanity shared between the two parties. Their language about Muslims and Moors proved fertile source material for their invectives against the Americas’ Indigenous peoples. Indeed, throughout the so-called Age of Exploration, Spaniards exported their Old World fears and desires into new contexts of European colonial expansion such as the Americas. In Historia eclesiástica Indiana, Gerónimo de Mendieta writes of how he believed Catholic Spain was chosen to lead the final conversion of the world. Having expelled Jews and Muslims from the Iberian Peninsula,43 the Spanish now set out to rid the New World of its pagans and usher in the kingdom of God on Earth. For de Mendieta, conquistador Hernán Cortés was akin to a new Moses, liberating the Indigenous peoples of the Americas from a deranged and demonic paganism, much like the “reconquistadores” who did the same against Muslims and Jews in Spain. With such mindsets, Spaniards shaped their American world—and its discourse, laws, rituals, and government—around medieval fantasies and fears and molded “New World monsters”44 around the image of the demonized Muslim body from the Old World. What follows are some examples of how the demonized image of Muslims came to shape customs, encounters, and religious culture of the Americas during the Spanish colonial period and beyond.45

La Fiesta de Santiago Apóstol

One of the first places one can see this dynamic at work is in the aforementioned Fiesta de Santiago Apóstol in Loíza Aldea, Puerto Rico. Ricardo Alegría writes how “the devotion and popular piety surrounding [St. James the Apostle]”46 stretches all the way back to a certain July 25 in ninth-century Spain when Bishop Teodomiro is believed to have been guided by a star to the tomb of the saint in the region now known for the

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Camino de Santiago—a network of European pilgrimage routes leading to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain.47 Devotion to Santiago Apóstol continued to rise over the proceeding centuries and he was often displayed as a humble saint with a simple wooden sojourner’s staff in hand. Over time, Santiago morphed from poor pilgrim to a warrior wielding a blood-stained sword against the perceived enemies of Catholicism. Iberian Catholics who opposed Muslim rule in what they perceived as “their” lands referred to a mixed population of Arabs, Berbers, Arabo-Berbers, and West Africans as “Moors.”48 The legend has it that Santiago Apóstol appeared as a knight mounted on a white horse to vanquish the “Moorish infidels” at the mythicized Battle of Clavijo (supposedly in 844) and the battle for Condado de Coímbra (1064).49 Over subsequent centuries, the humble pilgrim and apostle of St. James took on the mythical personage of the warrior Santiago Matamoros—St. James the Moorslayer.50 His apostolic and pilgrim aspects “subsumed” under his warring characteristics, Santiago Matamoros became a quasi-mascot for the soldiers of Catholic Spain. Santiago also served as part of the propaganda apparatus of Spanish Catholic monarchs, becoming a moral and nostalgic signifier for Spanish Catholic power and dominance, justifying the violence of their holy war against los Moros.51 Portrayed in royal privilege letters, military banners, estates, and alongside other saints (e.g., St. George or St. Eustace) or the Virgin Mary in cathedrals such as that of Compostela (as early as 1326), he strode symbolically forward as a soldier riding on a white horse, trampling the bodies of fallen Moors beheaded and bleeding below him, with a sword in one hand and a cross-emblazoned banner in the other. Crying out to this saint of war, Catholic Spaniard armies invoked Santiago as they sought to rid the Iberian Peninsula of Moors.52 The symbol of Santiago Matamoros was particular potent where Catholic, Muslim, and Jewish polities in the Iberian Peninsula were in close proximity to one another. Soledad Lázaro Damas writes that Matamoros was a “constant factor” in these borderlands, “always associated with the insecurity of the frontier” and beseeched as a protection against a “threatening” Muslim presence just on the “other side” of a city’s walls or a region’s boundaries.53 His symbol also became important in claims for nobility within Catholic Spain, where his icon was used as an emblem of the purity of the limpieza de sangre on the ejecutorias—patents, or records, of nobility—of families seeking societal and political advancement according to the maintenance of Christian/ Muslim boundaries of the time. In these depictions, the violence of his warring attributes was offset by the often bucolic scenes depicted in the background, which some suggest symbolized the peace that Santiago Matamoros brought to those lands rid of Moorish presence and influence. The cult around Santiago Matamoros parallels the development of Catholic Spain itself and became a key linchpin in the legitimation of its

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power and empire.54 Seeking to extend their Catholic footprint, Spain’s triumph on the Iberian Peninsula then “translated into zealous religious fervor to spread the Christian faith to the New World.”55 Thus, when Spanish Catholic soldiers and settlers came to the Americas in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Santiago Matamoros and ideas about Moors, Muslims, and Others came with them. They also physically brought St. James the Moorslayer in the form of talismans. Faced with what they saw as the chaos and uncertainty of a new proliferation of borderlands, the Spaniards reached into their material and conceptual religious repositor and invoked the iconography of Santiago Matamoros again, this time to defeat and destroy the various Indigenous peoples of the Americas. Through institutions such as the cofradías—religious brotherhoods—Spaniards exported ritual devotions and other practices related to the cult of Santiago Matamoros and deployed them in a new land, against a new perceived enemy. Alegría writes, “‘Santiago!’ was still the cry of war of the Spanish against the Indigenous peoples, just as it had been before against the Moors.”56 Santiago Matamoros became a rival force to Indigenous gods, a protector of the Spanish soldiers, and a conquistador leading the armies of Catholic Spain in the New World. For example, it is told by the chronicler Gómara that at a battle in Cintla, Mexico, Cortés and his forces rushed forward calling on Santiago to assist them. As the battle raged, the soldiers looked to see none other than Santiago Apóstol himself riding forward on his white steed to vanquish Mexica men just as he had done before with Muslims back in Spain.57 There are other stories of similar detail to be told across the Americas— from Peru to Puerto Rico—where Santiago Matamoros is said to have accompanied Spanish soldiers into battle.58 Each added to the lore of Santiago Matamoros as his image slowly morphed into that of “Santiago Mataindios.” Both Muslims and the Indigenous peoples of the Americas became the enemies (even the “Antichrist”) against which the legitimacy of the Spanish Crown was founded, and its empire expanded. The surname “Matamoros” also became a notable Iberian tradition and traveled to the Spanish Americas as well. While not a widely popular name, it came to prominence with Mariano Matamoros (1770–1814), a liberal priest and revolutionary who was active during the Mexican War of Independence. In his honor, several Mexican cities were named after him in Chihuahua, Coahuila, Oaxaca, Querétaro, Puebla, and famously in Tamaulipas, where the city sits along the Rio Grande River across from Brownsville, Texas. The shadow and sword of Santiago Matamoros are long. Even today, myriad towns and villages bear his name and numerous festivals are held in his honor with villages across the Americas celebrating the festival that bears his name with great vigor, including in the Festival de Santiago Apóstol in Loíza Aldea, Puerto Rico. The celebrations began after Don Cristóbal

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de Mendoza successfully fought against the Caribe—also known as the Kalinago, a dominant Indigenous group in the Caribbean, which was named after them—of Vieques after they had attacked villages in the vicinity of Loíza. The cultural import of Santiago was only augmented by further successes in succeeding centuries such as when forces from the Loíza area repulsed English pirates in the early eighteenth century or as Black Puerto Ricans adapted the symbols of the festival to represent proud aspects of their own culture, including their own devotion to St. James.59 Santiago Apóstol was revered as a patron saint and protector and his image was often brought through the streets in solemn procession from the chapel of the town, and later from local homes where families were entrusted with the care of the saint throughout the year. Over time, various elements of the festival and tradition were transculturated to include aspects of Indigenous, European, and—most notably in Loíza—African culture. Today, the Festival of St. James is celebrated annually in Loíza Aldea and its processions, rites, and festivities feature a focus on los diablitos and their merged imagery of Taíno, African, and Spanish influences. Every aspect of the festival bears the marks of multiple cultures—from the local bomba y plena and reggaeton music, to the folklore behind the festival,60 to the masks once created from bladders now carved from coconuts. When it comes to the masks, Spanish representations of Moors as demons and Christians as caballeros, or knights, merged and gave way to African traditions and imagery. Slowly, but surely, the meaning of the mask was resignified so that today few festival goers know that these vejigantes once represented the Muslim Other at all. Ironically, this resignification has meant that los vejigantes now translate into a form of resistance against Spanish and European dominance in Puerto Rico, as they take pride of place in the art, rituals, and public image of the festival, over and against the Spanish caballeros.61 This parallels similar processes in other locales across the Americas where images and rituals associated with Santiago Matamoros also continue today. Santiago Matamoros’s image is used in new ways in the Americas and the interpretation of his meaning has evolved.62 There are many instances where Santiago was “flipped” from Spanish images of power to Indigenous images of resistance. For example, another festival shaped by the specter of the Muslim monster was that of Corpus Christi in Cusco, Peru. Carolyn Dean writes that the Corpus Christi festival there framed the bodies of its Indigenous participants as Moros.63 And yet Dean shows how being depicted even as Muslims in the festival created space for weak, albeit evident, resistance to colonial domination.64 Looking from both the Spanish and Indigenous Incan points of view, Dean shows how the Corpus Christi festival both colonized and enacted colonization and provided a space for Andeans to embody and assert necessary difference and even find

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ways to triumph, albeit ever so subtly, in the face of Spanish domination. Giving primacy to the subaltern Andean narratives and interrogating art historical and textual sources, Dean mirrors the analysis of Jean and John Comaroff of how South African minds were colonized while at the same time they were able to gain some semblance of freedom, respect, and social status in a colonized world by conforming to, and subverting, religious symbols.65 In the case of the Andeans, it was not only their minds, but their bodies that were simultaneously sites of cultural subjugation (being made Moors and subhuman in the minds of the Spanish) and resistance wherein they utilized Andean religious symbols, movements, and ideas to resist Spanish hegemony not only in the colonial era, but even today. The Corpus Christi is still enacted on the streets of Cusco and at the heights of Sacsayhuaman overlooking the former seat of Incan power and the Sacred Valley below. Numerous other examples in the Americas mirror the process in Loíza Aldea and Cusco, where Indigenous peoples, the enslaved, and other subjugated communities softened or subverted the images, rituals, and meanings of Santiago Matamoros as a means of resistance against Spanish Catholic domination of their culture.66 At the same time, many locals who celebrate Santiago festivals today are not necessarily aware of the deep historical resonance of the symbols they celebrate and embody. Omar Ramadan Santiago, a Puerto Rican anthropologist who studied the Rastafarian community on the island, told me, “No one knows they’re Muslims anymore.” On the one hand, he said it was good that nobody recognized the vanquished foes as Muslims or Moors. On the other hand, he reflected, “It’s sad to see, I mean, [Santiago] is crushing a Muslim. I wish it wasn’t such a big part of Puerto Rican culture and identity . . . but it is what it is. At least they aren’t actually celebrating killing Muslims.”67 This is just one way in which Muslims have been, and continue to be, erased from the history and narrative of the region. In Puerto Rico, Muslims do not figure into the sponsored and promoted cultural identity of the island whatsoever, even though they were part of the development of the island’s patria—or heritage. 68 Yet as Ramadan Santiago suggests, perhaps it should be celebrated that Muslims are not depicted and remembered as villains in this annual festival. Too often, Muslims are represented in popular culture—books, film, radio, television, news, etc.—as enemies, foes, Others, and terrorists. You could say that while Muslims are not related to los diablitos in Loíza they are demonized in many other popular culture representations. For the vast majority of the general public, their only interaction with Islam and Muslims is through news and popular culture that tends to link Islam with tragedy and terror. In the media, Muslims are often portrayed as violent and repressive, radical and irrational enemies to be defeated. To the careful observer, this representation, against which local identities and cultures are contrasted as

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peaceful, fair, and legitimate, parallels how Moors in Spain and the Spanish Americas were used as the violent foils to the peaceful Catholics and their “civilized culture.”69

El Santo Niño de Atocha and the Santo of La Virgen de Montserrat

Another example of how Islam was intertwined with religious devotion and ritual culture in the early Americas is one of the most popular and widespread depictions of Jesus throughout Mexico and the US Southwest—El Santo Niño de Atocha.70 Otherwise known as the Holy Infant of Atocha, this is an image of the Christ Child known for carrying a basket, a staff, a drinking gourd, and wearing a cape affixed with a scallop shell (linking the little one to the aforementioned Santiago, or St. James, whose traditional symbol is the shell—a symbol that still marks the world-renowned Camino de Santiago across Europe today). The image originated in Iberia where, in the thirteenth century, Christians predominated in the town of Atocha. Peter Manseau writes, “According to medieval accounts, the Christian men there were taken prisoner by Moorish soldiers and allowed to eat only what the children of the town brought them.”71 It was at this time that a boy dressed like a pilgrim came to the soldiers at night to provide “food from a gourd that never seemed to empty.”72 Over time, the suggestion that this might have been the Christ Child took hold and soon a venerable tradition developed around the image of the child with basket in hand to feed and provide for those in need or perhaps those who were enduring the encounter with another culture, religion, or invading army. From its Iberian roots and connections with devotion to La Virgen de Atocha,73 it spread throughout the Spanish Empire with extant shrines and devotional rituals in modern-day Zacatecas, Mexico, northern New Mexico (the Santo Niño Chapel in Chimayó), and in the Philippines.74 Manseau suggests that it is particularly due to the parallel historical situations of invading armies, peculiar peoples, and foreign religions that Amerindians took up devotion to El Santo Niño de Atocha early in the nineteenth century in the Spanish Americas. He relates that there in the borderlands between Christian Spain and the Indigenous world of what would become Mexico and later part of the US Southwest, “a prominent planter in the New Mexican village of El Potrero, Severiano Medina, fell gravely ill and prayed for relief. After his recovery, he constructed a shrine to El Santo Niño in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.”75 Soon thereafter it attracted a following of pilgrims, a devoted brotherhood, and today remains one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in the United States. It also remains a testament to how images associated with Spanish Catholic dominance over and against Muslims and Jews in the Iberian Peninsula

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came to shape the culture, religion, art, and tourism of the historical and contemporary Americas. A similar tale could be told through a santo—a hand-carved, usually wooden, depiction of religious figures and saints (santos de palo). A particularly popular santo in Puerto Rico is that of La Virgen de Montserrat. The story goes that near the close of the 1500s a farmer in the tiny town of Hormigueros (near modern-day Mayagüez) sought the succor of the Virgin Mary after a bull attacked him. He was supposedly saved by the saint and the bull’s legs broke before him so that the bull appeared to be bowing in prayer as well. He built a church called Our Lady of Montserrat.76 The image of the Virgin—with a globe in her right hand, the Christ Child on her lap, the farmer beseeching her, and the bull broken at her feet—first emerged out of Catalonia where it is believed that Spanish shepherds fled from invading Moorish armies.77 As they were struggling to survive in the mountains, light emanated from a small cave. When they drew closer, they heard the singing of angels and beheld a statue of a woman, seated with a child, whom they presumed to be none other than the Virgin Mary herself come to comfort the Catalonians as they were conquered by Muslims from the south. Both the Santo Niño Chapel and the santo of La Virgen de Montserrat are enduring material testaments to how the conflict between Iberian Christians and Muslims in the Old World came to influence religious, cultural, and social engagements in the New World. At the time of writing, the website for the New Mexico shrine was peppered with allusions to Spain being a “brutal battleground” during the “Moorish Wars,” which brought poverty, illness, and death to vulnerable Spaniards.78 While its popularity is primarily due to the miraculous healings attributed to the soil where a crucifix in a nearby sanctuary was buried, the story of the chapel dedicated to the Christ Child, who saved the Spaniards amidst a Muslim attack, continues to contribute to an image of Islam and Muslims shaped by the centuries-long conflict on the Iberian Peninsula.

Andalusian Architecture in the Americas Beyond the chapel in New Mexico, architecture is a salient theme to consider when thinking about the multivalent significance of Islam and Muslims in the shaping of the early Americas. About the broader Arab influence in the Americas, Habeeb Salloum writes: Nashara al-Islam bi-khawafiq al-alam [‘Islam spread under waving banners’]. I could not believe my eyes as I read these words etched in Arabic on a church bell preserved in the Palacio de la Inquisición in Cartagena, Colombia’s foremost resort. It was dated 1317 A.D. and presumably

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The chapel mentioned here, however, is not alone as an architectural attestation to the ways in which Andalusia left its imprint in the Americas. Examples of the influence of actual Andalusian architectural motifs, designs, and structures abound in the Americas. As R. Brooks Jeffery writes, there is a “profound legacy of Islamic architectural characteristics in the Hispano-American built environment that is still evident today.”80 The final section of this chapter reviews but a few. The claim has been made that Spanish missions across the Americas— and particularly in the US Southwest—were influenced by Moorish-style architecture as they designed their buildings for the propagation of the gospel, and control of the territories and Indigenous peoples, in New Spain.81 Specific among the elements recycled from Moorish Spain is the alfiz—a molding that encases the outside of an arch or false window. Of Arab origin, it has now spread throughout the world via Spanish colonial influence (not to mention finding its way into popular motifs through the globalization of design styles). Even the San Antonio, Texas, Alamo— originally the Misión San Antonio de Valero and memorial site of an infamous thirteen-day battle between Mexican and Texan forces in 1836—has an alfiz prominently displayed on its front-facing former entryway. Originally introduced in Spain in the construction of the Aljama Mosque in Córdoba (The Great Mosque of Córdoba), the alfiz became part of the Alamo’s blueprint along with frescoes that also reflect the complicated geometric patterns of Moorish art and architecture. This ornamental frame would find its way to other missions as far afield as San Xavier del Bac (The White Dove of the Desert) in Tucson, Arizona, and Mission San Carlos in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Evidence of Andalusia’s architectural footprint can be seen in the post-Moorish Christian architecture known as the Mudéjar style.82 Referring to los Mudéjares—the unconverted Muslims who remained in Iberia—the style left a significant imprint on Iberian Moorish architecture and artworks in the High Middle Ages.83 Its influence can be seen across the Americas. The impact can be seen in ornamentation such as calligraphy, geometric patterns, and the ataurique (a “foliated adornment” or altawriq) known for its floral pattern of “intertwining vines and leaves,”84 in artesonado ceilings, and enameled tile work known as azulejería (from the Arabic al-zulaij, “ornamental tile”).85 It can also be found in the rectilinear or mosque-inspired architectural forms that came to shape how chapels were built across the provinces of New Spain.86 Looking for evi-

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dence of this Mudéjar and Moorish influence, tourists and locals can behold it on the exterior of the Catedral de la Habana in Cuba, via tiles in the archways of Universidad de Puerto Rico Río Piedras, in the multiple archways of the Bolognesi church in La Punta del Callao in Lima, Peru, at provincial chapels in Chiapas, Mexico, or by looking to the very blueprint of the Americas’ first city—Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Numerous early Christian churches built during the Mexican colonial period exhibit the influence of Mudéjar architecture. There is also “La Corona” or “La Pila,” a fountain in Chiapa de Corzo, Mexico, that was built by colonial Spanish Dominican friars in annealed brick with a heavy Mudéjar influence. Finally, the “Morisco Kiosk” (Moorish Kiosk) in Colonia Santa María la Ribera was designed by José Ramón Ibarrola for the Universal Exhibition of New Orleans from 1884–1885. Its style is distinctly “neo-Mudéjar,” which was popular in nineteenth-century Spain and abroad. 87 Puerto Rican buildings reflect the style, as well, including el Teatro Fox Delicias in Ponce (Francisco Porrata-Doria, 1931); the maternity ward of Hospital Auxilio Mutuo in Hato Rey (Rafael del Valle Zeno, 1908); el Edificio del Periodico “EI Mundo” y “Puerto Rico IIustrado” in Viejo San Juan (Francisco Roldán, 1923); la Penitenciaría Estatal de Río Piedras (Francisco Roldán, 1926); Mercado de las Carnes (a.k.a., “la Plaza de los Perros”) in Ponce (Rafael Carmoega, 1926); and el Torre de la Universidad de Puerto Rico Río Piedras (Rafael Carmoega, 1937). Most prominently, the Mudéjar style is found in the courtyards and the Alhambran “Fountain of the Lions” at the nearby Casa de España (Pedro Adolfo el Castro, 1934) el Parque de Bombas in Ponce (Máximo de Meana y Guridi, 1882), or in the Nasrid-inspired plasterwork of el Ateneo Puertorriqueño in San Juan (Francisco Roldán, 1922), its lobby bearing the inscription found all over Spain’s Alhambra: wa la Ghalib illa Allah (There is no conqueror except Allah).88 It is also possible that the reason the Mudéjar influence is so widely seen in the Americas is because Moriscos and Mudéjares themselves came over to build, and expand, the new Spanish empire.89 Buscaglia-Salgado argues that there was a community of Andalusian and North African Muslim builders—los alarifes—in Hispaniola. 90 Furthermore, he contends, they played a pivotal part in the construction of the first city in the Americas and its flagship building—the Cathedral of Santa María la Menor. 91 The alarifes were master builders and architects from Seville, who were renowned for their technical skill and noble artistry by Muslim and Catholic monarchs alike. Buscaglia-Salgado presents evidence that los alarifes were Berbers from North Africa who came from the Maghreb and were most likely captured, sold as slaves, and brought to the Americas to serve as masons and construction workers in the building of the Spanish American empire.92 He writes, “These Berber masons and carpenters were

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part of a larger group of stonemasons and master builders, as well as a community of the faithful, many of them Old Sevillians and Muslims of other Hispanic kingdoms.” 93 Citing evidence such as a medallion in the shape of an octagonal star with an inscription in Kufic calligraphy that reads, “Allahu akbar,” Buscaglia-Salgado also claims that the lack of documental evidence in Spanish sources is attributable to a general effort on the part of imperial authorities to obscure North African, Andalusian, and Muslim influence in the Americas in favor of Christian hegemony and land claims. 94 Though there is a question of whether or not los alarifes were all, or even predominately, Muslim (they could have been Jewish or Catholic as well), what Buscaglia-Salgado illustrates is yet another piece of evidence that the influence of Andalusian and Moorish culture spread across the Atlantic to shape the very buildings that would become paragons of American mestizaje—the mix of cultures that many argue defines the Spanish Americas. Another element of this mix, that must not be forgotten, is the African Muslim impact on the Americas. To mention one example in the Spanish Americas, Samory Rashid writes of how African Muslim slaves helped construct Fort Musa95—better known as Fort Mose, a Spanish fort near St. Augustine, Florida. Similar to the Spanish colonial appeal of San Antonio and its Alamo in Texas, St. Augustine draws millions of tourists every year as the oldest continuously occupied European establishment within the colonial United States. Just a couple of miles north of St. Augustine’s popular downtown, along Ponce de Leon Boulevard, is Fort Mose Historic State Park. Visitors to the park find in the marshes of the St. Augustine basin the place where a community with a proud, resistancebased history, once stood. Built in 1738, it gave sanctuary to many Africans fleeing chattel slavery in the British Carolinas in Spanish colonies. During its heyday, the men and women of Mose shaped a viable, diverse, polyglot, free frontier community drawing from a range of cultural traditions, including beliefs, rituals, and material culture from African-born Muslims.96 The first free community of African Americans, also called Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, it evinces the variegated ethnic, cultural, and religious heritage of the Americas.97 More than that, Rashid argues, Mose also shows the influence of African Muslim artisans and builders who left their mark, yet again, on a distinct historical landmark in what was then New Spain. Furthermore, the fact that these were African Muslim artisans illustrates how it was not only Mudéjares, alarifes, explorers, settlers, and colonizers from Iberia that came, but also Muslims from Africa. Most often enslaved, some of these African-born Muslims fought, or found, their way to freedom. Along the way, Islam played a significant role in their stories. It is to their significant narratives that I turn in the following chapter.

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Conclusion

As European colonizers brought their faith to the New World, they also brought their ideas about Islam and experience with Muslims. Furthermore, while the Spaniards attempted to keep Muslims out of the Americas, they came anyway. In both ways, Islam and Muslims came to shape the Spanish colonial Americas and its rituals, culture, and architecture. As we shall see, the historical influence of Islam and Muslims in the Americas becomes even more potent in the narratives of the Americas’ African Muslims, who came over as enslaved persons in the centuries that followed.

Notes

1. Stewart-Harawira, The New Imperial Order, 1. 2. Kennedy, Caliphate, 205. 3. See Catlos, “The Caliphate in the West,” in Curtis, The Bloomsbury Reader on Islam in the West, 14. 4. A. Ahmed, Journey into Europe, 108. 5. Menocal, The Ornament of the World, 33. 6. Ibid., 9. 7. Ibid., xiii. 8. See Dass, “Review of The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise”; Moreno, “Qurtuba,” 226–246. 9. Hughes, Abrahamic Religions, 7. 10. Chitwood, “Hero and/or Villain?” 165–186. See also Kennedy, Muslim Spain and Portugal, 6. 11. See Chapter 10. 12. See Chitwood, “Hero and/or Villain?” 13. See Clements and Gauvin, “The Marvel of Islam,” 36–71. 14. This section draws heavily on Chitwood, “Hero and/or Villain.” 15. Manrique, Vinieron los sarracenos, 24; Taboada, La sombra del Islam en la conquista de América, 14. 16. Manrique, Vinieron los sarracenos, 21. 17. S. Ahmed, What Is Islam? 120. 18. See Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. 19. Karam, “Muslim Histories in Latin America and the Caribbean,” 252. 20. Gomez, Black Crescent, 132. 21. These primary documents are overviewed and analyzed in-depth, along with indigenous oral accounts and Arab sources, by Herrick, Esteban. 22. Manseau, Objects of Devotion, 218. 23. Lalami, The Moor’s Account, 272. 24. See McIntosh, “Islamic Influence Runs Deep in American Culture.” There is no externally verifiable evidence that the Pinzón brothers were, in fact, Muslim. However, there is plenty of speculation and discussion. In particular, reaction to McIntosh’s memo has been vociferous and loud on conservative, Christian, and anti-Muslim websites. See more information at the following links: https://www .nationalreview.com/2004/09/christopher-columbus-multicultural-robert-spencer/; http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=3510; and https://www .jihadwatch.org/2017/11/hugh-fitzgerald-columbus-and-his-muslim-connection.

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25. Manseau, Objects of Devotion, 218–219. 26. See Cook, Forbidden Passages. 27. Ibid., 4. 28. From Cedulario Indiano Recopilado por Diego de Encinas, vol. I, 455, as quoted in Cook, Forbidden Passages, 56. 29. See Majid, We Are All Moors. 30. See Mikhail, God’s Shadow. 31. Interestingly enough, Rodrigo was a Jew who converted to Christianity just days before embarking with Columbus. His conversion to Islam upon his return is rumored but unverified. Nabhan, Cumin, Camels, and Caravans, 245. 32. Cook, Forbidden Passages, 101. 33. Ibid., 105–117. 34. Ibid., 108. One can also look to Diouf’s discussion in Servants of Allah, 270, of how the figa in Brazil may be an echo of the Fátima, protecting against the evil eye. 35. Buscaglia-Salgado, Undoing Empire, 47–91. 36. Jenkins, The Lost History of Christianity, 261. 37. Arjana, Muslims in the Western Imagination, 132. 38. See Said, Orientalism. 39. Londono, “Orientalism.” 40. Arjana, Muslims in the Western Imagination, 133. 41. Ibid., 132. 42. Ibid., 136. See also Majid, Freedom and Orthodoxy. 43. Boase, “The Muslim Expulsion from Spain,” 21. 44. Arjana, Muslims in the Western Imagination, 137. 45. Not included in the following examples of Iberian Muslim influence on the Americas is the colonial literary transmission of elements such as a moura encantada (an enchanting Mooress) of sixteenth-century folktales on Cuban poetry and Brazilian fiction, as detailed by Aidi in Rebel Music. 46. Alegría, “The Fiesta of Santiago Apostol (St. James the Apostle) in Loíza, Puerto Rico,” 123–134. 47. Ibid. 48. Damas, “Una Iconografía de Frontera,” 51–58. 49. Ibid. 50. To be fair, it was in 997 that Abu Aamir Muhammad bin Abdullah ibn Abi Aamir, al-Hajib al-Mansur (also known as Almanzor or al-Mansur) and his armies are said to have sacked Santiago de Compostela—the famed Christian pilgrimage site—and taken its bells, melted them down, and then included them in the Great Mosque in Córdoba as lamps. Although part of a broader war between Andalusian Muslim armies and Christian forces, this battle hung long in the imagination of the Christian soldiers and leaders and took hold in Christian lore over the ensuing decades and centuries. Over time, through stories and legends, Santiago became a quasi-mythological figure and popular patron saint of the Reconquista and the city a symbol of Christian identity on the peninsula. The popularity of Santiago de Compostela and St. James today is partly thanks to the sacking of the city by alMansur’s armies in the tenth century. Cf. Collins, Caliphs and Kings, 796–1031, 191; Collins, Early Medieval Spain, 195. 51. Damas, “Una Iconografía de Frontera,” 52. See also J. D. García, “St. James the Moor-Slayer,” 77. 52. Alegría, “The Fiesta of Santiago Apostol (St. James the Apostle) in Loíza, Puerto Rico,” 130. 53. Damas, “Una Iconografía de Frontera,” 53–54. 54. L. F. Gallardo, “Santiago Matamoros en la Historiografía Hispanomedieval.”

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55. Saez, “Hay Moros en la Costa,” x. 56. Alegría, “The Fiesta of Santiago Apostol (St. James the Apostle) in Loíza, Puerto Rico,” 130. 57. Ibid. 58. See Dean, Inka Bodies and the Body of Christ; Iglesias, “Santiago Matamoros y la Construcción de la Imagen del ‘Enemigo.’” 59. See Thornton, The Kongolese Saint Anthony. 60. The image of St. James on a horse and brandishing a sword is the St. James Moorslayer of Spanish folklore, but is also the mimetic representation of the god of war of the Afro-Caribbeans, the Ogún of the Yorubas and Dahomeans, the Zarabanda of the Congos (or, quite possibly, Shangó as well). Everywhere Black people were found living in America, the Catholic devotion of St. James was assimilated with the gods of war from Africa. In Haiti, Ogún was the god of national independence and his emblems and colors were in the coat of arms and the flag of that republic. In Santiago de Cuba the patron of the city according to Santeria is Ogún, just as St. Peter is in the rest of the island, for the reason, according to what they say, that he holds some keys that are of iron, according to those knowledgeable of the symbolic heavenly locksmith. In the English Caribbean, Ogún is St. George, in war with the dragon of inferno (averno). See Alegría, “The Fiesta of Santiago Apostol (St. James the Apostle) in Loíza, Puerto Rico.” See also a discussion of how practitioners of Santería also employ tropes from Islamic practice, such as greeting one another with sala ualeikum and mualekum slam, in Diouf, Servants of Allah, 188. Furthermore, while I disagree that the hybridity of the festival in Loíza points to “a less biased conceptualization by the Puerto Rican people regarding Muslims,” Saez makes a good case for how the festival “displays remnants of cultural and religious practices influenced by several world traditions such as folk Catholicism, Santería, Espiritismo, and Islam.” She also notes that Santiago Apóstol is known as Ogún Balendyo in Santería, though St. George can also fill this role and St. James can also be associated with Changó. Saez, “Hay Moros en la Costa,” 129–133. 61. Hiraldo and Ortega-Brena, “If God Were Black and from Loíza: Managing Identities in a Puerto Rican Seaside Town”; Harris, “Masking the Site.” 62. Sanfuentes and Ossa, “From the Feast Day in Belén to the Museum in Salta.” 63. See Dean, Inka Bodies. 64. “Weak” in the sense of Scott, Weapons of the Weak. 65. See Comaroff and Comaroff, Of Revelation and Revolution. 66. Adaniya, “Acerca del Sincretismo.” See also Iglesias, “Santiago Matamoros y la Construcción de la Imagen del ‘Enemigo.’” As explained further in the next chapter, enslaved Black Muslims found empowerment through cofradias and hermandades, which were often sponsors of such festivals. These festivals offered “an opportunity for blacks [sic] to gather and seek some validation as human beings.” Saez, “Hay Moros en la Costa,” 16. They also act as a “cry of defiance against their perceived ostracism.” Saez, “Hay Moros en la Costa,” 17. See also Barceló, “Festivities of St. James, the Apostle, Held at the Town of Loíza in Puerto Rico”; Hiraldo and Ortega-Brena, “If God Were Black and from Loíza: Managing Identities in a Puerto Rican Seaside Town”; Afroz, Invisible Yet Invincible. 67. Omar Ramadan Santiago, anthropologist, interviewed by the author, Loíza Aldea, Puerto Rico, July 25, 2015. 68. See Davíla, Sponsored Identities. 69. At times, there are not only parallels. There were Spanish soldiers who wore a “Moorslayer” patch during Operation Iraqi Freedom. “Spanish Crusader Emblem ‘Offensive.’” 70. See Pescador, Crossing Borders with the Santo Niño de Atocha.

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71. Manseau, Objects of Devotion, 219. 72. Ibid. 73. See Scheper Hughes and Vargas, “Traveling Image of the Holy Child of Atocha (Santo Niño de Atocha), Plateros, Mexico.” 74. Manseau, Objects of Devotion, 219. 75. Ibid. 76. Ibid., 212. 77. See Roccasalvo, “Elegance Personified.” 78. “The Long Journey of the Pilgrim Child,” Santuario de Chimayo, n.d., http:// www.elsantuariodechimayo.us/Santuario/PilgrimChild.html. 79. See Salloum, “Arabs Making Their Mark in Latin America,” 1. 80. Jeffery, “The Islamic Legacy in the Built Environment of Hispano-America,” in Curtis, The Bloomsbury Reader on Islam in the West, 40. 81. See Rhydan, “Islamic Influence on American Architecture.” 82. Jeffery, “The Islamic Legacy in the Built Environment of Hispano-America,” in Curtis, The Bloomsbury Reader on Islam in the West, 40. 83. Mudéjar is derived from the Arabic mudajjan (permitted to stay). Karam, “Muslim Histories in Latin America and the Caribbean,” 254. 84. Jeffery, “The Islamic Legacy in the Built Environment of Hispano-America,” in Curtis, The Bloomsbury Reader on Islam in the West, 43. 85. Ibid. 86. Jeffery, “The Islamic Legacy in the Built Environment of Hispano-America,” in Curtis, The Bloomsbury Reader on Islam in the West, 44–45. 87. Indeed, one has to be careful in distinguishing that which is Andalusian and that which is neo-Mudéjar. The former bears the imprint of Moorish minds, hands, imaginations, and bodies in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the latter an American and European fascination with the motifs of this earlier era as part of a broader Spanish/Moorish design renaissance in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. See Moffitt, The Islamic Design Module in Latin America. 88. Viñuales, “El orientalismo en el imaginario artístico y urbano de Iberoamérica. Exotismo, fascinación e Identidad.” Other locales were identified during fieldwork in Puerto Rico in 2015, 2017, and 2018, utilizing Mariano G. Coronas Castro’s work, in the National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form—Mercado de las Carnes (United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1986), Listing Reference Number 86003199. 89. Jeffery, “The Islamic Legacy in the Built Environment of Hispano-America,” in Curtis, The Bloomsbury Reader on Islam in the West, 41. 90. Buscaglia-Salgado, “Los alarifes de Santo Domingo,” 43–54. 91. Ibid., 53. 92. Palm, Los monumentos arquitectónicos de la Española con una introducción a América, 89. 93. Buscaglia-Salgado, “Los alarifes de Santo Domingo,” 49. 94. See also Buscaglia-Salgado, Undoing Empire. 95. Rashid, “The Islamic Origins of Spanish Florida’s Ft. Musa,” 209–226. 96. Deagan and Landers, “Fort Mose: The Earliest Free African-American Community in the United States.” 97. See Landers, “Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose: A Free Black Town in Spanish Colonial Florida.”

4 Enslaved Muslims and Their Enduring Legacy

FOR ALL HIS ADVENTURES, EXPLORATION, AND LEADERSHIP IN the Narváez expedition and throughout his sojourn in the swamps of the Gulf Coast or the deserts of Mexico and the US Southwest, Estabenico (Mustafa Azemmouri) was enslaved. In Laila Lalami’s book, this serves as Estabenico’s greatest burden. Amidst the skirmishes and disease, the threat of starvation, and the confusion of being lost on a strange continent, the condition with which Estabenico is most concerned is that of his freedom in the eyes of the Spaniards who enslaved him. In the pages of her account, Lalami relates that he was forced into the hardest of labor, accused of being “a lazy Moor,”1 beaten, and sold from master to master. Estabenico longs to be free and to return to Azemmour, his home. No matter his exploits, no matter his vital importance in the expedition’s struggle to survive, and no matter his rightful place in history, Estabenico was enslaved. Fictional though the representation may be in Lalami’s account, Estabenico’s enslaved condition was common among Americas’ first Muslims. Most Muslims were not legal residents in the early years of the settlement, colonization, and consolidation of the Americas. Instead, the majority were sold and traded as enslaved persons. The rapid colonization of conquered territories in the Americas and the drive for material gain by those who colonized them precipitated a centuries-long trade in enslaved persons from West Africa that left a permanent imprint across the hemisphere. Ships would leave European ports such as Seville, Cadiz, Lisbon, Nantes, or Bristol, load their cargo holds with enslaved Africans from the Senegambia,

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Gold Coast, or Central Africa, and arrive at American ports such as Salvador de Bahia, Brazil; Bridgetown, Barbados; Cap-Français, Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti); or Charleston, South Carolina. Over the course of multiple centuries, the transatlantic trade in enslaved persons became the single largest coerced movement of people in the history of the world and shaped the demographics and dynamics of the Americas up until today. With much larger numbers of arrivals and imbalanced sex ratios, Africans quickly repeopled the Americas following the devastation of its Indigenous peoples and a still relatively small European colonizer population. Europeans used—and abused—the large numbers of enslaved Africans to exploit the resources of the hemisphere and increase their wealth and prestige both in the Americas and back in Europe. Nonetheless, enslaved men and women were not necessarily stripped of their religion when stripped of their freedom and dignity. For all its devastating effects on human culture and society, slavery proved to be not only a disruptor of African culture and religion, but also a catalyst for adaptation and transformation. While enslaved Africans were impeded from transmitting their beliefs, rituals, and material culture, their religion persisted through passive and active resistance to domination and ethnocide.2 Across the Americas, the religions of the enslaved—including Islam, Yoruba, Akan, and other African traditions—managed to survive through adaptation, secrecy, and isolation.3 A sizable portion of the West Africans who were the victims of this exploitation, and yet found ways to maintain and adapt their religion, were practicing Muslims. There is debate about just how many African Muslims were forcibly removed, enslaved, and brought to the Americas, but there are clues in slaveholders’ records, legal statutes, and narratives of persisting religious traditions that survived the transatlantic trauma of slavery. While it is impossible to pinpoint exact numbers, scholars estimate that 10–20 percent of enslaved persons brought from West Africa to the Americas were Muslim.4 They became part of the social fabric of the New World and impacted its debates over identity, policy, and the ideals of empires and emerging nation-states. They would come to play a part in creating America as we know it, mapping its cultural and political contours, and fighting against colonial rule. Many of these enslaved persons were educated and literate in Arabic and, because of that, were able to gain a semblance of success in the plantation societies of Latin America and the Caribbean. Many held leadership positions among their fellow captives and undermined the racist frames at work in colonial American societies that wrongly assumed Africans were uncultured and illiterate. Writing in Arabic, persisting in their faith against overtures to convert to Christianity, and continuing to practice their religion were all forms of resistance to their enslaved situation. Others, who were not literate, brought a diverse set of Islamic ritual

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traditions that were prevalent in West Africa at the time. From the evidence we have, we know that enslaved Muslims prayed, worked, ate halal as best they could, resisted enslavement, and adapted to their new context. Part of that adaptation involved an encounter with Christianity. Conversion to Christianity served as a primary means for Muslim enslaved persons to adapt and change given their new lives. It also allowed them to create new bonds with other enslaved Africans and cling to the hope of freedom as Christian men and women. However, between de-Africanization (i.e., “de-Islamization” in the case of African Muslims), conversion, and the natural progression of time, Islamic practice and Muslim presence in the Americas slowly faded on the plantations, in the cities, and in maroon communities across the Americas. By the end of the nineteenth century, African Muslim communities and individuals had virtually ceased to exist in the hemisphere. Be that as it may, “while enslaved Muslims in North and South America did not generally pass on their Islamic identity to their children or grand-children, the number of African-descended Muslims in North America, South America, and the Caribbean rose again in the twentieth century as a result of both conversion and the immigration of free Africans to American shores.”5 They were also joined by indentured servants from places like India and Indonesia, immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa, and a growing convert community in the twentieth-century. Thus, a significant aspect of the historical narrative of Islam and Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean includes the “Black Atlantic world,” the transatlantic slave trade, and the impact of Black Muslims. Likely the most well-documented aspect of the story of Islam and Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean, scholars such as Sylviane Diouf, Paul E. Lovejoy, Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, Richard Brent Turner, and Michael Gomez (among many others) have done well to draw attention to the experiences of African Muslim enslaved persons and free African Muslims in the region. Focusing on Muslim enslaved persons from West Africa, and drawing on this literature, in this chapter I examine the presence and significance of Muslim enslaved persons to discuss the ways in which the region came to shape their religion and culture and how they likewise shaped history in the new lands they were forced to come to. Specifically, I chart how enslaved African Muslims came to the Americas and what they brought with them, how they resisted their enslavement, and what legacy they left to future generations of Muslims in the Americas. In this chapter, I also highlight the intimate relationship between religion and power, Islam and Christianity, Muslims and colonial governance. In the context of the increasingly interconnected transatlantic world, religion continued to play a critical role in the lives of individuals and their relations to society. The processes of colonialism, migration,

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and globalization in this period shaped, and were shaped by, the religious lives of those involved. Thus, it is important to pay attention to—and perhaps rethink—the ways in which traditions, beliefs, and practices mediated power relations within the political, economic, and secular spheres of colonial American societies. Many roots of Muslim experience in the Americas today reach back to a long-standing African heritage. In fact, we can trace the story of some of the Americas’ earliest Muslim inhabitants through the difficulties of capture, enslavement, transport, sale, and their various survival tactics, literacies, religious traditions, and artifacts. All the while, we have to connect these themes to the various networks that existed within, and outside, the enslaved communities themselves. Not wanting to treat enslaved African Muslims as inveterately affected by the slave experience or inextricably tied to rebellion and resistance, I illustrate how they left their mark on American cultural, political, and religious traditions in multiple ways, despite their enslavement and the difficulties of passing on their religion to future generations. Their story also starts to show the ways in which past and present Muslims in the Americas are connected via a broad lattice of networks to other Muslim socialities across the globe, in Africa and beyond.

Servants of Allah, Enslaved in the Americas By locating the origin of a significant chapter of Islam’s history in the Americas in West Africa, we must also remember to keep in our peripheral view the networks that brought Islam to that region from and across North Africa, the Sahel, and the Middle East over the preceding centuries. This perspective reminds us that “Islam” and “Muslims” in Latin America and the Caribbean cannot be understood apart from broader networks in global Islam. It also reminds us that enslaved Muslims cannot be viewed as a monolithic block, but must be appreciated according to their own historical, cultural, and geographic origins. Sylviane Diouf writes, “When the first Africans were deported to the New World, beginning in 1501, Islam was already well established in West Africa.”6 Through the movement of merchants, nomadic pastoralists, and scholars across the “connective space” of the Sahara, Islam became firmly established in West Africa. Via a “commercial diaspora” of traders who migrated from North Africa (bilad al-Maghrib) and the Middle East, a network of religious and Arabic madrasahs (schools), and the conversion of locals, West Africa (bilad al-Sudan) became part of global Islamic geography through a gradual process of accommodation, local agency, and multiple audiences. 7 There were three principal forces that influenced the bulk of these West African conversions to Islam. As the powerful, and

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influential, kings of West African empires such as Ghana, Mali, Songhai, Mossi, the Hausa States, and Kanem-Bornum converted to Islam, so too more and more of their followers followed suit. Furthermore, successful traders such as the Imasighen Berbers from Morocco and Egypt brought their beliefs and practices down from the Maghreb and into the Sahel and even farther south. Finally, there were scholars who often accompanied the traders and who established and developed a distinct local Islamic scholarship and system of schools and libraries, the most famous being in Timbuktu, Mali.8 Muslims not only became a fundamental aspect of West African culture through this process of trade, politics, and conversion, but also came to be known as a religion of learned people who devoted themselves to acts of devotion, in-depth scholarship, and ascetic, mystical, ritual disciplines.9 Through local orders, sometimes lumped together by the signifier “Sufi,” 10 Muslim teachers (ulama) “introduced new ideas, perspectives, and goods” to the region and became a force for “change and modernization in West Africa.”11 Thus, seen as a religion of power, prestige, success, finance, language, science, and knowledge, a critical mass of West Africans converted to Islam. The explosion of text production and textual interaction among West African Muslims via these local religious orders meant there were often high literacy rates among West African Muslims. Not only did scholars, teachers, and students record, copy, and store copies of the Quran, hadith, commentaries, and new narrations from West African teachers, but they also engaged in physical and cognitive practices that highly honored the written text. At times, the approach to the text was semiesoteric as certain religious orders sought to investigate, interrogate, and even physically ingest the text of the Quran.12 Over the years, various forms of Islamic esotericism became prolific across West Africa, such as talismans, letterscience, magic squares and amulets, geomancy, and logophagy. Not only did West African Muslims learn to read and write in Arabic, but they mined their textual sources for numerological guidance, used them in amulets (katemi) for healing, and drank them down after wiping the written text on slate boards that needed to be cleaned (a practice known as nassi ji).13 The text was so highly honored that it could not be wasted in any way, not even as it was erased as chalk from a writing board. All in all, these practices evince the importance “the text” played in West African Islamic traditions. Alongside more sober discussions of Islamic discussion and jurisprudence, these practices left a massive imprint on West African Muslim communities and continue to do so today.14 They would also come to influence the embodiment and practice of Islam in the Americas as well. First, the practice of creating, distributing, and using amulets as protective charms in the realms of medicine and magic (whose lines were often blurred) was widespread in the transatlantic world.

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Just as Iberian Muslims brought this practice to places in Mexico and the Spanish Americas, so too did West African Muslim enslaved persons who served as karamokos and marabouts back home. The karamokos were holy men who oversaw this system and prescribed and distributed the talismans and charms, but at times there was a distinction made between the prayer of karamokos and the path, or talismanic ritual, of marabouts. Marabouts, broadly speaking, are scholars of the Quran, a type of religious teacher widespread in the Maghreb and West Africa and often associated with Sufism or sometimes acting specifically as Sufi guides (murshids). The use of talismans and certain rituals were not only a means of specific Sufi faith and practice in West Africa, but also part of a larger social milieu and system in conversation with the dynamics of medicinal practice, regional trade, and sociopolitical dynamics. This social milieu would be mirrored in the growth, development, and processes of cultural production in the Americas, where enslaved West African Muslims played an integral role. Second, literacy was widespread among West African Muslims. Diouf emphasized that “contrary to the norm in Europe at the time, both peasants and girls were taught how to read and write” in West Africa.15 Marabouts were prime conduits for training in letters and numbers and both Muslims and non-Muslims sat at their feet to learn how to read, write, and perform arithmetic. This education would come to loom large in the experience of many Muslims when they were forcibly transported across the Atlantic. Diouf writes, A large proportion of the Muslims could read and write in Arabic and in ajami, the generic name given to their own language transcribed in the Arabic alphabet. They were avid readers of the Quran’an, and many knew it by rote. Among these were thousands who ended their lives enslaved in the Americas, where their literacy played a significant role in their individual development, the shaping of their community, their relations with non-Muslims, their pursuit of freedom, and the rebellious movements they led or participated in.16

Aliyah Khan also shows how vestiges of the robust Sufi networks in West Africa influenced the ways in which certain enslaved African Muslims related their experiences to the masses through published autobiographies. The writings of Islamically educated West Africans such as Muhammad Kaba Saghanughu and Abu Bakr al-Siddiq not only taught Islam to the European masses hungry for Oriental Otherness, but also provided hints of the ongoing influence of Sufi turuq in the Americas and how enslaved African Muslims used their literacy to resist their captivity.17 Furthermore, Aliyah Khan suggests, this ancestral African Sufi tradition came to influence contemporary Caribbean literary discourse through the likes of Muhammad Abdur-Rahman Slade Hopkinson, the popular and renowned

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Guyanese poet and actor.18 This points to how the literacy of enslaved African Muslims came to influence the Americas in multiple ways. Despite this robust legacy, the trade in enslaved bodies eventually undermined the vast educational, political, and economic inroads Islam and Muslims had made in West Africa prior to the sixteenth century. A consequence of this disruption would be that the various political entities, Sufi turuq, and economic leagues descended into conflicts—a series of religiously motivated wars against multiple enemies—in the ensuing centuries. The specter of these conflicts, brought on and exacerbated as they were by European imperial incursions, still loom over the region today. Furthermore, these conflicts only had the effect of exacerbating the trade in enslaved persons between tribes, kingdoms, and other communities in West Africa and later implicated in the transatlantic slave trade. When a certain army would defeat and capture members of their opposing force, they could then sell those prisoners on to European slave traders who would ship them across the Atlantic to the Americas. Not only were common soldiers shipped in this way, but also prominent warriors, scholars, and princes. In fact, among the Muslim enslaved persons in the Americas, there was a disproportionate number of learned men from West Africa. Diouf writes, “There is ample evidence that the Muslims actively used their cultural and social background and the formation they had received in Africa as tools to improve their condition in the Americas.” 19 Literacy led to leadership in two clear, albeit contradictory fashions. First, literate enslaved Muslims were often favored to serve in the top tier of the slave hierarchy on plantations and work projects in places such as Brazil and the US South. Regarding their role in simultaneously serving their masters and leading others on the American plantations, Richard Brent Turner writes that Muslims, “often occupied leadership roles in the jobs that slaves performed on plantations. . . . Their names, dress, rituals, and dietary laws were perceived as powerful significations of Islamic identities in the slave community.”20 Second, literate enslaved Muslims came to play an outsized role in leading maroon communities, rebellions, and other forms of resistance. Despite the attempts at conversion by European slaveholders, evidence suggests that West African Muslims continued to practice their religion, at least in the first generation. They maintained familial and tribal networks, attempted to convert other enslaved persons, and met together for prayer, rituals, and celebrations. At the same time, it must be said that Muslims in the colonial Americas were not all cut from the same cloth. Instead, they came from “a variety of ethnic, educational, and economic backgrounds” influenced by “when, where, and how they were transported to these shores.”21 As a result, “there was no singular interpretation nor practice of

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Islam. In some instances, Islamic beliefs and practices were means of selfidentification that distinguished, and at times even isolated, African Muslims from other enslaved Africans or white Americans.”22 Often, whether or not Muslims emerged as leaders, connected with other Muslims, or struck out to resist their enslavement depended on tribe-based connections and preexisting West African social networks and dynamics. Michael Gomez emphasizes these tribe-based singularities and cultural traditions that came across the Atlantic.23 Specifically, Gomez argues that responses to enslavement were conditioned by particular African cultural, social, and religious antecedents. Furthermore, slaveholders made decisions about labor assignments and material treatment based on their assessment of “cultural traits.” One such example would be the tendency for Muslims who were literate to be promoted in plantation hierarchies or be given more responsibility than their peers.24 Gomez contends that African Muslims’ experiences and practices—in Latin America, the Caribbean, and what later became the United States—varied due to Old World context and the vagaries of different Atlantic empires (Spanish/British, etc.). Gomez also shows how Muslim experiences in the Americas were heavily shaped by their newfound contexts in the New World. For example, Gomez overviews the historical presence, and influence, of Muslims in the Caribbean.25 Specifically, he looks at Jamaica, Trinidad, and SaintDomingue, overviewing how they help scholars “determine the quality and implications of an Islamic presence in the Antilles.”26 Gomez emphasizes how Muslims had to fight to maintain their faith not only in the grip of religious competition, but also in contestation with overarching social and political stresses in the colonial pressure cooker that was the Caribbean. Their legacy is long. In Cuba, for example, Muslims look to their enslaved forebears for inspiration and grounding. Luis Mesa Delmonte comments that while there is a lack of continuity between Islamic convert communities today and the first Muslims who arrived, there is still an imagined link between the “Moorish slaves, imazigen slaves (Berbers), as well as Muslim African slaves (Mandingos, Fulani)” who came to Cuba centuries ago.27 The presence of enslaved Muslims in Cuba is not a direct historical link, but instead a conceptual anchor for new Muslim identities emerging in the later transculturative processes that allowed a thriving Cuban Muslim sociality to emerge in the twentieth century. Similar legacies can be found elsewhere in the Caribbean. Many Bahamian Muslims show scant understanding of the mechanics of Muslim enslavement in the Bahamas and yet, simultaneously, exhibit great pride in their West African Islamic heritage. Similar to Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad, Saint-Domingue, Brazil, and elsewhere in Latin America and the Caribbean, the first Muslims to come to Nassau and other locales in the Bahamas came as field laborers in American plantation settlements. Like-

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wise, their communities seemed to have died out in one or two generations. This does not mean, however, that popular practices did not survive much later than current, available data suggest. More research has to be done. Nevertheless, this does not stop modern Muslims in the Bahamas—and elsewhere—from drawing on this legacy as a means of claiming West African roots and heritage.28

Inshallah and Insurrections Puerto Rican Muslims also seek to ground, authenticate, and validate their Muslim identities in the past by appealing to the presence of enslaved Muslims in La Isla Bella. Omar Ramadan-Santiago takes note of this in his study of Puerto Rican hip-hop artists and how they reimagine their identities through appeals to West African Muslim enslaved persons in Puerto Rico who, although severed from their homelands, came to shape Puerto Rican culture, music, and food, among other things.29 Part of this perceived heritage, he writes, also includes insurrection, sedition, and resistance. 30 Enslaved Africans were first brought to Puerto Rico to work on the developing sugarcane plantations that could no longer be supported by the waning Indigenous workforce, who died out because of smallpox, malaria, plague, influenza, measles, and the violence of European colonial domination. To make up for this loss in labor, the colonizers requested royal permission to bring in Africans to supplement the diminishing labor force. Not only could they avoid being wiped out by European sickness, the enslaved Africans lived in societies familiar with large-scale farming, in areas closely resembling the Caribbean islands’ climate and ecology, and they were not protected by the same royal regulations as Indigenous persons. For example, the enslaved Africans brought into Puerto Rico during the first half of the sixteenth century were most likely from Greater Senegambia/ Upper Guinea.31 At that time, Upper Guinea’s population was classified into three categories: gelofes, biafras, and mandingos.32 Enslaved Muslims who came to Puerto Rico were either ladinos or bozales. The numerous enslaved persons of Iberia who spoke Spanish and supposedly converted to Christianity (although Gomez argues they were actually “undercover Muslims”) were known as ladinos.33 Bozales were enslaved persons “brought directly to the New World from Africa and, therefore, neither Christianized nor Spanish speaking.”34 Of the bozales, three ethnic groups are recognized as being predominately Muslim: the Jelofe/Gelofe/Wolof, the Mandingo/a, and the Fula/Fulani, all of whom were represented in Puerto Rico. Bringing Muslims into the Spanish-speaking Caribbean was fervently avoided given Spain’s history with Muslim empires and concerns about blood purity, cultural affinity, and religious hegemony. Efforts were made

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to procure enslaved persons from areas in Africa where Islam was not widely practiced. Since Islam became equated with resistance in the New World, the hope was that non-Muslim enslaved persons would be less motivated to revolt against their Christian captors. Furthermore, Spaniards hoped that nonliterate enslaved African Muslims would be rudderless without their leaders—literate, strong, and charismatic Muslims. This notion was based on the racist imaginary that literate African Muslims were superior to nonliterate African Muslims. Either way, literate or nonliterate, “African Muslim slaves in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Brazil were so visible and so determined to transmit and preserve their religious practices and to be free that they were perceived as a threat to the state.”35 Enslaved Muslims were seen as a menace and the Spanish Crown wanted to make sure they did not make their way across the Atlantic. The Mande/Mandinga were especially associated with resistance and the devil. Centuries before Islamophobia would take hold of American discourse about Islam and Muslims in the Americas, the Spaniards developed their own fear of Muslims as a basis for laws meant to maintain peace and security—what Alejandro Escalante calls a “proto-Islamophobia” in the Americas.36 Another method used to prevent the spread of Islam in the Atlantic was the royal banning of Moorish captives from entering the Americas.37 In 1501, a royal decree from Spain was addressed to Frey Nicolás de Ovando, the named governor of the Indies based in Santo Domingo.38 It forbade the passage of enslaved persons with ties to Islam, Judaism, or any other potentially “harmful” faiths. The decree was originally meant to keep out Iberian Muslims (see Chapter 3), but became applicable to the importation of Muslim slaves from West Africa as well when, in 1522, a revolt broke out in Santo Domingo, in what is now known as the Dominican Republic. Gomez writes, On the lush island of Hispaniola in 1522, Admiral Diego Columbus, governor and son of the explorer, received a most unusual gift early Christmas morning. At the sound of the second cockcrow, some twenty enslaved persons, heretofore proscribed within what was a sizeable ingenio, or small sugar mill and its environs, lay aside their fears and set up a path of alteration. Intent on spreading sedition throughout the island, the insurrections moved to mobilize an equal number of coconspirators on neighboring establishments. Machetes in hand, they literally dismembered plantation personnel and livestock as they proceeded, initiating a “wild and bloody expedition under dawn’s early light.” In their wake lay torched houses and fields. . . . Thus began the first collective insurrection of Africans in the Americas, a movement largely composed of Senegambians, a significant proportion of whom were probably Muslim.39

Although defeated by Columbus’s forces in the end, this initial revolt seemed to confirm the fears of the Spanish authorities regarding Islam and Muslims.

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Thus, a series of laws would be passed over the ensuing decades that would more fully seek to limit the movement of Muslims in the New World. When the Spanish brought their slaves, they sought to ensure that they were not Muslims, but ladinos—enslaved persons who had spent some time in Spain where they had been forcibly converted to Christianity. As a royal Spanish order of 1543 explains, “In a new land like this one where [the Catholic] faith is only recently being sowed, it is necessary not to allow to spread there the sect of Mahomet or any other.” The Spanish had the additional fear that Indigenous peoples would convert to Islam. Seeing the affinities that existed between African enslaved persons and the local Indigenous populations,40 the Spaniards dreaded the potential conversion of vast swathes of the Amerindian population to Islam. Against that end, they issued five separate pieces of anti-Muslim legislation to keep Muslims out of the New World in the first fifty years of colonization. These decrees subjected potential emigrants to “extreme vetting” that was meant to test whether or not they were Christian, or if they even had a drop of Muslim or Jewish blood in their backgrounds. Only the Crown could grant exemptions. Any Muslim coming to the Americas was seen as a potential threat to the economic, cultural, and religious superiority of Catholic New Spain. These decrees had little effect as bribes, forged papers, and loopholes in the system allowed Moriscos and Moors to come to the Americas as free persons. Besides, enslaved Muslims were also forcibly brought over anyway because of their literacy and skills in trades deemed valuable in the transatlantic trade in bodies for labor. Though numerically inferior, enslaved Muslims (or, for that matter, Moors and Moriscos) had an impact on the early trajectory of the Americas through influence, alteration, and sedition of Spanish and Afro-American cultural, political, economic, legal, and social patterns. In this way and others, they left an “undeniable legacy in the New World.”41 In particular, African Muslims made a name for Islam in the Americas “by mobilizing among enslaved subjects and against the prevailing status quo.”42 Thus, similar to how African Muslim experiences in the Americas were molded by imperial forces, so too they molded the imperial formations of the New World. “In so doing, African Muslim histories reveal the tensions within and among empires in the Atlantic.”43 The configuration of the American hemisphere should not be credited to solely European imperial interlocutors alone. Instead of looking only to those with power, we can look also to those they held under that power. There, we can see quite plainly that the enslaved were not impotent subalterns, but active agents in the shaping of the Americas through their leadership of fellow enslaved persons, their resistance to enslavement, as a refuge for others who suffered under imperial power when they were freed, and as specters in the legal structures of American empire. One need look no further for this influence

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than in the regular revolts that struck the Americas44 and that often featured Muslims in some form of leadership. As Edward E. Curtis IV points out, the insurrections below point to how African Muslims enslaved in the Americas became an integral part of shaping the hemisphere, and intentionally so. In their resistance, Curtis writes, “the diasporic imagination of African-descended Muslims was focused not on Africa or even on a shared notion of Black or African diasporic identity but instead on justice within existing political orders.”45 From widely known insurrections to everyday resistance, enslaved African Muslims were intimately involved in making the Americas. Moreover, and despite their enslavement, through their resistance they were also in the process of making the Americas their home.

Insurrection in Puerto Rico

In addition to other forms of resistance among enslaved Africans in Puerto Rico,46 an insurrection occurred on the island in 1527, five years after the revolt in neighboring Santo Domingo. The Santo Domingo revolt had inspired a royal decree in May 1526 specifically and strictly prohibiting the importation of gelofes (Wolof) and Black people raised by Moors, Black people from the Middle East, and slaves acquired from Guinea, unless granted a specific license from the Casa de Contratación, the Crown agency in the Port of Seville. The Puerto Rican uprising was led by Muslim gelofes, described by colonial chroniclers as “machete-wielding sugar slaves” determined to murder their masters and destroy crops.47 Authorities concluded “that a combination of Muslim-influenced gelofes and disgruntled ladinos had been responsible for this frightening challenge to white authority.”48 There then followed an additional ban against Senegambians coming to Puerto Rico.49 Despite the tireless Spanish effort to limit their coming to the Americas, Muslims continued to be brought across the Atlantic against their will. Once they were there, they became leaders of enslaved men and women and caused consternation among their captors. However, not only enslaved Muslims brought about colonial anxieties, but also free Muslims who were formerly enslaved, who banded together to create societies that would seek to free other enslaved persons, particularly Muslims in places such as Trinidad and Jamaica. “Islam was an excellent organizing force” and “galvanizing force” Diouf notes.50 In addition to the communal solidarity it imbued in Muslims, knowledge of Arabic at times served as a common and secret language for those planning revolts.51 And so, over the almost four centuries that Europeans enslaved West Africans in the Americas, both freed and enslaved Muslims continued to play an outsized role in rebellions across the Americas in places such as Brazil, Mexico, Jamaica, Suriname, Haiti, and Venezuela.

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Two particular rebellions reveal more interesting details about the impact of West African Muslim enslaved persons in the Americas. The first, in Brazil, was led by Muslims. The second, in Haiti, is a matter of debate. Regarding Brazil, Gomez makes the point that slavery was critical to the formation of Brazilian society and the influence of Africans cannot be overlooked in seeking to understand the country today. In addition, although numerically inferior, North Africans, Moors, and West African Muslim slaves played an outsized role in shaping Afro-Brazilian culture in general52 and in leading various resistance movements in particular. While the “Muslim element” in these revolts was important, it was far from the only factor in resistance in Latin America or elsewhere. Facing disenfranchisement, poverty, and substandard treatment at the hands of Brazilian society, many slaves and free Africans resisted. In 1813, 1826, 1827, 1828, and 1830, Black Brazilians revolted against the ruling authorities to advocate for more rights.53 Although the evidence is scant, it appears that Quranic amulets and documents written in Arabic give some credence to the claims that enslaved Muslims at least participated in these rebellions. Home to the vast majority of the nation’s sugar plantations, nineteenthcentury Bahia encountered growing political, social, and economic uncertainty due to increasing international competition, rumblings for abolition, and Portuguese independence movements. Social unrest erupted throughout the region in the 1820s and 1830s and there were a series of revolts and protests across the state. Most well known among these rebellions was that led by a collective of enslaved persons and freedmen in January 1835. Through their leadership of this revolt, enslaved Muslims would make a major impact on the Brazilian culture of the day and leave a lasting legacy for centuries to come.54 On January 25, 1835—during the month of Ramadan, a period of ritual fasting and prayer for Muslims—a group of almost 600 enslaved Africans and freedmen gathered together in the streets of Salvador, Bahia, to overtake a number of colonial and municipal buildings. They wore amulets containing portions of the Quran and white caftans viewed by colonial police as “war garments.” Intended to free the enslaved persons in the area and establish African control over the region, the “Malê revolt”55 lasted only three hours, with seventy Africans killed by the city’s armed civilians and soldiers. Around 500 were later executed, deported, or punished in some other way. The leaders of the revolt included African-born Muslims such as Luís Sanim, Pacífico Licutan, Manoel Calafate, Elesbão do Corma, and Ahuna. Because of this, some historians have equated the revolt with jihad.56 There are others who eschew religious explanations and, instead, emphasize ethnic plurality in the area as a principal cause of the struggle.

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The latter seems more plausible. While Muslim Malês were the principal organizers, they represented a coalition of enslaved Africans from various backgrounds with a broad list of concerns. This was not jihad in the strict sense, but part of a wider struggle for freedom. As much as they could, it seems that these rebels wanted to present a unified and pan-African front against the tyranny of their Brazilian oppressors.57 Even so, the rebellion bears the marks of significant Muslim influence and leadership. The revolt was planned for, and executed during, Ramadan and perhaps on the auspicious laylat al-Qadr (night of power). Furthermore, the rebels were dressed in white robes and wore amulets for protection during the fighting. Finally, despite some disagreements, it is widely accepted that the principal leaders drew on the traditions of their faith and history of Islamic practice and politics in West Africa to help organize the revolt and turn it into one of the most successful rebellions in the region. João José Reis argues that religious and ethnic identities, while sometimes overlapping and other times divergent, served as a primary means for collective consciousness and opposition in the face of oppression and impoverishment. Religion was also a factor rallying the rebels around the cause of resistance.58 Despite the Islamic influence, Reis argues that it was the networks that existed across, and between, African ethnic and religious communities that allowed for Africans of various ethnicities and religious affiliations to take part in the revolt. Principally, he contended that limiting the rebellion’s causes to solely religious or ethnic factors does little to show the myriad forces at work that helped these enslaved persons form communities of social solidarity across religious, ethnic, and even class lines in Bahian slave society. Unpacking, and analyzing, eyewitness accounts from Brazilian, French, and English sources, Reis has produced the most complete picture of that night of rebellion, its aftermath, and effect to date. By placing emphasis on both slave agency and the Bahian social setting—specifically the importance of a plurality of African ethnic identities in interaction with Muslim identities—Reis inspires future scholars in two directions: first, to bore down into particular histories, narratives, and geographies; and, second, to view Islam and Muslim lives as set within a constellation of cultural, social, and political factors. His work invites further exploration of other rebellions and the overlapping roles of religion, society, and culture in other places and spaces throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, and the American hemisphere. At the very least, it points to the significance of enslaved Muslims in shaping attitudes, leading rebellions, and prompting further reactions by colonial authorities whose decisions were shaped by the Muslims who resisted them. While the specter of Muslim presence was important in shaping American attitudes toward Islam, it is important to recognize the impact that actual Muslims in the Americas also had in shaping attitudes through their resistance and rebellion.

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Insurrection in Haiti

Although Christianity and other religious traditions (e.g., Haitian vodou) are more prominent, the Muslim population of Haiti today is growing and looks back on their Muslim past for motivation and to “authenticate” their contemporary identities. Located on the western side of the island of Hispaniola, Haiti (Ayiti) was the first “Black nation” to gain its independence from colonial powers. First colonized by Spain, and then France, independence came to Haiti on January 1, 1804. It is possible that enslaved Muslims from the Senegambia, who were known to be on the island, “could have played a role in maroon communities and the Ceremony du Boïs Caïman (Boïs Caïman Ceremony) which sparked the Haitian Revolution in 1786.”59 After giving an overview of the roles of Muslims in Haiti under colonial power, Diouf focuses specifically on the Haitian Revolution and claims that major maroon communities were led by Muslims and how, despite baptism, some of them retained their original Muslim names. She calls this, “The Muslim Factor in the Haitian Revolution.”60 Several scholars in addition to Diouf have posited that some prominent prerevolutionary maroon leaders— François Macandal and Boukman Dutty—were Muslims, though there are serious doubts about the veracity and verifiability of such claims.61 Today, there are an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 Muslims in Haiti.62 The sociality continues to grow and enlarge its public profile. There are several mosques across the country, the first of which was constructed in the 1990s. One mosque—Boukman Buhara Mosquée outside Cape Haïtien—is named after the famed rebel. There is also a madrasah, or school, and hostel in the west of the country set up by immigrants from Trinidad. Furthermore, Nawoon Marcellus became the first Muslim in Haiti to be elected as a public official.63 Finally, since the January 2010 earthquake, the Haitian Muslim sociality has been prominent in relief efforts and dawah on the island. A YouTube video documentary showcases how the small Muslim community assisted those in refugee camps in the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, and that subsequently more Haitians have since converted to Islam.64 Whether via the return of Haitian expatriates from the United States who converted in cities such as New York or Houston, through local dawah, public broadcast television, or through relief efforts, Islam seems to be growing in Haiti despite not being officially recognized as a religion by state authorities or included in the country’s official demographics.65 The legacy of those early Muslims, it seems, lives on.

Enslaved Muslims’ Legacy in the Americas Whether or not they helped spark Haiti’s revolution, the possibility that they did has inspired current Black and Afro-Muslim populations across

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the Americas—from Haiti to the Bahamas, Guyana to Dominica—and is held up as an example of the prevalence of Muslim leaders in significant slave revolts across the hemisphere. At the very least, the legacy of these Muslims continues to resonate in the lives of modern Muslims who look to those who resisted European rule for inspiration. As they face ostracism because of their religion today, looking to those who opposed oppressors in the past serves as an inducement not only to be proud of their religion, but to know it has a long history in the islands, countries, and hemisphere they call home. Not only do enslaved Muslims in the past inspire contemporary Muslims in the Americas, but they also provide scholars with another sense of the longue durée of Muslim presence in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Americas as a whole. By reviewing and recentering the story of African enslaved Muslims in the Americas, as well as recentering their experiences, we can better understand contemporary currents of Islamophobia, antiMuslim bias, and racism “in the context of African Muslim experience.”66 As Chapters 2 and 3 have shown, Islamophobia in the Americas is not necessarily a new phenomenon, but one with deep, transatlantic roots. Nor is it simply a matter of ignorant fear of Arab Muslims, but one of fear rooted in the Spanish—and wider European—encounters with Muslims in the age of colonial European exploration and expansion. We would do well to pay attention to these linkages. With that said, the legacy of enslaved Muslims is not only one of deAfricanization, oppression, and loss. Many contemporary Black Muslims in the Americas look to them with pride as forebears in their contemporary struggle, and cite them as yet another reason why their conversion is in fact a “reversion” to former ways. In this way, the memory of Islam in the Americas was never fully lost and has never truly died out.67 Some scholars even argue that Islam’s growth among Afro-Americans today is at least partly attributable to the historical linkages between enslaved Africans and Islam.68 However, we should be careful in making too much of this genealogy. While it is plausible that some popular practices of Islam survived over multiple generations of enslavement and servitude among Black Muslims in the Americas, the current evidence suggests that the practice of Islam by Muslim enslaved persons and their descendants ended in the nineteenth century. More research and data would need to be unearthed to find a linkage between the communities of the past and contemporary groups across the region. Diouf is strongly worded in this respect and claims that Islam from West African sources has not survived.69 She writes, “in the Americas and the Caribbean, not one community currently practices Islam as passed on by preceding African generations.”70 This is due to the fact enslaved Muslims were not able to pass their religion on to their children, who were

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often sold to other plantations and places. Furthermore, the Spanish laws barring the importation or immigration of Muslims made the public practice of Islam dangerous. Moreover, there were no proper madrasahs to pass on Islamic learning and discipline. As Delmonte also notes, “In many cases, Muslim migrants were isolated and inserted in small communities with a weak religious life. . . . In other words, there were Muslims but no Muslim institution building.” 71 And finally, the pressure to convert to Christianity constantly, and viscerally, hung over the enslaved person’s life to the point where it was much easier to convert (or fake conversion) than to resist. Many grandchildren of enslaved Muslims did not even know that their ancestors were Muslim until they discovered evidence in records or long-kept family heirlooms, or from secondary sources and scholars. However, if Islam as a lived religion died out in the Americas, it was passed on in other ways. Beyond being leaders among the enslaved and among those who resisted slavery, African Muslim persons influenced various cultural traditions prevalent among African Americans and popular culture today. In the realm of material culture, African-style Muslim amulets are still popular in places such as Brazil. In the realm of music, Arabic words found their way into songs in places as far afield as Peru, Cuba, Georgia, and Trinidad. Gomez even suggests that blues and jazz were influenced by West African Muslim musical styles and motifs.72 It is in the realm of religion that the West African Muslim legacy, appropriately, holds the most sway, although perhaps not always in ways we might expect. While it is possible that Islamic practice made its way into vodou ceremonies that start with greetings of “salam, salam,”73 it is more than evident that African American Muslim movements such as the Moorish Science Temple, the Nation of Islam (NOI), the Five Percent Nation (FPN), and Sunni Muslim movements draw on the legacy of their enslaved antecedents to confirm their character as American Muslims, encourage others to convert, and espouse the historical longevity of Islam in the Americas. In particular, organizations such as the NOI, Moorish Science Temple, and FPN in the United States and the Caribbean often call on the history of their enslaved Muslims forebears for inspiration and as a rallying cry against the oppressions of their present age. Whether it be enslavement at the hands of European powers or the struggle for human rights or the contention that Black Lives Matter, African Muslim histories are a critical ingredient in the makeup of Black narratives across the hemisphere. While there may or may not be individuals who act as physical links between enslaved African Muslim communities and contemporary Black Muslim communities, there is a chain of inspiration, connection, and shared vision that stretches back across the ages and across geographies. Through groups such as the NOI, contemporary Muslims look back to slave plantations in

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the US South, Caribbean, and elsewhere and across the Atlantic to West African Muslim tribes, nations, and kingdoms for inspiration. This means that in some way the mosques, temples, and meeting rooms of Black Muslim movements in the Americas are networked with their forebears and influences across West Africa, the Sahel, North Africa, and the Middle East all the way back to Mecca itself via merchants, traders, and rulers who traveled between these lands in the past. Their stories are entangled with one another and their genealogies and geographies are linked across time—both materially and in memory. Thus, when Malcolm X went on the hajj in 1964 it is not that he was for the first time making connections between Black Muslims and the broader ummah, but instead he was bringing that story full circle as it had already traveled in the stories of the African Muslims and their ancestors who preceded him. West African Muslims, along with the Moriscos who came before them, represent another link in the long history of Islam and Muslims making their way to the Americas and leaving their mark on the region’s history, society, and culture. This legacy and influence goes beyond Black communities in the Americas and extends to other nodes in the transnational African Muslim diaspora as well. While African-descended Muslims live in various societies and “do not have one way of practicing Islam, they often live as Muslims in societies that are, to a greater or lesser degree, racist.” 74 Among Jamaicans and Trinidadians in the United Kingdom, the legacy of their forebears’ resistance to European colonialism and the racist practice of enslavement continue to reverberate and resonate with their contemporary experience. For example, that heritage resounds in the music and lyrics of UK hip-hop duo Poetic Pilgrimage. The groups’ members, Muneera Rashida and Sukina Abdul Noor, are Jamaican by heritage and utilize “their personal, spiritual and physical journey” in their music. Although their music, and public performance, is not fully accepted in the Muslim community (some view women performing or music as haram, or prohibited), they are able to ride the ups and downs, the beats and drops, to discover new things about their Muslim practice and beliefs, their feminist sensibilities, and their Jamaican roots. Sukina gave voice to how hiphop helps her articulate her faith. She said of the music project that she and Muneera share, “We are searching for something that is ours, that is authentically Islam.”75 They also find a voice to critique “both racism in the British context and the long history of European colonialism and neocolonialism.” 76 For Poetic Pilgrimage, Islam serves as a font of justice and liberation from which they draw to critique current structures of power they see as disenfranchising or unequal. As they do so, they draw on the deep legacy of resistance by enslaved African Muslims in Jamaica and the broader Americas.

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Conclusion While turning the page on the historical legacies of Moriscos and West African Muslim enslaved persons, we must note that they were not the only Muslims to come to and shape the character of the Americas. There were also indentured servants who came in the course of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the wake of the abolition of slavery. Furthermore, Arab, South Asian, and other immigrants would begin to come during the same time period and exert their own influence on Latin America, the Caribbean, and the American hemisphere. The works cited in this chapter highlight the interrelation of socialities, cultures, and religion in the history of the Americas. Today, the relationship between socialities— specifically between Black and South Asian Muslims on the one hand, and Arab and Latinx Muslims on the other—continues to be a complicated one featuring tensions and conflicts along with shared practices and celebrations. As we begin to shift to more recent history and contemporary cases, these themes of connection, conflict, and collaboration come even more to the fore.

Notes 1. Lalami, The Moor’s Account, 146. 2. It must be said that the way Muslims were treated in this regard parallels the experience of other religious minorities under the oppression of European colonization. 3. Manseau, Objects of Devotion, 166. 4. Aliyah Khan, Far from Mecca, 55. See also Gomez, Black Crescent. 5. Curtis, The Call of Bilal, 6. 6. Diouf, Servants of Allah, 20. 7. See Loimeier, Muslim Societies in Africa. 8. Østebø, “The History of Islam in Africa.” 9. Diouf, Servants of Allah, 20–21. 10. The term Sufism is, in many ways, an analytical concept and technical term applied by outsiders, academics, and polemicists to describe a variety of formal networks, brotherhoods, and religious orders that target the inner transformation of the hidden aspect of human beings through education, rituals, and initiatic relationships. They are not wholly mystical, per se, nor are they always as peaceful as they are represented in popular renderings. Sufism exists across other streams of Islam (Sunni, Shi‘i, etc.) and cannot be reduced to any one belief, maxim, or practice. 11. Diouf, Servants of Allah, 22. 12. See Brigaglia and Nobili, The Arts and Crafts of Literacy. 13. Handloff, “Prayers, Amulets, and Charms: Health and Social Control.” 14. Wright, Realizing Islam, 18–52. See also Mommersteeg, In the City of the Marabouts; Levtzion, Islam in West Africa. For helpful visuals, see Saleh, “Amulets and Talismans from the Islamic World.” 15. Diouf, Servants of Allah, 23. 16. Ibid., 24.

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17. Aliyah Khan, Far From Mecca, 59–62. 18. Ibid., 74. 19. Diouf, Servants of Allah, 138. 20. R. B. Turner, “African Muslim Slaves and Islam in Antebellum America,” Kindle loc. 1004. 21. GhaneaBassiri, A History of Islam in America, 60. 22. Ibid., 61. 23. See Gomez, Exchanging Our Country Marks; Gomez, “African Identity and Slavery in the Americas.” 24. Gomez, Black Crescent. 25. Ibid., 47. 26. Ibid. 27. Delmonte, “Cubans Searching for a New Faith in a New Context,” 190. 28. Ali, “Bahamian and Brazilian Muslimahs.” See also Morgan, “Atlantic Crescent.” 29. Ramadan-Santiago, “Insha’Allah/Ojalá, Yes Yes Y’all.” 30. While insurrection can be read from a position of power and associated with unjust violence, I prefer to use the term more ambiguously to leave room for its interpretation as a form of resistance from the subaltern, oppressed persons, expressing their agency against a regime of power that enslaved, abused, and attempted to strip them of their humanity. 31. Stark, “A New Look at the African Slave Trade in Puerto Rico Through the Use of Parish Registers.” 32. See Rout, The African Experience in Spanish America. 33. Ibid.; Gomez, Black Crescent. 34. Rout, The African Experience in Spanish America, 29. 35. R. B. Turner, “African Muslim Slaves and Islam in Antebellum America,” Kindle loc. 948. 36. Escalante, “The Long Arc of Islamophobia,” 179. 37. Gomez, Black Crescent, 205. 38. See Diaz Soler, Historia de la Esclavitud Negra en Puerto Rico. 39. Gomez, Black Crescent, 3. 40. See Katz, Black Indians. 41. Gomez, Black Crescent, 4. 42. Karam, “African Rebellion and Refuge on the Edge of Empire,” 46. 43. Ibid. 44. For more on various slave revolts and rebellions across the Americas, see Price, Maroon Societies. Of particular interest for comparison might be the Quilombo community led by Zumbi dos Palmares. See Araujo, “Zumbi and the Voices of the Emergent Public Memory of Slavery and Resistance in Brazil.” 45. Curtis, The Call of Bilal, 18–19. 46. See the discussion in Chapter 3 on how Black Puerto Ricans resisted colonial hegemony through the reappropriation and resignification of religious symbols in festivals such as that of La Fiesta de Santiago Apóstol. 47. Majid, We Are All Moors, 25. 48. Rout, The African Experience in Spanish America, 2. 49. See Stark, “A New Look at the African Slave Trade in Puerto Rico Through the Use of Parish Registers.” See also Ramadan-Santiago, “Introduction of Islam to Sixteenth-Century Puerto Rico.” 50. Diouf, Servants of Allah, 230. 51. Ibid., 212.

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52. See Akande, Illuminating the Blackness; Law and Lovejoy, The Biography of Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua. 53. Kettani, “Excavaciones En La Historia Del Islam En Brasil: La Revolución De Los Malés De Bahía.” 54. Reis, Slave Rebellion in Brazil. 55. The Brazilian term malê is derived from the Yoruba imale, which was used in Africa to refer to Yoruba Muslims. 56. Barcia, “An Islamic Atlantic Revolution”; Lovejoy, “Background to Rebellion.” 57. Reis, Slave Rebellion in Brazil. 58. Ibid. 59. Dorsainvil, “Islam in Haiti,” in Gooren, Encyclopedia of Latin American Religions. 60. Diouf, Servants of Allah, 215–220. 61. Aliyah Khan goes so far as to say that the stories about Islamic influence on the Haitian rebellion are nothing more than apocryphal. Aliyah Khan, Far From Mecca, 252. See also Aisha Khan, “Islam, Vodou, and the Making of the AfroAtlantic”; Geggus, Haitian Revolutionary Studies; Geggus and Fiering, The World of the Haitian Revolution. 62. See Dorsainvil, “Islam in Haiti,” in Gooren, Encyclopedia. 63. Charlemagne, “Legislative Elections Also Go to the PHTK and Its Allies.” 64. See Nageen, “The Muslim Community in Haiti,” YouTube, March 7, 2010, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFQKdOEaN0Q. 65. See Dorsainvil, “Islam in Haiti,” in Gooren, Encyclopedia. 66. Escalante, “The Long Arc of Islamophobia,” 179–180, 184; Jackson, Islam and the Blackamerican, 101–102. 67. Lincoln, “The American Muslim Mission in the Context of American Social History,” 219. 68. Hassan, “African-American Muslims and the Islamic Revival,” 284. 69. One of my mentors, David Hackett, regularly suggested to me that this seeming historical gap in the story of continuous Muslim presence in the Americas is just waiting to be filled by a historian with the right acumen, tools, and sources at hand. Until then, it seems we must assume that African Muslim communities died out over time. 70. Diouf, Servants of Allah, 179. 71. Delmonte, “Cubans Searching for a New Faith in a New Context,” 191–192. 72. Gomez, Black Crescent, x. 73. See Diouf, Servants of Allah. 74. Curtis, The Call of Bilal, 13. 75. Al Jazeera English, “UK: Hip Hop Hijabis | Witness,” YouTube, March 8, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kSh6bobLTU. 76. Curtis, The Call of Bilal, 80, 82–83.

5 Indentured Servants and Immigrants

THE PRACTICE OF ISLAM IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN did not die on the plantations of the Americas. Instead, the practice of Islam was revived with the arrival of indentured servants from India and Indonesia in the nineteenth century and the coming of immigrants and refugees from the Middle East and North Africa in the twentieth century. Moreover, these socialities continue to exist, grow, and evolve up to the present day. While scholars and observers are hard-pressed to illustrate how enslaved Muslim communities survived, Indian, Indonesian, and Arab settlers founded many of the modern-day communities still extant in the region. In this chapter, I discuss how Indian, Indonesian, and Arab Muslims adapted, stretched, and created traditions old and new in the American context and explore the idea of “diaspora religion” and its importance in understanding the hemisphere’s Muslims. Doing so helps illustrate how traditions from the homeland were altered in the Americas and how new traditions and tensions arose. This underlines how intertwined the Americas are in the story of global Islam and how each impacts the cultural and religious expressions of the other through an ongoing flow of ideas, people, material culture, rituals, and customs. To illustrate these flows, this chapter focuses on three particular narratives: that of Indian indentured servants and their presence and legacy in Trinidad; that of Indonesian indentured servants and their presence and legacy in Suriname; and that of Arab immigrants and refugees who arrived at various ports of call across Latin America and the Caribbean. While the case could be made that a chapter covering so much ground could, and

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perhaps should, be split into three separate chapters, I chose to consolidate their stories together both to close out the historical narrative of the book and to segue to the many contemporary stories that are to be told in Part 2. I do not do so to give short shrift to the many, and diverse, narratives that could be told from South Asian, Indonesian, and Middle Eastern socialities in the Americas, but as a way to link their experiences through the common thread of diaspora movement, migration, and networks. While there are distinct, and noteworthy, differences in the stories of migration and movement that brought these Muslims to the Americas, there are enough parallels that such a thematic grouping makes sense. In particular, each of the cases discussed in this chapter emphasize the shifting priorities different groups give to their ethnic and religious identities over time and across vast geographic distances. Their stories do not end with this chapter, however. Instead, they are picked up again in Part 2, where I focus in detail on their lasting legacy and the role each sociality plays in contemporary dynamics across the hemisphere.

Muslim Indentured Servants from India Outside of the United States, the Muslim community in Trinidad is one of the most prominent and well-researched in the Americas. Above all, this scholarship shows there is great diversity among them due to a range of influences over the past few centuries, which includes significant Indoand Afro-Trinidadian contingents. Muslims first came to Trinidad as enslaved persons,1 but the second significant phase for Muslims came between 1837 and 1917, which brought Muslims from South Asia as part of a system of indentured servitude. Meant to make up for the labor shortage brought on by the end of slavery in the British Empire in 1834, these Muslims arrived with a different history of religious belief, practices, and ethnic boundaries than their West African counterparts. In this section, I explore what brought this influx of Indian Muslims to Trinidad, what rituals and cultural elements they carried and continue to practice today, and what tensions and fissures exist between, and among, the various Muslim constituencies in contemporary Trinidad. When Sir Ralph Woodford became governor of Trinidad in 1813 one of his first tasks was to solve the “labor shortage” on the island. Although Woodford is sometimes seen as a comparatively progressive governor who renovated the Port of Spain after it was wrecked by fire in 1808, improved the island’s infrastructure, and did not keep a Black “mistress” like his predecessors,2 he was adamantly opposed to the abolition of slavery and viewed free Blacks as one of the greatest threats to public order in Trinidad. He supported the sugar planters who wanted to import more slaves and

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sought public order through the introduction of a strict class hierarchy. Even so, the labor shortage caused by the increasing strength of the abolition movement in the United Kingdom forced Woodford to consider other options. William Burnley, the son of a British gentleman by way of Virginia and New York, came to Trinidad in 1798 for a visit and convinced of its opportunity, returned in 1802. In 1813, he was made a member of Woodford’s council and was one of the governor’s chief advisors. He was tasked with supplying sufficient labor for the island and its prominent sugar plantations. What could be done, Burnley wondered, to entice free labor and also bring greater public order to a society beset by disorder, which in his view was caused by the free Black population. Burnley felt that while Africans were robust and hardy, “they were so grossly ignorant that they required to be taught everything they were to do.”3 He suggested that indentured laborers be brought from Asia, where he imagined a large “docile and intelligent class of laborers, already accustomed to agriculture, to whom the climate would present no drawbacks and whose very prejudices of caste” would help keep Governor Woodford’s social hierarchy in order.4 He writes, It may be considered an axiom that without a change in materials which the population of [Trinidad] is composed, no beneficial alteration in its actual state can be affected. [A new race of men is required] healthy and free, with habits and science already formed, and sufficiently numerous to stand unsupported and distinct from our present population, on its immediate arrival!5

Over the next six decades, nearly half a million Indians arrived in the British Caribbean colonies under the indenture system. They arrived in places such as Trinidad, Guyana, Jamaica, Guadeloupe, Suriname, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada, and Martinique. One in six were Muslim, the remainder were Hindu6; 144,000 came to Trinidad alone.7 The journey across the seas (the kala pani, or black or dark waters, in Hindi), which Muslims from Spain, North Africa, and West Africa took before them, lasted between ten and eighteen weeks and was full of danger, disease, and otherwise debilitating conditions. Many died on the way. The common experience between Muslims and Hindus on this journey created what some Indo-Trinidadians call a “brotherhood of the boat” (jahaji bhai) that transcended religious or ethnic boundaries.8 Once these kalkatiya (given the large number coming from the port of Calcutta) arrived, they were given five years of labor on sugar, cocoa, coffee, coconut, and rubber estates. They were paid as day laborers at a rate of one shilling per day for men, eight pence for women. They were provided housing, given food to start, and could either be reindentured or claim free passage back to India at the end of their term of service.9 Even so, they lived well below the poverty

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rate. Although the system was markedly different than that of chattel slavery, there were severe abuses and exploitations of Indian indentured servants, to the point that their situation was similar to that of slavery. Coming largely from the illiterate classes of India, indentured Muslims faced hostility and maltreatment in Trinidad. Beyond the oppressive conditions of the indenture system, they sometimes became targets of hostility from Indian Hindus who “called the Indian Muslims ‘Mandingas,’ [or Fula] in a derisive manner thereby underlining the fact that they had more in common with the African Muslims from the Mandingo tribes [than their fellow Indians].”10 Christian missionaries also stepped up their efforts to convert Muslims to Christianity and they faced steep pressure from their Christian estate owners and managers. 11 Abdul Wahid Hamid reports that when some of them gathered for festival prayers at Eid at the Palmiste Estate south of San Fernando, they were flogged by their manager John Lamont.12 Despite illiteracy, subjugation, and evangelistic pressure, Indian Muslim socialities not only survived in the West Indies, but began to thrive in the late nineteenth century. The majority of these Muslims were Sunni and followed the Hanafi madhab (school of thought within Sunni Islam). There are reports that there was a small Shi‘i minority and some Wahhabis as well. 13 With that said, their illiteracy and intermixing with the local Hindu population meant that it was difficult to maintain a high level of Islamic knowledge (ilm) within the sociality. Rhoda Reddock writes that even in the early 1900s, certain Muslim women reported not knowing who Aisha, the beloved wife of the Prophet Muhammad, was and would instead appeal to Sita, the Hindu goddess of purity and virtue. 14 Early mosques and maktab (schools) were crudely constructed out of grass, wood, or the detritus of palms and did little to assuage the lack of education the Indian Muslims so longed for. Often, imams would share responsibilities and leadership with Hindu priests to keep the peace and meet the needs of the Indian sociality in Trinidad.15 On the whole, the “conditions of indentureship under which Indians were brought to the Caribbean were not favorable for the continuation” of their religion and, thus, “it was common to find Muslims keeping their faith a secret, as they were afraid of displeasing their colonial rulers.”16 It was not until the early 1900s that places of prayer and schools expanded and solidified their presence throughout the island with the arrival of missionaries (da‘is) from India and elsewhere. The first Muslim missionaries came in 1914 as part of the movement of kalkatiya to the plantations. They were not sent specifically as missionaries, but many of them dedicated their lives to teaching and service to the Indian Muslim sociality in Trinidad. For example, Moulvi Haji Sufi Shah Mohammed Hassan Hanfi Qadi, also known as Lal Dahri (Red Beard), arrived in 1914 and spent the

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next seventy-five years as a da‘i on the island.17 Citing the transformations in the belief and practice of Muslims in India, Prea Persaud relates how “upon his arrival, Lal Dahri advocated for a more conservative form of Islam that was currently practiced on the island and for more ‘outward manifestations of the faith.’”18 He faced resistance. So too would other missionaries from Ahmadiyya,19 Wahhabi, and Shi‘i traditions. And yet through schools, jamaats (local congregations), monthly magazines such as Islamic Message, Muslim youth leagues, and “literary and debating societies,”20 these missionaries and teachers came to have a profound impact on the Muslim population in Trinidad. They also helped create, or exacerbate, tensions within the IndoTrinidadian sociality as well, influenced as they were by transnational debates over Islam and authenticity, identity, and tradition. In an effort to buttress and sustain their cultural and religious identification, Indo-Trinidadian Muslims welcomed a wide array of missionaries to Trinidad throughout the twentieth century. Fearful that they would lose their younger generations to Christianity and their footing in Trinidadian society at large, the IndoTrinidadians invited the missionaries to Trinidad to help them establish Islamic educational institutions, perform dawah, and advocate for Muslim rights in the country at large. These missionaries came from a wide variety of traditions and brought transnational debates about Islam, India and Pakistan, and belonging with them. Wahhabi-inspired transnational scholars such as Nazir Ahmad Simab, the introduction of the Tablighi Jama’at and other international missionaries, numerous Ahmadiyya establishments, and other global influences came to have a local impact as Indo-Trinidadian Muslims debated the use of specific languages (Urdu, Arabic, and English), the authenticity of particular practices (celebrating the birth of the Prophet Muhammed, traditional wedding ceremonies, the celebration of the Prophet’s ascension, or gathering outside for prayers on Eid al-Adha, women’s sartorial practices), the legitimacy of entire traditions (the Ahmadiyya, Salafis, the Deobandi, Barelwi, Jamaat al-Islami, etc.), and the boundaries and permeability between Hindu and Muslim identifications, practices, and socialities among Indo-Trinidadians as a whole.21 Influenced, and sometimes directly incited, by transnational or global actors from modern-day India, Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia, these debates took on a distinctly local character as Indo-Trinidadian Muslims wrestled with the specificities and lived realities of their Caribbean context.22 Marginalized early on and struggling to establish their sense of belonging between and alongside both global discourses and Caribbean realities, a distinct Indo-Trinidadian Muslim sociality developed and distinguished itself from its Indo-Trinidadian Hindu neighbors and Afro-Trinidadian Muslims in the early to mid–twentieth century. There also existed differences within the Indo-Trinidadian Muslim sociality, with three main organizations

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coalescing together in the middle of the century: the Anjuman Sunnatul Jamaat Association (ASJA), Takveeatul Islamic Association (TIA), and Trinidad Muslim League (TML).23 While each of these had its own specific concerns and emphases, they worked together for broader rights and recognition in Trinidadian society and labored beyond the plantations for the right to practice Islamic marriages, to establish their own schools, and to organize intra-Muslim activities and unity events.24 In time, they would also help establish several still prominent mosques such as the San Fernando Jama Masjid, Williamsville ASJA mosque, Port of Spain Jama Masjid, TML Jinnah Memorial Mosque, and Nur-e-Islam Mosque. It was also in the twentieth century that the Indo-Trinidadian Muslim sociality attempted to differentiate itself from Afro-Trinidadian Muslims. When South Asian Muslims arrived in Trinidad beginning in the midnineteenth century, they were not the only Muslims around. There was a preexisting Mandingo Muslim sociality on the island25 with a school in Port of Spain and led by Yunus Muhammad Bath.26 Although they were known as a “Mandingo society,” their African progeny was diverse and varied, with members coming from various West African ethnic backgrounds.27 Their ranks were increased when African soldiers from the British West Indian Regiment of the Napoleonic Wars settled in Port of Spain.28 A small minority of these men, recruited between 1798 and 1808 from among rescued Africans in exchange for their freedom, were Muslim and settled in the south of Trinidad and the northeast, around Manzanilla. Muslims with African heritage also came from nearby Caribbean islands and continued to trickle in from West Africa via other ports of call and paths of life. They contributed to Trinidadian culture and took part in the local economy to the point that they were often able to raise enough funds to purchase the freedom of brethren still enslaved on plantations on the island.29 These communities would come to influence the identification and character of contemporary Afro-Trinidadian groups such as Jamaat al-Muslimeen. In addition to the pressures that the sociality faced at large, IndoTrinidadian Muslim women struggled in particular ways. Aliyah Khan writes that “for indentured Indian female migrants and their immediate descendants, the intersection of religion, law, and racialized, prescribed gender roles produced a gendered subalternity wherein their material circumstances were dictated by a colonial government of white men and community leadership of Indian men.”30 Facing a host of intersecting marginalities, Indo-Trinidadian Muslim women often struggled with intra-sociality tension, patriarchal structures, and glacial change in gender relations, both within the Muslim sociality and beyond. Among Indo-Trinidadian Muslims, women were often thought to be unfit and inadequate for public duties. The practice of purdah (the seclusion of women from public and “male” spheres) made it so that their activities, engagements, and movement were strictly

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monitored, before and after marriage. Likewise, while Indo-Trinidadian Muslim women typically wore the orhni (a Gujarati term meaning “scarf”) as a covering, they began to adopt other international styles of hijab through the influence of trade and travel networks with other Muslims and the exhortations and encouragements of traveling shaikhs. As hijab practices became more internationalized, there were debates about women’s “choice” in wearing hijab in Muslim schools and debate in private Christian and public schools in Trinidad about whether female students should be permitted to wear hijab at all. Patricia Mohammed wrote that Khadija—the Prophet Muhammed’s first wife—was held up as an example for Indo-Trinidadian Muslim women like herself growing up. The framing presented to her “spoke of male authority and wisdom, with women the silent, voiceless partners, lowering their gaze and guarding their modesty, covering their heads and bodies to hide some shape I could not deduce as a child.”31 Pushing back against this iconographic use of Khadija among Indo-Trinidadian Muslims, Mohammed put forward Khadija as a model for women who wanted to play a more active role in the public sphere. Although both women’s leadership and their sartorial practices remain a potent struggle for Indo-Trinidadian Muslim women, “today, Muslim women wearing the hijab are more widely accepted in Caribbean society than they were in the past, and they have become more visible in many spheres of public activity.”32 While patriarchal structures are slowly changing and gender relations are improving, there is still need for increased scholarly scrutiny of the subject and more practical advancement for the lived reality of women on the ground.33 Despite, or perhaps partially because of, these internal tensions and generative frictions, the Indo-Trinidadian Muslim sociality came to cast a shadow over their Afro-Trinidadian counterparts in the popular imagining of “Islam” in Trinidad. And yet, a relationship between the two remains, albeit a fraught one. At times, there has been open hostility between AfroTrinidadian and Indo-Trinidadian Muslims, with some claiming that IndoTrinidadian Muslims were “defensive and introverted” and Afro-Trinidadian Muslims had mixed pure practices with traditional customs and thus committed shirk, putting something or someone in the place of God. Nonetheless, Persaud notes how, “the relationship between these two communities was a complicated one in which African and South Asian Muslims often maintained separate communities but were also occasionally united by their religious practices and celebrations.”34 Indeed, it is these generative frictions, within and beyond the Indo-Trinidadian sociality, that have given shape to their particular expressions today. Aisha Khan documents how Indo-Trinidadians navigated their identifications over the past 150 years through strategic mixing practices and generative frictions with others—principally Indo-Trinidadian Hindus, the government, and Afro-Trinidadian Muslims—in their orbit of life.35

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What they produced were not pure hybrid—or creolized—practices, but ones informed by multiple racial and religious discourses in Trinidad, India, and the global Islamic scene. As Aliyah Khan argues, while Muslims in the Caribbean resist “the framework of the essentialized pious, purist Muslim by entering the postcolonial Caribbean processes of creolization and postcolonial mimicry,” they never become “full hybrids.” They are, she writes, “simultaneously culturally local and global.”36 Thus, their practices cannot be reduced to any one perception of place or authority, authenticity, locality, or ideological source. For evidence of this, one need look no further than the Hosay festival.

How an Ancient Shi‘i Holiday Became Distinctly Caribbean

During the first ten days of the Islamic month of Muharram, Shi‘i Muslims around the world commemorate the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali and reenact the tragedy in various ways.37 In places such as Iran and India, Shi‘i Muslims put on passion plays that include displays of sorrow and remorse such as self-flagellation along with other forms of symbolic suffering. These forms of self-mortification differ according to context. In Iraq, Shi‘is beat themselves with swords. In Lucknow, India, tadjahs (or taziyas) feature drums and mourners who reenact the Battle of Karbala with various loud, and boisterous, chants. Shi‘i Muslims also visit Husayn’s shrine in Karbala. For Shi‘i, the Days of Ashura commemorating the martyrdom of Husayn also act as a means of recognizing the ongoing distress, humiliation, and abuse hurled at Shi‘i Muslims around the world. The celebration becomes a symbol for the broader Shi‘i struggle for justice and a plea for recognition in the ummah.38 These customs, already many-hued, were brought to Trinidad, Guyana, Jamaica, and Suriname by indentured Indian Muslims and further localized. Today, the festival is referred to as Hosay, Hussay, Tadjah, or Taziya, depending on the location within the Caribbean. In Trinidad, it is referred to as Hosay, which recalls the name Husayn. The first Hosay festival was held in 1854, just over a decade after the first Indian Muslims arrived from India. Fearing what they saw as the “incipient bedlam” of Hosay and its threat to the colonial order,39 British authorities initially “issued an ordinance preventing Hosay commemorations.”40 However, in 1884 approximately 30,000 people resisted the ordinance and took to the streets for Hosay in Mon Repos, in San Fernando in the south of the country. Shots were fired into the crowds and twenty-two individuals were killed with scores more injured. Due to public outcry, the British authorities overturned the ordinance against Hosay after the “Muharram Massacre.”41 Although the “street party” factor has largely replaced its roots in “plantation protest,” 42 the multiday Hosay celebrations in St. James and

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Cedros today not only recall Husayn, but also those killed during the 1884 massacre. Rather than recreate the events through self-flagellation or other forms of suffering, people in Trinidad create bright and beautiful floats, called tadjahs, that parade through the streets to the sea. The festival in St. James is the largest and features five different tadjahs each year, drawing thousands of participants and onlookers. There is a significant investment of capital in the celebration, with each tadjah being constructed of wood, paper, bamboo, and tinsel. They can be as “short” as ten feet and as tall as thirty and are accompanied down the street with a fleet of people playing drums. Meant to reflect the resting place of Shi‘i martyrs, the tadjahs resemble mausoleums in India (think “Taj Mahal”). Walking abreast of the tadjahs are two men bearing standards featuring halfmoon shapes, one in red and the other in green. These symbolize the deaths of Husayn and his brother Hassan (the red being Husayn’s blood and the green symbolizing the supposed poisoning of Hassan by Mu’awiya via Hassan’s wife, Joda). The main tadjah parade is flanked by other parades and celebrations in the days preceding and following. The parade route is said to follow the same one used since the nineteenth century. In St. James, it courses along the streets from the center of town to the beach where they are sent into the sea. While the event can be somber in terms of commemoration, it is also a joyous event featuring the reunion of families, music, and garish costumes. Not to mention, the elaborateness of the tadjahs continues to increase each year and has become somewhat of a status symbol among the families that sponsor them. This has led some to compare Hosay to the world-famous carnival with its accompanying “joie de vivre.” Frank Korom writes that through Hosay, Shi‘i Muslims, Sunni Muslims, the wider Indo-Trinidadian sociality, and local Trinidadians take an active role in the country’s Creole culture. Additionally, in popular culture and public discussions of Hosay, there are said to be echoes and examples of the influence of Obeah and other “Creole religions” of the Caribbean on the festival’s performance, specifically related to the festival’s use of the “language of the drums” as part of its ritual repertoire.43 At the same time, Indo-Trinidadians simultaneously reassert “their own Indian ethnic identity by performing a tradition that is perceived to have come to Trinidad from India as an unaltered state.”44 Korom also notes that, in response to the hybrid features of this festival, some Shi‘i missionaries from abroad have sought to reform the celebration. They believe that it should be a much more somber remembrance and that local customs should be brought more in line with global commemorations such as those in Karbala or Lucknow.45 By many accounts, the festival has lost its explicitly religious significance, though the symbols still resonate with many people from various points of view, Muslim and otherwise. Some even feel that the event has

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become an excuse for drunken revelry at a festival that is completely stripped of its religious import and significance.46 Despite these vocal critics, the festival has continued to feature its exuberant nature and glittering tadjah and music. For some, Hosay is an expression of piety, for others it is festival, for others it is sacrilege. It is a “sliding-signifier” that “resides at the multiple perspective crossroads” of Trinidad, Indo-Trinidadian ritual and material culture, and the additivity and adaptation that defines the Caribbean.47 And yet Hosay is more than another example of creolized Caribbean culture. The Hosay festival is also a means of claiming public space in a context where they are still the minority and speaking out against oppressions and ostracism past and present. In this sense, as Aliyah Khan writes, Hosay is an example of Indo-Trinidadian Muslims “participating in creole practices through reenacting their own purity.”48 This, Khan says, is an example of a “singularity that exists comfortably within difference.” She argues this is a “hallmark of Caribbean Islam, making Hosay a metonym of Caribbean Islam” as a whole.49 This notion of “singularities and differences” existing comfortably together as a hallmark of Caribbean Muslim life may well be true. At the same time, it may also be that the generative frictions between those singularities and differences, those divergent affective tendencies that come from within and beyond the various communities that make up Muslim life in the Caribbean, are just as much a hallmark as their comfortable cohabitation. As seen above, these frictions, slippages, and tensions exist within—and without—Trinidadian Muslim socialities. They are part of what makes them what they are. It gives them a distinct flavor featuring a mix of the local and global, Caribbean and otherwise. In the end, all this illustrates how Hosay, along with other elements analyzed in this chapter, “is fundamentally a product of diaspora . . . a tradition that travels in space and time and that morphs along the way, absorbing local beliefs and practices of diverse others.”50 Such frictions and mixtures also become evident when considering Suriname’s Muslim sociality.

Muslim Indentured Servants from Indonesia In Trinidad, Muslims make up 5 percent of the overall population. Notwithstanding their public profile, they are by no means as prominent as that of their southern neighbors in Suriname, home to the largest Muslim population per capita in Latin America and the Caribbean. In his chapter “Indentured Labor and Economic Migration” from India, Indonesia, and the Middle East, Abdullah Hakim Quick claimed, “the Javanese of Surinam [sic] isolated themselves from the rest of Surinam and Caribbean society. They have chosen to remain aloof or return to Indonesia instead of becoming a functioning part of Caribbean life.”51 This is an overstatement

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at best, a gross misrepresentation at worst. While the Javanese Muslim sociality in Suriname has its own unique emphases and concerns, it is by no means isolated, aloof, or disconnected from its Caribbean context. Nevertheless, the Muslim sociality in Suriname is also not a picture of cosmopolitan coexistence par excellence. Analyses have often flitted back and forth between these two extremes, with some commenters siding with Quick and painting the picture of a sociality at odds with one another and the wider society while others highlight the conviviality of the community to the point where Suriname becomes a multicultural “Shangri La.” The reality, as is often the case, lies between the extremes. The Javanese sociality—and the general Muslim population of Suriname—has situated its religious, cultural, and socioeconomic life between two horizons and multiple communities: one in Southeast Asia and the other in the Caribbean. Thus, in the sense that cosmopolitanism is the navigation of diversity and difference through generative frictions with other socialities and identifications, Suriname is a prime example. In this section, I provide an overview of the history of Muslims in Suriname, explore their current context, and discuss their ideology and practice in light of these circumstances, illustrating again the dynamics at play in the lives of Muslims across the Americas. Suriname has a historically robust Muslim population, first founded with the arrival of indentured laborers from South Asia and Indonesia during the Dutch colonial period. Today, it is made up of Javanese, Indo-Pakistanis (often referred to as “Hindustani”), Afro-Surinamese, and a smaller contingent of Syrian, Lebanese, and Palestinian migrants and their descendants. According to the most recent census data from Suriname, the Muslim population there consists of 10–20 percent of the population. Some estimates put it as high as one-third of the population.52 Whether the percentage is closer to one-tenth or one-third, Suriname has the highest proportion of Muslims per capita in the Americas. The majority are Sunni (from Hanafi and Shafi schools),53 although there is a robust Ahmadiyya sociality and a strong influence can be felt from Shi‘i and Sufi communities from northern India.54 Together with Guyana, Suriname is one of only two countries in the Americas that are members of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).55 There are multiple national Muslim organizations, founded between the 1920s and the 1970s, among them Hidayatul Islam, Surinaamse Islamitische Vereniging, Surinaamse Moeslim Associatie (SMA), and Khilafat Anjuman. Today, there are groups connected to the Muslim World League and Islamic student groups and missionary societies with other transnational links.56 Numerous mosques (known as moskee or masdjid in the area)57 dot the landscape from Nieuw Nickerie near the Guyanese border to the crowded

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mosque marketplace in the country’s capital, Paramaribo. In the heart of Paramaribo lies the beautiful Mughal-style mosque—known as the “Mosque Keizerstraat,” it is the headquarters of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam in Paramaribo in Suriname—that shares a neighborhood with a nineteenth-century wooden synagogue, several Hindu temples, the local Roman Catholic cathedral, a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints ward, and several Protestant congregations. Enjoying an intricate, and sometimes fraught, relationship with the national government, Muslims in Suriname have been able to carve out significant space in the Surinamese public sphere. Eid al-Fitr is a national holiday, religious schools receive government subsidies, and there have also been elements of sharia—Islamic law—incorporated into the Surinamese Civil Code since 1940.58 Surinamese Muslims, in contrast to Quick’s offhanded declaration mentioned at the beginning of this section, have integrated themselves into the country’s legal, political, social, and economic scene by running for office, establishing permanent schools and religious institutions, and contributing in other ways as citizens of their new homeland. In this way, they have woven themselves into the social fabric of the country despite ongoing tensions and challenges. Suriname is a former Dutch colony with strong ties to the Netherlands.59 The Dutch colonized the region in the seventeenth century and christened it “Netherlands Guiana.” The nation achieved independence in 1975. During the colonial period, the Dutch relied heavily on the plantation system and, like other colonizing nations, soon exhausted their Indigenous source of labor by decimating the local population. At that time, thousands of slaves were shipped from West Africa to work the sugar, cotton, coffee, and cocoa plantations. Thus, the first arrival of Muslims in Suriname came with the enslaved brought from West African regions and kingdoms. However, in 1863 the Netherlands abolished slavery, which led the colonizers in Suriname to look for a new source of labor to work their plantations just as the British did in Trinidad before them. As the enslaved left the plantations in search of other work, the colonial government decided to look to other Dutch colonial holdings for new workers. Recruiting labor with low pay and high risk, they drew workers from Indonesia, principally Central Java, a Dutch colony at the time. Swaths of Javanese Indonesian indentured laborers arrived in the late nineteenth century—between 1891 and 1939 in successive, almost annual, shipments— to work the plantations for a period of five years on large rice farms.60 Chinese and Indian laborers were also brought in. Many returned to Indonesia after their contract was up. Of the initial 33,000 that came, a third returned (10,000).61 Rosemarijn Hoefte tells us that, of those who repatriated, a notable group built a new village in Indonesia named Tongar. 62 However, this community did not fair very well, and many Indonesians

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realized that their best recourse was to stay and settle in Suriname. And so, the majority of Indonesian Muslims remained in Suriname and established their lives in the Caribbean. As time went on, they established social, economic, political, and religious organizations to support the Javanese sociality in Suriname. As mentioned above, other Muslims also came from what is today India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The population contains a number of converts and a number of Afghan Muslims as well, who made their way to Suriname (and Guyana) via the trade in indentured servitude that brought many Indians to Trinidad and elsewhere in the Caribbean.63 In Surinamese mosques today, one can overhear conversations in Dutch, Hindustani, Hakka, Mandarin, Urdu, Pashto, and Javanese. Each demographic has left its mark on the Surinamese Muslim sociality as a whole and influenced Surinamese culture—everything from the built environment to clothing and food. The two largest communities in contemporary Suriname are IndoPakistani and Afro-Surinamese (aka “Creole”), according to Ellen Bal and Kathinka Sinha-Kerkhoff. The Indo-Pakistanis originate from eastern India and have remained distinct and separate from their Javanese brethren in Suriname. They created partnerships with their Hindu compatriots and other Indo-Caribbean Muslims (e.g., in nearby Trinidad) rather than with the Javanese Muslim sociality in Suriname. Bal and Sinha-Kerkhoff write, “Their ethnic Hindustani identity continued to prevail over other identity markers such as religion.”64 Nonetheless, these ties were informed by global and local factors, not only via networked, diasporic entanglements with India, Afghanistan, or Indonesia, but also through connections to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Sudan, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan through participation in multinational Islamic organizations such as ISESCO, IDB, and OIC.65 While Indo-Pakistani Muslims may look to India for religious guidance in many cases and global currents in Indian Islamic discourse have tended toward a certain sectarian effort to uphold “orthodoxy” (as they imagine it and attempt to enforce it), a local desire for harmony and cohesiveness has tied Indo-Pakistani Muslims and Hindus together in Suriname.66 This has parallels to the situation in Trinidad between IndoTrinidadian and Afro-Trinidadian Muslims and testifies to the intensity of the diaspora consciousness in the experience of Muslims in the Americas, specifically in the Caribbean. Notwithstanding the Indo-Pakistani population, the Javanese influence on Islam in Suriname is significant. Seeing as the majority of Javanese Muslims in Suriname speak the same language and draw from the same culture of heritage, their diaspora experience shapes the practice of Islam in the country significantly. For example, anthropologist Annemarie De Waal Malefijt argues that there was a relative absence of acculturation on the part

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of Javanese Muslims into local Surinamese society and described what she interprets as overt expressions of cultural practices from Java.67 She claims that differences between Javanese culture and “Surinamese-Java” culture seem to be one of complexity and scale rather than stark difference. Be that as it may, there were also processes of mending and adjustment—new ways of dealing with new problems in a new environment—at work, especially within religious systems. Writing in the 1960s, De Waal Malefijt describes how among the Javanese in Suriname, “animism” (or Indonesian Indigenous religious traditions) and Islam existed side by side. While Surinamese Muslims may have pronounced the shahada at the beginning of rituals, those rituals sought to summon the spirits. Although they believed in Allah and his power, it was the spirits that maintained the welfare of the community, the health of the crops, granted health to children (or took it away), and were present in the living world. To illustrate this point, De Waal Malefijt describes the slametan ritual in-depth, which was a religious ritual led by local dukuns (ceremonial specialists, curers, or shamans) and preceded most major life events. Imams were rarely invited. Neither were local Surinamese officials. Not only is this a sign of religious hybridity, but one of translocating religious practices across vast geographical distances and not only maintaining, but strengthening, religious practices from the homeland in a new culture. The intensity of this diaspora sentiment is expressed in the challenges and tensions that exist within the Javanese Muslim sociality in Suriname. For example, in the mid–twentieth century, there arose a disagreement between those who prayed as they had in Java (the abangan)—facing west toward Mecca—and those who faced east toward Mecca (the santri). Following the Indo-Pakistani example, Javanese Muslims in Suriname established their own religious institutions beginning in the early twentieth century.68 These organizations had strong nationalist tones and were highly influenced by events and decisions in Indonesia. All the same, as Suriname continued to flaunt and flex its own autonomy in the wake of World War II, so too did Javanese Muslim institutions in Suriname. This is when the question of locating Mecca became a critical part of the conversation. Those who were more inclined to establish more Surinamese-focused institutions opted for the eastward direction. They claimed this was the more “orthodox” position, in keeping with the majority of the ummah. Those with a preference for maintaining strong linkages to Indonesia, and Java in particular, opted for a westward orientation. They also maintained a host of practices deemed “heterodox” or “traditional” by their opponents such as making sajén (offerings), bersih desa (purifying the village of spirits), and slametan (communal feasts). They also follow the leadership of a kaum, who not only leads prayers, but also assists members with various tasks

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such as slametan, consecrations, the care of the dead, and the scheduling and administration of life cycle ceremonies. Despite their disagreements, it is reported that both groups continue to clean the graves of loved ones at the beginning of the month of Ramadan. The struggles, disagreements, and negotiations between these two Javanese Muslim communities in Suriname parallel those of other Muslims in the Americas who also wrestle with which direction—or at what angle— to pray toward Mecca. While it may seem a simple question, it “has farranging consequences for Muslims” in the Americas and “a direct impact on the everyday lives of practicing Muslims.”69 It is, after all, a means by which Muslims on the move struggle to make sense of, and bring order to, a new and seemingly chaotic non-Muslim majority context. At the same time, it points to how Muslims who have immigrated to a new place are wrestling with the geographic context of their new homeland and making it their own. Or, at the very least, they are making certain things theirs and drawing boundaries against that which is outside of their control. Thus, by deciphering which way they must pray, these Muslims were integrating their new landscape into their preexisting “Muslim spatial imagination”70 and doing so in a way that not only oriented their mosques, but their bodies, practices, beliefs, and social boundaries. On the one hand, this is evidence of contextualization and the translation of Islam into the American context. On the other hand, the process is still informed by a dialectic between the global and the local, a home in Java and a home in Suriname. Rosemarijn Hoefte notes how the conflict’s terms in Suriname were set “by an ideological clash between people looking back to an idealized past in Java and those looking forward to a brighter future in Suriname.”71 Instead of letting these disagreements come to a head, those who inclined toward Java and their idealized Indonesian past chose withdrawal from leadership, repatriation to Indonesia, or other forms of departure to avoid further conflict.72 This illustrates just how much the Javanese sociality is shaped by diaspora concerns that reach beyond religion and include transregional social, political, and economic considerations.73

Newcomers from the Middle East Indentured servants from India and Indonesia generally arrived at ports of call in the Caribbean, along the Guianas or in Trinidad. Thus, it was a fairly concentrated flow of migration. This stands in contrast to the diffuse and widespread nature of the arrival of Arab immigrants in the twentieth century. Whereas Indian laborers landed largely in Trinidad and Indonesian laborers in Suriname, Arab migrants coming to the Americas went as far north as Canada and as far south as Argentina. Due, in part, to a policy environment

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that welcomed immigrants as part of the Latin American and Caribbean liberal elites’ attempts at blanqueamiento—or whitening their mixed populations74—Arabs with transregional ties to homelands such as Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine arrived at the end of the nineteenth and throughout the twentieth century. This colectividad árabe added a new element to the ethnic, cultural, and religious mixture of the region and its debates about race, identity, and nation. Their dispersion across the hemisphere meant that they have had an extensive influence on the makeup and manifestations of contemporary Muslim socialities throughout the Americas, while at the same time creating a transregional network that connects the Middle East with Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States.75 Thus, the American mahjar—“the combined people and territories that constitute the human spatial map of migrant worlds constructed after the massive out-migration from Ottoman Syria since the last third of the nineteenth century”76—is an important piece of the Americas’ cultural makeup and the “mixture” of Latin American and Caribbean national identities. In this section, I review the details of their arrivals, and sketch out some of the impacts they have made, before bringing it all together in the story of Salim and his sociality in the mountainous town of Jayuya, Puerto Rico. Just a few decades after laborers were imported from India and Indonesia, the late nineteenth and twentieth century also featured the arrival of economic migrants to Latin America and the Caribbean.77 They came from what is now Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco. They were of different religious persuasions—Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Alawi, Druze, and secular. They arrived in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Colombia, and beyond. They came for a variety of reasons including religion, demographic changes, economic impetus, political fissures, and armed conflicts at home. Today, more than 12 million people of Arab ancestry reside in Latin America and the Caribbean.78 This is more than live in the United States. Some speculate that Latin America and the Caribbean have the largest number of Arabs outside of the Middle East.79 Their story is one of push and pull factors, global politics and the global economy, Muslims and non-Muslims, and making home in a world of movement. In general, the different seasons of Arab migration can be divided into several overlapping periods: (1) between the 1860s and 1919; (2) 1919 and 1945; (3) 1945 and 1966; (4) 1967 and 1974; (5) 1975 and 2001; and (6) 2002 and beyond. These successive seasons of Arab migrations were vital to Muslim life as it took shape across the region throughout, and beyond, the twentieth century. Nevertheless, it is important that we treat the movement of people—Muslims in particular—from the Middle East to the Americas as neither straightforward nor simply a recent phenomenon. Scholars must also take note of how the contemporary contours of Latin America and the Caribbean have been shaped by the movement of ideas, persons,

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and things; in this instance, from the Middle East. Lily Pearl Balloffet writes, “From the fall of the Ottoman Empire, through the negotiation of new Third World identities and alliances in the Cold War, and up to the current day, a connected history has unfolded that defies segregation into the discrete realms of Latin America or the Middle East.”80 Hence, it is important to look back at each season to tease out the motivations and experiences of Arab migrations to the Americas over time and better appreciate their diverse, and evolving, transregional impact. The first season of migration occurred between the 1860s and 1919. This migration largely featured migrants from “Greater Syria”81—then part of the Ottoman Empire and including modern Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine. The majority of the migrants—between 250,000 and 300,000 of them—settled in urban areas such as Buenos Aires, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Santiago de Chile.82 Largely Christian, they sought to escape the crumbling Ottoman Empire and the many tensions and fissures in society opening up because of its slow, but steady, disintegration. They sought a new life in the relatively safe harbor of places such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, the United States, and Colombia.83 These socialities (Lebanese, Syrian, and Palestinian) adopted Spanish surnames and first names and folded into local education, economic activity, politics, professions, arts, language, sports, businesses, and so forth.84 Hernán G. H. Taboada notes, “The first wave of Arab immigration (mahyar) to Latin America, from circa 1880, was predominately Christian. Nevertheless, there were also Muslims among them, enough to build some institutions. This Islam diminished, and the first studies on mahyar, from the point of view of the Christian communities, did not consider it.”85 Up to 45 percent of the migrants during this period could have been Muslim.86 However, until very recently, most scholars have ignored the Arab Muslims who came to the Americas, preferring instead to focus on Armenians—who are “eminently Christian Caucasians speaking an Indo-European language.”87 These migrants were often treated separately in popular and academic discussions of Arab migration to the Americas and were often distinguished from the “turcos”88—an often derogatory, and at best superficial and stereotyped, name for Arab migrants in the Americas. Derived from this first season of immigrants’ Turkish passports, this classification is still used today. It is a racialized epithet for Levantine Arabs and others but is also a superficial gloss on the differences between Palestinians, Syrians, and Lebanese in Latin America and the Caribbean. The second significant season of Arab migration came between 1919 and 1945 and the migrants’ motivations again mirrored those of their predecessors—the fragmentation of the Ottoman Empire that led to uncertainty, instability, and conflict. However, this season differed from the former in one important aspect. Whereas the previous season’s migrants came to a

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country with almost no compatriots or extended networks to connect with, the second season featured migrants from Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and elsewhere linking up with networks, family members, friends, and longlost relations who had already settled in the Americas.89 As they arrived, the social base of the migrants grew, and new opportunities became available. They created vibrant economic centers and communities such as Rua 25 de Março in São Paulo, Brazil, where Syrians started as street peddlers and later transformed into storeowners, manufacturers, and worldwide distributors.90 In Torreón, Mexico, Lebanese and Palestinian migrants became an integral part of the local market.91 Elsewhere in Argentina and Brazil, there emerged a vibrant and transnational Syrian literary sociality that helped shape the narratives of Syrians worldwide and presented a window into the contextual experiences of Syrians in a new environment in Latin America.92 They married people from home and the local community, they had children, built lives, moved back and forth between the Americas and the Middle East, and created a transnational sociality that spanned the Atlantic. In each case, the growing Arab migrant sociality in the Americas, bolstered as it was by two successive seasons of significant migration, maintained its connections with their homelands while simultaneously enlarging their imprint and impact in their new countries of residence. Still, their numbers remained low. The third season came after World War II, between the years 1945 and 1966. This season of migration was predicated by two significant events— the independence of Lebanon after the end of the French mandate in 1943 and the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, which precipitated the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during the Nakba (disaster or catastrophe). These two events caused further uncertainty and instability and many Lebanese, Syrian, and Palestinian migrants made the move that their predecessors did before them. This new influx came from all over the Middle East and North Africa, but featured a significant cohort of Palestinians. These waves were larger in scope than previous seasons. They were mostly well educated93 and relatively well-off. Moreover, they were either the children of, or had connections to, previous migrants to the Americas.94 There were more Muslims among them than before and they had training in work such as engineering and medicine, coming from the emerging class of highly educated middle-class professionals in the post–World War II boom. They came to the Americas because of regional conflict and political and economic harassment in the Middle East. They brought their politics with them and soon got involved in creating south-to-south political alliances and connections. Later, they started running for local office.95 Their base of political support and intra-sociality solidarity only grew with the next two seasons of migration, which brought another significant stream of Arab migrants to the region, between 1967 and 2001.

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The fourth season of Arab immigration to Latin America and the Caribbean occurred over a relatively short, but intense, period from 1967 to 1974. During these years, events in the Middle East would occur at a rapid pace and bring a high level of uncertainty and upheaval to the lives of many Arab Muslims (and others in the region). Because of the Six Day War in 1967, the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and the precursors to the Lebanese civil war, which would break out in 1975, thousands of refugees—predominately from Palestine—came to Latin America and the Caribbean. They fled to places such as Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and El Salvador. They reached out to family and friends already settled and came in the hopes of establishing new homes, or at the very least seeking refuge for a time before they hoped to return. Many who thought they would simply spend a few years in Latin America ended up remaining for the rest of their lives. This was also the era of civil rights, and the questions of minority rights and multiculturalism were prominent in popular culture and the public sphere. During this time, Arab immigrant socialities both long established and newly furbished began to speak out for their own rights and for racial categorization. While early migrants had found it relatively easy to settle in Latin American and Caribbean countries, newer arrivals struggled with “life in limbo”—not fully feeling a part of their patria in the Middle East and not fully accepted in their new American homes.96 It was also during this time that Arab migrants, and their descendants, began to run for political office at regional and national levels. John Tofik Karam argues that the Palestinian diaspora of this era came to play a particularly outsized role in connecting Latin America and the Caribbean to the Middle East. Palestinians displaced after 1967 “are practically absent from scholarship on the relations between the Middle East and South America,” he writes. Yet because of their presence and influence, Latin America and the Caribbean became active locations “of post-1967 Middle East politics.”97 Karam references numerous examples of active aspects of the political entanglements between the regions during and after this fourth season of immigration to illustrate—from the attack on the Israeli diplomatic office in Asunción in May 1970 by two Gazans to the solidarities between dictator Alfredo Stroessner’s Paraguay (1954–1989) and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region through Syrian, Egyptian, and Lebanese ties—how they not only bring to light relations of difference within Latin America and the Caribbean, but also point to the need to rethink the Middle East and the Americas from more “globalized” and networked points of view. His analysis illustrates how Latin America and the Caribbean are not silent regions in the dynamics of politics and belonging, and culture and conflict, in the Middle East (or vice versa). Instead, Latin America and the Caribbean are an “active space” constructed through, and as part of, the Arab-Israeli conflict in the 1960s and 1970s.

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This serves as one more example of the ways in which the Americas and the broader world of global Islam are intertwined. The following season of migration lasted a quarter-century, from 1975 to 2001. The Lebanese civil war brought an influx of Lebanese immigrants between 1975 and 1990 and added to their numbers in places such as Argentina, Costa Rica, and Brazil, where they already had a notable presence. In particular, many Lebanese migrants would settle in the Tres Fronteras, or Triple Frontier region, between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. In addition, the massacres in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in Lebanon in 1982 also motivated more Palestinians to leave the Middle East and flee to the Americas. Developments in Iran and its Islamic Revolution in 1979 also came to frame the debate during this time. Many Arab Muslims were seen through the lens of the revolution in Iran— whether they were Sunni, Shi‘i, or secular—and the image of Islam and Muslims shifted drastically.98 The revolution had a double effect on this image. On the one hand, it generated a lot of interest in Islam and its teachings. On the other hand, it gave rise to a higher level of suspicion and hostility toward Muslims, especially in countries where they were in the minority. And so, for Arab migrants this meant that their fairly recently established mosques, schools, and Islamic centers received an increased amount of attention from nonArabs and non-Muslims for the first time since they had settled in the Americas. Whereas they had been allowed to operate under the radar for a time, that was not the case anymore. At the same time, this also meant that Muslims were cast into the spotlight not as businesspeople or immigrants, neighbors or newcomers, but as “Muslims.” This increased spotlight built on former prejudices and discriminatory practices, and many Muslims— Arab and non-Arab—reported being ostracized or persecuted in some shape or form during this period. Furthermore, the Iranian Revolution also triggered a large amount of enthusiasm across the Global South for challenging US and Western European hegemony on the global scene. Iran, in part, saw itself as a leader in the contest against Western hegemony. Many leaders across the Global South—including in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean—reached out to form ties with Iran as a counterpole to US power. This would predicate, and feed into, the so-called Pink Tide when left-leaning governments throughout Latin America and the Caribbean developed deepening ties with the Arab world in the realm of politics, the economy, and in culture. Arab-Muslim migrants, living as they were betwixt and between their homelands and their new homes, played a role in giving shape to the origins, contours, and legacies of these multidirectional relationships. Part of this process was the sending and receiving of Muslim missionaries in the Middle East to serve the Muslim population of

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the region and to reach out to locals in an effort at conversions. Often, these da‘is were sponsored by governments in the Middle East or part of broader cultural exchange programs between Latin American and Caribbean nations and their newfound Arab partners. These programs were successful to a degree and not only helped solidify the presence of Muslims, mosques, schools, and centers across Latin America and the Caribbean during this time, but also led to new conversions among locals. The sixth season of migration is ongoing, but has been framed by another precipitous series of events. Immediately after September 11, there was not a significant shift in the number of Arab migrants coming to Latin America and the Caribbean. The most serious change was, as with the Iranian Revolution in 1979, in perception. As explored more thoroughly in Chapter 7, the events of 9/11 became a predominant frame by which Muslims were appraised in the Americas. Not only did it bring another spike in general interest and, later, conversions (what could be called a “reverse 9/11 effect”), but it also brought more undue suspicion, questions of loyalty and safety, and a reappraisal of Arab Muslims’ assimilation and acculturation into the region. It also brought new migrants and refugees from places such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and, in recent years, Syria and the wider MENA region following the Arab Spring and its aftermath. These migrants and refugees have found hospitality among the many Muslim communities of Latin America and the Caribbean.99 Not only do they feel solidarity shared among Muslims, but also a willingness to assist and an ability to connect easily given advancements in travel and internet communication. For example, during the height of the war of attrition during the Battle for Aleppo as part of the Syrian civil war, some Syrian refugees felt that their only recourse was to escape to Ecuador. This was for two reasons. First, residents of Aleppo were told at one point in 2015 that one of the only visas they could get to escape the escalating violence and depredation was to Ecuador. Second, there was an existing contingent of Lebanese, Palestinians, and Syrians already in the country.100 And so, families sought refuge in Ecuador and its Muslim sociality’s homes, mosques, and families.101 Other Muslims, from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, have started to arrive for economic reasons, in search of investment opportunities or to establish transregional business networks. The arrival, circular migration, and community building, maintenance, and growth of Arab migrant socialities by their descendants has come about due to a multitude of factors and has had myriad impacts. There have been pull factors from Latin America and the Caribbean itself, including economic opportunities, diplomatic relationships, and preexisting connections with established groups in the region.102 There have also been push factors from the Middle East and North Africa having to do with changes in government, armed conflicts, ethnic tensions, and deep regional and global

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flux.103 As they have arrived, returned, or established a permanent presence they have “navigated, shaped, and been shaped by Latin America’s [and the Caribbean’s] political, economic, and cultural terrains.”104 Despite their relatively small numbers, they have had a disproportionate impact on the region’s economy, politics, and religion. There have been presidents and vice presidents of Arab ancestry or descent in Argentina, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, and Brazil.105 Indeed, it is almost impossible to consider Arab immigrants in the Americas, Muslims or not, without also thinking of the political and economic ties that they have benefited from, or helped foster, between the two regions and across the Americas itself. Beyond politics and the economy, Arabs have made a name for themselves in the realms of literary culture, popular music, food, and athletics as well—from Latin pop star Shakira’s Lebanese ancestry to the Arab merchants featured in Gabriel García Márquez’s Cien años de soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude).106 Their influences and impact have also included the realm of religion, where they have helped to establish vibrant religious community centers, build places of worship, establish schools, and, in the case of Arab-Muslim immigrants, expand Muslims’ footprint throughout the region through the addition of local Latin American and Caribbean converts. All the while, the themes of displacement and difference have played a significant role in the Arab diaspora in Latin America and the Caribbean.107 Arab migrants and their descendants have had to negotiate differences between being Arab and Latin American or Caribbean. They have felt the particular sting of displacement as a historical fact and also as a “metaphor” for the sense of “uncertainty, displacement, and fragmented identity” that many of them and their descendants still feel as they desire to “re-anchor” themselves “in the legacy of the past and continuing personal suffering” and successes of the present.108 This simultaneous push and pull, the call from home and the context of the host country, have come to shape the Arab Muslim diaspora in particular ways. We get a sense of that in the facts and figures, numbers and narratives cited above. However, to put flesh on this story, it is helpful to see it lived out in the account of an individual and his community in the lush, forested, interior mountain highlands of Puerto Rico.

Everyone Knows Salim

In the famous, coffee-rich community of Jayuya, “the capital of the mountains” of Puerto Rico, everyone knows Salim. While Jayuya is known for its summit-perched globe, its Taíno heritage, and its deep-fried surullitos (fried corn balls), Salim is known for his coffee. His free coffee, to be exact.109 Founded in 1911, Jayuya still only boasts a population of some 17,000 people.110 It’s a small town and a lot of people know each other.

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When you walk around Jayuya you quickly get that sense as friends greet loved ones on the street as if they had not seen them in years, but in reality it’s likely to have been only a few days. The Muslim sociality is likewise close knit and relatively small, as I was about to find out. I was following up a lead I was given about a mosque here in the mountains. After a prolonged text exchange with a phone number I was given, I was sent the following information, “Wa alaikum as-salaam. Go to the Salim electronic store located in the same street as the mosque at 200 meters, the street is Calle Esteves. You ask for Raduan or Salim and they have the key.” After driving up the ever winding, and slightly perilous, road from Villalba, I parked a little ways down from the electronics store and started making my way through the town. As I looked up the road to the store, I saw two large men sitting at the entrance. Above the door was a sign that read, “Salim’s Electronic Center: Si no hacemos negocio, nos tamamos el café” ( “if we do not do business, at least we can drink coffee together”). At first the two men ignored me, and I greeted them with peace. One, with a pockmarked face and holding a mobile phone to his ear and yet saying nothing, pointed to a man I took to be Raduan. Raduan pushed up his gold-rimmed glasses as he looked up from an appliance catalog and told me to come back in an hour, closer to dhuhr prayers, when Salim would be around. I spent the time exploring the small town and eating some surullitos and circled back around to the store, which was packed to the gills with just about everything and anything that could be plugged in: stoves and fans, refrigerators and microwaves, blenders and billiards lights. That is when Salim stepped out from his air-conditioned office to join me in “the showroom.” A man of some sixty-three years with dark suntanned skin, salt and pepper hair, a tooth or two gone missing over the years from his generous smile, and dressed in some business casual gray and brown suede shoes, with a mess of keys hanging from his belt loop, Salim invited me to the back of the shop for a sip of his famous coffee. I told him he did not have to go out of his way to make it, but as I was to find out, Salim’s coffee is a bit of an establishment in Jayuya. Proudly pointing out the sign on the front of his building, he told me that people know he gives away the coffee, which is grown, harvested, prepared, and roasted locally. He boasted that it is some of the best coffee on the island. Sure enough, in my three hours at his shop several people stopped by for a cup. While I was talking with Salim in his office, a man from Jayuya even felt comfortable enough to come in and make his own pot! Sipping my tooth-sweet Turkish-style coffee, I got to learn more about Salim. Born in Ramallah in 1954, he grew up in Palestine and did not leave until he was twenty-one or twenty-two. Seeking to escape the unpredictability of life in Palestine in the 1970s, he moved to Dubai in 1976. After a few years in the United Arab Emirates, he heard from his brother in Puerto Rico

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that life was good—there was a moderate climate, safety, and good business opportunities. And so, in 1981 he relocated to Jayuya and joined his brother and family. They were the only Muslims in town at the time. He started selling clothes door-to-door and making connections in the community. Soon, he built up enough social and financial capital to open his electronics store. It has been a staple in Jayuya for over twenty years. The first day he opened, Salim did not sell anything, but he did give away free coffee. More than a gimmick, the clever courtesy worked, and Salim is one of the most trusted and successful businessmen in town. “I am not a millionaire,” he said, “but I have a home, food in my belly, a family to love, and things to do. Alhamdullilah.” His family—wife, two sons with their own families, and a daughter—all live in Puerto Rico. He also has a cousin in town. Adjoined to his cousin’s house, just a couple of blocks down from the store, is the community’s prayer room. They founded the prayer room in 1997. While the Muslim sociality remains small—about ten men show up for jummah prayers on Friday every week—they are a lively bunch. His cousin, Salim, Raduan, a man from Mayagüez (about two hours to the west), and a couple of converts from the area gather together every Friday. I ask about an imam and he laughs, “If you come this Friday, you could be the imam.” His brother is no longer in the area. He retired to Amman, Jordan, where he is closer to his family in Ramallah. With his US passport and successful business, Salim is able to travel back to see his 111-year-old father every year. I ask him if he has thought of moving back and he said, “No, when I moved here, I said to myself ‘este es mi cementerio.’”111 He is still proud of his Palestinian roots. As we wait for dhuhr prayers, he ushers me back into his air-conditioned office to show me a video of Mohammad Assaf who, he beamed, won Arab Idol. “He is from Gaza,” Salim told me, “it shows everyone that there is more to Palestine than violence. They make beautiful things, music, there too.” With the music still playing—quite loudly—in the background, Raduan returns with the key and a few appliances for delivery. Salim and I help unload a couple of fridges and three washers, and I meet Giraldo (Jerry), a local Puerto Rican convert to Islam. A former agricultural worker, Giraldo is currently unemployed. He usually spends his days hanging out at Salim’s store, drinking coffee, and getting paid to do odd jobs when he can. He seems to be a naturally inquisitive guy and asks me a thousand different questions before I am able to talk to him about his conversion. He said he came to convert after asking questions of the guys in the shop—especially Salim. Salim was able to answer all of his questions and so, a few years ago, Giraldo took the shahadah. As we are talking, a farmer named Ernesto walks in and greets Salim like an old friend. Salim shouts to me, “I’ve known Ernesto since he was a baby . . . but now he is older than me!” There is laughter and Ernesto comes to the back to share a cup of coffee with Salim and me. My hands shaking from caffeine and dreaming of

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decaf, I strike up a conversation with Ernesto, who tells me that the coffee we are drinking—and that’s making me shiver with energy—is from his farm. He tells me it is difficult being a farmer in the current economic situation and amidst Puerto Rico’s financial crisis. He says he is still able to export coffee, but with locals it’s harder. Over 1,000 people left Jayuya in the 2010s (about 6 percent of the population). But he keeps doing business with Salim, who he met as a boy when Salim came around selling clothes at his family’s home in the hills. “No one comes out there,” he said, “except Salim . . . he’s different.” Our conversation is interrupted as two women come into the shop looking for a stove. Salim greets them with besos y abrazos (kisses and hugs) and welcomes them into the store with coffee. It’s a small gesture, but a sure sign of Salim’s solidified standing in Jayuya. He is, as they say, part of the fabric of the place. And if people do not do business with him (though, it seems they often do), they at least can sip on some of Ernesto’s coffee with him.

Conclusion Salim’s story represents a microcosm of the Arab Muslim migrant story. His transnational connections, the impetus for his departure in the calamitous moments of the 1970s, the economic opportunities that drew him, and the community of converts, local contacts, and fellow Palestinians that he has collected around him are all prototypical of Arabs and fellow Palestinian Muslims like him in Puerto Rico. Borinquen112 has too often been ignored or overlooked in discussions of Arab socialities in Latin America. And yet the Palestinians there have left a significant imprint in the local economy and religious life of the island (as in Jayuya). In general, Arabs in Latin America and the Caribbean share a common narrative of successful merchant ventures like Salim’s and showcase a healthy degree of integration into the local community, while at the same time maintaining specific ethnic identities or hybrid practices such as diglossia. Diglossia is the use of two languages (or two dialects of the same language) depending on social context and conditions within a community. As a diaspora sociality, Palestinians in particular have been called a people “between assimilation and long-distance nationalism.”113 We see this with Salim, who is as integrated into Jayuya as one could imagine. He has no plans of leaving Puerto Rico, but still maintains visible, strong ties with his patronage. As comfortable and assimilated as Salim may be, many Arabs in Latin America and the Caribbean have experienced significant discrimination. Salim’s case notwithstanding, many scholars have called attention to this fact and it has come to shape many Arab lives throughout the region. This experience parallels, though is not commensurate with, the narratives of Indian and Indonesian laborers in places such as Trinidad and

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Suriname. While each sociality has its own particularities, their stories do share some broad commonalities. Economic flows and colonial connections helped create the causeways by which they came to the Americas. While many returned home, still more have stayed and carved out their own socialities and counterpublics114 in the face of discrimination, longdistance ties to their homelands, and amidst generative frictions and forces in their host nations and new homes, where they are subaltern citizens. It is this multidirectional tension, and enduring minority status despite their economic success, that has led to the particular identities of each of these Muslim socialities and counterpublics in Latin America and the Caribbean. Whether Arab, Indian, or Indonesian, the operative dimension of their accounts is that they are all part of transregional diaspora networks. Muslim immigrants across the Americas, who have come from all over the globe, have had to navigate the contours of power and domination as a minority culture in a new place and balance their historical memory with the embodiment of practices, texts, and beliefs in a new context. They have transported their religious life, identities, and networks from far way and also adapted, and innovated on, them to fit the local context.115 They have attached homeland practices to new physical spaces and places (e.g., the debate over prayer in the Surinamese sociality); condensed events, objects, and structures into smaller places (e.g., the room-sized prayer room in Jayuya); and cross-pollinated them with different traditions (e.g., the Hosay festival in Trinidad, with its parallels with carnival).116 Their story is one of flows and counterflows, of ideas, people, and rituals, of bodies, businesses, and politics, of conversions and adaptations across, at, and between geographic, cultural, technological, and religious boundaries. It is also a story of combining singularity and difference, purity with hybridity, racial and ethnic identifications with religious ones. If that is what can be taken from this last historical chapter, then that is also the case when it comes to the contemporary scene. Thus, this chapter helps transition from telling stories about Muslims’ past in the region and starts to focus on their stories, expressions, and issues today. In looking at the political, economic, cultural, social, and religious contours and characteristics of Islam and Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean today, I delve deeper into these issues of borders and boundaries, tradition and adaptation, here and there, then and now.

Notes 1. There was also an early, free Mandingo community in northern Trinidad. 2. Let it be said that the term mistress is quite the euphemism here, disguising a coercive sexual relationship as consensual.

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3. “William Hardin Burnley and Caribbean Slavery,” National Archives UK, November 12, 2013, http://media.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php/william-hardin -burnley-caribbean-slavery/. 4. Ibid. 5. Quick, Deeper Roots, 33. 6. Mohammed, “Island Currents, Global Aesthetics.” 7. Persaud, “Islam in Trinidad.” 8. Mustapha et al., “Islam,” 385–386. 9. Quick, Deeper Roots, 34. 10. Hamid, “Muslims in the West Indies.” 11. Nasser Mustapha, “Historical View of Muslims in Trinidad,” Caribbean Muslims, n.d., http://www.caribbeanmuslims.com/articles/6/1/Historical-viewof -Muslims-in-Trinidad/Page1.html/print/6. 12. Hamid, “Muslims in the West Indies.” 13. See Titus, Islam in India and Pakistan. 14. Reddock, “Up Against a Wall.” 15. Persaud, “Islam in Trinidad.” 16. Mustapha et al., “Islam,” 402. 17. Kassim, “Muslim and Missionaries of Trinidad,” Caribbean Muslims, n.d., http://www.caribbeanmuslims.com/articles/1029/1/Muslim-and-Missionaries-of -Trinidad/Page1.html. See also “‘A Young Soldier of Islam’ Haji Ruknudeen Sahib,” Caribbean Muslims, 2013, http://newsite.caribbeanmuslims.com/wp-content/uploads /2017/02/A_Young_Soldier_of_Islam_Haji_Ruknudeen_Sahib-libre-2.pdf. 18. Persaud, “Islam in Trinidad.” 19. Ahmadiyya—a movement founded in the Punjab near the end of the nineteenth century—originated with the life and teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835–1908), who claimed to have appeared as the mahdi who was to bring about, by peaceful means, the final triumph of Islam and herald the eschaton as predicted in Islamic scriptures. Ahmadi thought emphasizes the belief that Islam is the final dispensation for humanity as revealed to Muhammad and the necessity of restoring to it its true essence and pristine form, which had been lost through the centuries. Largely viewed as non-Muslim or heretical by many Muslims, they are often persecuted around the globe for their beliefs. They also have a robust presence in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. 20. Kassim, “Education and Socialization About the Indo-Muslims of Trinidad, 1917–1969,” 100–126. See also Nasser Mustapha, “Education Among Early Muslims in Trinidad,” Caribbean Muslims, n.d., http://www.caribbeanmuslims.com/articles /1117/1/Education-Among-Early-Muslims-In-Trinidad/Page1.html. 21. Kasule, “Muslims in Trinidad and Tobago”; Kassim, “Education, Community Organizations and Gender Among the Indo Muslims of Trinidad, 1917–1962”; Mohammed, Gender Negotiations Among Indians in Trinidad, 1917–1947; Mohammed, Imaging the Caribbean; Mustapha, “The Influence of Indian Islam on Fundamentalist Trends in Trinidad and Tobago”; Samaroo, “The Indian Connection.” 22. As Aliyah Khan puts it, “Inevitably, most people’s concerns are deeply local, even when their concern is global intrusion.” Aliyah Khan, Far from Mecca, 275. 23. Persaud, “Islam in Trinidad.” 24. Kassim, “Education and Socialization About the Indo-Muslims of Trinidad, 1917–1969.” 25. Abdul Wahid Hamid, “The Mandingo Muslims of Trinidad,” Caribbean Muslims, n.d., http://www.caribbeanmuslims.com/articles/1226/1/The-Mandingo -Muslims-Of-Trinidad/Page1.html. 26. Quick, Deeper Roots, 29.

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27. Trotman and Lovejoy, “Community of Believers.” 28. Hamid, “The Mandingo Muslims of Trinidad.” 29. See Trotman and Lovejoy, “Community of Believers.” 30. Aliyah Khan, Far from Mecca, 101. 31. Mohammed, “A Different Imagination,” 490–506. 32. Mustapha et. al., “Islam,” 400. 33. Aliyah Khan, Far from Mecca, 105. 34. Persaud, “Islam in Trinidad.” 35. See Aisha Khan, Callaloo Nation; Mohammed, “Island Currents, Global Aesthetics.” 36. Aliyah Khan, Far from Mecca, 277. 37. Parts of this section were published as an essay of mine by a similar name, “How an Ancient Islamic Holiday Became Uniquely Caribbean.” See also Chitwood, “What Is the Shia-Sunni Divide?” 38. See Aghaie, The Martyrs of Karbala. 39. Aisha Khan, The Deepest Dye, 51. 40. Persaud, “Islam in Trinidad.” 41. Ibid. 42. Aisha Khan, The Deepest Dye, 142. 43. See Rodriguez, Ten Days of Muharram: The Cedros Hosay; Flanagan, Allah in the Islands, 96–107, 181, 192. For more on Obeah and Hosay in Trinidad, see Aisha Khan, The Deepest Dye. 44. See Korom, Hosay Trinidad, 7. 45. Ibid. 46. Mansingh and Mansingh, “Hosay and Its Creolization.” 47. Aisha Khan, The Deepest Dye, 152, 169. 48. Aliyah Khan, Far from Mecca, 39. 49. Ibid. 50. Aisha Khan, The Deepest Dye, 140. 51. Quick, Deeper Roots, 35. 52. Chitwood, “American Islam,” 131. 53. Chickrie, “Muslims in Suriname,” 79–99. 54. Chickrie, “The Afghan Muslims of Guyana and Suriname,” 386. 55. The OIC is an organization consisting of fifty-seven Member States that seeks to serve as a collective voice for the ummah (Guyana since 1998, Suriname since 1996). 56. See Chickrie, “Muslims in Suriname.” 57. Chickrie estimates up to 100 mosques. Chickrie, “Muslims in Suriname,” 85. 58. Bal and Sinha-Kerkhoff, “Muslims in Surinam and the Netherlands, and the Divided Homeland.” 59. See Chitwood, “Islam in Suriname.” 60. Malefijt, “Animism and Islam Among the Javanese in Surinam.” 61. Ibid. 62. Hoefte, “Locating Mecca,” 69–70. 63. There is also a large Afghan Muslim population in neighboring Guyana. See Chickrie, “The Afghan Muslims of Guyana and Suriname,” 381–399. 64. Hoefte, “Locating Mecca,” 67. 65. Chickrie, “Muslims in Suriname,” 93. 66. Ibid., 69–76. See also Chickrie, “Muslims in Suriname,” 83–91. 67. See Malefijt, “Animism and Islam Among the Javanese in Surinam.” 68. Hoefte, “Locating Mecca,” 74. 69. Bilici, Finding Mecca in America, 37.

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70. Ibid., 38. 71. Hoefte, “Locating Mecca,” 85. 72. Ibid. 73. This notion of the diaspora, of linkages and separations, dual horizons of the homeland, and transporting and transnationalizing one’s socioeconomic activity, ethnic identity, and religious practice is something that will come up again as we take a look at the influx of Arab and Middle Eastern migrants who came to the Americas in the middle of the twentieth century. 74. For more on blanqueamiento, see Rahier, “Body Politics in Black and White”; Chavez and Zambrano, “From Blanqueamiento to Reindigenizacion”; Duany, Neither Black nor White; Hernandez, “Multiracial Matrix”; Sawyer and Paschel, “We Didn’t Cross the Color Line, the Color Line Crossed Us.” 75. Karam, “Muslim Histories in Latin America and the Caribbean,” 259. 76. Balloffet, Argentina in the Global Middle East, 5. 77. Quick, Deeper Roots, 35. 78. Zabel, Arabs in the Americas: Interdisciplinary Essays on the Arab Diaspora, 2. 79. See Katherine Andrews, “The Untold Stories of Arabs in the Americas,” Panoramas, November 16, 2016, http://www.panoramas.pitt.edu/economy-and -development/untold-stories-arabs-americas. 80. Balloffet, Argentina in the Global Middle East, 15. 81. For a discussion of the particular national identities of these early migrants, see Brégain, Syriens et libanais d’amérique du sud (1918–1945). 82. See Balloffet, “Latin America & the Arab World: One Hundred Years of Migration.” 83. Salloum, “Arabs Making Their Mark in Latin America.” See also Velkamp, “The Historiography of Arab Immigration to Argentina”; Igirio-Gamero, “El legado de los inmigrantes árabes y judíos al desarrollo económico de la Costa Caribe colombiana y a la conformación de su empresariado entre 1850–2000”; Bruckmayr, “Syro-Lebanese Migration to Colombia, Venezuela and Curacao”; Castellanos, “Etnicidad y religión en la comunidad musulmana de Buenaventura”; Crowley, “The Levantine Arabs”; Dajer, Una familia libanesa en Colombia; Fawcett and Posada Carbó, “Árabes y judíos en el desarrollo del caribe colombiano, 1850– 1950”; Glade, “The Levantines in Latin America”; Kabchi, El mundo árabe y América Latina; Martínez, “Introducción a la situación sociolingüística de la comunidad árabe de Maicao, Guajira (Colombia)”; Martínez, “La lengua árabe en San Andrés Isla”; Martínez, “Usos de la lengua árabe en la Isla de San Andrés”; Martínez, “El contacto de lenguas árabe-castellano en Colombia”; Martínez, “La lengua árabe en Colombia”; Morrison, “Os Turcos.” 84. Kusumo, Islam en América Latina Tomo II, loc. 93. 85. Taboada, “El primer islam del mahyar,” 13. 86. See Zabel, “Arabs in the Americas.” 87. Klich and Lesser, “Introduction,” 3–4. 88. Other terms for migrants from the Middle East included Otomano, Sirio, Libanés, Sirio-Libanés, Árabe, Árabe-Argentino, etc. This menagerie of names— many of them misnomers—makes accurate historical research on these early populations difficult. See Balloffet, Argentina in the Global Middle East, 11. 89. Glade, “The Levantines in Latin America.” 90. Karam, “Margins of Memory on the Rua 25 de Março.” 91. Kusumo, Islam en América Latina Tomo II, loc. 1469. 92. Elayyan, “The Syrian World in the New World.” 93. See Orfalea, The Arab Americans: A History. 94. See Cainkar, Homeland Insecurity.

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95. See Salloum, “Arabs Making Their Mark in Latin America.” 96. Oualalou, “The Arabs of Latin America.” See also Hammer, Palestinians Born in Exile, for a perspective on the Palestinian experience in between the United States and their homeland. 97. Karam, “On the Trail and Trial of a Palestinian Diaspora,” 751, 753. 98. Mor, “The Question of Palestine in the Argentine Political Imaginary.” 99. Balloffet, “Syrian Refugees in Latin America: Diaspora Communities as Interlocutors.” 100. Almeida, “Phoenicians of the Pacific.” 101. “Dannah,” personal communication with the author, October 16, 2015. 102. Kusumo, Islam en América Latina Tomo II, loc. 466. 103. For parallel consideration, Brauner highlights the various reasons that Sephardic Jews came at different times from different places (North Africa vs. Levant) in “Identities, Migrations, and Religious Practices.” 104. Funk, “Between National Attachments, Rooted Globalism, and Borderless Utopias,” 103. 105. Ibid., 104. 106. See Saliba, “The Arabs to Our South.” 107. Silverstein, “Anthropologies of Middle Eastern Diasporas.” 108. Zabel, “Arabs in the Americas,” 9. 109. The data for this extended anecdote come from the author’s own fieldwork, research, and interviews in Jayuya on July 18, 2017. 110. Even fewer now, after Hurricane Maria struck the island on September 20, 2017. 111. “This is my cemetery.” 112. The supposed Taíno name for the island of Puerto Rico. 113. Baeza, “Palestinians in Latin America,” 59–72. 114. See M. Warner, Publics and Counterpublics. 115. Kusumo, Islam en América Latina, loc. 136. 116. These are the categories of “hooking,” “telescoping,” and “additivity” in P. C. Johnson, Diaspora Conversions.

6 Halal in Brazil and the Global Muslim Economy

ALMOST AS QUICKLY AS THE “BISMILLAH, ALLAHU ‘AKBAR” escapes his mouth, his hand is brought up to the throat of the chicken and slices swiftly across the bird’s jugular. The fowl spasms for a long minute, but the blood has finished spilling out on the ground in less than thirty seconds. The chicken is left to hang for a few more minutes, ensuring a proper bleed time for its particular cadre of customers. After being taken down, the carcass is scalded, plucked, disemboweled, and dressed. Other birds are torched according to a traditional method of removing pin feathers. This scene, oft repeated across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), is not occurring in Riyadh or Alexandria, Jerusalem, or Fez, but in a facility in Itajaí, Santa Catarina, in the south of Brazil. There, at Brazil Best Chicken, the fowl are, according to the company’s website, “slaughtered by Muslims individually by hand, in accordance with Halal guidelines. Our facility maintains a strict adherence with all humane animal treatment and slaughter requirements, including cut accuracy, direction to Qiblah, and a lengthy bleed time.”1 This facility, with its partners in the United Arab Emirates and Germany, is part of a growing global industry of halal meat import and export. It is also part of a long halal chicken history in Brazil. The first ever chicken to be shipped abroad from Brazil in the mid-1970s was halal.2 It could even be said that the nation’s large chicken export industry got its start in the halal trade. While most of the general public would assume that a Muslim-majority country would be the largest exporter of halal meat in the world, it is Brazil that holds the title. And quite so. In a worldwide industry worth in excess

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of $415 billion per year (as of 2020), Brazil exports some $5.9 billion. That is more than twice as much as its nearest competitor, Australia, at an estimated $2.36 billion. In fact, of the top ten halal meat exporters in the world, eight are non-Muslim majority countries (Brazil, Australia, India, France, China, South Sudan, the Netherlands, and Spain). Their products predominately head to markets in countries with substantial Muslim populations, where the largest importers of halal beef and other food products are Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, and Egypt. The Center for Strategic and International Studies reports that “nearly half of Arab countries’ meat imports in 2012 came from Brazil, and the Arab world as a whole bought 17 million tons of Brazilian food products in 2013, including over $4 billion worth of meat.”3 As part of its much larger agroeconomy and beef industry, Brazil’s halal export economy has been so successful that other Latin American economies are looking to follow suit. Reuters reports that “Mexico, the world’s sixth biggest beef producer, plans to quadruple exports of halal beef to 44 million pounds (20,000 tons) by the end of 2018 from 11 million pounds (5,000 tons) [before].”4 The ever expanding global halal-certified meat industry connects disparate countries in Asia and the Middle East, Europe and Latin America, in a complex network of exchange that spans multiple “scapes” of the contemporary world—including geography and finance, politics, and religion. As both part of, and as a product of, the cosmopolitanization and increasing entanglement of the world, the global halal industry has had to grow to accommodate an increasingly diverse array of Muslim dietary and lifestyle practices. Among Muslims in minority contexts, converts who grew up with decidedly nonhalal diets—and Muslims in general across the globe—there is a growing desire to consume the world’s food offerings, but to do so in ways in which halal ingredients and methods are used. While globalization has precipitated this phenomenon and made “the cartography of consumption . . . more complex and differentiated,”5 it has also made navigating it a possibility in the first place—albeit a fraught one. In Muslim minority contexts, traditional fiqh authorities may not be familiar with local food offerings, and the sources of Islamic law may not be clear on whether or not a food is permissible (e.g., seafoods). Sometimes food choices in such contexts can serve as grounds for intense discussion and debate, with legal opinions varying widely. Legal opinions and debate over halal practices can also be implicated in delimiting the boundaries of a sociality.6 Thus, “the question of determining whether or not a particular food is halal can be more complex than simply checking a list.”7 This chapter starts with an overview of the global halal industry and its impact and growth in Brazil. I not only introduce Brazil’s thriving halal industry, but its Muslims as well. I suggest Muslims in Brazil exist in a state of tension between “elsewhere” and “here,” between the Middle East,

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Brazil, and other locales in the global Muslim landscape. Focusing on the halal economy helps draw some of these transnational tensions and connections out of a broader narrative about global Islam and Muslims’ long and robust presence in Brazil. Part of this exploration also involves taking a look at the materiality of Islamic faith and practice in the late modern world and its particular manifestations in a country most would not readily associate with global Islam. This chapter also provides an opportunity to consider how global Islam not only includes ideological or religious networks and scapes where Muslims are in the majority, but also economic and consumptive lattices that evince “terrains of exchange” that are Islamic and capitalist, global and local, all at the same time.

Why the Global Halal Economy Matters Habib’s is one of the most popular fast-food chains in Brazil.8 Specializing in affordable Middle Eastern food and Brazilian sandwiches, the chain has over 475 outlets and has plans to expand beyond Brazil. Its origins lie with the arrival of Lebanese and Syrian immigrants in the twentieth century. When they came to Brazil, they brought their culinary traditions with them. Despite accounting for less than 1 percent of the population, their foodways have taken hold of the Brazilian palate.9 Habib’s was founded in 1988 by Portugalborn Antônio Alberto Saraiva. Saraiva was inspired by an Arab baker to start a Middle Eastern food-chain. The concept caught on quickly. Not only is Habib’s one of the biggest fast-food companies in the country, it is also reported to be the largest Arab fast-food business in the world. It is part of a broader trend showcasing the influence of Middle Eastern foodways—particularly Lebanese—on Brazilian cuisine.10 One commenter even quipped that kibbeh and sfiha (also known as esfiha or esfirra)—fried balls of bulgur, minced onions, meat, and spices and open face meat pies, respectively—are to Brazilians what tacos are to Southern Californians or curry is to people in the UK: go-to “‘ethnic’ food.”11 Indeed, visitors can even pick-up kibbeh or sfiha from vendors selling the pocket-sized snacks out of Styrofoam boxes on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. Even so, being cooked up for the mass population of Brazil means Habib’s and its fellow Middle Eastern–style fast-food joints are not necessarily halal restaurants. Although Brazil is a massive producer of halal meat, many Muslims are employed in the industry in the country, and halal travelers will be pleased to find many Arab restaurants—and others—that serve halal food, it can still be fairly difficult for locals to find halal products for everyday consumption, even in cities such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.12 As one Muslim told me in Rio de Janeiro in May 2018, he has to travel to shops catering to local Arab populations, which can be few and far between in a massive metropolis such as

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Rio. Instead, the global halal industry is, like all food industries worldwide, one of supply and demand. And the demand for halal products largely comes from outside Brazil. Nonetheless, this halal exchange ties together importer and exporter, Muslims and non-Muslims, and makes up another layer of the landscapes of exchange that make up global Islam. Not only that, but the halal industry also creates opportunities for Muslims to make money and make inroads in places hitherto difficult to access. One area in which most Muslims, and many non-Muslims, engage with Islamic legal traditions in their day-to-day lives is in relation to food consumption. Muslim food traditions are derived from the Quran and hadith (a record of something the Prophet Muhammad said, did, or tacitly approved of). Both sources of Islamic law speak to the meaning, significance, and permissibility of food and the manner of its preparation and consumption. In general, food is seen as a divine blessing (Quran 80:25–32). The fairly wellknown term halal designates any object or action that is permissible according to Islamic legal traditions. Halal stands in juxtaposition to that which is haram, forbidden or off-limits, and distinguished from that which is compulsory or obligatory (fard/wajib), recommended (mustahabb/mandub), and disliked (makruh). These terms are used to designate multiple facets of life as unlawful or legitimate. More than a system of ritual slaughter, halal is a posture toward consumption as a whole. It bears resemblance to Jewish kashrut—or “kosher laws.” It is also increasingly interwoven with the neoliberal capitalist order given the exchange in acceptable meat products across the globe between places in the Middle East and Malaysia, Bahrain, and Brazil. For example, depending on regional contexts, doctrinal debates, and judicial authority, terms such as halal, makruh, or haram are applied to investments (e.g., is Bitcoin halal?), pharmaceuticals, and makeup. Most often, however, such terminology is used by scholars and practitioners to classify consumable products as either forbidden or allowable for consumption or use in cooking. These distinctions are applied to prohibit the consumption of things such as pork or alcohol, but also to other foods, the treatment of animals, and their slaughter. Although legal interpretations differ, food is considered halal if it is not prohibited by the Quran or hadith and is free from anything that is prohibited, and has been raised, processed, produced, made, kept, and prepared by using methods, machinery, or means that are considered clean. Haram items include, but are not limited to, alcoholic drinks and intoxicants, pork and pork products (e.g., lard or gelatin [spare for fish gelatin, which is halal]), blood, carrion, carnivorous animals (e.g., hawks, falcons, lions, and even crocodiles), and human body parts (even hair). Most designations are explicit, but there is debate about classifying certain foods or products as either halal or haram. Some of these items are referred to as mashbuh—in doubt or questionable. Most scholars agree that these items

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are best avoided, but there is no grievous harm caused if they are consumed or used on accident. Others are disliked (makruh) and abstaining from them is recommended and will be rewarded (e.g., eating fresh garlic). Food that is good and wholesome is often described as tayyib. These are general examples, and it is important to point out that regional understandings of halal practices can differ depending on various social, cultural, religious, or economic factors.13 These principles are derived from the high value placed on life as a sacred blessing of Allah that he has given to all of creation—animal and human. If an animal’s life must be ended, so goes the reasoning of the applicable sharia, then it must be ended in the name, and good graces, of Allah. Thus, in seeking to honor Allah and the life Allah created, Muslims eat only meat that has been prepared and handled according to Islamic law. The slaughter of the animal, which has been deemed inhumane by some animal rights activists, must be performed by an adult Muslim, must include the Arabic mentioned at the beginning of the chapter, must be killed with one continuous cut to the throat with a sharp knife that slices the trachea, esophagus, and jugular without severing the spinal cord, and the animal must be allowed to bleed out before processing.14 There are also rules about not abusing the animal before slaughter and keeping the knife free of blemishes. Some halal meat producers also stun the animal before killing it, but others frown on this practice as they see it as outside the bounds of Islamic law. The global market for halal products currently stands in the trillions of dollars per annum. The International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF) reports that “the Muslim consumption of food products totaled USD 1.245 trillion in 2016, and it could, according to forecasts, reach USD 1.93 trillion in 2022, or 18.7% of the global market.”15 With the uptick in Islamic religious revivalism in the 1970s and its global distribution over the past few decades, Muslims have shifted from simply trying to eat an Islamic diet to actively seeking halal products on a broader and more comprehensive scale. Coupled with a general increase in the global Muslim population as a whole, this has led to an ever expanding demand for halal products across the globe and a subsequent reaction from non-Muslim majority countries who have sensed the sizable opportunity to capitalize on this demand. The halal industry has increased aggressively and is one of the fastest-growing global business markets in the world.16 The United Arab Emirates reports that the “market is expected to grow to a value of around US$ 2.6 trillion” and become “the largest industry worldwide by 2030.”17 The industry is also highly diverse and contextual. For consumers in the Middle East, this is largely limited to meat products such as beef and chicken. For consumers in Southeast Asia (including Malaysia and Indonesia) the search for halal products involves “all good and consumable products.”18 In fact, it has been argued that “the concern over halal is more pronounced”

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in places such as Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, and Singapore than in the Middle East and North Africa.19 There is also growing demand for halal products from abroad in countries such as Pakistan, India, Nigeria, and Iran.20 Consumers in these countries are looking for halal medicine, meat, and makeup. More than that, they are looking for tailored halal catering, business amenities, and global travel itineraries and services. This increased demand has led to the creation of an entire halal industry that not only has scaled up the production of halal products, but also includes the establishment of national and regional halal-certification offices, firms, and organizations to assist Muslims in finding halal food and services, and transnational companies that work between import and export nations to create smooth conduits for trade, exchange, and travel. In Brazil there are several halal certification organizations and the IHAF wants to try and consolidate these groups into one to streamline the process and increase Brazil’s exports even more. The more streamlined the certification process, the more buoyant the business as “the ‘halalness’ of products is not easily verifiable.”21 To that end, there is also a halal certification organization in Guyana and international organizations that oversee halal production and goods in places such as Mexico, Suriname, and Argentina (among others). Growing global demand for halal products signifies many things: the proliferation of public piety, the pursuit of purity among Muslims worldwide, and the elaborate economic topography of global Islam. As anthropologist Johan Fischer writes, the consumption, trade, control, and regulation of halal products is “entangled in evermore-complex webs of political, economic, religious, and national significance.”22 It also signals the attempt by many Muslims to gain acceptance at multiple levels in global and local societies. For those from Muslim-majority nations, it is about inclusion as major players, and consumers, at the level of the neoliberal international capitalist system. For those in Muslim-minority countries such as Brazil it can serve as a touchpoint in a wider push for toleration and the desire to be accepted, and treated, as full citizens in their countries of residence. To get a clearer picture of this, it is best to begin with an overview of the Muslim sociality in Brazil.

Muslims in Brazil The history of Muslims in Brazil and the shape of its contemporary communities is defined by a diverse set of practices, experiences, and traditions generated by the complex interrelation of migratory movements of labor and people from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East and the advent of local Brazilian conversions in the twentieth century. According to Lidice Meyer Pinto Ribeiro, the Muslim sociality has gone through the same three phases of development as others in the Americas: slavery, immigration, and con-

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temporary conversion.23 Today, there are thriving communities in São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Brasilia, Natal, and in the borderlands of Brazil near Paraguay and Uruguay. They are a diverse combination of immigrants, their descendants, and converts. And yet, Schuyler Marquez writes, “Despite this rich history of traditions, in a country entrenched in Catholic tradition and experiencing a recent rise in Pentecostalism, Islam continues to be viewed as an ethnic religion with roots from ‘elsewhere’ and thus embedded in debates about ethnic and cultural authenticity.”24 To fully understand Muslims in contemporary Brazil, this section provides an overview of the history of Muslims during early colonization, the Atlantic slave trade, and the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It also sketches out the profile of contemporary Muslim life in the country.25 The Muslim presence in Brazil stretches back to the era of initial European colonization. Some who came to settle in the Americas were of Moorish descent or were Muslim themselves.26 While less prevalent among the Portuguese than the Spanish, there were some crypto-Muslims who came to Brazil—or were at least accused of being such. The records are thin, but evidence suggests that at least some Muslims came to Brazil and continued to try to practice their faith despite Iberian edicts and the Inquisition.27 Many more flowed into the country during the transatlantic trade in enslaved persons. A little over 4 million people were brought from the ports of West Africa to be enslaved in Brazil (accounting for a full 40 percent of the total trade in enslaved persons in the Americas as a whole). Enslaved persons from West Africa and the Bight of Benin came to Brazil and worked plantations in Bahia and Salvador and mines in Minas Gerais. They were also forced to work in the developing tobacco, coffee, cotton, rice, sugar, and raw elemental industries of Brazil.28 Discussed in full in Chapter 4, up to 20 percent of those brought to Brazil could have been practicing Muslims.29 Enslaved persons from Central Sudan, Hausa from modern-day Nigeria, Yoruba, Jolofs, and many others brought their beliefs, traditions, and experiences as Muslims to Brazil and shaped the culture of the plantations.30 There are numerous stories to be told from these Muslims’ lives, but perhaps most famous among the many enslaved African Muslims in Brazil was Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua. Literate in Arabic, Baquaqua was captured in West Africa and brought to Brazil. He escaped captivity and fled to New York in 1847. Published by Samuel Moore in 1854, his autobiography—the only known written account by an enslaved African in Brazil—helped make his story known. Not only is it a testament to the difficulties faced by enslaved Muslims in Brazil, but also to the networks that existed between the Atlantic and American worlds, which are central to the story of Muslims in the Americas.31 Although an emphasis has been placed on the transculturative and hybrid processes of enslaved religion in Brazil, many enslaved persons were able to maintain their inherited religions through dress, language, practice, jewelry,

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body markings, and other means.32 While they had overlapping identities— informed by multiple inputs from their particular histories in sub-Saharan Africa or specific placement within Brazil—they continued to flex their Islamic “muscle memories” in their new contexts. For example, marabouts still proffered their services in the New World and treated enslaved persons with herbal medicine and gave out amulets with pieces of the Quran sown in for corporeal protection. As documented in Mexico, both Muslims and nonMuslims came to the marabouts for these services in Brazil as well.33 Furthermore, many Muslim enslaved persons were known for wearing their abadás (long white frocks) and continuing to speak and recite Arabic as they knew how.34 In many and various ways, Muslims continued to assert their religious and cultural identities despite—and perhaps in reaction to—the great violence done to them in being kidnapped, sold, shipped, and forced to labor as enslaved persons far away from home. All of these outward practices Muslims brought from sub-Saharan Africa—either as freed persons or as mobile enslaved persons permitted to work in the cities and shop in the streets—had an impact on broader Brazilian society. Specifically, in Bahia, Muslims were referred to as malê, a term derived from the Yoruba word for “Muslim,” and helped shape the region’s history in significant ways. Despite their particular tribal loyalties and identities, the Muslims of Bahia united with one another and became a potent force in the region.35 And as described in Chapter 4, this unity allowed Muslim slaves to help lead a revolt against their oppressors in Bahia in 1835. Although the precise motivations of the rebels—and their religious and ethnic makeup—is debated, there is enough evidence to suggest that their religion “served as means for collective consciousness and resistance in the face of extreme hardships.”36 In the end, it was not enough. The rebellion led to little more than increased suspicion against the malê and the government requiring that all slaves be converted to Christianity through baptism and basic religious education.37 Despite the pressure, these malê (also referred to in official documents as “Minas”)38 continued to practice their religion, both covertly and openly. There is even some evidence to suggest that Afro-Brazilian Muslims continued to practice their religion in various ways into the nineteeth century, with the discovery of Arabic texts from the Quran or prescribed prayers in a police raid in the region in 1849, years after the revolt,39 an Afro-Brazilian Muslim population in a neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro known as “Little Africa,”40 and reports by visitors and journalists of “Islamic practices.”41 Thus, it is perhaps possible that in the face of external pressure from other religious traditions (e.g., Catholicism, Candomblé, etc.) and lack of resources in a faraway country, some Afro-Brazilian Muslims continued to practice their religion in various forms up until the twentieth century. However, it must be said that the majority of Muslims folded into the overwhelming Catholic presence in Brazil, even as many of them

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created hybrid versions of their newfound faith, integrating aspects of their Islamic background and experience. Some scholars posit that the Islam practiced by enslaved Africans in Brazil was completely acculturated, transformed, and subsumed by Catholicism and Candomblé.42 Later in the twentieth century, there was an influx of new Muslims as the Ottoman Empire crumbled. Largely Christian, only about 15 percent of these immigrants and refugees from places such as Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine were Muslim. Still, that accounts for up to 15,000 Muslims coming to Brazil from 1884 to 1939.43 Immigration subsided after a system of quotas was instituted by the Brazilian government in 1934, but ramped back up again in the 1960s and 1970s as Muslims from the Middle East came in increasing numbers. Notwithstanding their general economic successes, the stereotype of the “Arab peddler” became pervasive and many immigrants and their families were perceived as cheating scoundrels or by the disparaging moniker turcos da prestação.44 Little care was given to distinguishing between their various ethnicities (Turkish, Lebanese, Syrian, etc.) or their religious makeup (Maronite or Catholic, Orthodox or Nestorian, Druze or Sunni, Shi‘i or Alawi). Incidents of persecution, discrimination, and attacks by contemporary evangelical communities against Muslims have also been reported.45 The immigrants reacted in multiple ways to this public pressure and palpable disenfranchisement in broader Brazilian society. On the one hand, they banded together and created strong intrasociality bonds and ethnic enclaves within Brazil’s major cities. Christians and Muslims worked together to grow businesses, provide Arabic language courses, and commemorate national holidays and cultural celebrations. On the other hand, Arab Christians began to distance themselves from Arab Muslims and mobilize their Christianity as evidence of their being more “Western” and, thus, Brazilian.46 According to Paulo Pinto, intellectuals from the American University of Beirut crafted a narrative of the Syrian Lebanese immigrant experience, emphasizing their Phoenician roots and how they had influenced Brazilian society positively. They even went so far as to establish an alumni association in São Paulo in 1922.47 Other Arab Brazilians made significant literary contributions, helping provide an intimate picture of the quotidian process of arrival and establishment in Brazil.48 All of these initiatives and activities helped Syrian and Lebanese Brazilians achieve broader social status in Brazil and gain higher visibility as successful and influential businesspeople and politicians in Brazil.49 At the same time as Arab Brazilians made significant inroads in Brazilian society as a whole, Arab Muslims consolidated their sociality into ever tighter circles through the establishment and maintenance of mosques, social organizations, and private schools—for example, the Palestinian Muslim Charitable Society (Sociedade Beneficiente Muçulmana Palestina) or Muslim Charitable Society of São Paulo (SBM, Sociedade Beneficente

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Muçulmana).50 These institutions and their leaders sought to address the continued view of Islam as a foreign religion and dispel the rumors about Islam and terrorism by highlighting Islam’s shared roots with Christianity as “People of the Book” and distribute pamphlets and booklets to educate Brazilians about Islam. Thus, as Marquez writes, “It is important to recognize the ways in which Arab Brazilians both stressed common descent and claimed difference through public discourse and establishment of institutions.”51 Still, as Silvia Montenegro points out, being an Arab Muslim in Brazil means navigating the tensions between multiple territories, communities, and identities.52 This situation has been exacerbated by the increase in the number of local Brazilian converts in recent years, increased scrutiny amidst the global war on terror, and dynamics involved in the global halal industry. These forces continue to exert influence on Brazil’s Muslims up to the present day.

Balancing Between “Elsewhere” and “Here” According to the national census, there were at least 35,000 Muslims in Brazil as of 2010.53 Other estimates project that there were as few as 27,239,54 or up to 1 million Muslims in the country.55 It is difficult to know exactly where the truth lies, but some claim that Brazil’s Muslim community is the largest in South America and, as such, exercises an influence in the region with publications, leadership, and transnational connections and exchange.56 Largely Sunni, and mostly made up of Lebanese, Syrian, Egyptian, Palestinian, Moroccan, Sudanese, Nigerian, South African, and Mozambican immigrants and their descendants, the highest concentration of Muslim communities can be found in São Paulo, Curitiba, and Foz do Iguaçu, but there are significant groups in Brasília, São Bernardo, and Rio de Janeiro as well.57 Despite an increasing number of local conversions in recent years, scholars seem to agree that the Muslim community in Brazil is still largely the product of immigrant communities and their particular concerns and character. Pinto writes, “While the growing number of non-Arab Brazilian converts encourages less ethnic and more universalistic interpretations and practices of Islam, the Arabic language and some Arab cultural diacritics remain as signs of religious distinction even among the converts.”58 Cristina Maria de Castro states that the sociality itself is still recognized as something “Arab” and still largely identifies itself as “Arab” as well.59 Still, these Muslims—Arab or otherwise—have to contend with Brazilian culture and society. They selfreport struggles with the prevalence of pork in Brazilian cuisine, the open consumption of alcohol and other intoxicants, and interactions with friends, family members, and others in the community who are not Muslim. These non-Muslim contacts become the interpersonal focal point for other struggles

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of a more “global scope, such as the image of Islam and Muslims in the media, which is generally considered as holding hostile and misinformed views . . . the conflicts in the Middle East, and the terrorist attacks of September 11.”60 At both the micro and macro levels, Muslims within Brazil are confronted with opinions and stereotypes from without that shape and form their self-constructions and their conduct in public and private. These transregional dynamics also inform the debates within the sociality as they wrestle with what it means to be Muslim in Brazil through a plurality of identity constructions, institutional forms, and innovative practices. Pinto writes that the multiethnic character of Islam in Brazil means that there is a “complex process of construction of Muslim identities in interaction with Arabic linguistic and cultural traditions and with the Brazilian social and cultural reality.”61 However, Pinto suggests that the amount to which Muslim socialities are linked to particular ethnic identities and transnational linkages depends on the particular context and social dynamics in specific places. He states that the “appropriation, interpretation and practice of various Islamic traditions [Sufi and Salafi, Sunni or Alawi] in Brazil’s Muslim socialities is informed by the local social and cultural context of each one of them, as well as by the multiple connections that they establish with globalized and transnational Islamic discourses and practices.”62 For example, in Rio de Janeiro, there are lower numbers of Muslims from abroad and so the communities there have adapted more to the local Brazilian context and have more African, non-Arab, and Brazilian Muslims in attendance at Friday prayers and other programs.63 These differences also affect their perspectives on, and reactions to, local conversion. In contrast, in places such as São Paulo, Curitiba, and Foz do Iguaçu, “the production of Islamic identities is strongly influenced by transnational Islamic movements and by the constant contact with Islam as practiced in the Middle East.”64 This transnational linkage with the Middle East is not only exhibited in the individual trajectories and life stories of Muslims in Brazil, but also in the institutions they have built in the country. For the most part, scholars have observed that Islamic societies, schools, mosques, dawah organizations, and the like not only teach Islam, but inculcate the values of Middle Eastern culture and the Arabic language. Marquez writes that “these communities also facilitate the ongoing maintenance of transnational ties between Brazil and followers’ homelands of Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Palestine and more.”65 For instance, Middle Eastern Muslims—or their sons and daughters—regularly return to their countries of origin and heritage respectively to find marriage partners or to receive an Arabic education. It was only at the beginning of the twenty-first century that some communities even started to integrate Portuguese into their programs and offerings. Other groups have been effectively forced into adapting to their local context through processes of “pious creativity.”66 Lisa Dumovich writes

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about members of the Gülen Movement in Brazil,67 who are negotiating their mission of hizmet (service) following the July 15, 2016, coup in Turkey and the subsequent crack-down on the Gülen Movement. Dumovich says that in Brazil, “as in other countries in South America, community building and social action carried out by followers of Fethullah Gülen have been enabled by . . . an ‘agentival capacity’ for engaging in alternative forms of action,” which includes “religious practices and morally invested worldly activities that shape moral subjects according to Gülen’s ideals.”68 Many members have chosen, or been effectively forced, to remain since the coup and have utilized the resources of their teachers’ traditions to negotiate their lives and integrate into Brazilian society through a sense of duty and belonging, financial perseverance, and political quietude. In contradistinction to other Muslims in Brazil, these Gülen followers are bringing Turkish cultural ideals and teachings to bear on their Brazilian context. Although cut off from their homeland, it is still the moral directives and religious practices of Turkish Islamic networks, although stretched and connected across transnational and local sites, that give shape and substance to their lives in Brazil. There are some groups that have integrated Muslims of diverse backgrounds and encourage conversion through active dawah and the translation of materials into Brazilian Portuguese. However, the perspective that Islam is linked to a particular cultural belonging persists. It does so in one part because of pervasive stereotypes of Muslims as “Arab” or “Middle Eastern.” It is also because some Muslims in Brazil do seem to be more interested in preserving cultural heritage and transnational ties with their homelands than in propagating, or planting, their religion firmly in Brazilian soil. Some converts struggle with this, and when coming to a mosque through marriage, conversion on the internet, or learning Arabic in mosqueoffered classes, life becomes difficult as they seek to balance the tension between their Muslim and Brazilian identities. Frustrated, they feel they are subjugated in an ethnic hierarchy and treated as lesser because they are “only converts” in the eyes of their religious compatriots.69 Luciana Garcia de Oliveira writes about how some mosques, Islamic centers, and prayer spaces were created as a result of this conflict. New Brazilian Muslims say they do not feel welcome within many of the spaces created by Arab immigrants. And so, they created their own spaces. One such space is Sumayyah Bint Khayyat mosque, located in Embu das Artes, in São Paulo. Garcia de Oliveira states that it is “considered the first mosque within a slum in Brazil.”70 Relatively small, it offers a range of activities from Portuguese classes to self-defense classes, and events related to Brazilian hip-hop culture. Some mosques in places such as Rio de Janeiro take a different approach and reach out to a diverse group of people via dawah programs. Converts in these communities feel more at home in a more heterogeneous community of people from all over the “Muslim world.”71 Others embrace this process and adopt Arabic names, Middle Eastern or North

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African attire, and learn Arabic and incorporate it into their daily lives. They find in their conversion the access to a more cosmopolitan sense of belonging and a means to transcend cultural space and the Brazilian context through their active participation in the global ummah.72 This membership in the ummah can cut both ways. Converts either use it as a means to escape Brazilian cultural contexts or to create new, hybrid ones in which Islam is deterritorialized from its MENA context only to be reterritorialized in Brazil through active processes of hybridity and the dynamic remixing of Islamic traditions and Brazilian culture. Even in adopting some discourse in Arabic, converts fold it into their existing Portuguese lexicon and create new combinations such as “estarei aí amanhã, insha’Allah.”73 More complex creolizations than this involve discourses, negotiations, and adaptations in the realm of prayer and preaching (e.g., preaching in both Portuguese and Arabic), food at celebrations and events (serving mate, a symbol of gaucho identity), and continuing to negotiate which aspects of global Islamic cultures are incorporated into the convert’s everyday life and practice. Paying attention to the local vicissitudes of Muslim socialities in Brazil helps us see how there are multiple narratives operating at various registers along the spectrum between the global and the local, “here” and “elsewhere,” or between those who consider themselves “Muslims of Brazil” or “Muslims in Brazil.” What it reveals is that careful attention should be paid to the particular contours of contemporary conversion to Islam among Muslims in minority contexts such as Brazil. In particular, Maria de Castro contrasts how immigrants in Brazil are largely seen as “adding to” rather than “detracting from” the host country’s culture.74 There are still stereotypes at play and Muslims must navigate these in public and private, but the Brazilian context does allow for immigrants to make a broader impact beyond their cohort of travelers and ethnic compatriots. The evidence for this can be seen in the success of Arab Brazilian businesspeople, their entrance into Brazilian politics, and in the expansion of the halal market. At the same time, these Arab Brazilians are also limited in certain ways: first by their firm connections to their homelands and, second, by the force of “Brazilian national identity,” which requires the “Brazilianization”75 of culture, economics, and religion. At this time, Arab Brazilian Muslims allow the former to exert more influence in their families, businesses, and religion. However, there are signs that as time goes on, more and more “Brazilianization” is occurring for Arab Brazilians in various sectors of life.

Between Being Halal and Being Here Is that the case with Brazil and its massive halal export economy as well? As intimated before, much of the Brazilian halal meat market is not meant for

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Brazilian consumption. Instead, consumers in Malaysia, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia are able to enjoy the choicest of Brazilian halal meats thanks to the country’s massive output. It was reported in 2015 that almost one-fourth of Brazil’s beef exports were headed for the MENA region alone.76 Who is responsible for this ever expanding export industry? Brazil may be one of the world’s largest exporters of beef, but why the particular accent and emphasis on halal meat, which accounts for a quarter of their carcass-weight export? Are the leaders Brazilian citizens, foreign investors, or multinational elites who live the transregional dream? Are they Muslim or solely savvy investors? Does their life between “here” and “elsewhere” create a new cosmopolitan consciousness? What is the role of religion in these processes? How are they connected to Muslims in Brazil? Is the sector undergoing any sort of “Brazilianization”? Input from the field of international relations can prove helpful in untangling some of these questions. As part of his broader work examining the history of Arab–Latin American relations, Kevin Funk looked into these sorts of transregional relationships and networks in the global political economy.77 Focusing in on the business networks, economic bureaucracies, and international business organizations that the “transnational capitalist class” creates to connect Latin America and the Middle East, Funk makes the point that “there is little to suggest that a growing transregional Arab–Latin American consciousness links the regions.”78 With a nod to the businesspeople in the halal industry in Brazil, he surmises that “these actors think primarily in national terms” still and that there are “few hints of a transnational capitalist class consciousness.”79 This analysis aligns with reflections from scholars who also find that there is not much of a transregional consciousness developing between Arab Brazilian Muslims and local converts. While they may interact transnationally, these relationships remain largely transactional and nationalistic. They do not create a new, normative cosmopolitan consciousness, according to Funk. Reflecting further on the role of religion, Funk states that when it comes to the halal economy, “business and religion do not mix.”80 Perhaps this is why Brazil is one of the largest exporters of halal meat products and yet has little to offer in their own country where they are home to one of the largest populations of Muslims in the American hemisphere. The motivation to become producers and traders of halal meat—or other products for that matter—in Brazil is not one of a global Muslim consciousness or concern for pious consumption among the world’s diffuse Muslim populations. By contrast, as Otto Burman might have said, the global halal economy is “nothing personal, it’s just business.” More than religion, it is place that defines the worldviews of these global actors. Religion matters to an extent. After all, it is halal meat. However, national and ethnic identities, transnational linkages, and global economic considerations are more meaningful in these exchanges than anything else. For traders and businessmen, owners and pro-

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ducers, from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa, it is not Islam81 that directly inspires their business practices, but their linkages with their home country, their work among and with people from their own ethnic background, and their finding places where demand is highest that do inspire their business practices. Just as these Muslims are not necessarily looking to translate their religion into the local context, so too they are not looking to localize their businesses. It seems there is little to no Brazilianization of the halal marketplace either. Along with the time and space compression of the most recent era of globalization,82 there has been much hope, and speculation, that we would soon be living in a “flatter” and borderless world.83 Politics, economics, and even religion were meant to open up to include ever greater imagined communities of connection and collaborations. To an extent, this could be argued to be the case. Over the past century or so, the world has become increasingly entangled. Brazilians are converting to Islam, halal meat is being produced in copious amounts in the country, and there are Arab immigrants in the country to run the businesses, oversee the trade, and ship the products to their countries of origin and beyond. Global politics, trade, and religion have become more diffuse than concentrated in recent years thanks to advances in communication and travel technology and the general spread of the neoliberal world order. However, those who believed that the broadening of global economics, politics, religion, culture, and the like would lead to the cultivation of a normative cosmopolitan class consciousness at either elite or popular levels have instead been met with reentrenched nationalisms, trade protectionism, hyperethnic self-identifications, reenergized localisms, and further pluralization in the realm of religion and culture. While communities and companies are more transnational and “banal cosmopolitanism”—the lived, everyday reality of contact with Others in a globalized world—is commonplace, the ethical, emotional, or political global consciousness that was prophesied has failed to materialize. Funk wrote of the Arab elites he studied in Brazil (and Colombia, Chile, Argentina, and elsewhere in Latin America) that while there is a general decentering trend, there is no real evidence for “cosmopolitan identification,”84 transregional solidarity, or any kind of global ethic developing among, or between, them. Instead, most of the actors in his analysis retain largely national and sticky, “place-based” interpretive frameworks. Thus, Funk writes, “reports of the death of the nationalist imaginary under globalization have been greatly exaggerated.”85 He calls their brand of global living, “rooted transnationalism,” which aspires to transnational connections, but is still summoned back to the place-based attachments that preceded them.86 The result is an existence lived in between, one might say, “elsewhere” and “here in Brazil.” The result is a dynamic, transregional interplay between affinities to the Middle East and to Brazil, where generative frictions between both create new

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identifications, communities, and—at least in some cases—new products and economies. This is another example of the concomitant experience of singularity and difference, purity and hybridity, mestiçagem/mestizaje and racial difference that define the experience of Muslims across the Americas. To take a deeper look at these dynamics and characteristics—with both the halal economy and the Muslim sociality in Brazil in mind—I take up the case of Foz do Iguaçu. I analyze its existence as a Muslim sociality with strong transnational linkages, robust ethnic identities, and specific economic realities. At the same time, I show that they are very much a part of the local economy in the Tres Fronteras region and have come to shape its character. I also bring the religious element of their story to the fore, to see how religion is part and parcel to what Funk calls their “rooted transnationalism.” While not directly related to the halal industry in Brazil, this section continues to shed light on the interconnected nature of Muslim lives through linkages of late modern politics and economics.

Muslim Economies in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil Largely Christian or secular, the worldwide Lebanese diaspora is about five times bigger than the contemporary population of Lebanon itself.87 Many Lebanese left their homeland for the Americas or Australia in the latter half of the twentieth century, fleeing civil war and ongoing conflict surrounding the sovereignty of Palestine and Israel.88 Many Lebanese came to Argentina, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Paraguay, and Brazil, where they were able to establish strong communities and successful business ventures. Such is the case with the Lebanese who settled in Foz do Iguaçu, where economic and demographic growth has seen even more Lebanese flock to the frontier city in recent years. Due to economic uncertainty, political crises, and religious and ethnic tension between the civil war of 1958 and the Lebanese civil war in 1975, successive seasons of Lebanese Muslims arrived in the Triple Frontier area in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. While there was an initial influx of Lebanese Christians, the later seasons featured large concentrations of Sunni Muslims, with the two groups sometimes coming into conflict with one another over resources or the naming of local mosques.89 By 2015 there was a combined 15,000–20,000 Lebanese-Muslims living in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, and Ciudad de Este, Paraguay.90 Spread throughout the globe, many Lebanese diaspora communities are the product of chain migration wherein certain areas of Lebanon see a number of migrants leave their home country for destinations where others from their same community have already gone. Such is the case with Foz do Iguaçu, where the majority of its Lebanese migrants came directly from the Beqaa Valley. Lebanese Muslims were among the pioneers to settle in this

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community and became “cornerstones” of the cities that were established, or that started to flourish, there.91 Omri Elmaleh reports that the first to arrive to the region were individuals from big tribal families such as Barkat, Osman, Omeiri, and Rahal, most of them originated in Lala, Baaloul and Qaraoun, three villages in the fertile Beqaa valley in eastern Lebanon. The inauguration of Puerto Presidente Stroessner (to become Ciudad del Este only in 1989) in 1957 was the main factor of the drastic change that the Triple Frontier experienced at the time. Numerous Lebanese merchant-migrants who saw the potential of the newly created border town crossed the river and began to establish shops and businesses over there, for example, members of the Rahal Barkat and Omairi [sic] tribe members who were among the first Lebanese-Muslims to settle in the Paraguayan side.92

However, as Elmaleh notes, the Tres Fronteras region was not necessarily their first choice. Instead, Lebanese Muslims worked through periods of transition from places such as Europe, other Latin American nations, or West Africa. Coming to Brazil, they brought their connections to global religious and socioeconomic movements with them. Building on these networks and linkages, and their shared ethnic and religious heritages, the Lebanese Muslim sociality in the Triple Frontier region has obtained cultural, economic, and social significance and had an impact on the growth and development of the area in general. Elmaleh writes, “Today it is impossible to talk about the Triple Frontier zone without mentioning the presence of its Lebanese inhabitants in every aspect of life.”93 Their investment in commercial ventures and tourism projects helped develop the area and brought them popular support from the wider community.94 Lebanese residents have been engaged in local politics and philanthropy, running for municipal positions, building hospitals and schools, and supporting local sports teams.95 Even the landscape bears the Lebanese mark—the skyscrapers in the city are predominately owned by Lebanese businessmen and the Omar Ibn al-Khattab mosque in Foz do Iguaçu has become a local landmark with its renowned bold blue interior and noticeable white facade. So extensive is their impact that a rumor has been circulated that the Paraguayan city was renamed Ciudad del Este (East, or Orient) because of the influence of Middle Eastern and South Asian immigrants.96 These local institutions have also helped create a sense of shared belonging among the immigrants and their descendants. Despite living in a robustly diverse and multireligious context, Muslim immigrants in the Tres Fronteras area are able to maintain a sense of “self” by “considering Islam as part of ‘Arab culture,’” according to Silvia Montenegro.97 Based on fieldwork in the area, Montenegro found that while Muslim immigrants there maintain the tension of “plural identities,” they also help create a sense of place and personality through the establishment of mosques,

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schools, and religious centers that feel like “them.” The reinterpretation of their identities is not only informed by their Brazilian context, but also by the memory and reality of their Lebanese (or other) homes. Lebanese Muslims in the Tres Fronteras region also maintain global connections beyond those between Brazil and Lebanon. In her research into Twelver98 Shi‘i Lebanese Muslims in Senegal, Mara Leichtman reflects on the ways in which this minority sociality relies on its socioeconomic relations and networks to create alternative versions of “Muslimness” and cosmopolitan religiosity in the West African nation.99 Given that some of the Lebanese Muslims in Foz do Iguaçu come from locales such as Senegal, we can envision that they bring their socioeconomic networks with them, and indeed expand on them, when they migrate across the Atlantic from Dakar to Brazil. Furthermore, we can suppose that these connections go a long way in deciding the success of their businesses and the shape of their particular religious practices and emphases. While there would need to be further ethnographic or sociological research done to confirm these hypotheses, it is not a stretch of the imagination to surmise that given the economic success of the Lebanese Muslims in Foz do Iguaçu, their intranational and transnational (or in Leichtman’s reading “cosmopolitan”) links, their ongoing dedication to Shi‘i jurisprudence and practice, and their Lebanese ethnic identification that the socioeconomic networks that exist between Foz do Iguaçu, Dakar, Zahlé, and elsewhere help determine the shape of the Lebanese Muslim sociality in the Tres Fronteras region. Again, we see how Muslim life in Brazil is formed in the interaction between “here” and “elsewhere.” By the same token, other Muslims—be they Afro-Brazilian, Syrian, Emirati, or otherwise—are also impacted by these same socioeconomic actualities, lattices, and linkages. This has been evident in our discussion of the halal economy in Brazil and its parallels with the “betweenness” of the Muslim sociality in the country. In this, the Muslims of Brazil are not abnormal in the history of global Islam, but actually quite unremarkable. Islam has long been spread by socioeconomic networks across the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and elsewhere. The realities of these socioeconomic networks, nodes, and new communities have often been reflected, or redacted, in the religious lives of the Muslims who live along, across, and between them. What is perhaps different now is that these hybrid religio-financescapes not only include geographies more typically associated with the moniker of “the Muslim world,” but also countries such as Brazil or other nations in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Religious Economies of Global Islam One of the central arguments of this book is that we cannot imagine global Islam without considering the Americas. Likewise, we cannot imagine the

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Americas without thinking more broadly about global Islam and the ways in which it is implicated in the region. Thinking about the Muslims of Brazil, the nation’s global halal economy, and the tensions and fissures that exist in the lives of Muslims between “elsewhere” and “here” helps us see the ways in which these two conceptual places—the “Americas” and “global Islam”— are inextricably linked. At the same time, the previous examples and theoretical interludes also prompt us to wonder just how much we can speak of them being one and the same. If global Islam cannot be narrowed to any one particular region is there any reason to continue to use the terminology or to refer to such a concept? There is enough evidence to question whether or not we can answer in the affirmative. While conceptualizations of global Islam need to include locales in Latin America (and elsewhere), global Islam is not a homogenous unit. The global ummah is divided as much as it is united. It is shot through with inconsistencies and divergent tendencies as much as it is by stability and agreement. The more diffuse it gets, the more negotiations and divisions it is also likely to have. This is why there has been such fervent debate about what Islam is and is not over the past several decades among Islamic studies scholars. The cases of religion and economics in Brazil offered here undergird this point and further complicate the ways in which the discursive tradition of Islam continues to be a balancing act between people and places, contexts and texts, in countries as diverse as Lebanon and Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. And yet we must also pay attention to the ways in which Muslims are networked across financescapes100 and sacroscapes101 that crisscross, connect, and cross-pollinate the many landscapes of global Islam. For example, with the increased number of Arab Muslim immigrants in Brazil in the twentieth century came not only the opportunity for the emergent growth of a robust halal economy in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS), but also an increasing interest in, and conversion to, Islam. It also added more nuance and texture to the racial, ethnic, religious, and cultural mixing that is characteristic of the region. In some sense, this is a symptom of the most recent era of globalization brought on by new waves of immigration, transnational economic partnerships and linkages, and the advancement of travel and communication technologies. In another sense, it is part and parcel to how global Islam has existed and expanded across the world since its inception. It might even be said to be an integral part of what constitutes “global Islam.” Nile Green hints as much when, using a model of religious economy, he argues that the competition and exchange between Muslim, Christian, and Hindu social actors and entrepreneurs in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the South Asian context generated new, hybrid, and increasingly global forms of Islam.102 Green begins his analysis in India and then radiates outward to explain his religious economic approach to understanding global Islam by weaving together the narratives of Indian, Arab, Iranianm and Tatar

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Muslims alongside British missionaries, African converts, and others. Green does well to not only cast his net wide, but to focus on microhistories in these particular locales within a specific time period (roughly 1800–1940). Through this, he is able to vivify these various local sites of globalization where Islam was repeatedly reinvented by both Muslims and non-Muslims in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By drawing on Michael Mann’s theory of “social power” and utilizing a commercial metaphor to explain these various “terrains of exchange,” Green shows how individual actors from various religious, philosophical, economic, and social backgrounds compete, collaborate, and cocreate texts, technologies, and traditions. This framework allows for the narrative to work together as he investigates “terrains of exchange” as diverse as the waterfront of Kobe to the imperial borderlands of Russia, the halls of Cambridge to the streets of Mumbai. By looking at these sites of contact from the “ground up,” Green draws our attention to the fact that globalization has not produced a monolithic global Islam, but a differentiation of Islam at the hands of interacting interlocutors from many “religious firms.” In contrast with certain Weberian sociological frames, which assumed religion would dissipate or disappear in the modern world order, Green posits that progressive modernization is not antithetic to religious flourishing. In fact, the opposite is evidently true. Specifically, Green shows how modern trade has been part and parcel to interactions of the spiritual kind and the subsequent expansion, hybridization, and spread of Islam. The same could be said of other religions, but Islam has spread through the work of merchants since its very inception. Caravan traders in the Hejaz carried the message of Muhammad across Arabia, into Persia, India, Central Asia, and elsewhere. Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Hindu traditions, and others all interacted along the Silk Road. Traders brought Islam into Africa (North, sub-Saharan, West, East) through trade on the seas and contact across and within the trans-Saharan zone. Marine merchants sailed across the seas to set up businesses in Indonesia and came to shape the development of Islam in its most populous country in the world today. So too have peddlers and traders, buyers and sellers, helped Islam flourish and flow in the Americas over the past several decades.103 There is an essential economic character to the networks and nodes that make up global Islam—and the halal industry is a critical matrix to consider within it. Halal trade connects various Muslims across the globe—including those in the Americas and specifically in Brazil—despite locally and temporally distinct negotiations of the global and the local. If not the same, these different halal markets are at least linked via the networks that exist between them. As Green and other scholars have pointed out,104 this is nothing new in the history of global Islam. What the analysis in this chapter shows is that places perhaps not considered part of these networks—either in the popular imagination or in scholarly treatments of the subject—need to be reconsidered. Against those maps of global Muslim trade that neglect or bypass the

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Americas,105 this chapter points out the need to consider the connections to, and resources of, the “hinterlands” as a crucial node of the global halal network of products, merchants, cities, and socialities.106

Conclusion

With all this said, by subjecting the story of religion to a contemporary obsession with firms, markets, and economies, we may well lose sight of the very living realities we seek to understand. We must resist the temptation to reduce the particular motivations and actions of individuals and socialities to “rational choices” of cost-benefit analyses and surgically applied entrepreneurial principles in the market of religious competition. While such a paradigm can demystify seemingly confusing religious adherence or conversion in the modern world, the model is far too instrumental; its tendency to explain religious choice and affiliations through simple formulas of exchange too generalized. Religious actors, and their choices, cannot be reduced to decontextualized and individualized cost-benefit analyses,107 as they are often shaped by embodied habits and the social location of religious believers as well as the networks in which they are embedded. And so, even as I have attempted in this chapter to illustrate the diversity of Islam in a globalized world, its economic focus may limit us by trying to apply a universal frame to the complexities of multiple, and sometimes divergent, local processes and individual motivations, moods, and material contexts in tension with globalizing tendencies toward uniformity, cooperation, and exchange across the ummah.

Notes

1. See “Whole Chicken and Parts,” Brazil Best Chicken, n.d., https://www .brazilbestchicken.com/halal-chicken-manufacturers. 2. Speetjens, “How Robust Is Brazil’s $2 bln Halal Poultry Industry?” 3. See Center for Strategic and International Studies, “Meat Market: Brazil’s Halal Export Explosion,” April 24, 2014, https://www.csis.org/analysis/meat-market -brazils-halal-export-explosion. 4. D. A. Garcia and Waters, “Mexican Beef Exporters Look to Muslim Markets as U.S. Alternatives.” 5. Kokoschka, “The Thing with Islam: Material Culture Beyond the Museum Display Case and the Cabinet of Curiosities,” 81. 6. Freidenreich, Foreigners and Their Food, 144. 7. Fewkes, “Siri Is Alligator Halal?” 112. 8. Saliba, “The Arabs to Our South.” 9. Schwartzman, “Fora de foco,” 85. 10. It must be said that there are also appropriations, stereotypes, and a not-so-latent Orientalism at play in the popularization and presentation of Habib’s food in Brazil. 11. See “Latin America’s Moorish and Arab Influence,” Expat Chronicles, August 17, 2013, http://www.expat-chronicles.com/2013/08/moor-arab-latin-america/.

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12. For more on halal producers in Brazil, see Schuyler Marquez’s forthcoming work on the subject, where she explores how notions of progress, equity, violence, and sustainability are negotiated in contemporary food cultures such as halal production in Brazil. 13. Fischer, “Branding Halal,” 18–21. 14. Schulze et al., “Experiments for the Objectification of Pain and Consciousness During Conventional (Captive Bolt Stunning) and Religiously Mandated (“Ritual Cutting”) Slaughter Procedures for Sheep and Calves.” 15. Garcia, “IHAF Wants to Unify Halal Certification in Brazil.” 16. Abd Aziz et al., “A Review on the Emergence and Growth of Halal Studies.” 17. Jaber, UAE Annual Book 2016, 80. 18. Riaz and Chaudry, Halal Food Production, 165. 19. Fischer, “Branding Halal,” 18–20. 20. See “A Research Company Launches a Study that Proves the Halal Market Potential,” Halal Brasil News, February 10, 2018, http://www.fambrashalal.com .br/blog_eng/2018/02/01/a-research-company-launches-a-study-that-proves-the -halal-market-potential/. 21. Fischer, “Branding Halal,” 20. 22. Ibid., 21. 23. Pinto Ribeiro, “A implantação e o crescimento do islã no Brasil.” 24. Marquez, “Islam in Brazil.” 25. For a more detailed historiographical overview of Islam and Muslims in Brazil, especially as a foundation for understanding the contemporary community from an anthropological perspective, see Pinto, “El islam en Brasil: Elementos para una antropología histórica,” 3–21. 26. Camara Melo, “O Mouro no Brasil Colonial (séculos xvi, xvii, & xviii).” 27. See Maria de Castro, The Construction of Muslim Identities in Contemporary Brazil. 28. See Lovejoy, Identity in the Shadow of Slavery. 29. See N. Ahmed, Islam in Global History. 30. See Akande, Illuminating the Blackness. 31. See Law and Lovejoy, The Biography of Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua. 32. See Sweet, Recreating Africa: Culture, Kinship, and Religion in the AfricanPortuguese World, 1441–1770. 33. See Hawthorne, From Africa to Brazil: Culture, Identity, and an Atlantic Slave Trade, 1600–1830. 34. Marquez, “Islam in Brazil.” 35. Lovejoy, “Background to Rebellion.” 36. Ibid. 37. See Diouf, Servants of Allah. 38. Marquez wrote, “Although the term ‘Minas’ was originally used by the Portuguese to describe anyone from West Africa or the coast of Guinea, it also came to characterize slaves exported from the Costa da Mina or the Mina coast. By the 1840s in Rio de Janeiro, the term ‘Mina’ was used to describe proud and courageous slaves, but also to refer to Arabic speaking Muslims who were literate, intelligent, and skilled. This blanket term was probably used to describe other Muslim Africans from diverse locations such as Yoruba and Fulani. Yoruba of Western Nigeria were also known as Nagô or Mina Nagô in Bahia and Rio.” Marquez, “Islam in Brazil.” 39. See Karasch, Slave Life in Rio de Janeiro, 1808–1850. 40. See Maria de Castro, The Construction of Muslim Identities in Contemporary Brazil.

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41. See Al-Baghdadi al-Dimachqi, Deleite do Estrangeiro em Tudo que é Espantoso e Maravilhoso; Soares and Mello, “O resto perdeu-se? História e folclore”; Silva, “Comprando E Vendendo Alcorões No Rio de Janeiro Do Século XIX.” 42. See Verger, Flux et Reflux de la Traite des Nègres Entre le Golfe de Bénin et Bahia de Todos os Santos. 43. Lesser, Negotiating National Identity. 44. See Maria de Castro, The Construction of Muslim Identities in Contemporary Brazil. 45. Marquez, “Islam in Brazil.” 46. See Serra Truzzi, “Patrícios—Sírios e Libaneses em São Paulo.” 47. Pinto, “Arab Ethnicity and Diasporic Islam.” 48. Igel, “Ni Halal, ni Kosher.” 49. Karam, Another Arabesque; Pinto, “The Religious Dynamics of SyrianLebanese and Palestinian Communities in Brazil.” 50. Mesquita Brasil, “Sobre a SBM. Sociedade Beneficiente Muçulmana de São Paulo,” n.d., http://www.mesquitabrasil.com.br/sobre_sbm.php. 51. Marquez, “Islam in Brazil.” 52. Montenegro, “Panorama sobre la inmigración árabe en Argentina”; Montenegro and Benlabbah, Musulmanes en Brasil. 53. Brazilian Census, 2010, https://www.ibge.gov.br/en/statistics/social/population /22836-2020-census-censo4.html. 54. Pinto Ribeiro, “Negros islâmicos no Brasil escravocrata,” 139–152. 55. Pinto, “Ritual, etnicidade e identidade religiosa nas comunidades Muçulmanas no Brasil,” 228–250. 56. Maria de Castro, The Construction of Muslim Identities in Contemporary Brazil, 1. 57. Pinto, “Ritual, etnicidade e identidade religiosa nas comunidades Muçulmanas no Brasil,” 249. 58. Ibid., 250. 59. Maria de Castro, The Construction of Muslim Identities in Contemporary Brazil, 1. 60. Pinto, “Ritual, etnicidade e identidade religiosa nas comunidades Muçulmanas no Brasil,” 230. 61. Ibid., 229. 62. Ibid., 250. 63. Ibid., 245. 64. Maria de Castro, The Construction of Muslim Identities in Contemporary Brazil, 107. 65. Marquez, “Islam in Brazil.” 66. See Dumovich, “Pious Creativity,” 1–14. 67. The Gülen Movement is a transnational Islamic movement that advocates for social change, access to education, peace in civil society, and the active propagation of the Islamic faith. It is led and inspired by the teachings of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish preacher who has lived in effective exile in the United States since 1999. Long the archnemesis of other Islamists in Turkey (notably President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan), the Gülen Movement has been persecuted in various ways. 68. See Dumovich, “Pious Creativity.” 69. Ali, “Bahamian and Brazilian Muslimahs,” 203. 70. Garcia de Oliveira, “Assalamu Aleikum, São Paulo!” 71. See Ramos, “Conversión Al Islam.” 72. Ali, “Bahamian and Brazilian Muslimahs,” 202–204. 73. “I will be there tomorrow [in Portuguese] God-willing [in Arabic].”

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74. Maria de Castro, The Construction of Muslim Identities in Contemporary Brazil, 5. 75. Ibid. 76. Speetjens, “Brazilian Halal Beef.” 77. Funk, “A Political Economy of Arab–Latin American Relations.” 78. Ibid., 3. 79. Ibid. 80. Funk, “Between National Attachments, Rooted Globalism, and Borderless Utopias,” 137. 81. Or Christianity; his analysis is on Arabs in general rather than Muslims in particular. 82. See Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity. 83. See, for example, Friedman, The World Is Flat. 84. Funk, “Between National Attachments, Rooted Globalism, and Borderless Utopias,” 10. 85. Ibid., 142. 86. Funk, “A Political Economy of Arab–Latin American Relations,” 31. 87. Harfouch, The Lebanese in the World, Documents and Censuses. 88. Abdeluahed, Comunidades Árabes en América Latina, Siglo XXI. 89. Karam, “Muslim Histories in Latin America and the Caribbean,” 260–262. 90. Elmaleh, “The Lebanese-Muslim Diaspora in the Triple Frontier (Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay).” 91. Ibid. 92. Ibid. 93. Ibid. 94. See Hamed, Los árabes y sus descendientes en el Paraguay. 95. Karam, “The Lebanese Diaspora at the Tri-Border and the Redrawing of South American Geopolitics, 1950–1992.” 96. Montenegro, “Panorama sobre la inmigración árabe en Argentina.” 97. Montenegro, “Sense of Community Among Muslims in the Brazil-Paraguay Border.” 98. Also known as Ithna Asharis, this Shi‘i group recognizes twelve imams, and Imamis, due to their conviction that an imam is necessary for the constitution of an authentic Muslim community. They believe that after the time of the eleventh imam the imamate has gone into occultation (hiding) and that the “Twelfth Imam” has yet to appear. They are the largest group of Shi‘i Muslims in the world. 99. See Leichtman, Shii Cosmopolitanisms in Africa. 100. Appadurai, Modernity at Large. 101. J. Z. Smith, Map Is Not Territory; Tweed, Our Lady of the Exile; Tweed, Crossing and Dwelling. 102. Green, Terrains of Exchange. 103. One should also note the role of the economy in bringing Muslims from Iberia to the Americas or, even, sadly the trade in Muslim bodies during the transatlantic slave trade. 104. See Miran, Red Sea Citizens; Freitag, A History of Jeddah; Prange, Monsoon Islam. 105. I have in mind here the otherwise helpful Ruthven and Nanji’s Historical Atlas of Islam. In their maps of trade routes on 52–55, Latin America and the Caribbean are completely excluded. This simply does not match up with the reality of the contemporary network of global Muslim trade. As stated in the introduction, we need new maps, both conceptually and literally. 106. See Freitag, A History of Jeddah, 19. 107. See Berger, The Many Altars of Modernity.

7 Islamophobia and the War on Terror

ON OCTOBER 31, 2017, THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI) surmised that Uzbek national Sayfullo Habibullaevich Saipov drove a rented truck into cyclists and runners along the Hudson River Park’s bike path in Lower Manhattan, New York.1 Saipov was shot and arrested on site and a flag and document were found in the truck, indicating his alleged allegiance to al-Dawla al-Islamiyya, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also referred to as IS, ISIS, etc.). ISIL later took responsibility for the attack in its newsletter, al-Naba, and claimed Saipov as one of their own—a “soldier of the Caliphate,” who responded to its call to attack “citizens of the Crusader countries.”2 Eight people were killed. Eleven more were severely injured. Those killed included five Argentines: Diego Enrique Angelini, Nicholas Cleves, Hernan Ferruchi, Hernan Diego Mendoza, and Alejandro Damian Pagrucco. They were part of a group of ten former classmates at San Martín Polytechnic in Rosario, Argentina, and were celebrating their thirtieth graduation anniversary in the city.3 The attack was framed by news outlets as a salvo in the global war on terror and cast against the backdrop of previous “terror attacks” in the Americas. Responding to the attack and the loss of Argentine lives, President Mauricio Macri said the attack hit all Argentines hard and that “there is no room for gray areas in the world today. We all have to be committed, head to toe, in the fight against terrorism.”4 Macri won the Argentine presidency in 2015, having run on a platform that included a firm stance against “radical terror.” This stance not only was part of the broader US-led global war on terror, but drew on specific specters from Argentina’s own past—

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specifically the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA), in which eighty-five people were killed. Some news outlets highlighted how the truck attack was the “deadliest attack in NYC since 9/11”5 and stressed that Argentina, “Home to Deadliest Jihad in Hemisphere Before 9/11, [was] Struck Again in NYC.”6 Along with flowers and candles at the makeshift memorial set up at Chambers and West Streets, there also hung an Argentine flag and football jersey. In addition, the words, “STOP Terrorism” were scrawled on one of the temporary barriers put in place as a means to improve the bike path’s safety. Keeping these attacks and reactions in mind, in this chapter I explore the many linkages between the Americas and the concept of the global war on terror. Focusing on cases in Latin America and the Caribbean, but also drawing on broader currents in the Americas as a whole, the chapter examines how Muslims occupy a tenuous space in the Latin American and Caribbean public spheres amidst the global war on terror and its attendant fears, politics, and state actions. It includes an overview of how global and local narratives inform how Muslims are viewed in three Latin American and Caribbean regions and how they are simultaneously caught up in a larger, worldwide, narrative through the lens of the US-led war on terror. It is impossible to understand Latin American and Caribbean Muslims’ positions on the margins of the late modern world without appreciating how issues such as terrorism, Orientalism, and Islamophobia have framed—and continue to frame—their identifications and experience in the hemisphere. Similar to how Ilyse Morgenstein-Fuerst argues that through the Indian Revolt of 1875, Muslims in South Asia—and beyond—came to be framed in terms of threat and “jihad” came to signify “authentic Islam,”7 I argue that a combination of political and popular rhetoric and discourses surrounding several events across the hemisphere have come to frame Muslims in the Americas according to “terror.” I suggest that to better understand contemporary Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean, misperceptions that surround them must be explored to examine how that often distorts the picture of the sociality as a whole. Likewise, it also helps scholars better comprehend the dynamics at play in the framing of Islam and Muslims as a perennial threat across the globe. As John Tofik Karam argues, “A Latin America and Caribbean framing of Islamic world history is more important than ever, as counter-terrorist logics are attempting to construe Islam as a foreign threat to the hemisphere and ultimately to erase its influence” in the Americas.8

The Global War on Terror and the Americas While the United States has been involved in “fighting terrorism”9 over the past thirty to forty years in places as diverse as Kenya, Iran, Afghanistan,

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and Colombia, it was not until after 9/11 that the war on terror—or “Global War on Terror”10—took on its present, amorphous shape. Since its inception, and by definition, the global war on terror is international in scope and untraditional in the ways that it constitutes war. This means that it has expanded the US government’s neoimperial reach and justified myriad actions that would have been considered out of bounds in previous engagements (e.g., the killing of US citizen Anwar Al-Alawki in Yemen via drone strike) and in places where the United States is not formally “at war.” Although the geography of this war is focused on the Middle East, North Africa, and South and Central Asia, it has also included countries in Africa, Southeast Asia, Europe, and Latin America.11 The rationale for this global war on terror can be summed up in the words of former US president George W. Bush, “Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”12 The rationale for this global conflict is that since terrorism is a worldwide problem—both in origin and outcome—so too must be the response. Michael Chandler and Rohan Gunaratna write, “The roots of extremism that translate into the threat posed today by transnational terrorism run much deeper and have to be confronted globally, at every level of the problem.”13 Imagining the threat as mobile and transnational—what has been called “network terrorism”—the US government has justified its farreaching actions by citing how terrorists are no longer limited to nationstates such as Afghanistan or Iraq, but that they threaten and violate the sovereignty of each and every nation.14 For evidence of this networked and intercontinental terrorist threat, it cites attacks in such disparate places as France, California, and Nigeria. It also looks to examples from Latin America and the Caribbean. The grounds for this war also draw on the “clash of civilizations” thesis of Samuel P. Huntington, among others.15 Huntington proposed his thesis in response to his pupil Francis Fukuyama’s 1992 book, The End of History and the Last Man16 and made the case that peoples’ religious and cultural identities are the primary source of conflict in the world following the end of the Cold War. Huntington argues that wars would not be fought between countries per se, but between cultures. Among these, Islamic cultures and their extreme expressions would pose the most serious threat to world peace. This theory has led to a range of policies, actions, and political perspectives that openly target Muslims and those associated with them. In this drama, “Muslims have been cast as subaltern citizens in the West” ideologically and systematically through “xenophobic state policies, new citizenship regimes, and racial and religious profiling” in the post-9/11 world and in the “global context of the U.S.-led ‘War on Terror.’”17 As can be gleaned from the concrete details and commentary before:

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There is also a religious inflection to this discourse in the popular sphere. A subcutaneous current runs under the rhetoric of the global war on terror that also reimagines this fight as a new crusade between Christians and Muslims.19 The difference is that instead of locating the crusade and its geographies in the Mediterranean and Levant alone, this war spans the entire globe. This war has been framed by religious leaders as one that the United States cannot lose, lest it lead to “the very demise of America as a republic of free people.”20 The global war on terror has also been referenced as a means of defense against the “global war on Christians.”21 Drawing on the aforementioned “clash of civilizations” thesis,22 some Christians in the United States invoke the “global war on Christians” to account for the violence against Christians in the realms of society, institutions, work, law, evangelism, worship, or culture.23 To defend Christians is not only to protect civil societies and nation-states—and be carried out by their armies and soldiers—but also as a means to safeguard religious freedom. According to this frame, Western culture is undergirded by Christianity. The particular contours of this “Christianity” matter less than does its strength as a unifying cultural touchpoint for the imagined “West.”24 As such, its leaders and pundits call on “religious citizens”25 to take part and take up arms—in spirit and in reality. The greatest enemy in this religiopolitically framed war is a particularly skewed vision of Islam and, by association, Muslims.26 A retinue of analysts and security “experts” are also increasingly insisting that the global war on terror has fronts in Latin America and the Caribbean as well. There have been attacks in the region, including the aforementioned incident in Argentina in the 1990s and the killing of a diplomatic secretary in Asunción, Paraguay, in 1970. There have also been attempted attacks and foiled plots that originated in the region or had significant connections to it. Examples include the so-called JFK Plot by two Guyanese and a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago in 2007, and in March 2018, when Raúl Gutiérrez—a Cuban national—was arrested in Colombia on suspicion of planning “to kill American diplomats on behalf of Islamic State (ISIS) extremists in the nation’s capital of Bogotá.”27 In part because of these plots and attacks, US politicians, popular media, and military leaders have increasingly come to see Latin America as part of the landscape of the global war on terror. Despite the evidence being scattershot at best, analysts make bold assertions about al-Qaeda, ISIL, and Iran-backed terror

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groups and their threat to “US security” and “hegemony in its own backyard.”28 Another wrote that “the potential threat presented to the security of the U.S. and the Western Hemisphere from radical Islamic actors” in Latin America and the Caribbean “is serious and requires sustained attention from leaders in the region.”29 It seems that at least some leaders are listening to such clarion calls. For example, in the run-up to the 2012 US presidential election, there was a Republican primary debate that focused on national security and foreign policy. Referring to the aforementioned Triple Frontier region, candidate Mitt Romney surmised that the supposed actions of Hezbollah—a Lebanon-based Shi‘i Islamist political party and perceived terrorist group—in that region “pose a very significant and imminent threat to the United States.”30 Without any cited evidence, the other Republican candidates echoed Romney in quick succession. Rick Perry from Texas called for a renewed “21st-century Monroe Doctrine” to oppose radical Islamist incursions in the Americas and former senator Rick Santorum added, “I’ve spent a lot of time . . . [thinking] about what’s going on in Central and South America. I’m very concerned about the militant socialists and the radical Islamists joining together, bonding together.”31 Four years later, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and cabinet staff again rang the alarm about “sleeper cells” and imminent Hezbollah threats in Latin America. General John Kelly—originally Trump’s director of homeland security and later, his White House chief of staff—warned of a web of terror in South America coming from both Shi‘i and Sunni sources.32 However, as an article in The Nation wryly points out, if these cells do exist then they must be “the sleepiest of sleeper cells.”33 Nonetheless, it seems that US politicians and presidential hopefuls see Latin America as a front in the war on terror and have hinted at being willing to bring military force to bear on the situation and stem the tide of terror as it laps against the shores of their hemisphere. The invocation of the Monroe Doctrine by Perry is especially relevant when it comes to Latin America and the Caribbean. Beginning in 1823, the US government wanted to prevent the incursion of European powers in the American hemisphere—what they saw as the young nation’s own backyard. During his annual congressional address, President James Monroe warned European nations that the United States would not tolerate further incursions in the American hemisphere. This statement became immortalized as the Monroe Doctrine. Since then, and even before, events in Latin America and the Caribbean have been concerns of US national and foreign policy. There have been different specters hovering off the shores of the Americas in the minds of US politicians—European powers, Marxist influences, Nazis, the socialist-communist threat, or other perceived menaces to US economic and political interests in the region. At times, this has resulted in

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direct, and sometimes prolonged, military intervention and presence. While not an exhaustive list, the United States has involved itself in Puerto Rico (1898), Panama (1903–1914, 1989), the Dominican Republic (1903, 1905, 1916–1924, 1965–1967), Mexico (1905, 1917), Cuba (1906–1909, 1912, 1961), Honduras (1907), Nicaragua (1909, 1912–1925, 1926–1933, 1984), Haiti (1915–1934), Grenada (1983), and Guatemala (1966, 1982–1983). The justification for these interventions was based on the premise that if foreign powers (e.g., Europeans, Nazis, communists) gained a foothold in the Americas, it would endanger the peace, economic success, and political power of the United States in the region. US politicians assumed their “partners” in Latin America and the Caribbean would not act as willful agents and choose such systems or ideologies, and thus the United States could assume that the introduction of ideas and systems contrary to their design in the region were tantamount to a foreign invasion and, thus, illegitimate.34 This is, at least in part, how the United States viewed its intervention as an obligation or duty to its regional “partners.” From the perspective of US policy, these were unwanted foreign powers threatening the welfare of their Latin American and Caribbean neighbors and by extension the United States itself. The Monroe Doctrine helped firmly articulate this perspective and it remains a fundamental premise that can justify US military intervention up to the present.35 While the United States has not yet proposed any direct military intervention in the region as a result of the global war on terror, the rhetoric of presidential candidates and some elected officials reflects the political potency of combining fears of terrorism with fears of the global south in the United States. It also testifies to a readiness to justify US intervention in Latin American and Caribbean affairs to protect the region from the threat of the supposed foreign terrorist and use the war on terror as further grounds for US incursion in a region it long has sought to dominate and control. Nonetheless, there is little to no verifiable evidence of large numbers of terror cells or violent extremist organizations in the region. As R. Guy Emerson reflects, it is also possible that the war on terror foreign policy paradigm of the George W. Bush administration exacerbated a geostrategic disconnect between states in Latin America and the US government. 36 While there are states who are geostrategically allied with the war on terror discourse and outlook, Emerson does well to point out how the Bush administration’s inter-American relations were in many ways conformed to a broader war on terror model. There is also further evidence to show how the global war on terror has shaped US postures toward its neighbors to the South. In a research report for the Air Force Fellows, Curtis C. Connell admits that while there is not “a profound and deep history of Islamic terrorism in Latin America and the Caribbean,” he insists that US policymakers should remain vigilant concerning “Islamic fundamental-

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ists’ activities in the region” because of “a more recent history of Islamic fundamentalists’ support activities.”37 In particular, he references the TriBorder Area (TBA) between Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil, explored in more detail below. Certain sectors of the media have also traded in speculation about, and influenced popular and political views concerning, terror in Latin America and the Caribbean—most poignantly in the lead-up to and in the wake of the election of Trump. In an op-ed for the Miami Herald, Robert Singer warned of letting terrorist groups fester in the region. He wrote of Hezbollah in particular, that it “poses a serious danger to the entire civilized world” and must be stopped “from building its strategic base in Central and South America.”38 Furthermore, “the international community . . . must do everything possible to make sure that the Western Hemisphere does not become the next terrorist battleground.” Others chimed in and suggested that the Trump administration should target “Hezbollah’s Latin American operations,” specifically the “convergence of Iran-sponsored radical Islam with transnational organized crime in Latin America is a serious threat to the national security of the United States, especially in the tri-border area, or TBA.”39 Furthermore, citing the Grantham report for the National Center for Policy Analysis—a conservative American think tank—Fox News led with a story about how “the growth of Islamic extremist activity in Latin America is a major security threat to our country. And Iran’s influence in Latin America demands a new national security strategy in the region.”40 The Grantham report, for its part, warned that “Islamists are organized, well-funded and operating sophisticated operations against the United States only a few hundred miles south of our border.”41 Amidst this media fury over the threat of terror “south of our border,” even those who believe that the threat is relatively low state that an attack based out of Latin America or the Caribbean is not only “possible; it may even be likely.” Writing for the Christian Science Monitor, Christopher Sabatini said that the government should “consolidate cooperation in the region” to “improve US security from radical Islam, from any source and from any region.”42 Undergirding and surrounding these published articles are spates of blogs that warn about ISIL training camps in Mexico, sleeper cells in Bolivia, Hezbollah activities across the hemisphere, and the rising specter of Muslim Brotherhood’s support of Latinx Muslim organizations in the United States.43 These various media speculations not only help fan the flame of fear in the general public, but also make suggestions in regard to the policies and positions for US officials and government leaders to consider implementing. Two political cartoons also help illustrate the potency and widespread popularity of these fears. The first, by Nate Beeler, from October 2008, features an unfurled Mexican flag. Pulling back on the red portion on the bottom right-hand side of the flag is a turbaned and long-bearded individual

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who is made to look like a Taliban “terrorist” replete with menacing scowl, a lit bomb in his hand, and a Kalashnikov rifle slung across his back.44 He is labeled “JIHAD.” Beyond drawing on Orientalist and Islamophobic stereotypes and motifs (modeled largely off the popular image of the Taliban in Afghanistan at the time), this cartoon is meant to illustrate how jihadism is skulking in the background of Latin American nations. Another political cartoon, from January 2017, shows two similarly stereotyped representations of the “Muslim terrorist” with bomb in hand and turban on head.45 This time, they are in the desert (signified by sandstone rocks and saguaro cacti, the latter only found in the Sonoran Desert in the United States and Mexico) and being led by a “coyote”—a popular term for a people smuggler—across the US-Mexico border. The terrorists comment to one another, “Don’t worry, they are still debating the immigration bill.” In this cartoon, two policy concerns often emphasized by hypernationalist forces in the United States converge—immigration and terrorism. The convergence of these two fears—that of the Brown terrorist and the Brown immigrant coming from the south to invade the United States— has come to have an impact on US political rhetoric and policy. They are, as Karam writes, evidence of “two imperialist currents of U.S. foreign policy”: the image of the Arab/Muslim as terrorist and the representation of Latin America as a “lawless land.”46 Not only do we see the evidence of this in the 2012 presidential election, but also in 2016 and the election of Trump. He drew a hard line on both topics, banking on his constituency’s dual fear of dark-skinned terrorists coming to take their lives and dark-skinned Mexicans coming to take their jobs. To that end, he made multiple unproved claims that border ranchers discovered “prayer rugs” in a migrant caravan traveling from Central America. 47 Far from fringe conspiracy theory, the two-pronged fear has given rise to a groundswell of voters who feel that the United States is under threat through a combination of potent perils. The primary cause for the concern at the border is the fear that many in the United States have about Mexicans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and other immigrants. While terrorism is not the chief concern, it is added to the mix as more evidence in the case against “open borders.” This is part of a broader spectrum of anti-immigrant rhetoric and illustrates a confluence of fears in US politics and discussions around immigration. As such, it helped undergird the argumentation for Trump’s campaign promise to “build the wall” between the United States and Mexico. In this discourse, the fear of terrorists coming across the border amplified an already potent racialized conception of the USMexico border and helps undergird draconian anti-immigration measures along with a militarization of the borderlands. Part of this is the fear that “narco-traffickers” and “jihadists” will start to work together to threaten US security at the borders.48 The popularity, and

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visceral nature, of this opinion can be seen in the recent novel Way of the Shadow Wolves: The Deep State and the Hijacking of America by Steven Seagal (the action movie star) and conservative politician Tom Morrissey (former US marshal and chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, now mayor of Payson, Arizona).49 The book centers around a fictional Arizona tribal police officer who is part of an elite group of “Native Americans” known as the “Shadow Wolves.” His investigations along the US-Mexico border reveal a “Deep State” cover-up that involves Mexican cartels trafficking Islamic jihadists across the border to undermine the United States.50 At one point, the main character reflects on the situation he has stumbled on, saying “that the country was asleep when it came to the ‘OTMs’ or ‘Other Than Mexicans’ coming across a virtually open southern border into the country and possibly assembling for what America had never known before—a jihadi caliphate.”51 Playing off a series of racist stereotypes about “bad hombres”52 and bearded “Arab guys” and Pakistanis who “look like Mexicans” and party “on the graves of those they kill,”53 the story also references multiple real-world Islamophobic conspiracy theories and sentiments that circulate on the internet: ISIL-trained soldiers being smuggled across the border,54 copies of the Quran and prayer rugs found in the deserts of northern Mexico and the southwest United States,55 that the then “POTUS” (a thinly veiled reference to President Barack Obama) was “raised Muslim,” that parts of Michigan were already under “Sharia law,”56 that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the White House,57 and that the best way to fight these jihadists was with bullets dipped in pig’s blood.58 While Way of the Shadow Wolves may be a work of fiction—as troubling as that, in and of itself, may be—the producers and consumers of works such as these can believe all of this is really happening. Former sheriff and conservative pundit Joe Arpaio wrote of the book, “It is my hope that you have not only enjoyed the story line of The Way of the Shadow Wolves, but you will also think about the message portrayed here. It is less than a hair’s breadth from the frightening truth of what is actually happening today.”59 In conversations with supporters of Morrissey as mayor of Payson, part of his appeal was in his ability to “confront the truth.” As one voter said to me, “He is not afraid to expose the corruption and lies that are being covered up in government. He’s telling it like it is—what’s happening here in Arizona, what’s happening in D.C.”60 Despite a lack of evidence, the idea that terrorists are waiting to come across the US-Mexico border, or are already doing so, is a prevalent and popular conspiracy theory among a certain sector of the US population. These fears are magnified by false reports in the media. For example, CNN falsely reported that there was a photo of the world-famous and popular Iguazú Falls found at an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan.61 The media also regularly draws connections between Latin America and jihadist

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terror by invoking as many examples as they can and blaming the ability of terror to spread to the Americas via pathways in the south on things such as Venezuela’s socialist government, the region’s “horrendous prison system,” and its “porous borders, transnational criminal organizations, sophisticated smuggling networks and the dubious ability of Latin American governments to detect and intercept terrorists.”62 Unfortunately, there is scant evidence that so-called radical Islamists are lurking in the shadows of Latin America and the Caribbean or scurrying back and forth across the borders between the United States and the Global South.63 If there are any, they have yet to make a significant impression or commit any attacks. This has not stopped politicians, sectors of the media, and members of the military from discussing the potential, proposing policy, and advocating action to be taken against what they perceive as an imminent “threat.” This new geography and iconography of terror that constructs Muslims as the Other amidst the global war on terror has extended its grip into Latin America and the Caribbean. For example, Yarimar Bonilla writes of how a “labor activist with no affiliation to the religious or political movements of Osama Bin Laden came to be configured” with global terrorism in Guadeloupe.64 In political cartoons and popular press coverage, the labor activist Michel Madassamy’s arrest was framed as akin to the takedown of the world’s most notorious terrorist. Madassamy is of South Asian heritage and he is far from alone in being singled out as a terrorist, or at least compared to one, because of biases, stereotypes, and the received ideas of Orientalism, Islamophobia, and the images and symbols of the global war on terror in Latin America and the Caribbean. In fact, some of the first extensive academic research in English on Islam and Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean was carried out as part of the strategic training of US military officials. These reports tried to highlight the “complex interdependence” of state and nonstate actors between the Middle East and Latin America and “determine whether U.S. national security interests should be more concerned about radical Islamic influence and support in Latin America and the Caribbean.”65 Tracing the trajectories of various groups—from Hezbollah to al-Qaeda to ISIL—the reports have come to differing conclusions. While one suggested that “the potential threat presented to the security of the U.S. and the Western Hemisphere from radical Islamic actors is serious and requires sustained attention from leaders in the region,”66 another felt that “a mild level of concern” was justified, “but perhaps not to the heightened threat that some have suggested.”67 Or, in other words, “keep your eyes on it, but don’t overrate it.”68 Despite this caution, it has been the former opinion—that of an imminent and dangerous threat—that has dominated the media and political discussion surrounding the supposed specter of terror in the Latin American and Caribbean regions.

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This has led to the “xenophobic state policies, new citizenship regimes, and racial and religious profiling” Jasmin Zine mentions. From the Bahamas to Puerto Rico, Brazil to Mexico, Muslims across the Americas have felt the pressure of policies and public opinion bearing down on them. Jerusa Ali writes of Muslims in Brazil that “daily acts of religious expression, such as prayer, covering, and reciting in Arabic, have been reinscribed as suspicious and association with the acts of terrorists, a perspective reified by the media.”69 Furthermore, in the wake of 9/11, the Mexican government increased security pressure and surveillance on the mosques and Muslim organizations in Mexico City and throughout the country.70 The effect has been that Arabs and Muslims—no matter their long-term presence in the various countries under consideration—have been conflated with terror. This point is underlined when situated within the United States’ historical role in the region. Similar to the ways that the United States heavily influenced the region with its geopolitics concerning European incursion or communism in preceding centuries, so too the US-led war on terror and its power-knowledge nexus has swayed how Latin American and Caribbean states approach the idea of terrorism or frame Islam and Muslims in their own countries and contexts. Although Latin America and the Caribbean have their own Orientalist past that colors their treatment of the topic of Islam and Muslims, contemporary US influence has stoked and fanned its flames. Edward Said introduced the idea of Orientalism through his publication of the same name in 1978, in which he probed the idea of the East and West as imagined antitheses to one another, through which the European West sought to dominate the Orient through a particular production of knowledge that posited that European identity was a progressive superior to the exotic and static “Orient.”71 Although the concept of Orientalism was first applied to Europe’s relations with the East, other regions such as Latin America have come under consideration and birthed new interpretations of what Orientalism is and how it operates. While there is disagreement about the degree to which Latin American and Caribbean power and knowledge regimes are “Orientalist,”72 the region shares a long history of “other-ing” the Moor during Spanish colonization and the “Turco” immigrant from the nineteenth century onward in law, literature, and society.73 Because of this, Muslim and Middle Eastern voices have often been marginalized and existed as subaltern groups in Latin American and Caribbean society. With that said, they have been able to find some voice in regimes that often free up political space for diverse subjects in an effort to differentiate themselves from European colonizers, but also from their Indigenous pasts. Thus, in some way the Muslim and the Middle Eastern immigrants act as a kind of “middleman” minority in Latin American and Caribbean contexts.74 All the same, because of the United States’ ability to sway Latin American and Caribbean politics and society through its foreign policy emphases

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and global paradigms, Latin American Orientalism has been stoked along the way by its visions and vocabularies about Islam and Muslims. During the global war on terror, for example, the latent Orientalist fears of the Turco in Latin America or of the Muslim threat in the Caribbean have been configured so as to cast Islam and all Muslims as alien, exotic, and menacing. This dynamic is underlined in the three examples that follow.

The Question of Salafism, Jamaat al-Muslimeen, and Muslims in Trinidad Despite ISIL’s origination in the Levant and strongholds in places such as Syria, Iraq, and Libya, it has transnational reach in its appeal, impact, and recruitment. One thing the global war on terror has rightly identified is that jihadist Salafi groups such as ISIL are able to operate across national boundaries and extend their influence across the globe. Beyond its attacks in Paris, London, New York, and other global city centers, ISIL was also effective in recruiting foreign fighters from across the globe via agitprop and social media outreach. The top five countries it was able to recruit from—in terms of sheer numbers, not per capita—include Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Turkey, and Jordan.75 When it comes to recruitment per capita among the Muslim population of respective countries, the top percentage of recruits comes from Finland, Ireland, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, and Trinidad and Tobago.76 This has led to speculation, and widespread concern, about the supposed rise of Salafism and radical jihadism among Trinidadian Muslims. With titles such as “ISIS in the Caribbean” and “Caribbean to Caliphate,” several online news portals and print newspapers and magazines picked up on these numbers and began to report on the apparition of terror in Trinidad. 77 There have been 89–125 Trinidadians total who reported for duty with ISIL.78 An article in The Atlantic pointed a finger at “the spread of Salafi Islam in the country” as one of the prime push factors for the departing fighters.79 This fear of the rise of jihadi-Salafism has led to Trinidadian Muslims being placed on terror “watch lists” and Caribbean Salafi scholars being detained across the globe.80 Salafism in Trinidad, let alone elsewhere, cannot be viewed as a “monolithic set of radical Islamic doctrines . . . implacably dedicated to violence,” 81 but instead must be understood according to further categories of delineation or a spectrum of opinion and implementation in multifarious contexts.82 The vast majority would be categorized as “purist” or “quietest.” 83 Their strength is not drawn from direct engagement with society, but a strategic withdrawal. As Mohamed-Ali Adraoui writes, “The appeal of Salafi puritanism lies in its ability to provide a way of not only opting out of society but creating an alternative, superior community

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based on the unity of God.” 84 This notion of withdrawal—or what Terje Østebø calls a “politics of withdrawal” 85 —is particularly salient when considering Salafis in Trinidad. Amidst the structural changes that occurred in Trinidad across the past several decades and in the wake of postcolonialism and immigration, new discourses focused on reform at the local, national, and global levels have created fresh ideological orientations among Muslims in the nation. These reform movements focus on an individualization and politicization of religious purity and a reconfiguring of authority. And so, some point the finger at poverty among Afro-Trinidadian Muslims as a reason for the rise in Salafism and for prompting the joining of groups such as ISIL. Al Jazeera quoted Imam Yasin Abu Bakr, the leader of Jamaat al-Muslimeen, as saying that Afro-Trinidadian Muslims are motivated to join ISIL because of its marginalization from society. He said, “They just sit in the ghetto and do nothing. And then drugs come in and it’s a haven for the drugs. And now the guns are in and so the murder rate is just spiraling out of control.”86 Jamaat al-Muslimeen87 started as a local group advocating for justice and reformation of Islamic religious life in the country. It drew its support from the ranks of urban Afro-Trinidadian poor in Port of Spain rather than among Syrian or South Asian Muslims in the country. Abu Bakr is a former police officer who resigned in 1968 and who converted to Islam in Canada. He returned to Trinidad with the aim of setting up Islamic dawah with urban youth. Drawing inspiration from the Nation of Islam and, by proxy, the Black Power Movement in the United States and the wider Caribbean, Abu Bakr wanted to create a community set apart, which would empower its members and correct the wrongs of the wider society. And so, set apart a community he did. They set up a compound on the outskirts of Port of Spain that included communal farming, shared resources, polygamous marriages, and an overwhelmingly Afro-Trinidadian membership despite the presence of some Indo-Trinidadian youth and young adults.88 On the one hand, their withdrawal is an empowering move to join with other like-minded brethren. On the other hand, it signals a struggle to fit in with a society that seems to not accept you for who you are. In the case of Jamaat al-Muslimeen, it also speaks to the underlying racial tensions that Afro-Trinidadian Muslims face when compared to their Indo-Trinidadian counterparts. Although withdrawal gives them some power, the members of Jamaat al-Muslimeen—as well as Salafi groups in Trinidad and those who are attracted to them—would rather have recognition and respect in broader Trinidadian society. Lacking this, they withdraw or in some instances join the ranks of jihadist foreign fighters abroad. The son of the founder, Fuad, warned that while politicians may want to minimize or ignore this issue, the problem persists and grows larger. While implicated in international currents of Salafism, jihadi violence, and the global war on terror, the previously

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cited articles also point to the very local issues that may motivate Trinidadian Muslims to travel and join ISIL’s fight in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere. The link between Islam and terrorism is a major political, media, and military concern, especially since 9/11. This discourse has, according to Mahmood Mamdani, “turned religious experience into a political category, differentiating ‘good Muslims’ from ‘bad Muslims’ rather than terrorists from civilians.”89 Mamdani compellingly argues that this leads to an attempted exorcism of Islamic threats and “bad Muslims” such as Salafis from places such as Europe and North America. This approach to the supposed “Salafi threat” avoids historical contextualization and local issues and, instead, judges the situation on preconceived, boilerplate, benchmarks, and biases. It follows, then, that analysts, researchers, and government officials are precluded from being able to see the practice of Islam as inherently intertwined with local issues surrounding gender, class, and other areas of social justice and societal concern. Thus, before jumping to any conclusions, it is best to pay attention to what is going on in Trinidad and understand the perceived increase in Salafism and ability for ISIL to recruit in the country within that country’s particular historical and social context. In particular, Muslims in Trinidad live under the shadow of the 1990 Jamaat al-Muslimeen coup attempt. Almost three decades later, “its memory has tarnished the image of the islands’ Muslim community”90 and suspicion for various threats and trends is laid at the organization’s—or the wider Muslim community’s—feet. For example, in 2011 the Trinidadian government declared a state of emergency following a spike in violent crime in Port of Spain—the nation’s capital—and a possible assassination plot against then–prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. Several members of the Afro-Trinidadian community were detained, including Abu Sa’d at-Trinidadi, who would later rise to prominence via an interview in Dabiq,91 ISIL’s now defunct online magazine.92 There was never any proof of their involvement and they never claimed to be planning the plot, but the suspicions linger. Even some scholars have jumped on the bandwagon of blame and falsely noted the recruitment of ISIL fighters in Trinidad to “links with organized crime” (supposedly via Jamaat al-Muslimeen) and not to structural issues such as “tangible discrimination or lack of opportunity.”93 While such structural issues impact large groups of people across the globe—the majority of which do not claim allegiance to any terror groups—it is important to pay attention to such issues when considering any minority resistance movement, Islamic or otherwise. Not doing so in this instance means the lack of a serious engagement with the story of Jamaat al-Muslimeen and their own experiences, efforts, and exploits over the years in the Trinidadian context. Much of the discourse surrounding Jamaat al-Muslimeen circles back to their attempted coup in 1990. On July 1990, a group of men from the

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group stormed the parliament in Port of Spain and a prominent television station and announced a new state based on a program of Islamic reform. Included among their hostages was then–prime minister of Trinidad A.N.R. Robinson and fifteen of his colleagues. From the station, Abu Bakr went on television and announced a popular people’s revolution against the austerity measures and perceived injustices of the Robinson government.94 He cautioned the populace to not loot or destroy property. However, his warnings were ignored. Despite their strong hand and sixday holdout, Robinson and his government did not give in to the group’s demands and they started to lose control of the coup.95 Jamaat al-Muslimeen then made an agreement with the government and surrendered. Twentyfour Trinidadians had died. The coup was framed as part of a fundamentalist Islamic “holy war” in the media, which was exacerbated by the disillusionment and rage of AK-47-toting young Black men who saw in Islam—and in their leader Abu Bakr—a play at power and prominence in Trinidadian society.96 In reality, the coup was predicated by a number of factors. Chris Searle argues that “Trinidad and Tobago presents a stark example of a recently decolonized nation that moved from relative underdevelopment to a form of superficial prosperity—due to the extraction and export of one particular raw material (petroleum) . . . only to be plunged back into poverty and dependence when the price of that raw material fell on the world market.”97 There were also tensions over religious freedom to blame. Just days before the attempted coup, Jamaat al-Muslimeen had lost a legal battle over their land in Port of Spain. While Eric Williams, the first prime minister of Trinidad, had bequeathed the land to Abu Bakr, the Robinson government had surveilled Jamaat al-Muslimeen and accused them of squatting on the land and being involved in organized crime. The Muslimeen, in turn, accused the government of harassment and false accusations. 98 The attempted coup must be seen against this backdrop more than any “global holy war.” For the members of the Muslimeen, the coup “represented a spark of resistance and hope of a way forward during a period when the community seemed rudderless and devoid of progressive leadership.”99 The investigation into the coup never officially ended and Abu Bakr “continues to be a controversial figure and he and his group continue to be regarded as a threat to law and order in Trinidad and Tobago.” 100 His group, however, continues to live together in their compound, largely isolated from broader Trinidadian society. 101 While the compound is tolerated by the government, it is still held in contempt and suspicion because of its isolation and because of the 1990 coup. Furthermore, members of Jamaat al-Muslimeen have always expressed a desire for their movement to be integrated more fully into its cultural environment in Trinidad.

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Despite a general lack of evidence pointing to Jamaat al-Muslimeen members joining ISIL (it is reported that recruitment is coming from Rio Claro in the southeast, Chaguanas in central Trinidad,102 and Diego Martin, a small town north of Port of Spain),103 the coup in 1990 is linked together with 9/11, ISIL, and the global war on terror. While there may be some shared motivation and even a shared ideology in Salafism, the various events and exploits labeled as such are diverse, ambivalent in their connections, and fragmented. Roel Meijer points out how Salafism, for all its emphasis on unity, clarity, quiet activism, and universalism, is still undermined by regional fractures and hot-points of conflict dictated by local concerns and cues.104 Even if Jamaat al-Muslimeen could be considered a jihadi-Salafi movement, which I do not think is the best category to apply, it is important to “attempt to locate jihadism in local, national, and regional contexts” so as to have an “‘inside-out’ perspective which can act as a corrective to those discussions of global jihadism which have been limited to identifying”105 how global actors (e.g., al-Qaeda and ISIL) are exerting influence across the world. While they have a role to play, it is the politics of marginalization, withdrawal, and recognition in Trinidadian society that seemed to exert the greatest influence on this group of Afro-Trinidadian Muslims. In the end, whether it be the perception of the media or national governments or the inducements of individual actors and the transnational spread of ideas, people, and materials for the sake of jihad, the global war on terror cannot be seen as some unified, and universalized, global movement. While the aim of the US-led effort may be a unified global front against terror wherever it is found, the various states and organizations that participate in it may or may not comply with the United States’ rubric. Furthermore, as a term unmoored from its American inflections, it can now be used as a phrase to address various local phenomena. This is seen when state leaders invoke the global war on terror to address local groups, issues, and problems. Setting a local issue within the global war on terror is meant to justify greater uses of force, encourage the support of other nation-states, and stoke feelings of a need for unity against a common enemy. This runs parallel to the ways in which local states invoked the global struggle against communism during the Cold War to coax broader support for their local competitions for power. To analyze the global war on terror properly, we must not only recognize its global aspects but see how the global and the local are engaged in a dynamic dance of push and pull factors and multifarious motivations at various registers. This example shows how a Caribbean context (Trinidad) is implicated in, and influenced by, ISIL’s global war. It also illustrated how the assumptions of the global war on terror have framed, and continue to influence the interpretation of, what was largely a local incident—the 1990 coup. There are parallels to be found among Argentine Muslims in the public sphere as well.

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The Tenuous Place of Muslims in Argentina’s Public Sphere When President Mauricio Macri made his comments about committing to fight terrorism “head to toe” he not only had in mind the most recent attacks in New York, but also two earlier attacks that came to frame the place of Islam and Muslims in the Argentine public sphere. That place is a tenuous one, to be sure. Although Argentina’s Muslim community is relatively strong, and has a history stretching back to the sixteenth century, Muslims still suffer from anti-Arab sentiment and a storm of suspicion swirling around them in relation to attacks on Argentine soil and the broader discourse of the global war on terror. Although the Muslim community’s footprint would grow significantly in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, its origins stem from early postColumbian history. The first enslaved persons arrived in Buenos Aires from Brazil in 1587. In the period between 1580 to 1640, the slave trade in Buenos Aires was very active. The enslaved Africans arrived principally from Brazil via the Portuguese slave trade from Angola and other Western states in Africa. These slaves could then be sent on to other cities in Latin America, including Mendoza, Tucuman, Salta Jujuy, or even as far as Lima, Peru. It seems that at least some of these slaves were Muslim.106 However, no firm records give any details concerning their presence or proclivity for any particular religious expression—Muslim, Christian, African religious tradition, or otherwise. It is also probably that there was a contingent of “new Christians” or “Moros” who made the passage from the Iberian Peninsula to the Americas despite laws put in place to stem such movement. Either way, the present-day Muslim population of Argentina cannot be directly traced back to these nascent Muslim communities. While AfroArgentines played a major role in Argentine history (at one point, they comprised up to 50 percent of the population in some provinces), their numbers were decimated in the nineteenth century. By the early twentieth century the Afro-Argentine population consisted mainly of women who married European immigrants and mixed in with the general population. Argentina’s present-day Muslim community owes its existence to more recent movements. It was, appropriately enough, at this time that large numbers of Arab immigrants made their way to the region and reestablished the Muslim community in the country. Seeking economic opportunity and an escape from turmoil surrounding the crumbling of the Ottoman Empire and the onset of World War I, Muslims came to Argentina in the period between the 1850s and the 1920s. At that time, Argentina welcomed tens of thousands of Middle Eastern migrants—the majority of them Christian—as a means to modernize

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and augment the country’s economy.107 With that said, the evidence from immigrant disembarkation books is far from exact. Although the statistics from the Argentine Immigration Directorate offer data concerning occupation, age, gender, marital status, nationality, and religion, there is no guarantee that the information collections, or the conclusions inferred from them, are wholly accurate. Many Muslims masked their identity when they arrived given the fear that Argentina would not welcome them.108 Between 1850 and 1925 some 80,000 immigrants arrived from Arabic speaking countries—specifically around Greater Syria—and around 20,000 of those were recorded as Muslim.109 After a drop-off in immigration between the 1940s and 1950s, there were 18,764 Muslims living in Argentina in 1947.110 These communities and their subsequent generations have come to have a significant impact in Argentina, its environs, and in networked locales across the globe. Lily P. Balloffet even argues that “Middle Eastern immigration is at the very heart of Argentine history and culture.”111 At the very least, as multiple authors have noted, such migrations led to fascinating intersections of cultural and religious identification, transregional migrant networks, and links between Latin America and the Middle East that have implications for international relations and both global and regional politics.112 Muslim immigrants came to Argentina because of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. Some of the first Arabs who came to the Americas were pushed by the turmoil that was the unraveling of the Ottoman Empire. Around 45 million individuals left Greater Syria (comprising all or part of modern-day nation-states such as Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, and Jordan) for the Americas in the years between 1875 and 1914.113 Both economic stagnation and the eruption of violence in the wake of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire forced immigrants to come in overlapping waves in the 1850s–1860s, the 1870s, and in the period following World War I from 1919 to 1926. Although the majority of these migrants were Christian, a significant proportion were also Muslim.114 Because of these migrant flows, contemporary Argentine Muslim communities are diverse in their makeup. While largely made up of Sunni Muslims—matching global trends in the ummah—Shi‘i comprise a significant minority of the population along with numbers of Alawites, Druze, and Sufis. The largest Muslim populations today are in Buenos Aires, with particular concentrations in Constitución and Flores.115 These communities maintain an active visual presence in the country. The At-Tauhid Shi‘i mosque was built in 1983, its design based on an old Iranian embassy building; the King Fahd Islamic Cultural Center is the largest Sunni mosque in the country and throughout all of Latin America and it was funded by the Saudi royal family; one of the earliest mosques still in existence is that of the Centro Islámico de la República Argentina (CIRA); and

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finally, there is the CIRA- constructed Al-Ahmad mosque that has its own school and is open to the public. Smaller mosques in Argentina include the Al-Imam de Cañuelas Shi‘i mosque founded in 1988; the Mosque of Palermo; the Arab Islamic Alawite Society of La Angelita, founded in 1962; the Arab Islamic Center of Mendoza; the Cultural Association and PanIslamic Cult of Tuchman; the Islamic Mosque of Córdoba; and the Islamic Union Association, among others.116 Nonetheless, there is no firm conclusion on the current number of Muslims in Argentina.117 Though the numbers are not certain, Islam and Muslims came to the foreground of the Argentine public sphere with the election of Carlos Menem as Argentina’s president at the end of the twentieth century. Born to Syrian Muslim immigrants, Menem converted to Catholicism in 1966. 118 Despite his efforts at showcasing his Catholicism, and his election to the presidency nonetheless, his tenure (1989–1999) was marked by consistent anti-Muslim rhetoric and intimations. Menem was regularly labeled a “Turco” and his government referred to as the “Harem Government.” Failures in his government were sometimes blamed on his Muslim upbringing. Negative views of Muslims in Argentina were exacerbated by the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires on March 17, 1990, when twenty-two people were killed. A few years later, the Jewish Community Center of Buenos Aires was attacked on July 18, 1994, with eighty-five people killed and 300 people injured. These two events damaged the image of Muslims in Argentina during Menem’s tenure. Memories of the attack are still fresh and continue to enflame tensions over the place of Muslims in Argentine culture and public life. The fact that the investigation has not been settled is still a potent political issue in Argentina. Argentina also has a large Jewish population.119 At 300,000 people, it is the largest in Latin America. The Argentine government has also maintained generally positive relations with the nation of Israel over the years. Perhaps because of this, the Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO, also known as “Islamic Jihad”)—a Shi‘i militia in Lebanon—claimed responsibility for the bombing of the Israeli embassy in 1990.120 The investigation into the AMIA bombing has taken over twenty years and has been mired in controversy. In 2006, Argentine prosecutors charged eight Iranian government officials with orchestrating and executing the attack.121 Iranian diplomat Mohsen Rabbani was singled out for taking lead in planning the bombing. Red alerts were issued by Interpol, at the behest of the lead prosecutor and prominent member of the Argentine Jewish community—Alberto Nisman. Nisman claimed his investigation and prosecution were constantly being hampered by both former president Néstor Kirchner and his wife, and former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in exchange for political favors and economic agreements with Iran. Nisman died due to a bullet

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wound to the head in his apartment in January 2015. There is no conclusive evidence to point to whether his death was a suicide, a forced suicide, or a murder. In September 2017, there were reports that concluded he was murdered, but suspicion and intrigue still swirl around his death. When Macri ran for president in 2015, he capitalized on the controversy between de Kirchner and the Nisman case. Riding a wave of popular sentiment that felt “Islamic fundamentalism”122 was to blame for Nisman’s death and that de Kirchner was working with Iran to cover up their involvement in the AMIA incident and Nisman’s supposed assassination, Macri vowed to achieve justice. He also promised to take up the fight against “radical Islam.” After he was elected, one of his first actions was to void a Memorandum of Understanding that allowed Iran to undertake its own investigation of those accused in the AMIA bombing. Furthermore, for the first time in twenty-six years, the Argentine government took a formal role in commemorating the AMIA bombing.123 What is extraordinary here is not that the Macri government did so, but that no previous government had. Argentina’s vice president Gabriela Michetti said at the event, “Today we have decided to remember here, as a symbol that this is a top priority issue in the government’s human rights agenda.”124 Some commentators see this as evidence of a paradigm shift in Argentine politics and public opinion. And yet, if we keep the longue durée and broader scope of worldwide political currents in mind, we also see this is in keeping with Argentina’s own complicated past with the Middle East. While exacerbated by 9/11 and the post-ISIL uptick in tough, and unrelenting, language as part of the global war on terror, this historical frame also shows how 9/11 and the US-led war on terror are not solely responsible for negative views of Muslims in the region, nor for political measures against them. Instead, countries in Latin America and the Caribbean—such as Trinidad or Argentina—have their own histories, narratives, and experiences that contribute to largely negative societal perceptions of Islam and Muslims. These perceptions become flesh-and-blood experiences in the lives of individuals like Maria. The mother of three and the wife of a Palestinian businessman in Buenos Aires, she converted to Islam in 2007. Although she emphasizes the joys and opportunities of being a Muslim and how “it has opened up a whole new world” for her, Maria said she faces anti-Muslim sentiment in the city she was born in, that she has always called home, on an almost daily basis. She said, Because of attacks, because of things being said about us in the news or by politicians in places like the United States, many see us as “Other.” We are treated differently because of popular beliefs that say “we are not really Argentine” or “we are all terrorists.” Sometimes, it is because Jewish or Christian leaders create fears of Muslims in their churches and communities. They say we are aliens. They say we are dangerous and the peo-

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ple, they believe it. For me, even though I am allowed to wear my hijab in public, people will stare at me, ask me if I get too hot in it, ask me why I wear it. It’s my religion. It’s my faith. Why do you go to church? Why do you pray? That is why I wear hijab. I shouldn’t have to defend myself.125

And yet, she agrees, there have also been signs of promise and potential for Argentina’s Muslim community. When Menem’s son Carlos Saúl Facundo Menem Yoma died in 1995, he was buried in a Muslim cemetery. This fostered a certain humanization of Muslims in Argentina and invited the nation to reconsider its conceptions concerning the everyday lives of Muslims in contradistinction to news headlines and narratives of violence and extremism in the media.126 Moreover, Menem set aside a significant amount of land for the construction of the King Fahd Islamic Cultural Center (Centro Cultural Islámico, Custudio de las Dos Sagrados Mezquitas, Rey Fahd) in the luxurious Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires, also in 1995 following a state visit to Saudi Arabia.127 In 2011, the Kirchner administration passed a law permitting Muslim women to wear hijabs in public “without the fear of persecution.”128 Finally, amidst the public drama surrounding Muslims in Argentina, more and more individuals are choosing to convert to Islam.129 All of this likely has an impact on how Islam is lived out and perceived in Argentina as the narrative is less and less that of immigrants from afar as it is internal conversion and birth into the religion from within. This potentially shifts the conversation concerning Muslims from one of one-directional assimilation to mutual acculturation. And, just as 9/11 seems to have resulted in a spike in positive interest in Islam, so too recent dramas in the Argentine public sphere have led to initiatives such as the “Make Hummus Not War” event “that brought local Jews, Muslims and other Arabs together” for a culinary competition and cultural awareness and dialogue program in Buenos Aires.130 Such initiatives point to the possibility of the softening of dialogue, but against the backdrop of the current political scene—and with the added tension of the New York truck attack—the place of Argentina’s many Muslims remains ambiguous.

Fear and Terror Along the Triple Frontier The hazy reputation and position of Muslims in Argentina is further exacerbated by rumors that surround the Tres Fronteras region, where Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil meet. This region has been surrounded by speculation as a safe haven for foreign terrorists and sleeper cells over the past two to three decades. Rather than being a place ripe for fear and trembling, it has instead been a place of significant economic success for many Lebanese immigrants and their families. As I suggest in this final section, it is perhaps a confluence of fears of terror and a long-lingering disquiet

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about frontiers in the Americas that constitutes the qualms about this quarter of the Latin American landscape. The geographical boundary of the Triple Frontier is set by the confluence of the Paraná and Iguaçu Rivers where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet. There are three cities connected to each other by bridges across this frontier. The borders are relatively porous, allowing for networks and communities to be spread across the three countries quite easily. In Paraguay is Ciudad del Este, founded in 1957 as Puerto Presidente Stroessner. On the other side of the bank of Rio Paraná lays the Brazilian city of Foz do Iguaçu bordering the Argentine town of Puerto Iguazú. The preferred migratory destination for many immigrants has traditionally been either Foz do Iguaçu or Ciudad del Este, with Puerto Iguazú being said to never have been fully integrated into the local economy.131 Instead of being known for economic development or ethnic and religious diversity, the area has become known as a brutal border zone. It has long been identified as a hotspot for crime and terrorism by actors outside the region, despite the fact that, regionally, Arabs are more associated with merchant activity than with violent crime. 132 For example, in 2019 the entertainment company Netflix released a blockbuster-style movie about drug trafficking and crime in the area, titled Triple Frontier. Part of the perception of the Tres Fronteras region is associated with the real threat associated with smuggling, drug trafficking, and other unmonitored trans-border activity in the past. Still, there is zero firm evidence that the Triple Frontier is presently a “hive of activity” for terrorist groups. Instead, the media, military, and policymakers have constantly quoted one another in a “closed loop of self-references” to the effect of producing wild allegations about Osama bin Laden’s presence in the area or , as CNN incorrectly reported, that al-Qaeda had pictures of Iguaçu Falls hidden away in their files in Afghanistan.133 Even official reports have contributed to this loop without any adequate citation or proof. 134 Connell reported to the US Air Force that “the large Arab community in the [TriBorder Area] is highly conducive to using the region for the establishment of sleeper cells” and that it features the “largest concentration of Islamic extremists in Latin America.”135 However, as Karam points out, these potent fears and reports of secret al-Qaeda training camps, Osama bin Laden visits, and the like are overblown, spurious, and more evident of the “flexible logic” of US imperialist desires in the region than any hard facts.136 Moreover, anti-Semitism, Orientalism, Islamophobia, and anti-Arab sentiment have festered in the region and claimed the Lebanese diaspora community at the Triple Frontier as its victims,137 despite their protests and actions to the contrary.138 Combined with the United States’ and Latin America’s history of anti-Arab and Orientalist attitudes,139 more recent concerns over terror and security accu-

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sations after 9/11, media portrayals of “reel bad Arabs,”140 and perpetual political portrayals of “bad hombres” to the south of the US border, perspectives soon emerged that the Triple Frontier was a “hive of activity for Middle-Eastern ‘terrorist’ groups, which could use the region as a base from which to attack.”141 This claim was integrated into the “flexible logics” of the US-led global war on terror and became a talking point for conservative politicians in the United States. As Karam notes, as part of the “culturally contested process” of the war on terror, this borderland came to play a role in the “remodeling of the post-9/11 Americas.”142 I also suggest that the fears swirling around the Triple Frontier and its predominately Lebanese-Muslim sociality are part of long-held American feelings about the frontier, which have come to influence other regional and national opinions about the area. As colonists and settlers moved westward across the North American continent there emerged a complex consciousness of what the frontier entailed. This consciousness, the historian Frederick Jackson Turner argues,143 was the single most important factor in shaping a distinctly American character and in differentiating America from its European forebears. The frontier—that contact zone between European settler and “wild” and open land, teeming with “savages” and wilderness, transformed the European sentiment and “stripped off the garments of civilization,” to create an American one that was more democratic and nonauthoritarian. Turner’s “Frontier Thesis” and its view of a hopeful, triumphant frontier came to dominate US history and influence its politics for decades. Even though its authority as a historical thesis has since been challenged by Patricia Nelson Limerick, among others,144 its political and cultural power lingers. As Turner surmised, with the transcontinental dream and the Manifest Destiny of the United States deemed complete in the conquering of the continental divide, it could be said that the frontier was closed. However, it could be said that the United States has sought new frontiers through its later acquisitions of colonies and states in the Pacific Rim, Asia, and the Caribbean. In addition, their efforts against communism could be seen as the United States turning to other frontiers to conquer or defend in the late twentieth century—including space, the so-called final frontier.145 During the Cold War, frontiers in places where “communism met democracy” became the crucible for the making or breaking of the “American way.” Part of this frontier geography included Latin America, where the United States involved itself in state politics and supported violent measures to protect its interests in the region. After the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, what frontiers were there left to conquer, settle, and civilize? The global war on terror could be read as a form of the “frontier spirit” in US culture and politics. In this view, the Middle East, the Muslim world, and possibly even geographies such as the Triple Frontier area are imagined as

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the new borderlands where US democratic culture and its supposed free spirit of class consciousness, egalitarianism, and antiauthoritarianism must settle and tame. There are parallels in how the United States and its allies have recast local frontiers in the American hemisphere as part of the broader global war on terror. This has produced an inordinate amount of fear and loathing about frontiers and “bloody borders”146 where policymakers, pundits, and wider publics are concerned that Muslims are seeping through porous boundaries and into supposedly Western Christian lands. These “bloody borders” are found between Kenya and Somalia, Indonesia and Malaysia, Turkey and the Balkans. We might also consider the borderlands between Mexico and the United States, the liminal islands and landscapes of the Caribbean, and places such as the Triple Frontier zone as part of this new American “frontier” geography as well. Here again, US politicians are seeking to extend their supposedly civilizing reach to a place supposedly festering with terrorism and anti-American sentiment. Connell referred to the “Tri-Border” area as a “‘wild west’ . . . between Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay,”147 and made clear that the Islamist fund-raising he reported was going on there had a clear “connection to what’s happening in the Middle East” and required “extra surveillance and increased attention by the U.S. in cooperation with Latin American partners [to] help control the problem”148 and counteract the “loose rule of law even by Latin American standards” there.149 This kind of “frontier” framing and policy recommendations such as Connell’s have led some presidential candidates to invoke the Monroe Doctrine, which includes the possibility of using military force in places such as the Triple Frontier.150

Conclusion Surveying several conflicts, conversations, and the convergence of prejudices and fears in the Americas, this chapter explored the linkages between Latin America and the Caribbean and the US-led global war on terror. Examining the parallels in politics, media, and rhetoric in places such as Trinidad and Tobago, Argentina, and the United States, I showed how Muslims occupy a tenuous space in Latin American and Caribbean public spheres. Overall, I argued that the place of Islam and the lives of Muslims in the Americas are inherently intertwined with local issues of societal concern, social justice, and class and the broader assumptions and far-reaching frames of US politics and that nation’s leadership in the global war on terror. The kind of irrational and prejudicial fear described in this chapter is often called “Islamophobia” or anti-Muslim sentiment. These phenomena are not new developments, but emerge out of long-held biases against Muslims. While Orientalism and Islamophobia have long plagued Latin America, the

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Caribbean, and the Americas,151 anti-Muslim sentiment has grown significantly across the hemisphere in the wake of 9/11 and the subsequent launch of the global war on terror. This “war,” with its global reach and blatant breaching of human rights for the sake of security and safety has fostered a social context in which anti-Muslim sentiment thrives across the region. Negative stereotypes about Muslims continue to worsen as the United States and its allies continue to attempt to monitor and neutralize terror threats around the globe—including in places such as Argentina, the Triple Frontier, and Trinidad. Shaped by a longer history, American Islamophobia is not produced by any one politician, party, or country. Nonetheless, the positions taken by American politicians, think tanks, and regional bodies have an impact on the local lives of Muslims living in the Americas—whether they be in Buenos Aires, Port of Spain, or Puerto Iguazú. Although Arabs, Muslims, and others under the spotlight may find economic success, they also report sentiments of marginalization and suspicion by their fellow citizens. Although affluent or accepted in some respects, their place in the societies they call home is frequently called into question. As America’s frontiers and borders expand to places such as Trinidad and Argentina via the global war on terror, there is also the sense of banishment and conquest on behalf of those met with the imperial, and civilizational, force of American hegemony. For Muslims and other minorities caught up in its nets of suspicion, surveillance, and violence, the global war on terror is not a frontier of hope and triumph, but one of conflict and conquest.152 Nonetheless, it is not just 9/11, ISIL, Jamaat al-Muslimeen, supposed terrorists in the borderlands of Latin America, or truck attacks in New York that have made things the way they are. These concerns represent old anxieties about Islam and Muslims that were inherited from the past and have continued to fester over time. With all of this in mind, in this chapter I have tried to explain how the tenuous place of Muslims in Latin American and Caribbean public spheres must be considered in light of a complex nexus of various factors including, but not limited to, local politics and public sentiments, historical events and socialities in the region, and the broader context of the global war on terror and the continuing outsized influence of the United States in the Americas as a whole. It seems that for all that has occurred over the past five centuries since Muslims first became part of the American story, some things have not changed. Because of these various interrelated factors, Muslims in the Americas continue to be received, perceived, refashioned, integrated (or not) into Latin America, the Caribbean, and the broader hemisphere according to the rubrics of old discourses of identification and difference. We do well to remember that it is a combination of contemporary global and regional fears, politics, and rhetoric combined with local and historical factors that play into how Muslims are so often tailored, and treated, as the Other in the Americas and beyond.

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Notes

1. As of November 2020, Saipov’s case was ongoing. 2. Callimachi et al., “Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Lower Manhattan Terrorist Attack.” 3. A different version of this chapter appeared as Chitwood, “The Global ‘War on Terror’ & the Tenuous Public Space of Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean,” 128–145. 4. See “The Latest: Argentine President Reacts to Bike Path Attack,” US News, November 1, 2017, https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/new-york/articles/2017 -11-01/the-latest-argentine-president-reacts-to-bike-path-attack. 5. See Martel, “In New York the Deadliest Terrorist Attack Since 9/11 Stirs Old Memories and Strengthens Resolve.” 6. See Martel, “Argentina, Home to Deadliest Jihad in Hemisphere Before 9/11, Struck Again in NYC.” 7. Morgenstein-Fuerst, Indian Muslim Minorities and the 1857 Rebellion, Kindle loc. 241. 8. Karam, “Muslim Histories in Latin America and the Caribbean,” 264. 9. Calling something “terrorism” is not as self-evident as it may seem. What is called “terrorism” is part of a broader discourse of power that happens to be useful for governments to frame their wars as something for the common good. Once a government is going after terrorists, it is much easier to justify physical force, the suspension of rules of war, and blatant crimes against humanity. 10. Or its euphemisms such as “Overseas Contingency Operation.” 11. Bahgat and Medina, “An Overview of Geographical Perspectives and Approaches in Terrorism Research.” 12. Bush, “Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People.” 13. Chandler and Gunaratna, Countering Terrorism, 13. 14. Ibid., 14. 15. See Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. 16. Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man. 17. Zine, “Unsettling the Nation,” 43. 18. Zine, Islam in the Hinterlands, 272. 19. See Caner, Christian Jihad. 20. Harrison, “Foreword,” 9. 21. See Allen, The Global War on Christians. 22. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. 23. Allen, The Global War on Christians, 30–31. 24. For example, in light of al-Dawla al-Islamiyya’s actions against Christians in Iraq and Syria, a social media campaign among Protestant Christians in the United States known as “#WeAreN” became popular. “N” in this instance stands for the Arabic nun, which served as a “symbol for ‘Nazarene,’ or Christian, used by Islamic State militants in Iraq to brand Christian properties in Iraq.” In the midst of this social media campaign, few stopped to consider the fact that the “Nazarenes” in question were largely historical Nestorian communities, often considered “heretical” by evangelicals and other Protestant Christian denominations. See Grossman, “Arabic Twitter Avatar Illustrates #WeAreN Solidarity with Iraqi Christians.” 25. Allen, The Global War on Christians, 10. 26. While there is a sense of rupture in how the global war on terror has permitted the targeting of Muslims in ways hitherto unseen, we would do well to link this narrative to that of the limpieza de sangre discourses of the Spanish imperial world in earlier periods of US history. Similar to how the Spanish Catholic empire attempted to eradicate Islam and Muslims from their midst and keep their land and

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leadership pure, it could be said that the contemporary US empire is attempting to do the same today. The enemy at the gate remains the Muslim, and the “civilization” to be contested and ultimately defeated by the Christian armies of the West is Islam. 27. Kryt, “Inside the ISIS Plot to Kill Americans in Colombia.” 28. Andrade, “Iran’s Advances in Latin America,” 1. 29. Ellis, “Radical Islam in Latin America and the Caribbean,” 9. 30. CNN, “Full Transcript of CNN National Security Debate,” November 22, 2011, http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1111/22/se.o6.html. 31. Ibid. 32. There is, in fact, a noticeable Shi‘i presence throughout Latin America, which does show some influence from Iran, Lebanon, Iraq, and elsewhere. For example, Nicolas Pirsoul shares that he was working on conversions of marginalized groups (Indigenous and Afro-descendants) in Latin America. Commenting on an Indigenous Shi‘i community in Peru, a Shi‘i movement among the Wayuu (Northern Colombia/Venezuela, where there is a Lebanese diaspora), and a sizable Afro-Colombian Shi‘i community in Mexico under a certain Shaikh Munir, he found that people in these groups tend to be attracted to the social justice and communal aspects of Shi‘i Islam. However, at the same time, there are alarmist reports about the influence of Hezbollah and the attraction being one of terror rather than social justice and societal advancement. See Caro, “Presencia de movimientos chiítas en América Latina: Su relación con los atentados de Buenos Aires (1992, 1994) y con el eje Caracas-Teherán.” 33. Grandin, “About Those Islamist Sleeper Cells in South America. . . .” 34. Dietz, “Destabilization and Intervention in the Caribbean,” 3–14. 35. Connell-Smith, The United States and Latin America, 62. 36. Emerson, “Radical Neglect?” 37. Connell, Understanding Islam and Its Impact on Latin America, 30. 38. Singer, “With Roots in Latin America, Hezbollah Is the Real Terror Threat in Our Hemisphere.” 39. Emanuele Ottolenghi, “Hezbollah in Latin America Is a Threat the US Cannot Ignore,” The Hill, June 11, 2017, https://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/homeland -security/337299-hezbollah-in-latin-america-is-a-security-threat-the-us. 40. Kopp, “As Islamic Extremism Grows in Latin America, Some Want Trump to Take Action.” 41. Ibid. 42. Sabatini, “Is There a Credible Islamist Threat in Latin America?” 43. See Cheri Berens, “The Rising Threat of America’s Latino Converts to Islam,” CheriBerens.net, n.d., http://www.cheriberens.net/the-rising-threat-of-americas-latino -converts-to-islam.html. See also Open Source Center, “Bolivia—Key Muslim Converts Assert Local Peril, Ally with Zealots Abroad,” May 12, 2009, https://fas.org /irp/dni/osc/bolivia.pdf; Frank Gaffney Jr. on Argentina, Chile, and the AMIA bombings, “Family Affair,” Center for Security Policy, February 10, 2015, https://www .centerforsecuritypolicy.org/tag/centro-chileno-islamico-de-cultura/; and the critical article by Belen Fernandez, “Chasing Islamic ‘Terrorists’ in Paraguay,” Al Jazeera, May 25, 2013, https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/05/2013512105822488194.html. 44. Webster, “Hezbollah and Mexica Drug Cartels Operating in Mexico and U.S.,” Banderas News, October 2008, http://banderasnews.com/0810/edat-mexhezbollah.htm. 45. See “10 More Criminal Cases that Highlight Islamic Terror Threat at US-Mexico Border,” Creeping Sharia, January 30, 2017, https://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/2017 /01/30/10-cases-border-terror/. 46. Karam, “Crossing the Americas,” 251. 47. Trump, “Border Rancher.” 48. James T. Hill, “Building Security Cooperation in the Western Hemisphere,” remarks at North-South Center, March 3, 2003, http://www.iwar.org.uk/news-achieve

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/2003/03-12/htm; Jenny Falcon, “US Official: Al-Qaeda, Drug Traffickers May Establish Ties,” Voice of America, March 2, 2004. 49. As mentioned, Tom Morrissey is the mayor of Payson, AZ (at least at the time of this writing), where I am registered as a voter in the United States. My analysis of his novel was written before my knowledge of his candidacy or his election to that post in 2018. 50. Morrissey and Seagal, The Way of the Shadow Wolves, 49. 51. Ibid., 7. 52. Ibid., 18. 53. Ibid., 34–37. 54. Ibid., 49. 55. Ibid., 120. 56. Ibid., 121. 57. Ibid., 144. 58. Ibid., 190. 59. Arpaio, “Foreword,” loc. 24. 60. Voter, personal communication with author, September 10, 2020. 61. Karam, “Crossing the Americas.” 62. Haar, “Radical Islam’s Latin American Connection.” 63. Though, that does not stop some from compiling spurious “case files.” See Creeping Sharia, n.d., https://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/10-cases -border-terror/. 64. Bonilla, “Between Terror and Transcendence.” 65. Connell, Understanding Islam and Its Impact on Latin America, vi. 66. Ellis, “Radical Islam in Latin America and the Caribbean,” 9. 67. Connell, Understanding Islam and Its Impact on Latin America, vi. 68. See “Islam and the Global War on Terrorism in Latin America,” Pew forum, April 6, 2006, http://www.pewforum.org/2006/04/06/islam-and-the-global-war-on -terrorism-in-latin-america/. 69. Ali, “Bahamian and Brazilian Muslimahs,” 197. 70. Kusumo, Islam en América Latina Tomo II, loc. 1824. 71. See Said, Orientalism. 72. Mendieta, “Ni Orientalismo ni Occidentalismo”; Taub, Otredad, orientalidad e identidad. 73. Qamber, “Anti-Islamic Bias in Sources on Latin America: Preliminary Findings,” and “Inquisition Proceedings Against Muslims in 16th Century Latin America.” See also Rogozen-Soltar, “Managing Muslim Visibility.” 74. For example, Caraballo-Resto, “Palestinian Muslims as a ‘Middle-Man Minority Group’ in San Juan, Puerto Rico.” 75. Bremmer, “The Top 5 Countries Where ISIS Gets Its Foreign Recruits.” 76. Florida, “The Geography of Foreign ISIS Fighters.” 77. Robles, “Trying to Stanch Trinidad’s Flow of Young Recruits to ISIS.” 78. McCoy and Knight, “Homegrown Violent Extremism in Trinidad and Tobago.” 79. Cottee, “ISIS in the Caribbean.” 80. See “Official Statement of Dr. Bilal Philips on his Arrest in Philippines,” Muslim Matters, September 13, 2014, https://muslimmatters.org/2014/09/13/official -statement-bilal-philips-arrest-philippines/. 81. Umar, “The Popular Discourses of Salafi Radicalism and Salafi CounterRadicalism in Nigeria,” 120. 82. Weiss, ISIS, 170. 83. While Wiktoriwicz wrote that Salafis are unified around a core creed that includes “strict adherence to the concept of tawhid (the oneness of God) and ardent rejection of a role for human reason, logic, and desire,” strict adherence to “the

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rules and guidance in the Qur’an and Sunna” and a yearning for eliminating “the biases of human subjectivity and self-interest,” they have also divided into three major factions according to different contextual situations: purists, politicos, and jihadis. Wiktoriwicz, “Anatomy of the Salafi Movement,” 207–239. 84. Adraoui, “Salafism in France,” 366. 85. Østebø, “Muslim Protests in Ethiopia.” 86. See “Caribbean to Caliphate,” Al Jazeera, May 17, 2017, https://www.aljazeera .com/programmes/peopleandpower/2017/05/caribbean-caliphate-170517073332147.html. 87. Not related to the Jamaat al-Muslimeen in Pakistan. 88. Cf. Baptiste, “More than Dawud and Jalut.” 89. Mamdani, “Good Muslim, Bad Muslim,” 766–775. 90. See “Fear and Islam in Trinidad,” Diálogo, April 1, 2012, https://dialogo -americas.com/articles/fear-and-islam-trinidad. 91. See “Dabiq Magazine Issue #5,” Jihadology, July 31, 2016, http://jihadology .net/category/dabiq-magazine/. 92. Cottee, “ISIS in the Caribbean.” 93. Badri-Maharaj, “Globalization of the Jihadist Threat,” 173–189. 94. Pantin, Days of Wrath, X. 95. Persaud, “Islam in Trinidad.” 96. Pantin, Days of Wrath, 145. 97. Searle, “The Muslimeen Insurrection in Trinidad,” 29–43. 98. Persaud, “Islam in Trinidad.” 99. Searle, “The Muslimeen Insurrection in Trinidad,” 41. 100. Pantin, Days of Wrath, 154. 101. Gold, “The Islamic Leader Who Tried to Overthrow Trinidad Has Mellowed . . . a Little.” 102. See “I’m No ISIS Point Man: Yasim Abu Bakr,” Trinidad Express, n.d., https://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/im-no-isis—point-man-279688692.html. 103. Cottee, “ISIS in the Caribbean.” 104. Meijer, Global Salafism, 29. 105. Deol and Kazmi, Contextualizing Jihadi Thought, 11. 106. See Gomez, Black Crescent. 107. Balloffet, Argentina in the Global Middle East, 5–23. 108. Jozami, “The Return of the ‘Turks’ in 1990s Argentina.” 109. Jozami, “The Manifestation of Islam in Argentina,” 67–85. 110. Ibid., 74. 111. Balloffet, Argentina in the Global Middle East, 3. 112. Asfoura, “Árabes en Tucumán”; Balloffet, Argentina in the Global Middle East; Hyland, More Argentine than You; Klich and Lesser, Árabes y judíos en América Latina; Rein and Noyjovich, Los muchachos peronistas árabes; Valverde, “Integration and Identity in Argentina”; Valverde, “Migrants in Fiction: The Image of Arabs and Jews in Argentine Literature.” 113. See Civantos, Between Argentines and Arabs. 114. Brieger and Herskowich, “The Muslim Community of Argentina.” 115. Ibid. 116. See Jozami, “The Manifestation of Islam in Argentina”; Brieger and Herskowich, “The Muslim Community of Argentina”; Asultany and Shohat, Between the Middle East and the Americas. 117. Brieger and Herskowich, “The Muslim Community of Argentina.” 118. Ibid. 119. Elkin, The Jews of Latin America. 120. Alexander, “The Buenos Aires Bomb, the Iranian Allegations, and the Accusations Against Cristina Kirchner.”

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121. Bezhan, “Explainer.” 122. Martel, “Islamic Fundamentalists Killed Nisman.” 123. Dubowitz and Dershowitz, “Iranian Terror.” 124. See “Argentina Co-sponsors Memorial for Attack on Israeli Embassy,” Arutz Sheva, March 19, 2018, http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/243324. 125. Email correspondence with author, January 20, 2021. 126. See Jozami, “The Manifestation of Islam in Argentina.” 127. It was, at time of this writing, the largest mosque in Latin America. 128. Sabhan, “Argentina Introduces Hijab-friendly Law,” Siasat Daily, January 26, 2011, https://archive.siasat.com/news/argentina-introduces-hijab-friendly-law-159348/. 129. See Chitwood, “American Islam.” 130. See “Hummus Unites Jews and Muslims in Argentina,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, September 20, 2017, https://www.jta.org/2017/09/20/life-religion/hummus -unites-jews-and-muslims-in-argentina. 131. Elmaleh, “The Lebanese-Muslim Diaspora in the Triple Frontier (Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay).” 132. Karam, “Crossing the Americas,” 255. 133. Ibid. 134. See Sills and Baggett, “Islam in Latin America,” 28–41, in which they claim that the Tres Fronteras region is Hezbollah’s “Latin American headquarters” and that the two attacks in Argentina operated out of the Tres Fronteras region. 135. Connell, Understanding Islam and Its Impact on Latin America, 32. 136. Karam, “Crossing the Americas,” 265. 137. Karam, “Anti-Semitism from the Standpoint of Its Arab Victims in a South American Border Zone,” 143–167. 138. Karam, “Crossing the Americas,” 259–262. 139. Civantos, Between Argentines and Arabs. 140. Karam, “Crossing the Americas,” 253. 141. Funk, “A Political Economy of Arab–Latin American Relations,” 10. 142. Karam, “Crossing the Americas,” 252. 143. F. J. Turner, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History.” 144. See Limerick, The Legacy of Conquest. 145. Newell, Destined for the Stars. 146. See Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. 147. Connell, Understanding Islam and Its Impact on Latin America, 24. 148. Ibid., 51. 149. Ibid., 31. 150. Lily Balloffet also talks about frontiers, the national government, and Middle Eastern migrants and their descendants in Argentina. See Balloffet, Argentina in the Global Middle East, 17–19. 151. See Camayd-Freixas, Orientalism and Identity in Latin America: Fashioning Self and Other from the (Post)Colonial Margin. 152. Of course, Islamophobia does not affect Muslims exclusively—Sikhs, East Asians, Arab Christians, and Latin Americans face prejudice as part of the longreaching hand of Islamophobic stereotypes and anti-Muslim rhetoric and actions. Examples abound, but one includes a man in Ontario who attacked a Colombian family with a baseball bat and called them “terrorists”/ “ISIS.” See Julia Reinstein, “A Man Attacked a Colombian Family with a Baseball Bat and Accused Them of Being ‘ISIS,’” Buzzfeed News, December 9, 2017, https://www.buzzfeednews.com /article/juliareinstein/ontario-man-attacks-colombian-family-baseball-bat-isis.

8 Seeking a Better World in Mexico

IF FRONTIERS CAN MANUFACTURE FEARS, BORDERLANDS CAN also produce new hybrid identifications and socialities. Such is the case in a rural community just outside of San Cristóbal de las Casas, where hundreds of Mexican residents converted to Islam around the turn of the twentieth century. Some are Sunni, a significant number are Ahmadiyya, and others are part of the Murabitun World Movement (Movimiento Murabitun Mundial, or MMM)—a global Islamic educational and economic movement that some consider “Sufi.” In Chiapas’s central mountain highlands, these Muslims have blended their faith and practice with their Mexican setting, Tzotzil Indigenous culture, and visions of an alternative world of justice, truth, and equality. Their story is not an isolated one. Not only are there Muslims among other Indigenous groups in Latin America and the Caribbean (e.g., the Kalinago in Dominica, the Mapuche in Chile, or the Wayuu in Colombia), but the Muslim population in Mexico has also grown rapidly in recent years. National Geographic reports that “Islam came to Mexico in spurts over the past decades, with immigrants from Lebanon and Syria, and even a group of Spanish Sufi Muslims who came to convert members of the Zapatista revolutionaries in the ‘90s. It caught on quickly. The country now has around 5,270 Muslims—triple what it had 15 years ago.”1 So too has research in the region. Various scholars have delved deeper into the narrative of Islam in Mexico and why it has caught on among various sectors of society. This research has revealed the complex narrative of how various Muslim communities have come to shape “Islam in Mexico.” In

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this chapter, I highlight the hybrid identity formations of Tzotzil Muslims in Chiapas while also drawing attention to broader dynamics in Mexico as a whole. The Tzotzil Muslim story is one of amalgamation and adaptation, struggle and new solidarities in the borderlands of global culture. It is also the story of seeking a better world. Chiapas is home to Mexico’s largest Indigenous community and has been the setting for numerous rebellions against, and violent reactions from, the Mexican central government. The most recent—and most famous—of these uprisings came via the Zapatistas in 1994. It was around this time that two Muslim missionaries arrived from Europe with the aim of establishing a common community focused on creating a more just world. Based in Mexico but traveling to Scotland, Spain, and South Africa, this chapter explores the fortunes, fissures, and frictions between global Muslim missionaries, alterglobalization activists, and local Mexican Muslims—with a particular focus on the Tzotzil in and around San Cristóbal de las Casas. Doing so, I show how Islam is part and parcel to seeking “another world” of equality and unity in what can often seem an unequal and divided world. And yet the process of seeking this dream and creating new forms of belonging and identification in Mexico is not without its linkages to global Islam, personal itineraries, and lingering inequalities and friction. The process of conversion in Mexico, and the efforts at making a better world that result from this religious change, cannot be viewed in isolation or as a simple process of “rational choice” and economic or political advantage. The Muslims of Mexico are involved in a much more complex, and powerful, process of conversion and liberation that continues to evolve today.

Muslims in Mexico: Yesterday and Today In Mexico, Islam’s footprint has expanded slowly, but surely. Today, Muslims have a well-documented and long-appreciated presence in the country. Moreover, the community in Mexico is one of the most widely studied and documented and there is a wealth of information on their history and contemporary contours. Muslims first arrived in the sixteenth century along with other Spaniards in so-called New Spain. In part because of their presence, an Inquisitorial Court was established, in which Muslims of Andalusian origin (or those accused of being so) were convicted for not wanting to reject their religious beliefs and practices. Nonetheless, over time, Muslim communities have grown and established themselves in Mexico in multiple ways, even if Islam remains a minority religion in the country as a whole. There are several smaller groups in the interior of Mexico and larger, more centralized communities in large urban areas such as Mexico

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City.2 These communities draw on a long history of Muslim presence in Mexico that stretches back to the early conquests of American territory by Spanish conquistadors, when conversos and crypto-Muslims arrived from Spain and set up shop in the New World. No one knows for sure exactly when the first Muslims arrived in Mexico. However, their arrival was roughly concomitant with the advent of the Spanish conquest.3 Islamic culture, religion, and history traveled with the Spanish galleons and generals as they sailed across the seas and marched across the Mexica empire in the sixteenth century. Various peddlers, “magicians,” civil servants, and soldiers were reported to be—or show evidence of being—Muslims in New Spain, despite prohibitions against their presence in Spain’s ever expansive American empire.4 At the same time, many Moorish Muslims found it difficult to practice their religion and were motivated, or forced, to convert to Christianity and thus did not pass on their faith to their children.5 While some may have maintained their practice, there is little documentary evidence of this fact. Most likely, the practice of Islam in Mexico died out not long after it first materialized. There were also African Muslims who came to Mexico as enslaved persons. From Estabenico6 to the enslaved persons imported from West Africa between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, their stories have generally been ignored. This is part of a broader neglect of Afro-Mexican culture, slavery in Mexico, and the African contribution to Mexican culture over the centuries.7 Mexico never featured the same systems of slavery found in the United States, Brazil, or the Caribbean, but its colonial economy did feature slaves—especially in Mexico City.8 Undoubtedly, there were Muslims among the 200,000 African enslaved persons brought to Mexico in the colonial era.9 The statistics and stories from across the Americas testify to their importance and experience in the colonial scene. Today, there are thriving pockets of Afro-Mexican culture in places such as Costa Chica of Guerrero.10 The potential presence, and lingering legacy, of Afro-Mexican Muslims during the colonial era is a story still waiting to be told in more detail. A significant stage in the history of Muslims in Mexico came with the immigration of Arabs between 1895 and 1960. During this time around 37,500 Arabs came to Mexico, many of them from Lebanon, who established a robust presence in the Yucatan Peninsula.11 Others came from Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, and Turkey.12 Coming through the ports of Veracruz, Tampico, and Progreso, they settled in places such as Torreón, Saltillo, and Monterrey.13 Their presence and influence in the country is well documented. Among these Arab immigrants’ long-lasting legacies was the establishment of the first permanent Islamic institutions in the country.14 Some argue that these communities remained quite insular and isolated from broader Mexican society, and that this posture was predicated on the fact

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that these first Muslim immigrants were small in number and felt the need to focus on safe, and quiet, social integration rather than making their religious practice obvious through active proselytization. Furthermore, many Arab immigrants were Christians or Jews and many Muslims among them felt ostracized. Regardless of religion, Arab immigrants in Mexico faced a tide of anti-Arab sentiment in the twentieth century.15 Thus, it was not until the latter part of the twentieth century that the number of converts started to rise with the dawn of dawah initiatives. The contemporary community, which draws on the memory, motivation, and material legacy of its predecessors, is a mix of Sunni, Sufi, Shi‘i, and Salafi affiliations. There are communities in Ciudad de México (Mexico City), Ciudad Juárez, Guanajuato, Mérida, Monterrey, Morelia, Puebla, Querétaro, Rosarito, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Tijuana, Toluca, Veracruz, Torreón, Guadalajara, and Chiapas.16 Muslims in each of these areas meet for prayer and religious instruction on Fridays in mosques and prayer rooms, celebrate the major festivals of Islam—Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha—and study the Quran and hadith as means of putting their faith into practice in predominately Roman Catholic and Protestant milieus. For all their similarity, there is a high degree of diversity within Mexico’s Muslim population. This variety is most likely the result of a complex conversion process that is informed by myriad factors and at multiple levels of context and community, both at local and global scales. Belonging and identity are important aspects of this conversion process. In Mexico, where religion plays a particularly potent role in the process of identification, religious conversion immediately becomes a question of selfhood and recognition in a wider sociality. Up to 80 percent of the Mexican Muslim population is made up of local converts.17 That is significant on multiple levels. Zidane Zeraoui writes how Islam offers converts an interpretive framework for a new identification that is simultaneously global and local, transnational and part of the parochial community fabric.18 Through processes of education, the adjustment of personal perceptions, ritual conformity, innovation, and the adaptation of public personas and behaviors, Muslim converts in Mexico have to create a new identification not only with features of their newfound faith, but also with aspects of their culture and Mexican heritage. This process is informed through interpersonal contacts and ongoing relationships—both those of cooperation and those of conflict with Muslims and non-Muslims, friends and family, and so forth—and through media, popular culture, and the mobility of individuals across time and space through communication technologies and migration. Together, researchers studying Islam in Mexico tend to agree that “localist overtones” have largely shaped the Muslim communities there.19 Arely Medina writes, “The way in which converts resolve their Muslim identity has nothing to do with a single type of Muslim being. The converts

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have found various solutions to being Muslim in distinct contexts.”20 Faced with not having an Islamic infrastructure readily at hand, they have built it for themselves. In the process of religious entrepreneurship, they have created new elaborations on what it means to be Muslim and Mexican in the process. The result is a sociality that stands out for its practices of wearing the veil, meeting in mosques, and being physical embodiments of Islam in the Mexican public sphere, but who also are comfortable navigating the ins and outs of their non-Muslim communities, families, and social contexts. At the same time, researchers also agree that if anything defines Islam and the Muslim communities of Mexico, it is miscellany. The first mosque in Mexico was built in 1989 in Torreón,21 the largest metro area in the state of Coahuila in the north of the country. Built by the support of Arab Muslims and their successful agricultural and commercial investments and businesses, this mosque was preceded by a group of thirty-five people who began meeting in the house of Hassan Zain Chamut, who still acts as the informal leader of the group.22 They are largely Shi‘i and are of Lebanese heritage. In Guadalajara, the recorded presence of Muslims stretches back to the beginning of the twentieth century and has grown and shrunk in fits and starts over the past century. Islam Guadalajara—a community led by the Houston-based Abdul Kareem and founded in 2009—started outreach online and in the city streets of Jalisco’s capital.23 Today, they lead their ministry out of an established prayer hall, religious instruction center, medical office, and a space for social events. The community is made up of local converts, US missionaries, Arabs, and Pakistanis. Identifying the communities there as examples of “autonomous Mexican conversion,” Medina writes: The autonomy of the community is not only its chief characteristic, but makes it unique in Mexico because unlike the first communities in the country, it did not receive proselytizing help or instruction. Thus, their own conversion experiences and the means used for the interpretation of Islamic exegesis were through their own self-created first channels of education. However, over time it has built up a network of relations at both national and international levels.24

Although the story of Islam and Muslims in Torreón and Guadalajara showcases some of the adaptation, augmentation, and bricolage of Muslims in Mexico, Mexico City is arguably even more diverse. Boasting the largest concentration of Muslims in the country, Mexico City features distinct and thriving Sunni, Sufi, and Salafi communities. In its early days, the Muslim community in Mexico City was largely made up of diplomats and foreign businessmen. However, beginning in the 1990s—and catalyzed by the arrival of Omar Weston and the establishment of the Islamic Cultural Center of Mexico (CCIM) through a collaboration of migrants and converts—

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the community consolidated and began to expand. Through educational programs, concerted dawah efforts in person and online, and the facilitation of business contacts between25 Weston and the CCIM, they made themselves into one of the largest Muslim communities in the nation. Interestingly, Weston has focused on adding local “colors” to the practice of Islam in Mexico and has led the charge on taking “the message of Islam outside of the mosque.”26 Weston has also faced criticism. For example, Abdullah Ruiz broke off from the CCIM to found Al Markas as Salafi in 2003 and later, in 2004, the Salafi Center of Mexico, which professes to offer adherents a more purified form of Islamic faith and practice. Many Mexicans have also come to know Islam via Sufism through the work of Shaikh Amina Teslima al Yerrahi. A pacifist and interfaith activist, Shaikh Amina is the head of the Sufi order in Mexico and has founded her own tekke—Sufi lodge—by the name of Istanbuli Nur Ashki Jerrahi Sufi in the upper-middle-class Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City.27 A Puerto Rican, Shaikh Amina has ties back to the Halveti Jerrahi tariqa in Turkey through Shaykh Muzaffer Ashki al-Jerrahi. He came to Mexico City after fateful conversations with American spiritual teacher Lex Hixon in 1978 in New York City. Eventually, the shaikh came to Mexico City after a group of Catholic concheros—a hybrid dance ritual performance group embodying Catholic and precolonial Mexican symbolism—professed in a dream that they saw him coming to Mexico to start a new movement in the late 1980s.28 Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Nur Ashki Jerrahi order has faced criticism from some more traditionalist sectors of Mexico’s Muslim communities who see its adaptations to local culture, female leadership, and other practices as unnecessary and dangerous bida (innovations). Other Sufi orders in Mexico City have faced difficulties as well, including the Centro Ibn Khaldun in Coyoacán, a Naqshbandi group connected to Abdul Rauf Felpete in Argentina.29 Still, for the most part, “the more strictly observant and orthodox communities at the Centro Educativo de la Comunidad Musulmana and Dar al Hikma, led by a migrant board of directors and Isa Rojas, a young Mexican shaykh with eight years of religious training in Saudi Arabia, respectively, coexist with several Sufi orders and Shi‘i establishments” in the city.30 The Muslim communities of Mexico have been many and diverse, crisscrossing multiple geographies and traditions and being channeled through business and tourism, internet technology and traditional media, dreams and dawah from missionaries coming from Saudi Arabia, the United States, Cuba, Turkey, and Spain. As with other cases across the Americas, the Muslim communities of Mexico are the sum of a complex amalgam of immigration, evangelism, global and local linkages, Muslims and non-Muslims. While brief, this overview of the history and contemporary dynamics of Mexico’s Muslim community helps us see the transna-

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tional combinations, collaborations, and conflicts that have helped shape the story of Muslims in Mexico over the years. It also provides contextual background for better understanding the Muslim communities of San Cristóbal de las Casas.

The Muslims of Chiapas Nestled in the lush green hills of Chiapas and featuring brightly colored colonial architecture and the deep cultural reserves of Tzotzil traditions, language, and history, San Cristóbal de las Casas (Jovel in Tzotzil) is a major hub of tourist activity and language training in southern Mexico. Founded in 1528 as Villa Real, the town was renamed in 1848 to recall the feats of Cristóbal Colón (Christopher Columbus) and to honor Bartolomé de las Casas, the first bishop of Chiapas and so-called “defender of the Indians,” for his progressive views on the abolition of slavery (expounding that Indigenous peoples in the Americas had souls, and advocating for Indigenous self-rule in the manner of Muslim dhimmitude).31 While commerce, services, and tourism account for the majority of the employment in the area, the town is also a focal point for mining and forestry. Local pines, jade, gravel, stone, and metals are regularly loaded up on trucks and shipped to other parts of Mexico, Central America, and across the globe. Tourists do not necessarily come for the industry, however. Instead, they are attracted by the Spanish colonial character of San Cristóbal de las Casas. Lined with brightly colored buildings resplendent in pink, blue, orange, and a kaleidoscope of colors and showing off flower-laced wrought iron fences and balconies, the city’s cobblestone streets are laid out in the traditional Spanish colonial style. The cathedral—arguably the emblematic symbol of the city itself—features an intriguing mix of Baroque, Indigenous, and Moorish architectural features. While its edifice hints at the influence of Islam and Muslims in colonial Mexico, the clear constructed evidence for a significant Muslim presence in the region is found farther afield at a mosque outside of town, where a few dozen Tzotzil Muslims gather for prayer in the cloud-shrouded hills just north of the city. Although the surrounding mountains have been seriously impacted by deforestation, many visitors trek off into the forest in search of Mayan ruins or rural flavor. But for the most part, the towns and villages around San Cristóbal de las Casas are made up of farmers and workers who have flocked to the municipality for work in the economic hub of the region. Such is the case with one rural Indigenous community where some 400 Tzotzil men and women are said to practice Islam. There, “the Muslim men . . . are distinguished by their prayer caps, or kufis, and the women by their hijabs which take the form of traditional Maya shawls.”32 With conversions

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stretching back to the 1990s, their story is one of reformation and change, missionaries and alterglobalization movements, the Murabitun and the Zapatistas, Sunnis and Sufis. Today, there are multiple Muslim communities located in Chiapas among the Tzotzil: including the Murabitun, an independent Sufi group, Sunnis, and Ahmadis. There, in the highlands just outside San Cristóbal de las Casas is a small microcosm of global Islam and many of its contemporary currents, tensions, beliefs, and practices. The story begins back in the 1980s when locals in rural Mexican communities started converting from Catholicism to evangelical Christianity. Mexico is still a predominately Catholic country. Yet religious conversion is on the rise. In 1970, 96 percent of the country was Catholic. Over the next forty years, that share dropped to 80 percent.33 Evangelicals are part of that equation, with an increase in their share of the religious population alongside a growing secularism and conversions to other religions. This process is part of a broader shift in religion in Latin America where the burgeoning religious pluralism that followed the rise of independent, secular, governments in the nineteenth century grew into full bloom in the twentieth century. With the deinstitutionalization of the Catholic Church and the subjectivization of the religious marketplace, the Catholic Church lost its “ought-ness” and inevitability. This has led to an increase in religious switching amidst widening spiritual options in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Although constrained by the structural limits of specific Latin American countries, the general trend has been toward greater religious diversity with the advent of rapid communication technologies, easier transnational travel, and continued international and intranational migration and movement. For Siddi Omar, who is now Muslim, evangelicalism once offered a pathway to a better life. Not only did the evangelical and Pentecostal missionaries active in his hometown of San Juan Chamula offer change at the personal and familial levels, but also potential societal transformation and a change in the community’s economic status.34 He was attracted to the new religion and he was not alone. Many others in the community converted, not only for the promise of a better life, but also because of the concrete opportunities for freedom that were offered through evangelicalism.35 The Pentecostal and Protestant churches challenged the stranglehold of the caciques—local leaders who controlled federal loans, farm subsidies, and business licenses—and they soon expelled “up to 35,000 residents—mostly Evangelicals, but some reformed Catholics as well . . . in the 1970’s, 80’s, and 90’s.”36 Some of them wound up near San Cristóbal de las Casas, where they established themselves, banded together for economic purposes, and worked to evangelize and convert the local population there. These expelled evangelicals would help form part of two important movements in Chiapas—the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército

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Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN or Zapatistas) and, later, Muslim convert communities. Founded in November 1983 and led by a man who goes by the name of Subcommandate Marcos, the EZLN started a rebellion against the Mexican government in January 1994. Its main aim was to advocate for, and struggle on behalf of, marginalized Mexicans such as Indigenous peoples and the poor. In opposition to the neoliberal global capitalist order in general and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in particular, the EZLN aimed to procure justice, employment, land, basic needs, health, education, liberty, and peace for the Indigenous people and their allies in Chiapas.37 Its influences include the history and legacy of early-twentieth-century peasant leader Emiliano Zapata, for whom they are named;38 Marxist-Leninist ideology; and a more revolutionary strain of Catholic liberation theology. At times labeled as a “terrorist” organization, the EZLN has been largely nonviolent.39 Building on their popularity and reputation for largely peaceful resistance, the EZLN sought to transition into a peaceful political force in the early 2000s. Despite Subcommandante Marcos’s quasi-heroic status in the southern Mexican highlands and notoriety across the globe, the EZLN has failed to materialize as a potent political force in Chiapas or Mexico as a whole.40 However, “the Zapatistas brought a sense of confidence to the indigenous people of Chiapas, sparking the formation of new groups of Evangelicals that reversed the tide of expulsions. In some ways, the rebellion also brought Islam to Chiapas.”41 In fact, a good number “of the Muslim converts in the city today came from communities of displaced Christians”42 and many were first evangelical before they became Muslim.43 Evidence of this is shown in the campos that the Tzotzil live in outside of San Cristóbal de las Casas. There, in the foothills of Chiapas are mosques scattered in a community predominately populated by evangelical churches and a couple of Catholic chapels. In the mid-1990s at the height of their popularity and notoriety in global news, the EZLN became poster children for the alterglobalization cause44 and the armed struggle for Indigenous rights. In their opposition to the neoliberal order and the abuses of global capitalism, they attracted a wide array of supporters and potential collaborators from abroad. One ear that bent in their direction was that of a middle-aged Scot named Ian Dallas who had converted to Islam many years before and adopted the epithet Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi. The head of the MMM, he sent two MMM emissaries to Chiapas with the purpose of teaming up to take on the global economic order. They tried, unsuccessfully, to convince the EZLN of their vision of Islam, believing there were similarities in their politicoreligious agendas—namely, liberation from the neoliberal market and resistance to state oppression. However, this was only possible through Islam for the Murabitun, a vision not shared by the Zapatistas.45 While these Muslim

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alterglobalization ambassadors were not successful in convincing Subcommandante Marcos or other Zapatistas, they did bring Islam to Chiapas and helped add hundreds to Mexico’s Muslim constituency. One such convert was Siddi Omar. Omar and many other former evangelicals—and Catholics—in the area came to convert with the arrival of the two missionaries in 1995. 46 Although their contact with the Zapatistas was limited, and largely fruitless, the Spaniards connected with Tzotzil people in, and around, San Cristóbal de las Casas. Soon thereafter, an entire Tzotzil family converted, and several other Tzotzil families joined the missionaries in founding a new community settled in the outskirts of the town—thus founding a self-sustaining Muslim community in southern Mexico. Today, there are multiple Muslim groups in and around San Cristóbal de las Casas who all claim to be on the right path and try to define themselves against the other mosques and movements in the area. There is the Mezquita Al Kautsar in Molino de los Arcos, which separated from the original Murabitun missionary group and connected with Omar Weston and others at the Centro Cultural Islámico in Mexico City. Then, there are the Misión Para El Da’wa en México A.C. Offices run by Hajj Abdullah Halil. The aforementioned Comunidad de la Colonia de Nueva Esperanza is an Ahmadiyya community led by Hajj Ibrahim Chechen, who brought the Ahmadiyya message to the region in 2013 after attending their conventions in Guatemala City and London.47 Most Sunni Muslims consider Ahmadis non-Muslim and so these Muslims have little, to no, interaction with other Muslims in the area or in Mexico as a whole. Despite this, the community continues to grow. There is also Mezquita La Medina led by an imam from Syria and Musala Tlaxcala Number Thirty, which received missionaries from the worldwide Jamaat al-Tablighi movement. Despite the divisions, and the opposition, “Islam prospers in Chiapas”48 and continues to grow in the region. It is also a microcosmic representation of the diversity, energy, missionary zeal, and tensions that make up the global ummah today. The community is largely isolated from the other 5,000 or more Muslims in the country and have often refused socialization with journalists, researchers, and some of their fellow Muslims. The mid-1990s conversion of these Tzotzil Muslims, and their subsequent divisions a decade later, have been labeled as demonstrative of “the selective appropriation of Islamic doctrine”49 by local communities throughout the Americas. They have also been highlighted as representative of the preservation and reshaping of ethnic identities in conversation with global Muslim movements.50 At the very least, they are a sign of how dramas in global Islam are present, and potent, in the Americas. Researchers would benefit from comparing sectarian divisions here with more wellknown locales such as Iraq, Nigeria, or Pakistan.

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Concomitantly, the forces at play between these groups are also part of Latin America’s particular dynamics. Culturally, Latin America—and Mexico in particular—is a complex mix of traditions and modes of modernity that are diverse and unequal, intermixed, and often in opposition to one another. As Nestor Garcia Canclini writes, “Today we conceive of Latin America as . . . a heterogeneous continent consisting of countries in each of which coexist multiple logics of development.”51 Part of this includes diverse visions of the world and how it should look economically, politically, and socially. For many subalterns—such as the Tzotzil in Chiapas— global visions of equality and justice are appealing in a world too often lacking in both. Moreover, religion plays a significant part in these processes as well. But first, it would be good to dig deeper into the transnational history of the MMM to understand how and why it sent missionaries to Mexico.

The Murabitun World Movement Founded in the 1970s by Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi (also known simply as Shaykh as-Sufi), the name of this movement recalls the al-Murabitun or Almoravids (“the Sentinels”). The Almoravids guarded the borders of Islam from Mauritania to Senegal and the Niger River in ribats—fortresses and surveillance posts that also served as places of prayer and study of the Quran. They were also a moral movement professing a strict version of Islam that they positioned in opposition to what they considered to be unorthodox manifestations among Muslims inhabiting the kingdoms of North Africa. In time, it grew into a mass movement that engulfed two continents and played a decisive role in historical developments in Africa and Spain alike. Ibn Khaldun even referred to them in his theory of the rise and fall of civilizations.52 Ibn Khaldun proposed that eleventh-century Muslim North Africa and Spain had exhausted its moral mandate and had given itself over to the vices of life and empire. The Almoravid revolution acted like the equivalent of a rural/tribal wave that overtook vast swathes of the North African and Andalusian empires.53 The Almoravid went on to hold the Andalusian Peninsula for over a hundred years and successfully repelled the Spanish Crusaders urged on by Pope Urban II and others beyond the Pyrenees Mountains. Today, the Almoravids and their leaders are seen by some as fearless leaders who protected the ummah from the onslaught of foreign invasion and imperial corruption. While the modern Murabitun movement is only tangentially connected to the Almoravid dynasty (as alluded to in their name), they do draw on the Almoravid legacy, its impetus toward reform, and idealized versions of economic systems. Born in Ayr, Scotland, in 1930, as-Sufi grew up in a family of landowners and supposedly floated through multiple positions before

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encountering Islam in Fez, Morocco, under Abdalqarim Daudi in 1967. At that time, Ian Dallas took the name Abdalqadir. He then joined the Darqawa tariqa (order) under the tutelage of Muhammad ibn al-Habib—shaikh of the Darqawa tariqa in Morocco until 1972. It was under al-Habib that Abdalqadir was given the title as-Sufi. He continued to encounter Sufi traditions as he traveled through North Africa. This is where he most likely learned of, and was influenced by, the history of the Murabitun of the eleventh century. Claiming to be authorized by Shaykh al-Fayturi of Benghazi, Libya, and taking a spiritual retreat, as-Sufi then pronounced himself a leader of the Darqawa. He founded his own community in Spain and then resided in Achnagairn, Scotland, before taking up residence in Cape Town, South Africa, where he currently leads the MMM.54 Drawing on the concepts of the emirate, sultaniyya, and caliphate, asSufi and the Murabitun advocate personal rule as the natural form of human governance, but have developed a firm structure of allegiance (bayat) and guidance under an emir (guide). As-Sufi is the supreme emir of the Murabitun and has been accused of enforcing total obedience. As-Sufi remains an enigmatic figure, with some claiming that he is linked to esoteric and masonic organizations. Despite the nebulous use of the term, some have even speculated that the Murabitun are a “cult.”55 Part of the impetus for the “cult” labeling comes from the tendency of the Murabitun to form tight knit, secluded, and semiautonomous economic communities based on their rejection of the current global economic structure and its attendant strategies. For a time, as-Sufi and his members even advocated reestablishing the gold dinar standard. To spread this message, the Murabitun are involved in bold worldwide dawah initiatives. As-Sufi proposed in his works The Way of Muhammad and Islam Journal that Islam is the potential fulfillment of the Western European intellectual and spiritual trajectory and tradition.56 To this end, he translated several Sufi works into English and Spanish so that they might be disseminated throughout Europe. As-Sufi sees this as a continuation of the work of the Almoravids and their historical presence in Spain. To that end, the Murabitun have established centers in England, California, Scotland, Spain, Morocco, South Africa, and Mexico.57 In the dozens of Murabitun settlements and communities around the world, the individuals involved live within a system predicated on cooperative trading and social welfare. Related to the Murabitun principal goal of restructuring the global economy is the restoration of what they deem “the fallen pillar” of zakat. Zakat refers to the annual compulsory charity that is deducted from 2.5 percent of certain properties and wealth and used for charitable and religious purposes within the ummah. For the Murabitun, zakat takes on extra significance. Early on, they believed that it must be taken by an emir, it

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must be either gold or silver, and it must be immediately shared and disbursed rather than invested or saved. This stands in juxtaposition to prevailing practices that allow Muslims to generally donate their zakat as they see fit and the fact that many donations are invested into both shortterm and long-term funds. Seeing zakat as the basis for a political and social unity within the ummah, the Murabitun condemned zakat banking and investments and, instead, posited that it should be used for the circulation of wealth within a Muslim community cooperative establishment. For the majority of its existence, the Murabitun also advocated that the economy should be based on either the gold dinar standard or the silver dirham. Stating that paper money was nothing more than a promissory note, as-Sufi and his followers turned to the bimetallic currency scheme as the potential basis for a fair economy and shared wealth within a Muslim community. However, as of February 2014, as-Sufi no longer advocates the dinar and dirham system in favor of advancing other economic emphases such as shared wealth.58 It was these principles, in connection with the economic vision of the EZLN, that prompted the MMM to send missionaries to Chiapas at the height of unrest in the region in the 1990s. Although Subcommandante Marcos refused to convert to Islam and the two organizations could not come to terms on how to proceed—the EZLN wanting to stick to its Marxist-Leninist and liberation theological roots and the MMM to its Islamic economic ideals—the missionaries decided to stay on in the area of San Cristóbal de las Casas. There they engaged in dawah and soon gained a following among former evangelical Christians caught up in the political and economic instability in the surrounding villages of San Cristóbal de las Casas.

Is Another World Possible? In his essay on the Muslims of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Umar Farooq details the travails of the Indigenous Tzotzil people through the story of Sebastian López López. Deprived of access to land, marginalized in their own cities and towns of residence, and systemically underprivileged, many Tzotzil in the area banded together in the mid-1990s to build their own neighborhood market. The project struggled and failed to take off. Muhammad Nafia, one of the Murabitun missionaries, offered to help as part of Murabitun’s broader economic vision. López López, Farooq writes, sold bananas in the town and soon embraced Islam. He was the first Muslim convert in the area and now goes by the name of Muhammad Amin.59 A curandero—a local healer who draws on Catholic symbols, natural material objects, and ancient Tzotzil wisdom—when he was younger, Amin gave up

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his healing practice after a string of struggles and transferred his energy and desire for a better world into political activism. He was a well-known EZLN supporter and was well liked among Tzotzil activists in the area. An agnostic at best when Nafia arrived, he was impressed by the missionaries’ solidarity with the Indigenous people and their focus on justice and equal access. He started to ask about Islam and saw similarities between Islamic beliefs and Tzotzil ways. Particularly, their foodways impressed him— “Islam was like our tradition,” Amin told Farooq, “to eat on the floor, to eat with our hands, this was like our old traditions.”60 Inspired by the parity proposed by the Murabitun and in the Prophet Muhammad’s prophetic utterance and example, Amin converted. He was not the last. Farooq writes, “Within a few years, two hundred Mayan Indians became Muslims, joining the community led by Nafia.”61 Unlike evangelicals and Pentecostals, the Murabitun never rallied the populace around revivals and did not rely on street preaching or passing out pamphlets. One by one, family by family, the Tzotzil residents on the fringes of the San Cristóbal de las Casas geography and economy started taking the shahadah until nearly 400 people had changed faiths. The area had been the setting for a series of religious shifts in the decades preceding the mass conversion to Islam. Sandra Cañas Cuevas writes, “The conversion to Islam among Mayas in southern Mexico is best understood against the backdrop of larger processes taking place in Latin America and more specifically in Mexico—namely, the crisis facing the Catholic Church and the increasing religious diversification of the population.”62 Where once Catholicism claimed nearly all of the population in its membership roles, they now comprise just 64 percent of the Chiapas population—the lowest percentage in all of Mexico. 63 Once the stronghold, and spell, of Catholic entitlements in the area was broken, there was a remarkable expansion in the religious market—Jehovah’s Witnesses, Pentecostals, Mormons, and several other Christian churches plus an increasing number of people with “no religion” such as Amin. Cañas Cuevas writes, “The arrival of evangelical religions in the region played an important role in this context, becoming a means for [Tzotzils] to express their opposition to local leaders.” 64 Paralleling the growth of Protestantism in rural areas across Mexico, the conversion of marginal populations to Islam is part and parcel of broader religious changes in Mexico and Latin America. At the same time, the case in San Cristóbal de las Casas stands out for its force and fecundity. In a matter of months, 400 Tzotzil had converted. For some, this was their third, fourth, or even fifth religious switch in their lifetime. Explanations for this rapid religious switching are numerous65 but, in their own words, the Tzotzil were simply looking for a better world. The Catholic one they knew, dominated as it was by local political chiefs

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(caciques), left them stranded on the sidelines of societal and economic empowerment, never delivering the world they thought possible. And so, when evangelicals and prosperity preachers came to town they believed in the vision of a better life, the possibility of an improved condition not only in the next life, but in this one too. Cañas Cuevas writes that, for people across the globe, religion is “an important source of support and a means to resist and contest oppression and marginalization.”66 For the Tzotzil in particular, it became a vehicle to withstand, and wage war against, historical dispossession, increasing economic and sociopolitical marginalization, and land regulations that habitually left the Tzotzil with little to no access to land and thus “vulnerable to eviction and arbitrary detention by local authorities, who often see indigenous people as illegal invaders.”67 Put differently, “conversion allows Muslims in Mexico to step outside of local ideologies of dominance and difference. It offers the opportunity to sidestep, to circumnavigate discourses that define them as subaltern.”68 The egalitarian message of the Murabitun (and Islam as a whole) spoke to the Tzotzil and their conversion allowed them to grasp at some form of critical distance from their own society and the oppressions they felt therein. Offering tangible advantages to the subaltern subject, Islam offers something akin to a “theology of liberation” or, at the very least, a language of protest accessible to different marginal groups69 such as the Tzotzil Muslims of Chiapas. For them, Islam provides the possibility of another—fairer and just—world.70 Taken together, I suggest that the conversion of Tzotzil Muslims—or, for that matter, those in other communities in Mexico such as the Nur Ashki Jerrahi—is a means of making a better world for themselves.71 These communities reflect not only the Indigenous ways in which Islam is translated into the Mexican context, but also broader trends in religious switching and the practice of spirituality in Mexico as a whole. This also makes sense when paying attention to the broader economic, social, and political context of the Chiapas Muslim communities in particular. However, before becoming too focused on economic determinations and religious conversation, we must avoid slipping into any overly simplistic “rational actor” explanation of how religion continues to thrive, change, and shape life in modern Mexico. That type of analysis too readily assumes Latin America has witnessed the collapse of a Catholic monopoly over the religious arena and that this arena has become a pluralistic marketplace, where religious producers compete with each other to produce the most attractive goods. According to this theory, religious practitioners (like economic consumers) then survey the available religious options in largely reasonable and disinterested ways, choosing the faith that seems most likely to fulfill their individual needs and desires, for healing, companionship, or economic advance. Scholars who support this

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view contend that this paradigm can help account for sometimes confusing religious conversions and affiliations and that it can demystify religious adherence and change and why some religions are more popular, or growing faster, than others.72 While often producing elegant models of religious behavior, the “economistic” approach to religion has many critics. Some deride its instrumentality and tendency to explain religious choices and affiliations through simple formulas that are too generalized and far from the realities that dictate everyday life.73 Arguments against rational choice models contend that religious choices cannot be reduced to decontextualized and individualized cost-benefit analysis, as they are often shaped by embodied habits, complex webs of meaning and emotion, and the social location of religious believers, as well as the networks in which they are embedded.74 Further, rational choice approaches tend to assume that religious institutions are monolithic actors with clear sets of interests, methods, and awareness of their actions, rather than seeing these institutions as characterized by complexity and contradiction (not pure choices, not necessarily rational agents, not necessarily free [with power]). Additionally, this approach can sometimes ignore more cosmopolitan contours and the dynamic interaction between people’s social locations and their exchanges with global networks.75 A rational actor approach can miss how conversion is a complex process featuring multiple interactions between agents and contexts and often is simply a shift from Catholic to Protestant, but one in which multiple religious options are available (Indigenous traditions, Afro-American religions, or Islam).76 At its worst, this model loses its analytic power, becoming a simple statement of the obvious: people believe that their religion has advantages and is good for them in some way. Against such simplistic explanations, I suggest that it is a broader— and deeper—desire to reshape the world itself that has motivated these conversions and helped shape these communities. Rather than an attempt to navigate their existing milieu more efficiently or effectively, Muslims in Chiapas and Mexico City are trying to remake the world and turn it upside down. Not only concerned with this world and its benefits (economic, political, or otherwise), they are reaching within and beyond their surroundings to construct a temporal and eternal cosmos where they—the marginalized, minoritized, and disinherited—are at the center. Drawing on millennia of Mexican belief, ritual, and practice, they are constructing a new axis mundi, where their communities, bodies, and rituals act as hubs for a new world order. This new world order transcends the borders and limitations that have often constricted them—religious, territorial, cultural, economic, and so forth—and allows them to create a new order centered around their particular combination of Mexican and Muslim belonging, belief, and custom.

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And yet Islam offers no utopia, at least not in San Cristóbal de las Casas. In the difficult-to-reach highlands of Chiapas, halal meat is difficult to come by, religious materials can be scarce, and local Muslims must often rely on foreign teachers rather than on Indigenous leadership. Still, they have done more than manage with their means. They have adapted and thrived in merging their Indigenous identities with their newfound faith.77 Yet these innovations have also led to divisions. Once unified in their vision of a better world, the contemporary scene is known for its frictions and fissures. The tensions began to appear in the first decade of the new millennium and, by 2004 and 2007, new groups emerged with about thirty people leaving the Murabitun group claiming they were ethnocentric in rejecting the Tzotzil language and their traditions.78 With women leading the way, these new groups have produced hybrid formations of Islamic faith and practice. Through combining the wearing of the hijab with traditional Maya shawls, launching informal study groups outside of the mosque to practice ijtihad (independent interpretation of the Quran), advocating direct access to texts and Allah, pushing for the protection of natural resources, challenging polygamy within Tzotzil and Muslim cultures, building new marriage arrangements, selling groceries and handicrafts, and aiming at being a self-sustaining community, these women are building the better world they dreamed Islam would offer them. Of course, with the harmony and equality comes a certain set of limits and internal contradictions.79 They are still confined by generally conservative cultural politics and the limits of their immediate context. Nonetheless, as with their compatriots in the Nur Ashki Jerrahi or among Muslim women in places such as Egypt,80 their actions are full of agency and potential for change. Simultaneously, in economic effort and ingenuity in ideology and religious practice, the Muslims of Chiapas—in concert with foreign missionaries and compatriots in Mexico City and the United States—have been able to carve out their own space within the global ummah. Their agency is made clear when one considers how “in a context infused by increasing marginalization, conversion to Islam among Mayas is playing a key role in providing them with a means to remake their community and, more important, to interpret everyday life problems, thus becoming a key source of strength and community building.”81 Their individual and communal inventiveness and the subsequent creation of hybrid identities and conventions have been part of an exchange across multiple terrains and geographies: physical (from Scotland to South Africa, Morocco to Mexico), cultural (Tzotzil and mestizaje, immigrant and Indigenous), and ideological (Sunni and Sufi, Ahmadiyya, etc.). All the while, “the conversion process is clearly entangled with global networks and dynamics . . . [as] it also responds to local logics and individual aspirations to spiritual satisfaction and social distinction.”82

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Conclusion This local agency is made paramount when one considers the power dynamics at play as well.83 In her work among the Tzotzil Muslims of Chiapas, Michelle Romero Gallardo drew on the work of Mary Douglas to argue that power is the capacity to classify—the ability to generate levels of difference and to declare certain religious ideas, practices, or material expressions as either pure or polluted.84 In other words, power is the potential to practically decide which actors are valid and which actors are not valid—who are the “good Muslims” and who are the “bad Muslims.”85 These power dynamics are at play in Chiapas, where Tzotzil Muslims strive to see themselves, and their distinct culture, reflected in their religious world. Having a divinized society before Catholicism, Protestant Christianity, or Islam, the Tzotzil want to preserve their potent sense of Indigenous belonging and their understanding of the cosmos in some shape or form, no matter the institutional religious conduit. Gallardo shares how when Spanish conquerors came with Catholicism, the Tzotzil showed interest in seeing themselves in new Catholic world and created new hybrid religiocultural identities as a result (e.g., Jewish people eaten by jaguars in their retelling of the crucifixion narrative or how Tzotzils were viewed as superior to Europeans). This enabled them to push back when they were not considered “good Catholics.” Classified as “less-than,” they responded by saying they were “greater-than.” Nonetheless, in part due to the years of being considered “bad Catholics,” the Tzotzil found other religious offers attractive when they came along, especially those that said you can come to this religion and practice as you want and not be discriminated against. Empowered at an interpersonal level through the efforts of evangelicalism (e.g., Tzotzil women being told they did not have to accept being inferior to Tzotzil men), many Tzotzil converted to Protestantism. The same process of empowerment and renewed agency started again in the mid-1990s when the Murabitun missionaries came with the promise that their religion— and its vision of a better world—was one of justice and parity, equality and purity. And yet the Tzotzil then found that these leaders did not typify these qualities in practice (e.g., not using the Tzotzil language, not accepting the use of traditional food, 86 not wearing Indigenous styles, etc.) and so they split off again after being treated as second-class citizens in their own religion and region. There were ugly scenes, family ruptures, and fights. The Tzotzil divided themselves between those who wanted to remain with their leaders and those who did not. Some altered their clothing and food to match the Spanish Murabitun practices. Other Tzotzil sought another way and formed their own religious communities, many of them staying within a broader Sufi movement. Others turned to Sunni tra-

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ditions. Others then joined the Ahmadiyya community, with its motto of “love toward all” and “hatred toward none” and subsequent emphasis on acculturation and adaptation. At every turn, power is at play. Largely, that power rests in the hands of the Tzotzil. While it may seem that foreign missionaries and movements—from Spain or the United States, Saudi Arabia or Morocco—are in control, the Tzotzil have largely dictated the shape of the Muslim communities in Chiapas. “Power is not only about imposition,” says Gallardo, “it is also the potential, and ability, to create. In this case, Tzotzil men and women manifest a persistent interest in presenting themselves as both authentic Muslims and indigenous Tzotzil. They are not only victims of power, but also creative and empowered agents.”87 In this way, power is about self-creation and self-presentation, recreating communities and redefining the modalities of Muslim faith and practice to fit one’s context and what one considers acceptable according to one’s own culture. For the Tzotzil, there is no contradiction between their Indigenous identification and traditions and the religion of the missionaries. For them, the same divine creative agency is behind both. Allah, they believe, made them Tzotzil. He also brought them Islam. In search of a better world, they combine their Indigenous and Muslim identities and practices as one way of expressing agency in a society—both local and global—that often feels outside of their control.

Notes

1. Strochlic, “See the Small Mexican Town Embracing Islam.” 2. Medina, “Islam in Mexico.” 3. Taboada, La sombra del Islam en la Conquista de América. 4. See the discussion of Cook’s work, Forbidden Passages, in Chapter 3. 5. Medina, “Islam in Mexico.” 6. The North African Muslim enslaved as part of Pánfilo de Narváez’s expedition to Florida, which wound up returning to Mexico City around the Gulf of Mexico. 7. Richmond, “The Legacy of African Slavery in Colonial Mexico, 1519– 1810.” 8. Proctor, “Afro-Mexican Slave Labor in the Obrajes de Paños of New Spain, Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.” 9. Okeowo, “Mexico’s Hidden Blacks.” 10. Gregorious, “The Black People ‘Erased from History.’” 11. See Assad, Memoria de Líbano; Cuevas Seba and Mañana Plasencio, Los libaneses de Yucatán; Díaz de Kuri and Macluf, De Líbano a México; Carrillo, De cómo los libaneses conquistaron la Península de Yucatán; Kaim, Yo soy Líbano. 12. Cobos Alfaro, “Los musulmanes de México en la umma”; González, “El islam en la Ciudad de México.” 13. Zeraoui, El Islam en América Latina. 14. Ota Mishima, Destino México. 15. Velcamp, “Arab ‘Amirika,’” 290.

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16. La Laguna and Torreón have concentrations of Shi‘i Muslims, the rest of the cities are predominately Sunni and there is a Druze community in Mexico City. See de Maria y Campos, “Guests of Islam,” 147. 17. Ibid., 148. 18. Zeraoui, El islam en América Latina. 19. Medina, “Conversion to Islam in Mexico.” 20. Ibid. 21. Jeménez, “El Islam en La Laguna, una tradicional minoría religiosa.” 22. Ibid. 23. Medina, Islam en Guadalajara. 24. Medina, “Islam in Mexico.” 25. See “El Centro Cultural Islámico de México,” Zabihah, n.d., https://www .zabihah.com/aut/mx/S10dHfnV3B. 26. Zeraoui, “El islam en México.” 27. de Maria y Campos, “Guests of Islam,” 148. 28. Medina, “Islam in Mexico.” 29. de Maria y Campos, “Guests of Islam,” 148. 30. Ibid. 31. That is, progressive for their time. 32. Garrido, “Mexico’s Muslims in Indigenous Maya Heartland.” 33. Butler, “Catholicism in Mexico, 1910 to the Present.” 34. Farooq, “Searching for God and Justice in Mexico’s Rebel State.” 35. Campbell, “Mexican Villages Experience Evangelical Shift.” 36. Farooq, “Searching for God and Justice.” 37. See Ponce de León, Our Word Is Our Weapon. 38. See Rochlin, Vanguard Revolutionaries in Latin America. 39. Ross, Rebellion from the Roots. 40. See Rus et al. Mayan Lives, Mayan Utopias. 41. Ibid. 42. Ibid. 43. Arsenault, “Inside Mexico’s Mud-Hut Mosque.” 44. Steger and Wilson, “Anti-globalization or Alter-globalization?”; Pleyers, Alter-globalization. 45. Morquecho, Baja la bandera del Islam. 46. Cañas Cuevas, “The Politics of Conversion to Islam in Southern Mexico.” 47. See Gaspar Morquecho, “Two Decades Later: The Muslim Indigenous Community from Chamula, Residents of San Cristóbal De Las Casas,” Dorset Chiapas Solidarity, June 6, 2016, https://dorsetchiapassolidarity.wordpress.com/2016/06/06 /two-decades-later-the-muslim-indigenous-community-from-chamula-residents -of-san-cristobal-de-las-casas/. 48. Kusumo, Islam en América Latina Tomo II, Kindle loc. 1669. 49. Cañas Cuevas, “The Politics of Conversion to Islam in Southern Mexico,” 165. 50. de Maria y Campos, “Guests of Islam.” 51. Canclini, Hybrid Cultures, 9. 52. See Khaldun, The Muqaddimah. 53. Ibid. 54. Hadjian, “The Gods of Chiapas.” 55. See Ventura, “Movimientos Islamistas en España.” 56. as-Sufi, The Way of Muhammad. 57. Ibid.

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58. Bewley, trans., The Letters of Shaykh Moulay Muhammad al-Arabi alDarqawi. 59. Farooq, “Searching for God and Justice.” 60. Ibid. 61. Ibid. 62. Cañas Cuevas, “The Politics of Conversion to Islam in Southern Mexico,” 163. 63. Cañas Cuevas and Tsotsunkotik, “Gracias a Allah que somos más fuertes.” 64. Cañas Cuevas, “The Politics of Conversion to Islam in Southern Mexico,” 164. 65. de Maria y Campos, “Guests of Islam,” 154. 66. Ibid. 67. Ibid., 165. 68. Ibid., 144. 69. Ibid., 155. 70. Devji, Landscapes of the Jihad, 130–131. 71. Despite resistance from other Muslims in Mexico and the order’s leaders in Turkey, the Nur Ashki Jerrahi persist in advancing women’s leadership, participating in multireligious rituals at locales such as the Kiosko Morisco, and blending Turkish Sufism with elements of Mexican culture such as devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe and traditional conchero dance. They are, in ways parallel to the Tzotzil Muslims in Chiapas, attempting to create another world. While that in Chiapas may have more to do with the economy, the Nur Ashki Jerrahi order’s “new world” is one of justice, women’s leadership, and a “new age” of interreligious engagement and action. Much more could be said about this order in Mexico City, but I chose to focus on the Muslims in Chiapas because they are more widely known and written about. For more on the Nur Ashki Jerrahi order in Mexico City, see Cirianni Salazar, “Fusion and Disruption”; González, “The Nur Ashki Jerrahi Tariqah in Mexico City.” 72. See C. Smith and Prokopy, Latin American Religion in Motion; Chesnut, Competitive Spirits; Laitin, “Religion, Political Culture, and the Weberian Tradition”; Smilde, Reason to Believe. 73. As Peter L. Berger famously wrote, “Jihadists don’t perform a cost-benefit analysis.” See Berger, The Many Altars of Modernity. 74. See Peterson, Vásquez, and Williams, Christianity, Social Change, and Globalization in the Americas. 75. “En el caso de México, el tiempo parece acoplarse a esta coyuntura internacional, porque de igual forma, desde hace ya más de una década han habido esfuerzos prístinos en la Antropología por tratar de entender las dinámicas locales de las comunidades de musulmanes que se asientan en el territorio, entre éstos: la migración, la configuración de las comunidades, el uso del cuerpo, la identidad religiosa y de género se han convertido en temas centrales para la comprensión del Islam, su práctica y su presencia en nuestro país, con toda la complejidad que ello implica.” García and Medina, Islam Una Perspectiva Global Y Local, 8. 76. Steigenga and Cleary, Conversion of a Continent. See also Burdick, Looking for God in Brazil; Ireland, Kingdoms Come. 77. Strochlich, “See the Small Mexican Town Embracing Islam.” 78. Cañas Cuevas, “The Politics of Conversion to Islam in Southern Mexico,” 166. 79. Ibid., 180. 80. See Mahmood, Politics of Piety. 81. Cañas Cuevas, “The Politics of Conversion to Islam in Southern Mexico,” 170. 82. de Maria y Campos, “Guests of Islam,” 162.

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83. Bruckmayr, “Divergent Processes of Localization in Twenty-first-century Shi‘ism.” 84. M. R. Gallardo, “Allah Made Me Indian.” 85. See Mamdani, “Good Muslim, Bad Muslim.” 86. For example, the basis of Tzotzil food was corn. Leaders told them they should not eat it because pigs eat this. In this, the Tzotzil are compared to animals and not treated as humans. From Gallardo, “Allah Made Me Indian.” 87. Ibid.

9 The Contest for Sunni Hegemony in the Caribbean

WALKING DOWN THE COBBLESTONES OF CALLE OFICIOS FROM Plaza de San Francisco de Asís in Habana Vieja (Old Havana), I am met by a parading crowd of dancers on stilts. Resplendent in bright colors and accompanied by a full brass band, the buskers are earning their coin. If you take a picture, you need to provide some pesos, or at least some Cuban convertible pesos (CUCs, pronounced “cooks” by locals). It is a hot day in Havana, and I sympathize with the performers. They are working hard for the money and not much of it. I am already sweating and looking forward to at least getting out of the sun when I visit Masjid Abdallah—Cuba’s first public mosque—during their jumaah, or gathering, prayers on a balmy Friday in March 2016. Heading about a block from the main plaza along Calle Oficios, I scan the building facades to catch the mosque’s sign, which I’ve only seen online. As I am looking, a man suddenly emerges to my right, exiting a cracked and crumbling building front via two very tall, skinny, dark green, wooden doors. His pant legs are rolled up to midcalf, his shirt to the elbows. Beads of water reflect the light of the midday sun as they cling to the small hairs on his arm. There are splashes of water on the cuffs of his pants. He is wearing Crocs. His hair is wetly mopped onto his forehead and the nape of his neck glistens with the hint of water. As he emerges, we almost run into each other and he spares a glance in my direction. I blurt out, “As-salaam alaikum” (Peace be unto you) and his puzzled look turns into a warm smile. “Wa alaikum assalaam,” (And peace unto you) he responds. All the signs hint that he just performed wudu—obligatory purification of the body before prayer. Surprisingly, I deftly catch the closing tower of a door and slip inside. I set my things down in the dimly lit, bathroom-like space. I go into the toilets 203

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as two men enter the small room with stalls to the right, five stations for wudu with benches and spigots protruding from the wall, and two large water barrels stuffed into the immediate left corner with a small mirror above and a pitcher resting on top. More greetings of peace are exchanged as I sit down to wash myself before entering the main prayer hall, the location of which I am still not certain. As I clumsily remove my shoes, I realize I’d forgotten my sandals back at the casa particular where I am staying with a local family. I roll up my pants, take off my socks, and begin to wash, letting the cool water run over the warm soles of my feet. I realize, quite annoyingly, that I will have to stuff my wet feet into my socks. The Crocs were a good call. As I continue washing myself, a man sits down next to me and asks me where I am from. As we rinse our mouths, nostrils, faces, heads, arms, feet, and ankles, we talk. A Yemeni, Ahmad serves as a doctor here in Cuba. A friend of his joins us. He is studying for his PhD in biochemistry. He is also from Yemen. Done washing, we head to the masjid located next door. We squeeze through the dark green doors and turn to the right where we walk through a portico and pass a gold sign with the name of “Abdallah Mosque” written in Arabic (Masjid Abdallah) and Spanish (Mezquita Abdallah). When we go inside, a small group of Yemenis gathers together in the back to chat and catch up. On entering the masjid, a man named Sameer greets me with a richsmelling ointment and asks me where I am from. Everyone seems interested in the fact that I’m from Florida. No one asks if I am a researcher. Having performed wudu, greeted people with peace, and wearing a thick beard, they assume I am Muslim. But I tell them who I am and why I am there—to learn more about Cuba’s Muslim community. They welcome me, happy to show off their new masjid. I remove my shoes and hat and place them in a cubby just outside the doors of the prayer room in the narthex. The entry hall is painted in green and white with geometric designs, twice as wide as it is deep and open to the outside. Rubber necks peer through the porticos along Calle Oficios trying to figure out what is inside the building. Surprisingly, it seems, they find a mosque. After perhaps taking a picture, the tourists move on to find a platter of ropa vieja or, ironically, a serving of Moros y Cristianos, a dish of black beans and white rice. I enter the prayer room with my pen and my pad, recorder, and phone and look for a place along the wall, preferably in a corner next to an airconditioning unit. I find a spot and settle in. It is blissfully cool inside the room. The space itself is well lit, beautiful, and has all the “mod cons”: multiple air-conditioning units, a large sound board, sky lights with an Andalusian-style trellis, lights, and so forth. A man dressed in an all-white thawb (ankle length tunic), wearing a turban, carrying misbaha (prayer beads), and reading a Quran in his lap is bent over and reciting just a few feet in front of me. He pauses reading for a moment and turns to greet me. “¿De dónde eres?” he asks. I let him know where I am from and return the

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question. He is not from Havana, he says, but from Matanzas, about 100 kilometers east of Havana. He comes here for jumaah on Fridays because it is the only mosque where he can pray in Cuba. He is a convert and is hungry for teaching and a wider community, he tells me. As I look around, there seems to be a mix of local converts, immigrants, businessmen, and tourists like me. One guy is constantly taking photos. An older man taps him with his cane and shooshes him. He is remonstrated. There are the usual gatherings and greetings around the mosque as people enter in and get seated and prepare for the khutbah, the message from the shaikh or appointed imam. Deference to elders, initial prayers of intention (niyyah), reading the Quran, sitting against columns and walls. It is a scene you could see in any masjid around the globe. However, I noticed little circles such as the Yemeni group, a substantial group of Indonesian men in traditional shirts (batik), and a sizable number of what seem to be young men from somewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. Plus, there is a man with long dreads who appears to walk around barefoot beyond the mosque. Even though this mosque is like many else in the world, it is also distinct for its diversity and ethnic miscellany. It is a snapshot of the global ummah and its many cultural influences and interlocutors. By the time the khutbah begins at 12:47 P.M., there are about 150–200 men gathered. The women’s section is sealed off and separated by a wall that spans only three-quarters of the length of the room, meaning there is space that flows between the areas. The wall is also punctuated by large wooden doors in pointed archways. I’m assuming these could be opened for large events. Out of the corner of my eye, I catch a fair number of women walking in as well. As the shaikh ascends the minbar (pulpit) Sameer works the sound board concealed inside a little cabinet near the mihrab, an ornamental niche in the wall indicating the direction of Mecca. While the sound crackles and pops, I notice he has multiple mics and a nice sound setup. The mosque appears well funded. Strong in voice, the shaikh gets straight to the point in his khutbah. He uses a raised finger to emphasize his message. He is dressed like a Saudi cleric and, after he finishes, he sits down and the infamous Imam Yahya takes his place in front of the mihrab, to the side of the minbar, to deliver the message in Spanish. It is noticeably shorter than the Arabic khutbah. He holds a printout translated from the Arabic. Why does he not ascend the minbar? Lack of qualifications? Perhaps this shows a preference for Arabic over Spanish in space and place? As the prayers begin, I quickly step out. Security is posted at the front. The streets of La Habana Vieja still pulse with energy and heat. The stilt performance has now returned to make its way down the street again. I will be sure to drop a few CUCs in the collection. The heat, and sounds, of the city beckon me. I will probably grab some ropa vieja tonight and pass on the Moros y Cristianos. But before I go, outside the prayer room in the

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foyer, I take a look at the bulletin board. In addition to prayer calendars and a map of Cuba, there are signs about rules and regulations at the mosque. There appear to be strict rules about photos and videotaping. Hence, the older man stopping the tourist in the middle of his photo shoot. There is a circular about security and access to the masjid when it is closed to the public. Apparently, it is well policed and guarded by the authorities. There are clear rules in place about the exclusively religious character, and use, of the building and space. There is even a circular about not selling food or other goods in, or around, the property during Ramadan—a pretty common practice at other mosques across the world. In addition, there are pronouncements from El Consejo de la Liga Islámica de Cuba about the opening of the mosque and the need for peace between all peoples on Earth and especially within the ummah. Highly relevant, given the diversity of the crowd now reciting verses from the Quran together in unison. Continuing to read the letter that calls for unity across the ummah, I see—at the very bottom— that the Islamic league thanks La Embajada del Reino de la Arabia Saudita for its support of the project and for helping them build the mosque to serve the Muslims of Havana and all of Cuba. * * *

Over the years, various investors from Qatar, Libya, and private organizations such as the Muslim World League have attempted to supply funding to the Cuban government with the attendant promise to build a public mosque. However, no attempt was successful until 2015. That year, Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet Isleri Baskanlıgı, or Diyanet) sought to build Havana’s mosque in contestation with another bid from Saudi Arabia. Working with local Cuban Muslim community leader Pedro Lazo Torres (also known as Imam Yahya or Yahya Pedro) and said to have backing from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, this plan failed even with an accompanying visit to the island nation, mythohistorical pronouncements, and a rallying of Latin American Muslim leaders in Istanbul, all by and from Erdoğan himself.1 But why? The aim of this chapter is to explore this attempt by Turkey’s political leadership to build a mosque in Havana in light of Turkey’s reemergence on the global scene and its contest with Saudi Arabia in the “cold war for global Sunni hegemony.” I also consider how Saudi Arabia’s success in building the mosque in Havana was not only a political and economic coup, but potentially an ideological one as well, between Turkey’s and Saudi Arabia’s respective vision for global Islam. This chapter not only introduces readers to Cuba’s thriving Muslim community, but also to the ways in which global Islam is concerned, and involved, with this community and vice-versa. This chapter shows the networks of global Islam that exist

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between Ankara, Riyadh, Havana, and across many geographies, polities, and peoples in between. I show how Cuba is a node in the networked contest for global Muslim leadership and a battleground in the contest to resurrect the mantle of Ottoman power in the late modern world.

Muslims in Cuba Before delving into how Turkey and Saudi Arabia sought to influence the ummah and fight for Sunni hegemony in the Caribbean by building the country’s first mosque, it is important to provide an overview of the Muslim population in Cuba, a nation that is officially secular in stance but largely Catholic in practice.2 Either way, Cuba’s Muslim community is a small minority. In 2009, the Pew Research Center released a report that placed the number of Muslims in Cuba at 9,000 (0.1 percent of the population), but these numbers are far from reliable.3 The community is made up of both converts and Muslims who immigrated as students or workers. Religious conversion, switching, and the more visible public practice of religion have been on the rise since Cuba’s “Special Period”—a period in the 1990s that brought about an economic crisis and during which the government abandoned its official atheism.4 In part because of this shift, foreign religious organizations and national governments regularly send money in the form of humanitarian aid and supplemental support for the nascent Islamic organizations on the island.5 Additionally, with Cuba’s schools gaining international recognition in the middle of the twentieth century, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, there was an influx of students to the island. The Muslim population on the island has grown with students from sub-Saharan Africa (Chad, Niger, Nigeria, and Rwanda) and from Pakistan (principally after an earthquake in 2005 saw scores of Pakistanis resettled in Cuba who were given scholarships by the Fidel Castro government) in particular. There has also been an Arab population on the island since the early twentieth century.6 However, because Cuba has a low number of immigrants per capita, it is assumed that the majority of Muslims on the island are converts. There is no official demographic data to confirm these statistics, but scholars surmise that along with general religious renewal in the Special Period also came an increase in conversions to Islam, supported by dawah by visiting foreign nationals, widespread literature distribution, and intimate house-based communities given the long absence of an official mosque on the island.7 Although there were Muslims in colonial Cuba, converts to Islam began to emerge in the 1970s and 1980s 8 after the arrival of students and foreign workers earlier in the twentieth century. For example, Jorge Salinas tells of how a medical mission to Pakistan brought him into contact with “the most

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wonderful, loving, and hospitable people” and how this “opened the door very wide for [him] to embrace Islam.”9 After embracing Islam, he returned to Cuba and took up the practice of Islam with patients from Pakistan who returned to the island with him. However, with the difficulty of obtaining Spanish-language dawah materials or Qurans, the leaders of the community found it difficult to promote their religion,10 and believers such as Salinas frequently felt isolated. He reminisced that when his Pakistani patients returned home, he was “alone and did not know [if] there were more Muslims in Cuba.”11 He thought he was the only one. Then, he reached out to Arab embassies in Cuba and found that the Islamic League of Cuba had been in existence since the 1960s. Today, there are two principal organizations that oversee the religious life of Muslims in Cuba: the Cuban Islamic Union, presided over by Imam Yahya Pedro and the Islamic Association of Cuba, based in Havana. There are reports of some Muslim communities outside of Havana, including in the west of the country, where some surmise that there are large concentrations of Muslims.12 This sets the scene for the effort by Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs to build a mosque in Havana, in contestation with another bid from Saudi Arabia. Working with local Cuban Muslim community leader Pedro Lazo Torres and said to have backing from President Erdoğan, Turkish officials seemed confident their bid would be successful. Nevertheless, in June 2015, the nation’s first mosque was founded with funding from Saudi Arabia. The mosque is a symbolic accomplishment for Cuba’s Muslims and their international partners. It is also a practical one. Now that the mosque is established in Havana, and flush with international funding, it is hoped that this might prove a base for further outreach to the local population. Furthermore, as Cuba seems to be opening itself up to more external influences, it is possible that the Muslim population will continue to increase organically with more economic, social, and cultural contact. Before the mosque was completed in 2015, the majority of Cuban Muslims prayed in their homes and struggled to balance between their spiritual and material needs.13 Some Muslims, who were serving as diplomats, working locally, or studying in Cuba, were permitted to pray in the Casa de los Árabes (the Arab House), a museum for Islamic and Middle Eastern culture in Old Havana. For a long time, the prayers held there were the only public Friday prayers held in the country. The Arab House was built by funding by an immigrant who lived in Cuba in the 1940s and was based on Andalusian architectural designs in a hope to showcase the interwoven nature of Spanish and Islamic culture. Qatar and other Middle Eastern nations paid for its upkeep over the years. However, local Cuban converts were not permitted to pray in the Arab House, only non-Cuban citizens who were diplomats, tourists, students, or foreign workers; hence, the need for a mosque that would be open to the public.

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Turkey’s Growing Influence in Latin America and the Caribbean In February 2015, Erdoğan’s visit to Cuba included an audience with President Raúl Castro and discussion about the Diyanet’s proposal to build Havana’s mosque near a site Erdoğan claimed was significant in global Islam’s history. Cuba’s Muslim population welcomed the idea. Meeting in private homes—many gathering at Imam Yahya’s home to pray and study the Quran—Cuba’s Muslims had long hoped that a mosque might one day serve the thousands of Muslims in Cuba. To give mythohistorical weight to the project, President Erdoğan told the Latin American Muslim Religious Leaders Summit in Istanbul that “America was discovered prior to 1492,” claiming that Muslim sailors reached the Americas in 1178. He asserted that Columbus included the sighting of a mosque off the coast of Cuba in his memoirs. He said, “We [spoke] about this with my Cuban brothers. And a mosque will suit that peak very nicely.”14 While historians, anthropologists, and scientists overwhelmingly challenged, or even refuted, Erdoğan’s claim, the Turkish president doubled down on his statements and insisted that a careful rereading of history would show the contribution of the East, the Middle East, and specifically Islam to science, the arts, and American civilization. Erdoğan also proposed that the project would be modeled after Istanbul’s Ortakoy mosque,15 which long symbolized the bridge between East and West, as the edifice faces the geographical dividing line of the Bosphorus River. “As the president of my country, I cannot accept that our civilization is inferior to other civilizations,” Erdoğan said.16 Unfortunately for him, while economic and political ties between Latin America, the Caribbean, and Turkey seemed to be strengthened by Erdoğan’s visit, his religious intentions were met with cool reservation and clear rejection. Cuba turned down Turkey’s offer. It opted instead to award the contract to donors from Saudi Arabia, who worked with Cuban authorities to construct Cuba’s first mosque. Turkey’s competition with Saudi Arabia over building a mosque in Havana, and its consternation at being denied in favor of “other countries,” highlights how geographies outside the Middle East feature in what has been called the new “cold war for Sunni hegemony.”17 Ever since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the wake of World War I, there has been a jockeying among Sunni majority Muslim nations to claim the mantle of “leader of the Sunni Muslim world,” if not the “Muslim world” in general (although Shi‘i leaders in Iraq and Iran would beg to differ). The contest to claim the lost mantle of Ottoman power18 has been waged between various contestants over the years, including Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel, Islamist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and even Russia. Other players include Lebanon, Jordan, the various Gulf states, the

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European Union, and the United States, all allying themselves with various entrants in the field.19 In recent years, the landscape on which this battle has been fought, it is often said, includes four major “battlegrounds” or “proxy wars” in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen. At best, this may be expanded to include other parts of North Africa (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria) and certain areas of sub-Saharan Africa (Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, etc.). Flash points occur when there are shifts in the political scene or at major events such as the hajj. While it is important that analysts and scholars focus on the Middle East and North Africa to understand this cold war for Sunni hegemony, it is critical to widen our view and include other geographies in our panorama as well. Why? Because Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and other players do. The competition to build a mosque in Havana is not a mere sideshow to the main event. It is part and parcel to a global strategy of exerting influence on economic, political, and ideological playing fields and an attempt at piecing together a decentralized Sunni hegemony—an alterterritorialized caliphate, if you will. In places such as Cuba, Sunni powerhouses such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia attempt to wield influence to contest the authority of their rivals. In this instance, Erdoğan hoped he could leverage Turkey’s longstanding relationships with the region and build further ties to contest Saudi Arabia’s encroaching interests. Turkey’s relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean dates back to the nineteenth century, when there were several waves of migration from the Ottoman Empire between the 1860s and the end of World War I. Those emigrants, mostly Arabs, were essentially referred to en masse as “Los Turcos” since they possessed Ottoman passports. However, it was in the 1990s that the region came to be a source of potential partnership for Turkish politicians and elite actors. For example, President Suleyman Demirel’s visit to the region in 1995 constituted an important milestone for the increased attention being given to Turkish–Latin American relations. Yet it was in 2006 that links between Turkey and the region took a leap forward with the launching of the former’s Latin America Action Plan—a proposed road map for political and economic relations between Turkey and Latin America. In line with its multidimensional foreign policy and continually enlarging role in global politics, Turkey gave priority to high-level visits and meetings to strengthen political relations with countries of the region. Concomitant with these visits have been increased levels of economic trade, military exchanges, bilateral cultural interchanges, and mutual cooperation agreements. Turkey has increased its diplomatic presence in the region, established business councils in major Latin America and Caribbean economic centers, and initiated cultural and academic interaction (specifically with the establishment of the Latin America Research Center in Ankara University and the proposed Turkish History and Cultural Center at Havana University).

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As part of the cultural exchange, Erdoğan also hosted a first of its kind summit of Latin American Muslim leaders in Istanbul in November 2014. Under the banner, “Building Our Traditions and Our Future,” the Diyanet invited and hosted seventy-six religious leaders from forty different countries—including Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Suriname, Uruguay, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Ecuador, Jamaica, and Haiti—under the directorship of Mehmet Gormez. The five-day summit aimed to merge Turkish and Latin American and Caribbean projects and consider religious education, publications, problems, and proposals for solutions in light of the “villification” of Islam in the global imagination. Gormez told the gathering, “The Islamic world has faced, and is continuing to face, great traumas in our century. The latest incidents have led us to be embarrassed for Muslims in Latin American countries. Even though these incidents have helped form Islamophobia in the West, namely in the U.S. and Europe, it is remarkable that there is no Islamophobia in Latin America.” Gormez hoped that Latin American and Caribbean Muslim leaders might learn from the Diyanet’s claim of extensive experience and global leadership. In essence, this meeting was meant to wrest the narrative away from the “wrong” people (i.e., Saudi Arabia) vis-à-vis the Diyanet’s own vision of, and for, global Islam. The robust attendance at the summit could also be considered an outgrowth of, or parallel development to, Latin America’s Pink Tide. This turn away from the Euro-American dominated neoliberal economic and political order and toward left-wing and progressive economic and political outlooks led to more South-South linkages, including, but not limited to, such prominent relationships as that between Venezuela and Iran. Thus, from their domestic perspective, participation in this summit could be viewed as a sign of progressiveness and multiculturalism. It could also be seen as a desire on the part of Muslims on the perceived margins of global Islam to feel more integrated into the ummah as a whole. At the same time, some representatives from the region voiced disquiet, saying they felt they were being propped up as tools for the Turkish government to further its own agenda. Claudio Santos, a Brazilian Muslim who attended the conference, told the Cihan News Agency that he concluded that the Turkish government’s plans to collaborate with the heads of Muslim organizations in the region were solely to further its Islamist agenda in the region. This perspective, coupled with the fact that only certain Islamic organizations were invited from the region and that Erdoğan made dubious claims concerning the Muslim “discovery” of the Americas, created some coolness when Erdoğan visited the region in February 2015.20 Birol Baskan writes, “Beyond slogans and media portrayals, Turkey under Erdogan has taken concrete steps to develop ties with non-Turkish Muslims.”21 This could be seen as part of a broader effort by Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) to project strength in the wake of

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being denied European Union membership multiple times and to carve out an alterterritorialized scheme of global influence. They sought regional influence and worked to regain allegiance from former Ottoman imperial subjects and to become their own global force separate from Europe. The idea was not only popular with Erdoğan’s Turkish base, but for a time seemed to be progressing apace in the wake of the Arab Spring, with allies in Syria and Egypt making serious strides. Still today, Qatar, Somalia, and Libya bare the imprint of Turkey’s attempts in this regard. This plan not only included multibilliondollar investments in Muslim majority countries, but also overtures to Muslims in minority contexts, as seen with Latin America and the Caribbean. Promoting such ties and advancing its own version of alter-Islamism—a broadly conceived and more passively influential form of the Islamization of politics on the global scale—has been a way for Turkey to attempt to “become a hub where transnational Islamic religious opinion makers can meet and discuss common problems.”22 Therefore, Erdoğan’s attempts to influence Latin American Muslim leaders and build a mosque in Cuba can be interpreted as an integral part of this project and process. For Turkey and Erdoğan’s AKP, the mosque in Havana would have served as an outpost for their alter-Islamist outlook. It is also an attempt to outmaneuver Saudi Arabia and its own pan-Islamic machinations. While contexts such as Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and Yemen may be observed as prime loci for the “war within a war” between the state ideologies of Saudi Arabia and Turkey, locales such as Cuba and the wider Americas cannot be overlooked. Here too, the cold war for Sunni hegemony is being played out. While the Arab world and its peninsular premiers at first welcomed Turkey’s reemergence as a political and economic force as a potential counterweight to Tehran’s power in the wake of the Arab Spring, an ever deepening rift can be readily observed between Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Sparked by Saudi Arabia’s disapproval of Erdoğan’s tacit, and sometimes explicit, support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and its goals to install a pro-Istanbul power in the wake of Bashar al-Assad’s regime and as a counter to ISIL’s territorial incursions, which ran counter to Saudi Arabia’s aims, the contest between the two nations to hold sway over Sunni politics worldwide spilled beyond the Middle East and North Africa to include other regions as well. In this contest, controlling religious interpretation is equal in importance to political power and economic prowess. Thus, the competition over building Cuba’s first mosque cannot be viewed as a mere petty skirmish. Instead, it is a flash point wherein the two nations’ forms of Islamic governance and religious expression meet head-to-head. This parallels not only previous relations between Saudi Arabia and the Ottoman Empire, but also the juxtapositions of Saudi Arabian influence and power with that of Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, and non-national entities such as al-Qaeda, ISIL, and shadow (f)actors such as the United States, the former Soviet Union, the European Union, and

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China. This contest cannot be analyzed in a silo, but as part of wider multilateral global processes. Erdoğan, as the embodiment of the hopes and dreams of the alter-Islamist ideal in Turkey and abroad, becomes vitally important in this context. Similar to how he and the AKP utilized Turkey’s coming ever closer to European Union membership as a way to carve out a spot for their relevance in Turkish politics in the 1990s and early 2000s, so too Erdoğan could be seen as flexing Turkey’s alter-Islamist might in the 2010s in regions such as Latin America and the Caribbean to directly oppose both internal and regional competitors.

Mapping Turkey on Cuba, Reimagining Cuba as Muslim Eschewing the traditional Islamist objectives of restyling educational, federal, economic, political, and social institutions according to Islam, alter-Islamists in Turkey instead focus on the preservation of Islamic and Turkish culture through the mobilization of Islamic individuals, ideologies, and icons.23 For example, when Erdoğan became mayor of Istanbul, he was confronted with the decades-long shift in Turkey’s population from rural to urban centers and the legacy of Islamists who imagined an “ideal Muslim city.” To navigate between the supposedly godless landscape of a secular city and the Islamized vision of his forebears, he began to co-opt Istanbul’s symbolic religious heritage as a means not only for inviting foreign investment and tourism, but also to mobilize the masses around the reconceptualized ideal of the Turkish national imaginaire. Rather than simply relying on the vestiges of Turkey’s Ottoman past, Erdoğan and the AKP went on a campaign to replace ancient buildings with new, or sufficiently refurbished, pastiche versions that merge the modern and what the AKP and the alter-Islamists see as out of fashion. These hybrid architectural moves utilize symbols such as the illuminated Bosphorus Bridge or the hypermodern and yet typically Turkish mosque at Istanbul’s new airport, built to welcome 6,230 worshippers at full capacity and to craft “a transnational arena where consumerism and Islam . . . are fused.”24 The material aspects of the alter-Islamist vision pervade the beliefs and begin to inform the habitus of the citizens. Without necessarily reforming institutions, Erdoğan and the AKP are able to transform society by altering their architecture, space, and landscape. Or, in the case of reconstituting Hagia Sophia as a mosque in 2020, Erdoğan altered the meaning of a space to achieve similar ends—to appeal to his pious nationalist base and position himself as the “sultan” of a renewed Ottoman Empire. This brief snapshot of Erdoğan’s project to Islamize Istanbul—and Turkey—in alter-Islamist style illustrates how materiality might also go hand in hand with the global imagination of alter-Islamism. Erdoğan and the

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alter-Islamists of the AKP and their supporting constituencies have realized that to maintain their vision for Turkey they must inscribe not only their own landscape with the symbolic and spatial icons of their imagination, but also other locations throughout the globe. This can be seen in the efforts Erdoğan has put into cultural projects and centers that promulgate the alter-Islamist’s version of Turkish ethnohistory in the European Turkish diaspora in countries such as Germany, France, and the Netherlands. As we can begin to see, for Islam to be, and remain, the central driving force of Turkish culture in a globalized age, Islam must be appreciated as the social force behind global culture(s) as well. In trying to frame alter-Islamism as more amenable to the West and its influence, Erdoğan and his compatriots are moving beyond attracting allies, tourists, and “protectors” in erasing their historical animosity toward the West, and instead repositioning Turkey as central to the West’s own project. Thus, in Turkey’s liminal location between the imagined “West” and “East,” straddling the Bosphorus as a beacon to the Middle East and Europe, I suggest that its leaders are also striving to (re)inscribe other localities in the West with Islamic history, meaning, and progeny to establish Islam as part of their own East/West landscape at home. Erdoğan’s recent efforts in Cuba can be viewed as a case in point. In attempting to simultaneously situate Turkey and Islam as a bridge between East and West, Erdoğan’s statements concerning Cuba, Latin America, and the Caribbean—and his proposed projects there—exemplify how he is attempting to reterritorialize Turkish visions of Islam in the West by reimagining history and mapping the alter-Islamist vision of Turkey onto the Cuban landscape. Two specific aspects of his proposal and statements regarding the project are illustrative. First, Cuba, like Turkey, is a symbol of liminality and hybridity. While admitting that boundaries and geography are imagined and constructed, it can be said that both Turkey and Cuba are situated along conceptualized borderlands where new hybrid identities are forged between East and West and North and South, respectively. Although “hybridity” has come to mean all sorts of things concerning the mixing and combinative forces occurring in the moment of cultural exchange it can be said to be that “in between,” which refers to the “third space” as a space of cultural separation and merging. It is the place where transculturation takes place, which involves the acquiring of limited aspects of a new culture, the loss of some elements of an older one, and the creation of a new, hybrid-but-coherent body of old and new amalgamated together. In this instance, the third space is represented by geographical locations, two nations socially constructed—Turkey and Cuba. Thus, their geographies act as borderlands and third spaces where processes of “glocalization” and the dialectic of deterritorialization and reterritorialization can play themselves out. They become the locales where Turkish alter-Islamists can navigate their proposed identifications and attempt to merge the multiple cultures they opt to incorporate. This can be seen to, in

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some ways, parallel the projects of the United States and the Soviet Union to inscribe their own visions of “nationhood” in Cuba in the 1950s and 1960s during the global Cold War between democracy and communism. In this case, Cuba served as a tableau on which Turkish alter-Islamists attempted to illustrate that their brand is the preferred solution to Saudi Arabia’s in terms of salvation, self-esteem, and economic and political success for a nation reemerging after decades under Fidel Castro. It could even be said that Cuba could be viewed as a desired heterotopia for Erdoğan, in the Foucauldian sense, that challenges Western and Saudi Arabian hegemonies in a form of postcolonial solidarity between Cuba and Turkey. Second, Erdoğan’s proposal includes a symbolic material aspect as well. Like his work in Istanbul, Erdoğan hopes to create a structural and geographic symbol of this imagined solidarity between Cuba and Turkey, East and West. Thus, not only did Erdoğan want to build the mosque on the hill once metaphorically seen as “a mosque,” but he wanted to fashion the structure of this building after the Ortakoy mosque in Istanbul with all its symbolism. Built in the 1850s as the Ottoman Empire was passing its peak and a new Turkish nationalism was beginning to stir, the Ortakoy mosque’s location on the Bosphorus—with a physical bridge in the background—still symbolizes the idea that Turkey is a link between the West and the East. US president George W. Bush and his team picked up on this symbolism during his visit in June 2004 as he spoke in front of the mosque and praised Turkey’s merging of Western democracy and religious devotion. Erdoğan’s government also highlighted this symbolism as part of its alter-Islamist agenda when it renovated the mosque, reopening it to the public in 2014. Thus, similar to how Erdoğan erected ersatz versions of ancient symbols infused with new modernistic ideals when he was mayor of the city, so too the Ortakoy mosque’s Cuban cousin would have stood as a symbol of the merger between East and West, Turkey and Cuba, global Islam and Latin America. David Harvey writes, “those who command space can always control the politics of place.”25 Thus, the building of a Turkish-style mosque, with its concomitant alterIslamist symbolism, could be seen as an attempt to command Cuban (and by extension, American) space not only religiously, but—at least in a sense— politically and socially as well. Furthermore, integrating Cuba into the imagination, perception, and experience of global Turkish vision thus (re)defines what it means to Turkish and Muslim in a global age in contradistinction to other imaginaires being produced by interlocutors such as Saudi Arabia. Yet Erdoğan’s vision of “Turkish Islam” is only one of many imaginaries in Turkey. It may be the state-supported and funded version, but it is not the sole idea competing for space and recognition. This is even more evident as Turkey competes with other discourses throughout the ummah. While the majority of the Turkish population is Muslim, there is vast heterogeneity within this demographic. There are various Shi‘i populations,

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Sufi communities, and different schools of Sunni thought, all with varying opinions on the mix of Islam and politics that Erdoğan and his constituents have brought to the table. Some of Erdoğan’s religious rivalries are well known and vocal, most notably his feud with Fethullah Gülen and his popular, cosmopolitan, and transnationally mobile Hizmet movement. Furthermore, there are certain Islamist groups in Turkey who find alter-Islamists too secular and, on the other end of the spectrum, Islamic intellectuals who are calling for a unique brand of Turkish Islam and state policies that does not try to merge East and West, but to create a new sociality and state that is neither East nor West but distinctly Turkish. Indeed, Erdoğan and the alter-Islamists face multiple internal challenges. Outside of Turkey, Erdoğan and the alter-Islamists face Wahhabism from Saudi Arabia, Kurdish conflict within their borders and in neighboring Syria and Iraq, and the rising threat of ISIL. Not only do these opponents offer geopolitical confrontation, but also contrasting visions of global Islam. Moreover, we must be careful to not assume that Cuba is simply a canvas to be drawn on by other global actors. Instead, Cuba possesses its own distinct agency in contestation of the structural elements of the aforementioned cold war over Sunni hegemony. First, the Cuban government’s official stance on religion should be considered. Although Cuba’s constitution guarantees religious freedom, the government regularly restricts religious activity. The Cuban Communist Party’s Office of Religious Affairs is responsible for regulating religion in the island nation and retains the power to officially recognize religious groups and grant building permits for houses of worship (hence, its ability to deny Turkey’s advances to build the mosque and the limitation on Cuban converts praying at la Casa de los Árabes). Beyond this control, they also can approve or deny religious visitors, imports of religious literature, and the public performance of religious services. Even though the activities of all religious groups are limited, the Roman Catholic Church has been awarded extra freedoms in the past and as Cuba blooms into a new epoch of relations with the United States and other global powers the Catholic Church has seen the most benefit—principally due to Pope Francis’s involvement in negotiations between Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro. Jews, Muslims, Santería, and other religionists are limited from producing their own periodicals, worshiping as they please or in public, and maintaining websites. Thus, the rejection of Turkey’s plans to build a mosque in Havana could be seen not as a repudiation of any type of Islamic governance or position, nor a totalizing opposition to religious incursions into Cuba at the present moment, but as a strategic political and economic choice for a country still struggling to emerge from its post-Soviet dip. Furthermore, it must be said that Turkey’s alter-Islamism may or may not be relevant and appealing to the minority Muslim population in Cuba or in the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean. Although Imam Yahya and

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other Muslim leaders in Cuba and the region may welcome external funding to augment their practice of piety, some of the grander aims of alterIslamism do not match the lived realities of a minority Muslim population in Latin America and the Caribbean. Islamism’s historically slothful record on social justice initiatives and meeting the needs of the poor may preclude a certain reticence from regional Muslim leaders who are eager to respond to the needs of the people in their nations and region. Furthermore, it can be said that modern democracy, a religion-neutral state, freedom of thought, and other human rights and dignities can come via many religious and political projects, not necessarily alter-Islamist ones. Thus, Muslim minorities in Cuba and Latin America and the Caribbean may not need to look to Turkey and its brand for assistance to achieve the religious freedom and recognition they desire. This is all the more relevant in light of the diminishing of Turkey’s bolder foreign policy. As Erdoğan sought to consolidate power within Turkey after 2013, and in the wake of subsequent tremors in domestic Turkish politics in the ensuing years (including the attempted coup d’état in July 2016), he has had to focus on issues closer to home. Where Turkey is involved in foreign policy wrangling, it is often related to locales along Turkey’s borders (e.g., Syria) or nearby (e.g., the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region between Azerbaijan and Armenia). This brings us to consider that other actors are still active in the region as well. Turkey and Saudi Arabia are not alone in seeking to influence Cuba’s future. The United States, China, Russia, European powers, and regional entities all want an opportunity to direct Cuba’s future. This is not to mention the significant presence of Iran in the picture, which is also locked in a contest with Saudi Arabia to be a global Muslim leader. Replacing the cold war for Sunni hegemony with that of the Sunni-Shi‘i conflict and its proxy wars, Cuba becomes another backdrop against which this conflict might play out. Also located in Cuba is the Fatima Zahra Center, which is a Shi‘i center where Muslims can come to pray under portraits of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and learn from a scholar who studied at the prestigious University of Qom, Iran.26 Cuba is open not only to countries such as Turkey, but many other players in the ummah. Scholars must remain mindful of this and recognize the plurality of interlocutors, and landscapes, in contestations of power within the region or in global Islam as a whole.

Petro-Islam Flows into the Caribbean In the end, the Cuban government side-stepped the offer from Turkey because it had already been collaborating with the Saudi Arabian government and its diplomats to build Mezquita Abdallah with Saudi money. Not only did the Saudi government leverage its positive relationship with the

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Castro government to finance the repurposing of a museum for use as a mosque on Calle Oficios, but it now has plans to construct one of the largest mosques in Latin America at a prominent roundabout in the heart of Havana.27 This large-scale project will be fully funded by Saudi Arabia and will be a permanent place of prayer for Cuba’s Muslims. It also aims to serve as a hub for the wider Latin American and Caribbean Muslim population. Although the local Muslim population is encouraged by these developments, there are those with potent fears within and beyond Cuba. Writing about the proposed construction, William McGee—a guest writer for the Havana Times, an independent newsblog based in Nicarágua—says, “Aside from the real threat of terrorism, Saudi-funded mosques have long been known for preaching a hardline version of Islam by promoting the subjugation of and violence against women, condemning liberal values and nonIslamic systems of government, and preaching intolerance towards activities enjoyed by the wider Cuban population, such as drinking alcohol and premarital relations.”28 Not only do his comments evince some of the themes addressed in Chapter 7 in regard to the global war on terror and Islamophobia, they also raise the question of the “kind of Islam” that Saudi Arabia is exporting. Some have dubbed this “petro-Islam.” Originating with Fouad Ajami,29 the term petro-Islam took on purchase as shorthand to refer to the Wahhabism of Saudi Arabia being exported across the world with the support of Saudi Arabia’s wealth of petro-dollars. Wahhabism began as an eighteenth-century reform and revival movement known as the Muwahhidun (upholders of the tawhid—oneness of Allah) led by Hanbali scholar Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. In response to the perceived moral decline and political weakness of Muslim majority countries in the Middle East, al-Wahhab’s vision was a return to an idealized Muslim past and the reassertion of extreme monotheism and the doctrine of tawhid. Al-Wahhab proposed that governments and peoples must rely on the Quran and hadith and reject the traditional Sunni madhab, or schools of interpretation. Echoing the reformational call of ad fontes—back to the sources—alWahhab and his supporters used education and knowledge as a way to purge populations of bida (innovation) in the way of saint veneration, shrine visitation, and other practices they found questionable. Allying themselves with Muhammad ibn Saud in 1747, Wahhabism rose to prominence along with the Saud family, who was able to consolidate the tribes of Saudi Arabia and established the present-day kingdom that continues to rule. Collapsing history, they are part of the broader Salafi discourses, which seek to return to the Islam of the “pious predecessors” (al-salaf al-salih). In broad strokes, petro-Islam has been used to describe how Saudi Arabia uses the financial resources it has gleaned from the sale of petroleum to leverage the idea that it leads the Muslim world, to advance Wahhabism globally, and pursue the end goals of its foreign policy. Not only does Saudi Ara-

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bia directly spend money to achieve these ends, but in the exchange of workers between these states and the Gulf nation, seasonal employees spend time in Saudi Arabia, engage with Wahhabi doctrine, and return to their country of origin influenced by Saudi interpretations of Islam.30 Furthermore, Saudi universities are home to numerous scholars from across the globe who no longer prefer Al-Azhar in Cairo, but institutions in Medina, Riyadh, and elsewhere in the kingdom. This has led to tensions in places such as Egypt and the United States as more conservative interpretations of Islam are imported with these scholars and workers on their return.31 French political scientist Gilles Kepel latched on to the term and uses it to argue that before the rise of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Saudi oil revenues in the 1970s, Islam was largely a mosaic made up of many local traditions. However, Kepel argues, since the Yom Kippur War and the success of the oil embargo, Saudi Arabia has been able to spread its influence across the globe through its political and economic ascendancy within the Muslim world.32 For Kepel and others who share his opinion, Saudi Arabia has focused its efforts on combatting Arab nationalism in favor of its “puritanical” form of Islamic law in the moral, political, and cultural realms. The goal was to unify Islam under Wahhabism and, Kepel argues, Saudis have focused particularly on influencing Muslim cohorts in Western nations.33 The conduits for this technology of power are many and include the printing of religious resources (Qurans, introductory guides to Islam, doctrinal pamphlets from Wahhabi perspectives, etc.), the establishment of Saudi charities worldwide, increased migratory flows, scholar exchanges, missionary preachers, the hosting of the hajj, and building mosques in places as diverse as Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the United States. On the one hand, there is evidence for the influence of petro-Islam in Latin America and the Caribbean. Mosques throughout the hemisphere are stocked with books from publishers such as Dar-us-Salam Publications and titles such as A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam, which offers a Wahhabi-inspired interpretation of Islam to non-Muslims seeking to learn more.34 The slick cover and modern presentation of the text make it attractive and I have personally collected, or seen, copies of this text in mosques from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Lima, Peru, and many places beyond and in between. Further, Saudi charities helped fund relief efforts by pouring billions into philanthropic causes throughout the world—including Latin America and the Caribbean.35 Moreover, various Latin American Muslim imams and leaders have been invited (and have been given scholarships) to attend universities in Saudi Arabia or to come on the hajj free of charge. Finally, more than 1,500 mosques across the world were built with Saudi funds between 1975 and 2000, including el Centro Cultural Islámico Custodio de las Dos Sagradas Mezquitas, Rey Fahd in Buenos Aires, Argentina.36 That mosque-building fervor continues today in places such as Bangladesh,

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Pakistan, and the Americas. These mosques can then become a conduit, Kepel contends, for the furtherance of Wahhabism via Saudi petrodollars. On the other hand, while it cannot be denied that Wahhabism and Salafism have grown worldwide over the past few decades and that Saudi-funded “petroprojects” have played a role in easing their diffusion, there is not enough evidence to prove that Saudi Arabia has been overwhelmingly successful in spreading its singular vision of Islamic faith and practice around the globe. That is, even if that is its primary goal. Beyond religious motivations, it is altogether possible that the money for mosques, the printing of pamphlets, and advancement of aid dollars is not meant to serve a solely pious end, but a practical—and political—one. In the end, all of these efforts could amount to Saudi efforts to protect its state revenues and hold on to regional power rather than to specifically further the Wahhabi cause. It could even be said that the relationship between the ruling Saud family and the Wahhabi movement has always been more about pragmatism than piety. Furthermore, the fear and fanfare over the spread of petro-Islam neglects the autonomy and agency of the many Muslim actors that Saudi Wahhabis are working with when they put pamphlets in local mosques, even ones they themselves have built and whose pulpits they have filled. Wahhabis cannot control the discourse that is prompted by their actions or funded by their investments. This problem is even more acute when it comes to broader, and more diffuse, Salafi movements worldwide. While I do not explicitly disagree with Kepel’s perspective, I do take issue with the uncritical perspective it invites in the media and public spheres. Although Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi outreach has been widespread around the globe, it is worth noting the ways in which Muslims in various locales express their agency and their own cultural perspectives in resisting, accepting, or adapting that influence. The discourse of Muslims—whether they be Wahhabi, Salafi, Sufi, Sunni, Shi‘i, or something in between or otherwise—is diverse, decentralized, and far from fixed. As Talal Asad reminds us, Islam is a tradition of multiple discourses. Power plays a pertinent role, but Saudi dominance is not sovereign in these matters. Just because a mosque is funded with Saudi dollars does not then make it a “Saudi mosque” in character and influence. Petro-Islam may speak to a certain truth about Saudi Arabia’s efforts at advancing its theological outlook around the world, but it is neither monolithic nor hegemonic. For example, one need look no further than the mosque in Havana. The cleric who shared his khutbah does not have control of the many constituencies in his community. The Indonesians in the far corner may have something to say about his interpretation of certain hadith. Not to mention his message has to be condensed and translated by Imam Yahya to even reach the large Spanishspeaking cohort in the mosque. Last, but not least, the Yemeni clique I

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spent time with had their own words of caution for me. A couple days after my visit to the mosque, along Avenida 23, near the infamous Mallecón, I ran into the PhD student again, this time with his wife, in a cigar shop. We exchanged greetings. While looking at cigars, the young PhD student slid away from his wife to say, “Hey, don’t take everything you heard in the masjid on Friday as Islamic.” He wanted to caution me, saying, “some of it was just Saudi propaganda.”

Conclusion The fact that Saudi Arabia and Turkey competed over influence to build Cuba’s first purpose-built mosque is telling. While I was speaking on the theme of Islam and Muslims in Latin America at Florida International University in 2017, a young woman challenged me about the “Saudi-ization” of global Islam and how Saudi Arabia’s petrodollars were funding the worldwide spread of Wahhabism. To her, it was an ominous sign that Saudi Arabia was behind the funding of the mosque in Havana. Saying she was Turkish, she advised that Cuba partner with Turkey’s government instead. She was sure that Erdoğan and the Turkish government would be more than happy to reengage. Her comments reminded me again of the relevance of geographies in Latin America and the Caribbean to broader discussions within, and about, global Islam. To understand the global contest for either Sunni hegemony or leadership in the Muslim world at large, we must constantly broaden our view to include geographies outside the Middle East and North Africa. Too often, our analyses focus on places such as Yemen, Syria, or Iraq. At best, they may include locales in West Africa, Southeast Asia, or even Europe and the United States. However, in this chapter I sought to show how Cuba, Latin America, and the Caribbean also serve as sites where this global drama plays out. More than that, Muslims in these countries are active agents in the process of encountering, shaping, and reacting to these developments. The choice between Turkey and Saudi Arabia even allowed the Cuban government to have a hand in shaping the Muslim sociality that continues to develop on the island. Altogether, this extended look at Turkey’s attempts—and Saudi Arabia’s semblance of success—in Cuba illustrates the importance of not viewing Islam in Turkey, petro-Islam, or global Islam as a whole in a myopic manner or from a solely nationalized, area-ized, or even regional, point of view. Instead, this chapter cast the subject into a greater transregional context to help researchers and the interested public better understand lived and political Islam as involved in a feedback loop with various interlocutors that not only include the usual suspects, but nations typically on the periphery of critical considerations of global Islam—in this instance, Cuba.

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Notes

1. This chapter builds on Chitwood, “Our Man in Havana,” with additonal data and analysis from fieldwork in Cuba and reflections on the themes of Sunni hegemony and petro-Islam. 2. See Chitwood, “Islam in Cuba.” 3. Pew Research Center, “Demographics—Muslim Population” (Washington, DC: Pew Research Center, 2009). 4. Alonso, “Religion in Cuba’s Socialist Transition”; Ramírez, Religión y relaciones Sociales. 5. Additionally, there are internationally known Muslims from Cuba, such as Alí Nicolás Cossío, a former foreign ministry official who now reports for the Voice of Islam, and Juan Carlos Gómez, a professional boxer and former World Boxing Council champion who now lives and trains in Germany. 6. Menéndez Paredes, Los árabes en Cuba. 7. Morales-Mesa, “Islam in Cuba.” 8. Corrales Capestany, “Convergencias y desencuentros entre árabes y judíos de Cuba.” 9. Galvan, Latino Muslims, 99. 10. Hines, “The Muslims of Cuba.” 11. Galvan, Latino Muslims, 100. 12. Hines, “The Muslims of Cuba.” 13. Delmonte, “Musulmanes en Cuba,” 44–75. 14. Tharoor, “Turkey’s Erdogan Wants to Build a Mosque in Cuba.” 15. Also known as the Buyuk Mecidiye Mosque. 16. Tharoor, “Turkey’s Erdogan Wants to Build a Mosque in Cuba.” 17. See Abdulmajeed al-Buluwi, “The Saudi-Turkey Cold War for Sunni Hegemony,” Al-Monitor, April 1, 2014, https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014 /04/saudi-arabia-turkey-muslim-brotherhood-sunni-middle-east.html. 18. Wilf, “The Battle for Hegemony in the Middle East.” 19. Takeyh, “A New Mideast Cold War Intensifies.” 20. See Chitwood, “Our Man in Havana.” 21. Baskan, “Turkey’s Pan-Islamist Foreign Policy.” 22. Ibid. 23. Chitwood, “Our Man in Havana.” 24. Bayat, Post-Islamism, 126. 25. Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity, 234. 26. Jolly, “A Saudi Hand Guides Quiet Rise of Islam in Cuba.” 27. Borges, “Cuban Muslims to Finally Get a Permanent Mosque.” 28. McGee, “A New Mosque for Havana, Pros and Cons.” 29. See Ajami, “With Us or Against Us,” in which he writes, “Before PetroIslam and the Wahhabis blew in with new money and a new interpretation of the faith. The madrassas had not yet played havoc with the educational system.” See also Mackey, The Saudis, 327. 30. Sengers, Women and Demons, 240. 31. Monshipouri, Muslims in Global Politics, 86. 32. Kepel, Jihad, 75. 33. Ibid., 51. 34. See Ibrahim, A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam. 35. Lacey and Benthall, Gulf Charities and Islamic Philanthropy in the “Age of Terror” and Beyond. 36. Kepel, Jihad, 72.

10 The Dream of a Latinx Muslim Homeland

IN AUGUST 2017, LATINX MUSLIM POET MARK GONZALES REleased his first children’s book, Yo Soy Muslim: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter. Gonzales’s work was reviewed as “a poetic celebration of heritage and faith, past and future” and “unique for its blend of indigenous, Spanish-speaking cultural content with Muslim religious identity.”1 Latinx Muslims 2 welcomed the book, sharing news of its publication on social media. In its pages, they found words that resonated with their own experiences such as: There are questions this world will ask. What are you? And where are you from? And there will come a day when some people in the world will not smile at you. On that day tell them this: Yo soy Muslim. I am from Allah, angels, and a place almost as old as time. I speak Spanish, Arabic, and dreams. Mi mama creates life. Mi abuelo worked the fields. My ancestors did amazing things and so will I. No matter what they say, know you are wondrous. A child of crescent moons, a builder of mosques, a descendent of brilliance, an ancestor in training.3

Beginning in the early 1990s, news began to appear around an emerging Latinx Muslim population in the United States. Over the next two decades, articles chronicled the stories of Latinx Muslims and their “reversion” to Islam—how they believed they were not only born Muslim and fell away, but also how converting to Islam signaled a return to their Latinx roots.4 According to Harold Morales, some 130 publications were written by non-Latinx Muslims via public media outlets (newspapers, online blogs, magazines, radio shows, TV programs, etc.) between 2001 and 2011 alone.5 223

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More publications followed. Although this sizable minority within the US Muslim population is still nominal when compared to the Latinx presence in the general public, the media coverage of this subgroup has been substantial. Furthermore, there has recently been increased academic attention. To make sense of global Islam in general, and Islam and Muslims in the Americas in particular, it is important to explore the Latinx Muslim population in the United States. The convergence of various flows, “as well as the current political realities for Muslims in post-9/11 America, make [Latinx] Muslims a prime example of the tensions and opportunities created by new transnational identities that arise from the ever-increasing cross-cultural encounters that mark the twenty-first century world.”6 This chapter focuses on how Latinx Muslims in the United States “dream of al-Andalus” and draw on this narrative as a means to establish themselves as authentically Muslim, authentically Latinx, and authentically American. They draw on many of the themes discussed elsewhere in this book, particularly the chapters on the history of Iberian Spain and the memory of alAndalus. We must not only take their claims on history seriously, but also analyze them as just that: “claims.”7 The ways in which Latinx Muslims dream of al-Andalus and imagine themselves as a diaspora of Andalusians scattered from their “original homeland” are significant not only because of the claims they make on history, but as attempts to define a sociality and assert ownership over their hybrid identities and locate their belonging somewhere between the Americas and al-Andalus. As Aziz Esmail writes, “History fortifies a sense of identity because it reinforces a sense of continuity.”8 Thus, by looking at this dynamic within the Latinx Muslim community in the United States, we can better understand how they view their place in the story of global Islam more broadly.

Latinx Muslims in the United States— A Demographic Look In the past, scholars struggled to provide an accurate picture of Latinx Muslims in the United States. However, a recent report based on 560 responses from Latinx Muslims across the United States estimates the US Latinx Muslim population to be between 50,000 and 70,000.9 The report also showed how “Latino Muslims in America have developed a complex, combinative, and variegated form of ‘Latino Islamidad’ (Latino Islamic Identity), which is shaped by the high percentage of recent converts, an Islamic tawhid [the oneness of Allah, a strict monotheism] centered-spirituality that is focused on the submission to God, the history of Islam in Spain, the concept of reversion, and the promotion of racial equality and charity.”10 This “Latino Islamidad”—a term combining their sense of Islamic identification and

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“Latinidad,” which encompasses the shared attributes of Latin Americans— “is characterized by high levels of religious practice, moderate levels of religious tolerance toward other religions and racial-ethnic groups, and high levels of theological and moral, but not necessarily political and social conservatism.”11 Furthermore, although most Latinx Muslims affirm traditional patriarchal relations, gender roles, and support traditional marriage, they tend to vote as Democrats and hope that leaders will become more strategically engaged in politics at local, regional, and national levels.12 The survey also found that the vast majority of Latinx Muslims are women, born in the United States, and with cultural heritage from diverse countries of origin, even though a majority trace their ancestry to Mexico (31 percent) or Puerto Rico (22 percent).13 These findings not only provide a rich snapshot of the United States’ Latinx Muslims, but show how they are now an integral part of the American religious landscape and global Islam. In particular, the description of a Latinx Islamidad helps scholars and the public “better understand, problematize, and challenge previous representations”14 of the Latinx sociality and Muslims in the United States. This study also reemphasized how conversion is a disruptive process for many Latinx Muslims. For most, conversion was a positive shift that included a change in social groups, changing their name to an Arabic equivalent (e.g., Jesús to Isa), or coming to participate in Islamic ritual life. Following reversion, the majority of respondents seemed to hold both their ethnic and religious heritage in high esteem, being proud of their hyphenated identification as “Latinx-Muslims.” With that said, a significant number tend to drop the “Latina/o,” “Hispanic,” or “Latinx” designations and prefer instead to be identified as simply “Muslim” or “Muslim American.” This parallels the experience of other Muslims in the United States, most of whom live with a hyphenated identification. At the same time, for many Latinx converts, the change of faiths also led to a common experience of “isolation” and even a sense of “persecution” or ostracism. While a small number felt ostracized or persecuted before reversion as Latinx, the vast majority felt that way after reversion. Before reversion, persecution or ostracism stemmed from work or school. While work was still a prominent place for persecution of converts to Islam, their families became the central locus for maltreatment after reversion. Sizable numbers also felt victimized or isolated as Muslim converts in society in general and in their neighborhoods, among friends, and in their country of origin or heritage. The intersection of their minority identities—being both Latinx and Muslim in the United States—exacerbated a previously felt sense of “domestic exile.” Thus, for many Latinx Muslims, there is a persistent, palpable tension between belonging and place, the self and a sense of home. Edward Said writes that such feelings of exile are an “unhealable rift forced between a human being and a native place, between the self and its

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true home.”15 In view of the slippages between, within, and around their multiple identifications as Latinx and Muslim, Latinx Muslims turn elsewhere for bringing together the seemingly disparate—and often disparaged—puzzle pieces of their identity. Similar to how global imaginaries of Islam and dreams of al-Andalus galvanized racial authenticity for African American Muslims in the 1960s, 1970s, and beyond, Latinx Muslims look toward Andalusian, or Moorish, Spain to define, establish, and defend their identifications as both Latinx and Muslim in the face of marginalization on multiple fronts.16 I suggest that this “imagined diaspora” sentiment is a reaction to their multiple marginalizations and a way to recenter and re-locate their identifications and sense of belonging amidst rupture, loss, and exile.

The Conversion Pathways of Latinx Muslims As quadruple minorities—Latinx in the United States, Muslim in the United States, Latinx among Muslims, and Muslim in the Latinx sociality—Latinx Muslims seek to create their own identification, supportive sodality, and mythos that empowers them to be distinctively, and in their conceptualization “authentically,” Latinx and Muslim at the same time.17 This conceptualization is highlighted in their conversion narratives, which frequently reference al-Andalus and the parallels, and connections, between Latinx and Muslim culture as they perceive them. The conversion narratives of Latinx Muslims not only speak to their motivations for conversion, but also play a significant role in influencing further conversions and assisting Latinx Muslims to craft a shared sense of identification through national paramosque organizations and online socialities. Therefore, this section provides a theoretical analysis of Latinx Muslim conversion pathways and suggests how those pathways also serve as elements of community cohesion and growth.18 These kinds of narratives are significant in the conversion process, for multiple reasons. Henri Gooren, in discussing Pentecostal Christian conversion “testimonies,” says, “a comprehensive conversion experience changes one’s self-image . . . gradually reflected in the most important indicator of conversion: biographical reconstruction. People who undergo a conversion experience literally reconstruct their lives.”19 Thus, the conversion narrative serves as the capstone to the conversion experience itself, the culmination of the process in which converts recast their identification according to the doctrine and practices of their newfound faith. Converts are given a new “self-understanding . . . formed through interaction with [their] new religious group.”20 These narratives, in turn, start to follow a similar rubric. When individuals convert, they (re)produce a conversion

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narrative modeled on others’ stories to which they were already attracted and which, in turn, become another means of creating solidarity on the margins. Although the content and explicit character of the narratives are not necessarily predetermined by any group leader or publication, the narratives take on similar flavors and contain comparable elements. Each Latinx Muslim conversion transformation is unique and their stories quite diverse. However, the similarities of expressions, experiences, and emotions are striking. Why and how do these narratives conform to one another when not given predetermined or explicit instructions to do so? Although Islamic theology, common confession, and ritual are part of the process,21 as a new believer enters a group, they are looking to belong in addition to believing. Conforming one’s narrative to already extant examples is part of a new convert’s “alignment process”22 through which the new believer seeks “to establish some connection between the language [of the group to which they are converting] and their own immediate situations . . . where the canonical language and experience merge.”23 Effectively, it is a way for a new Latinx Muslim convert to say, “This is my story, this is the Latinx Muslim story, they are the same.” It is a way to belong. All the while, each new narrative that sounds like those that came before helps to create what Brian M. Howell describes as “a guiding narrative—a metanarrative.”24 Akin to the Christians Howell studied, Latinx Muslims “organize the diversity of their own motives, experiences and interests” and link their stories to theological and spiritual maxims of the believing group to which the new convert seeks to belong.25 These “metanarratives” are like an extended shahada—narrated embodiments of the verbal confession that formally marked their conversion and their membership in the ummah in the first place. They then, in turn, become attractive to those who are seeking to learn more about Islam or are considering conversion. A third of those interviewed said that “another individual’s testimony” was one of the top factors influencing their reversion. The narratives not only do this inherently, since they are positive testimonies of conversion and acceptance, but they are used purposefully by Latinx Muslim dawah organizations. They are shared online, they are published in magazines and promotional pamphlets, and shared at community gatherings and outreach events. The narratives personalize conversion, first engendering empathy and then creating curiosity. In the end, they act as yet another conversion pathway, enticing other Latinx individuals to “revert” to Islam and join the community. Still, Latinx Muslims are not only Muslim, they remain distinctively Latinx. The majority of Latinx Muslims identify as such, rather than solely claiming Latinx identification on the one hand or being only Muslim on the other. Identifying as such, they often feel the need to justify how being

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Muslim fits into being Latinx. Sumayah Soler shares that Latinx Muslims navigate their hyphenated identities in various ways. She says, “some go full conservative, Salafi in dress, theology, and talk; others take on Arab culture, language, dress; and still others struggle to marry Islam with their Latina/o culture in their communities and families—they try to find a mix of the two.”26 This struggle is an attempt to recreate latinidades in “Muslim garb”27—or what Espinosa, Morales, and Galvan call Islamidad. Latinx Muslims must not only confront the “Othering” process of being Latinx in the United States, but also being Muslim in the United States and Muslim within the Latinx sociality. Therefore, many Latinx Muslims use their conversion narratives as an opportunity to normalize this hyphenated experience. Hjamil A. Martínez-Vázquez argues that this helps create a new cultural memory through conversion narratives. He writes, “They open the door for that cultural memory to serve as the basis for identities, independent from the labels. It brings people together, allowing them to remember” a new contextualized cultural identification.28 This is a new mestizaje defined by tamales without pork, aguas frescas at community iftars, and, significantly, rediscovering Muslim Spain—all of which permit Latinx Muslims “the possibility of actual recognition and self-identities that fit within both groups.”29 Latinx Muslims, thanks to their redefinition of the identifications “Latinx” and “Muslim” through reversion narratives and other tools of reidentification, are able to be fully Latinx and fully Muslim at the same time. As Manuel Vásquez and Marie F. Marquardt note, the processes of globalization and transnationalism have transformed cultural and religious borders for everyone in the Americas, especially immigrants.30 Across political and geographical borders, and cultural and religious boundaries, individuals and socialities are creating new mestizajes and cross-bred religious practices and identities as they come into contact with other religious institutions, practices, and bodies—including Islam—in new borderlands that transcend the boundaries of nation-states. One of the ways this is happening is “entree through contacts”31 that are made in the immigrants’ new community context. Immigrants to the United States not only come into contact with new religious traditions on a macro level, but on an intimate and local one through contact with their neighbors, coworkers, and acquaintances—many of them also immigrants from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East— and via the internet and other forms of media. For Latinx immigrants and their families, some of these new contacts are Muslims. Such was the case of a convert named Isa Parada with a Muslim immigrant who worked at his local video store in Houston, Texas. Growing up on the streets of New York and Houston, Isa was always part of a vibrant faith community. An altar boy at his family’s Roman Catholic parish, his Salvadoran family regularly

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prayed and read Scripture together. Struggling with questions about Islam and Muslims as he heard accusations of “Islamic terror” in the wake of Eric Rudolph’s July 1996 bombings at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia, Isa’s coworker at Blockbuster Video handed him a copy of the Quran. Isa said, “Here we were, both coming from immigrant families, but from very different places and perspectives, but we lived in the same neighborhood, worked at the same place, and in the end, ended up sharing the same religion.” 32 Similarly, multiple Puerto Ricans who converted to Islam in the 1970s did so due to close proximity with their Black Muslim neighbors in Harlem.33 Still others marry into Islam via the expanded US “marriage market,” which offers opportunities for some to “cross racial, generational, and religious boundaries in ways previously unavailable.”34 In addition, as Latinx immigrants arrive in the United States, they are met with religious pluralism at the macro level. The broad range of religious viewpoints and the robust practice of a multifaceted spiritual milieu in their new home causes them to consider religious doctrine, practice, and sociality in new ways. Often, this process of reconsidering belief, practice, and belonging in light of a multitude of options becomes “central in explaining why conversion takes place to a large extent in the United States and not primarily in the home countries of the immigrants.”35 Take for example the experience of Daniel Flores, who grew up Catholic in Tijuana, Mexico, and said, “Mexican youth are looking toward spirituality that is not tied to any institutional form of religion.”36 In this search, prompted by transnational movement across the border between the United States and Mexico, where “instead of a cohesive religious system there is a myriad of options” and “cases like Daniel’s . . . start emerging from places like Stockton, Los Angeles, New York and San Antonio.”37 Whether on the micro level (new contacts and neighbors) or on the macro level (pluralism and the religious smorgasbord on offer in the United States), immigration to the United States is opening avenues for Latinx Muslims to create new hybrid religious identities. The experience of Muslims in the Americas raises great questions about citizenship, identity, and integration for immigrants who convert, Latinx Americans who already live in the United States, or those who were Muslim in their country of origin.38 For Latinx Muslims—who are quadruple minorities—this means crafting a new Latinx Muslim specific identification. Andrea Althoff observes that among Pentecostals in Chicago discrimination and ostracism in both the wider society and in their new religious traditions often propelled “Latinos to establish their own religious subgroups” and create “a new Latino Pentecostal identity.”39 This parallels the experience of Latinx Muslims in the United States. While it has been surmised that US Muslims travel back and forth between places in the traditionally conceived Muslim world (e.g., the Middle East and North Africa) to remap a transnational Muslim

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world that includes the United States,40 Latinx Muslims are expanding that map to include the entire American hemisphere. They not only seek authenticity in training with universities in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, but also by founding their own organizations in the United States such as Alianza Islámica, the Latino American Dawah Organization (LADO), La Asociación Latino Musulmana de América (LALMA), Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) en español, Islam in Spanish, Hablamos Islam Inc., and local organizations such as Latino Muslim Association of the San Fernando Valley or the Atlanta Latino Muslims Association (ALMA). Furthermore, they reach across borders to establish connections with their compatriots across the Americas. For example, there are numerous dawah projects initiated by Latinx Muslims in the US that help support, and expand, extant Muslim communities in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, or Brazil. Mimicking evangelical Christian missionary tactics, broadcasting on YouTube, and utilizing social media to their benefit, these organizations and individuals are reconstituting the common elements of Latinx Muslim conversion narratives as conduits for further evangelization. Missionary activity, or dawah, is critical to Islamic theology and practice and takes on multitudinous appearances across the world, depending on the context of the Muslim population. In the demographically Muslim-dominant areas of the world, and in the past, dawah centered around an “‘external-institutional’ approach” where “conversion was typically preceded by political conquest” or by bottom-up Islamization at a societal level.41 This approach is not viable for many Muslims in the Americas, and so an “internal-personal” approach is adopted by Muslim immigrants and established minority Muslim communities, “which aims at the conversion of individuals and seeks to influence society from the bottom upwards.”42 Dealing with the ethnic and cultural diversity of the country’s mosques and Islamic organizations, and the professionalization of the imam in light of cultural and political realities in the United States, many “‘paramosque’ organizations” have sprung up among Muslims in the United States to engage in dawah.43 This adaptation to the “particular circumstances of American culture” means that a multitude of “paramosque” organizations and their da‘is use a multiplicity of methods including direct and indirect proclamation, social services, confrontational witness, presence, proliferation of literature, interfaith activity, architectural programs, and community hospitality to bring others to Islam. Several generations of Latinx Muslim organizations have emerged in the past four decades. Initially, these organizations came together to provide connection for isolated Latinx Muslims spread throughout Islamic communities across the United States. They also endeavored to educate Latinx Muslims in the basics of Islamic doctrine. However, as their knowledge grew, camaraderie intensified. As “Muslim immigration increased and more and more [Latinx people]

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embraced the religion, a handful of Muslim immigrants began to take seriously the possibility of converting [Latinx individuals] and organized proselytization efforts,” writes Patrick Bowen. 44 Starting with Alianza Islámica in the 1980s and later with LADO, which published the magazine The Latino Muslim Voice, Latinx Muslim specific organizations have been integral in shaping what Bowen calls, “a transcript of an imagined community” for Latinx Muslims. Since Alianza Islámica and LADO paved the way, myriad other organizations—such as Islam in Spanish and the Three Puerto Rican Imams project—have emerged across the United States and, in some cases, extended their work to Latin American and Caribbean countries. These Latinx Muslim organizations are now refocusing their efforts on reaching Latinx both in the United States and throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, with targeted outreach efforts. “In a postcolonial world . . . Muslim missionary efforts are being recast in a global, multicultural, and multilingual context.”45 Not only are da‘is finding it necessary to engage in more “soft sell” forms of dawah in North America, but they are seeing the need to tailor fit Islam to particular cultural realities and languages. While Arabic language and culture are still central to being Muslim, missionaries reaching out to Latinx individuals in the United States and Latin American countries have realized that Islamic doctrine and practice need to be translated into the Spanish language and culture. Their evangelistic approach echoes the perspective of Rashid Rida, a prominent Muslim reformist, who while accepting “Arabic should remain the authoritative language of the Quran’an,” advocates “multilingual da’wah that would enable Muslims to match the skills of Christian missionaries, ‘who learn the languages of the peoples.’”46 Their approach can also, at times, mirror that of the apologetics and polemics of the South African Ahmed Deedat, whose works have been widely translated into Spanish and distributed at mosques in heavily Latinx neighborhoods. These Latinx Muslim missionaries do this not only in the metro areas of the United States where there are large Latinx populations (Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio, Chicago, New York, etc.), but also in Latin American and Caribbean nations such as Puerto Rico, Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico, among others. To reach people in these countries they are engaging in targeted outreach efforts that are tailor made for what they perceive as Latinx culture.47 Not only does dawah bring new converts into the fold, it helps shape the sociality.48 David A. Kerr comments that dawah brings about “a new Muslim self-definition,” and allows Muslims “to integrate different ethnic and social as well as religious groups under the aegis of the central institution, and to produce the ideological and theological prerequisite for the unity of Muslims and for Islamic brotherhood, the umma.”49 Thus, Latinx specific dawah efforts are not only transforming the ummah by introducing more

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Latinx Muslims into the mix, but are reshaping and reforming the ummah from the outside in. Munakir Shaikh alluded to this situation in a presentation about Latinx Muslims in Los Angeles.50 Through their missionary efforts, Latinx Muslim organizations and individuals are giving Islam a decidedly Spanish accent and producing new ideological and theological realities as they incorporate their ethnic identification into what it means to be Muslim. And so, despite the differences present in the diverse countries from which Latinx Muslims originate (Mexico, the United States and Puerto Rico, Ecuador, El Salvador, etc.), Latinx Muslims find a way through “religious organizations” and “social institutions such as civic organizations, families, workplaces, schools, and health-care organizations . . . to bridge and level diverse national backgrounds” with the “universalistic notion” of the ummah, much like Pentecostals can with their worldwide constituencies.51 In the end, it becomes more important for Latinx immigrants who have converted to Islam to share in a common latinidades, or Islamidad, than to exist alone as a Mexican Muslim or Salvadoran Muslim. Today, much of this sociality’s dawah and efforts at building a sense of belonging and connection can be found in cyberspace. Harold D. Morales shows how the most prominent Latinx Muslim organizations today have no physical address, but are embodied in cyberspace.52 While referring specifically to LADO’s AOL-based website and genesis from chatrooms online, Morales shared the story of this, and other Latinx Muslim generated and focused sites, to make the point that “technology and society cannot be understood as separate entities and instead should be understood as inextricably linked. Likewise, the Latinx Muslims who occupy cosmopolitan and cyberspaces do so through a techno-cultural existence.”53 Referencing “unifying elements” such as multiple-sourced ethnic marginalization, reversion narratives, and shared histories in Andalusian Spain, Morales holds that while regionally diverse,54 Latinx Muslims create a pan–Latinx Muslim “brand” that is fostered via online socialities, is frequently picked up by mass media, and further marginalizes those who do not empathize with these narrow narratives of what it is to be Latinx Muslim.55 Faced with feelings on the fringe, Latinx Muslims in the United States seek to reorder their cosmos by creating their own distinctive identification and supportive sodality in order, as Martínez-Vázquez writes, “to make sense of their decision [to convert] and their condition of being in-between.”56 While national paramosque organizations and local entities create some sense of shared identification and belonging, new media, specifically social media, play an increasingly important role in constructing the sense of a cohesive Latinx Muslim sociality and creating causeways for greater inclusion in the global ummah. These spaces, along with certain physical locales (the North Hudson Islamic Education Center in New Jersey or Centro Islámico in Hous-

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ton), national organizations (Islam in Spanish), and events (National Latino Muslim Day) could also be considered Latinx Muslim heterotopias57—spaces and places elaborated that function in a way that pushes back against overarching cultural formulations of a particular group’s identification or place in society. Not only do Latinx Muslims dream of a utopian homeland in alAndalus, but construct a heterotopia in cyberspace that is “an alternative place that challenges the dominance of the official one.”58 Although the utopian ideal of al-Andalus resituates Latinx Muslims at the center of the socialities to which they feel connected, but simultaneously ostracized from (the Latinx and Muslim socialities, respectively), the dream also creates a heterotopia through which Latinx Muslims escape from the center of US identities to challenge them in postcolonial and racialized solidarity with their global Muslim counterparts.

Dreams of al-Andalus Conversion is a complicated process that involves a constellation of influences, events, inspirations, and circumstances; thus, no one pathway can be viewed in isolation. Yet throughout the narratives of Latinx Muslim conversions in the United States, one theme continues to present itself—a regard, recollection, and reconstruction of al-Andalus as a lost and found spiritual homeland. In particular, and in light of their marginal status, Latinx Muslims recast themselves as Andalusian, American, and traditionally Muslim—all at the same time—by dreaming of, and appealing to, a lost history and “imagined diaspora” of al-Andalus. In my ethnographic research, the theme of cultural connection to al-Andalus consistently stands out as a significant force in the conversion and community-building process of Latinx Muslims in the United States. As Latinx Muslims tell it, it serves as a means of building a pedigree, and while imaginary and devoid of verifiability, helps create a strong sense of resulting connection.59 Latinx American identifications are a blend of diverse ethnic flows, which are the result of a mixed background of indigenous, African, and European influences. Thus, in the search for Latinx belonging, it can prove difficult to firmly locate “source material,” as it were. Out of this milieu, many Latinx Muslims look toward Andalusian, or Moorish, Spain to define and interpret their hyphenated Latinx (or Hispanic) identifications. Harkening back to these influential Andalusian Muslims, leaders such as Juan Galvan note examples of Spanish words that were derived from Arabic under the influence of Andalusian culture as evidence of the historical Muslim heritage of Islamidad. Galvan and others cite some 3,000 Spanish words with Arabic roots. 60 Desiring that Latinx Muslims in the United States value this “Golden Age of Spain” as part of their story,61 they even

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encourage pilgrimages back to historic al-Andalus, modern-day Granada and Alhambra. Justin Mauro Benavidez reflects on his “Granada experience” and says, the “spiritual heritage of Andalusia is one of the most fascinating and important aspects of history . . . [and in] the role of spirituality among Latino Muslims.”62 It is, he claims, part of a Latin, Africa, and Iberian mosaic that makes up modern Latinx religion in liminal spaces such as the United States. This eight-century reign of the Moors plays a significant role in the identifications of Muslims across the globe. Stephen Frederic Dale writes, “It is difficult to exaggerate the nostalgia that individuals throughout the entire Islamic world still feel for the real or imagined pleasures of Andalusia.”63 For Latinx Muslims in particular, al-Andalus serves as a mythohistorical theater for their religious orientations and sense of belonging. It also serves as a linchpin for their reconstructed identities and reassembled social standing betwixt and between different socialities. Walter Benjamin writes, “Memory is not an instrument for exploring the past but its theater” as looking to the past helps to strengthen identities in the present.64 In looking to al-Andalus, Latinx Muslims present their sociality’s identity as a mix of old and new, precolonial and postcolonial, traditional and avant-garde, and thoroughly Muslim yet authentically “Hispanic.” Effectively, the dream of al-Andalus centers Latinx identification as an integral, and historic, part of the global ummah while also refashioning Islam as an ingrained aspect of Latinx culture and the American continent via a mythohistorical relationship with a lionized Muslim culture that existed within a diverse ethnic and religious milieu, which mirrors that of Latinx Muslims in the United States. For example, Maryam Noor Beig, a Latina Muslim convert, writes, “By its outstanding example, Muslim Spain proves to the world that as a melting pot of religious faiths and races, we can, in reality, live and prosper with one another.”65 This identification with al-Andalus not only offers a possible pathway beyond their marginalization as quadruple minorities, but also strengthens their own sense of self in a religiously plural context. In light of this, Latinx Muslims such as Beig and Galvan cite this heritage to represent their conversion as “a return to their true cultural traditions” rather than a departure.66 In fact, “many Latinos who convert to Islam believe they are reclaiming their lost Muslim and African heritage—which they view more positively than the legacy of Catholicism,” when they convert to Islam in the United States.67 Hisham Aidi writes that this inclination is akin to the call “Seamos moros!” or “Let us be Moors!” that rallied Berbers during the uprising against Spanish rule in Morocco in the late nineteenth century.68 Beyond their belief in fitra, this historical connection informs Latinx Muslims’ choice to call their conversion a “reversion”—it is returning back to their Moorish roots. This sentiment forms the core of a minority discourse meant to reinforce the legitimacy of Latinx Islamidad in its “renewed” Mus-

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lim context. In effect, “Muslim Spain becomes the center in the process of reconstruction of identity,” writes Martínez-Vázquez.69 For Abu Sumayah Abdur Razzaq Lebron (a.k.a. Imam Wesley Lebron) this meant that when he converted, he sought to become more deeply established not only in his newfound faith sociality, but also in his Puerto Rican roots. In particular, he found resonance for both identitifications in the heritage of al-Andalus. The first time he came across notes about Andalusian Spain and its influence on Puerto Rican culture, he got chills down his spine. “Lebrón,” he proudly said, “is a name of Andalusian origin.”70 He also pointed out the reflection of Andalusian architecture in famous—and one might add, elite—Puerto Rican buildings such as the Ateneo Puertorriqueño (Puerto Rican Athenaeum), the Casa de España, and the iconic university clock tower at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, just to name a few. Drawing on these historical narratives and connections—no matter how tenuous or tangential—Latinx Muslims and a small selection of scholars even make the claim that “the heritage of the Spanish Moors renders their affiliation with Islam a reversion as much as a conversion as some Moors and Moriscos . . . from Hispania emigrated to the Americas, though the majority were expelled to North Africa.”71 Thus, they turn to the Moriscos in Spain who expressed their minority faith in the forms of poems, private journals, and underground organizations,72 to craft various currents of connection to their Muslim forebears. Moreover, Latinx Muslims not only recall the memory of al-Andalus as a matter of reclaiming a lost legacy, but also “responding to new realities.” Urging each other to reclaim their “Arab roots,” Latinx Muslims reinforce the claims of historical identification by citing the influence of Arabic on the modern Spanish language, encouraging “pilgrimages” back to the “homeland,” and claiming that Muslims came to “the New World” before Columbus or, at the very least, with Spanish slave ships and colonial parties. This not only gives them a sense of continuity with Islamic history and connection to the broader ummah, but empowers Latinx Muslims with a model for navigating the realities of living as converts and quadruple minorities in an increasingly diverse late modern world. However, not all Latinx Muslims ascribe to this narrative. One warns that their fellow Latinx Muslims, “want to look for religious heritage in all the wrong places.”73 Citing genocidal persecution and lack of historical evidence, this blogger claims that if Latinx Muslim heritage comes from anywhere it is not Spain, but West Africa, where there were Muslims being transported via slave ships to the Americas in British and Spanish colonies (see Chapter 3). Historically verified or not, Martínez-Vázquez writes that Latinx Muslims who no longer recognize themselves as part of the “official” or “accepted” history of the Latinx individual as Catholic, “reclaim that Islamic myth, and create a space of contested identities.”74 Attention

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paid to language and historical narratives coming from Moorish Spain are all part of world building and the construction of a plausible Latinx Muslim identity structure in the United States. However, there are two currents to note in the construction of this neo-Andalusian Latinx Muslim identification; first, the notion of diaspora in the postcolonial reconstruction of Latinx identification; and, second, the role of the imagination in the construction of a diaspora sociality.

Living as an “Imagined Diaspora” All communities are “imagined,” at least in some way.75 This is especially true in a world confronted with a matrix of diversity in an era of transnational globalization and the attendant fluidity and reentrenchment of borders, the movement of peoples across them, and the encounter with the Other and their languages, cultures, and histories. Thus, as a means of creating a community and inventing an identity, a diaspora sociality is also always—at least, in part—imagined. And yet it can be helpful to think of particular diaspora socialities as more imagined than others. William Safran, in his seminal work on diasporas, writes that diasporic people make myths, maintain memories, care for the reputation of, and dream of returning to their homelands. This definition, however helpful, is not without its issues.76 Scholars such as Paul Gilroy rightly note that this definition excludes dispersed populations that might not consider a homeland as central to their identification; for example, many Black socialities in the Atlantic world.77 It might also be said that this definition does not account for how that homeland might be more fictive than factual. For reasons of historical distance or physical separation over multiple generations, some socialities who see themselves as diasporic have little to no direct or even traceable connection to a homeland. And yet their imagined homeland plays a critical role in the formation of their sense of belonging. This is not to say that a diaspora thus imagined is flawed or completely unfounded. The usefulness of the idea of imagined diasporas has been illustrated in other works on Pakistani and Indian communities in the United Kingdom and North America.78 Here, I want to explore how Latinx Muslims could be seen as creating an imagined diaspora through their dreams of al-Andalus. I suggest that through experiencing multiple marginalizations and hyphenations and demands for allegiance as quadruple minorities, Latinx Muslims are engaged in a particularly potent process of imagining themselves as a diaspora sociality. As a “rallying cry”79 for people in search of the affirmation of their identification in a world threatening to strip them of it, a sense of diaspora functions as a means of holding on to a grounded sense of self in an increas-

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ingly fluid late modern world. While contested, it can be a fitting term to apply to particular socialities in search of identification “on the move” or “out of place.” For example, studying Cuban exiles in Miami, as they came together around the shrine of Our Lady of Charity, Thomas Tweed tweaks theories of place and religion put forward by Jonathan Z. Smith80 and suggests a moderate modification. Apropos to the discussion of imagined diasporas, and using his case study as illustrative, Tweed posits that “attachment to the homeland is extremely powerful” in the formation, and navigation of, diasporic identification, especially as it is “negotiated religiously.”81 From this point of view, Tweed argues that diasporic religion is both “transtemporal and translocative,” in that “diasporic peoples’ identity formation involves movement across time and space” fluidly moving between a “constructed past” and an “imagined future,” with both shaping “the experience and symbolization of the present” through theology, institutions, rituals, and artifacts.82 In this way, diasporic religion—like other forms of religion—is transtemporal. In the case of Latinx Muslims, their diasporic religious sentiment helps them collapse the time and distance between their contemporary sociality and the Iberian Muslims they see, in some way, as their direct forebears. Similarly, diasporic religion overcomes the tension of identification in exile by steering between “here and there . . . homeland and exile.”83 Emphasizing its superlocative powers, Tweed proposes that religion in the diaspora proves that “religion can map and inhabit worlds of meaning” in multiple locations at once, with diasporic religion functioning as a tirtha (or crossing place) as religious people move through, relate to, and position themselves in this world. According to Tweed, “Diasporas are groups with shared cultures who live outside the territory which they take as their ‘native’ place and for whom continuing bonds with that land are decisive for their collective identity.”84 He adds, “Diasporic peoples share a language . . . appeal to common symbols . . . symbolically construct a common past and future, and their shared symbols bridge the homeland and the new land.”85 Latinx Muslims do this in multiple ways. For example, when the organization Islam in Spanish constructed its Centro Islámico in Houston, Texas, they integrated clear references to Andalusian culture, including faux archways like those of the Great Mosque of Córdoba and Andalusian architectural elements such as azulejos (tiles) in their lobby and as a motif on their website. Accordingly, Latinx Muslims could be considered a diasporic people in two senses: first, a religious diaspora of travelers, those Muslims who Dale F. Eickelman and James Piscatori underscore as uniquely united by an imaginary connection with many sacred centers,86 or nodes,87 which have a significant impact on their belonging, identification, and ritual practice that is universal, but localized; and, second, a cultural diaspora of migrants, many of whom have relocated from various locales in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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Yet delineating the active notion of diaspora at work here is only one part of the project of conceiving an imagined diaspora. The idea of “imagination” in a globalized world must also be considered. “Imagined communities,” a concept coined by Benedict Anderson, refers to socially constructed socialities not based on face-to-face interactions between members. This was applied specifically to the notion of the nation, but is now used more broadly, almost blurring it with the idea of a “community of interest”—a sociality not necessarily geographically bounded or limited to a single entity yet made of individuals who share a common concern or passion and exchange ideas and resources concerning the given passion but may have little to no interaction outside of this sphere of interest. Whereas Anderson’s notion of imagined communities exposed the idea of common narratives that create a mythology with an idealized primordial past or origin, anthropologist Arjun Appadurai applies this to the postmodern, global world, and theorizes how sodalities of imagination navigate various “scapes” and global flows by crafting a translocal narrative to reclaim agency and move to social action in an age of deterritorialization brought on by developments in media and increased migration. He proposes that the “work of imagination” is “a constitutive feature of modern subjectivity.”88 The imagination, in Appadurai’s estimation, is a social fact, is central to agency, and is “the key component of a new global order.”89 He speaks of a “community of sentiment”—a group that begins to imagine and feel things together beyond national borders90 and thus problematizes, along with other “transnational social fields,”91 diasporic communities, and “globalized sodalities,”92 the forced dichotomy between national identities and conceptualizations of religious community along the lines of national boundaries. However, I argue that rather than being a diaspora in the formal sense of global imagination, Latinx Muslims are a religiocultural diaspora of their own making. In trying to construct a common sociality, Latinx Muslims, individually and collectively, also create the sense of an imagined diaspora. This imagined diaspora is constructed through shared reversion narratives, new media artifacts, official publications, organizational ethos, and even pilgrimage to al-Andalus. Importantly, the imagined diaspora of Latinx Muslims is founded neither in Mecca nor Mexico, the Middle East nor the American continents, but in Andalusian Spain.

Al-Andalus as Imagined Latinx Muslim Homeland In sum, harkening back to al-Andalus, Latinx Muslims search the annals of history for a “homeland” that helps them cross boundaries and to dwell securely in the now, and for the foreseeable future, in a space where they are quadruple minorities. This homeland must not only affirm their Latinx,

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or “Hispanic,”93 identification, but also must be distinctively Muslim. Further, this homeland must transcend colonial identities and free them from the hegemony of imperial categories and Western powers. Looking back to Latin America or the Caribbean will not do, nor will the Arabian Peninsula. Instead, Latinx Muslims look to Andalusian Spain as a mythohistorical homeland. Citing language commonalities, the potential for the Muslim discovery of the Americas pre-Columbus, and the possibility of Moriscos accompanying Spanish colonialists in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Latinx Muslims move across time and space to al-Andalus to dream of an imagined Andalusian future where to be Latinx Muslim is not only acceptable, but normative.94 At the same time, there is a melancholic feeling of loss and exile embedded in these dreams as well. Imagining al-Andalus as a golden period of Hispanic-Muslim flourishing, some Latinx Muslims cannot help but feel that they have since lost the splendor of this previous age. They yearn, as with all diasporas, to return. However, this return is not geographic, but chronographic. Latinx Muslims desire to collapse history and reclaim a centrality and majesty within global Islam that is not currently possible given their current position on its perceived margins. Their lament is tinged with a hope that the future might hold a more promising place for them within the ummah. Akin to how similar dreams of al-Andalus galvanized racial authenticity for Black Muslims in the 1960s, 1970s, and beyond, Latinx Muslims have grafted this dream into their own experience and search for authentic identification. As Bowen makes clear, this process was compressed as African Americans and Puerto Ricans came into close contact with one another in places such as the Bronx and Harlem.95 Nevertheless, there is only tangential historical connection between the present-day Latinx Muslim sociality and Andalusian Spain.96 Through the work of imagination, and in search of a cohesive sense of belonging, Latinx Muslims are able to construct a diasporic identification that looks to their utopian homeland in al-Andalus for the sake of contemporary connection to both Muslim and Spanish history, present authenticity in the United States and in the global ummah, and a hoped-for future that resituates them in the pluralistic religious milieu of the country, city, masjid, and family in which they live as minorities. They are able to craft a new temporality where “Hispanic” or “Latinx” time stops at the Reconquista, skips across the Atlantic with certain Moriscos and secret Muslims in the Americas, and begins in earnest again in the Latinx Muslim reversion narrative and its reclaiming of dreams of al-Andalus. Through this process, al-Andalus becomes both the newly minted gilded age of Islamic history and evidence that being authentically “Hispanic” or “Latinx” is to be Muslim, since before the Iberian Peninsula was Catholic (i.e., “imperial”) it was distinctively Muslim and multicultural. For Latinx Muslims, Islam becomes authentic latinidades and reaching out

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to al-Andalus for their source material helps them construct a more satisfying culture for their hybrid identities. Therefore, this formulation confounds “simplistic ethnic, racial, and religious classifications,” having emerged as an ethnoreligious group through migration and transculturative processes.97 While Immanuel Wallerstein rightly notes that “identity” is an issue that primarily undergirds the processes of global capitalism and hegemonic divisions between “core” and “periphery,”98 here Latinx Muslims wield identification, via dreams of al-Andalus, to their advantage and as a way of recentering their collective narrative and creating a sense of belonging in both their Latinx and Muslim socialities. Why? Because as Paul Christopher Johnson notes, “Being perceived as an authentic religious culture is a guarantor of respect and toleration, at least in places like the United States.”99 Thus, Latinx Muslims are, through the construction and maintenance of an “imagined Andalusian diaspora,” able to establish an identification founded in the past that makes a home for them in their religious sodality (Muslim), their cultural sociality (Latinx), and their host/homeland (the United States). This type of multidirectional authenticity serves as an unchanging truth that provides a powerful identity marker in a world of constant change and challenge.100 It also acts as a kind of “ethnogenesis,”101 wherein Latinx Muslims are in the process of creating a distinct, but hybridized, ethnic identification that is not subsumed into any of the constituencies or socialities it is part of. In their view, it stands on its own. Furthermore, for Latinx Muslims, their diasporic identification, in looking to its Andalusian past and its potential future, is both a state of completeness and incompleteness. In either case the issue of origin is paramount.102 This means—at least in their own minds—that they can move from periphery to center, and instead of being quadruple minorities they become an integral part of a Latinx, Muslim, and American story founded in their own history, the lost glory of a former caliphate, and the discovery of the Americas. In this way, Latinx Muslims present a particular case wherein religion helps individuals and socialities map and inhabit worlds of meaning in a translocative and transtemporal way.103 The role of the imagination in the construction of such identifications is paramount. It is not a case of contradictory logic, nor is it a matter of making things up or engaging in unrealistic fantasies. Instead, the ethnicity being dreamed up by Latinx Muslims draws on both historical and constructed notions concerning al-Andalus in imagination and reality, discourse and practice. To call these dreams of al-Andalus an example of an “imagined diaspora” is not to be derogatory. It instead emphasizes the creative agency of Muslims in their search for a new belonging that fits both their ethnic and religious histories. Indeed, Latinx Muslims display a heightened sense of agency in how they are able to imagine “a broader range of meanings that encompass a variety of spaces . . . and conceptualizations of the real.”104

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This perspective on the agentive properties of imagination is based on Juan Flores’s notion of “ethnicity-as-practice,” which he derives in conversation with Foucault and Bakhtin.105 Speaking specifically to the Puerto Rican “practice of self” in light of US colonial history making, Flores called the quest to recapture and reconstitute a multicentric history through invention and imagination a collective “post-modern arts of memory.” This search for a testimony of self in the past is both ethical and future oriented—it needs to work in the now and in the not yet. In the case of Latinx Muslims the reimagining of their heritage and history via al-Andalus acts not only as a foundational project of belonging, but as a practiced ethic of co-becoming and forward-looking means of moving through an increasingly cosmopolitan world. Through the imagination, Latinx Muslims are refashioning ideas and global histories to afford a more transregional identification that is simultaneously more in line with modern values and dreams of a global, transnational ummah and their conception of what it means to be Latinx. Effectively, this imaginative work mobilizes and helps actualize Latinx Muslim identification and sociality in the real world they experience as quadruple minorities. As much as it refigures Latinx identification, it also “draws from foreign connections and comparisons” to “offer a model of change in which individual[s] as well as social groups can imagine themselves.”106 Co-opting and recreating transnational histories and cosmopolitan identities allows individual Latinx Muslims to be vocal and effective actors within both Latinx and Muslim socialities and their attendant discourses. Their “dreams” not only globalize their identifications and belonging, but further ground them in their Latinx heritage. As this happens, Latinx Muslims take the “traveling packages” of ideas from global Muslim imaginaries and integrate local meanings as they find their place as “quadruple minorities” in their distinctive cultural-political scenarios. In this way, the imagination is anything but ephemeral. Instead, for Latinx Muslims, it is material, practical, malleable, and ethical. As Mark C. Taylor writes, “Far from unreal, the imagination is the real in the process of formation.”107 It takes shape in flesh and blood, space and place, betwixt and between the ideal and the material, the global and the local. Such is the case with Latinx Muslims as they dream of al-Andalus and represent this in their architecture, clothing, Facebook memes, and publications and pamphlets.108

Conclusion Offering an analysis of Latinx Muslim conversion pathways and discussing their identity construction in the American context as a discursive process of imagined diaspora, this chapter offered another perspective in

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service of the larger project of placing the intricate, interwoven, and intimate currents of contemporary Muslim identities in the Americas in the context of the global ummah. Furthermore, it challenged forced binaries that draw strict lines between transnational and diaspora identity constructs, illustrating that the formation of identity is a complex process involving imaginative agency that is shot through with multivalent discourse and practice at local and global levels. In viewing Latinx Muslims this way, we understand their role not only in the religious landscape of the Americas, but also in conceptualizing their position in the ummah. Furthermore, this chapter can help us better understand Latinx Muslims as “American Muslims” whose sense of identification and belonging is crafted in the hyphen, in the spaces between the margins and the center, the borderlands between America and al-Andalus, between being Latinx and American and Muslim all at the same time.

Notes 1. See “Review: Yo Soy Muslim: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter,” Kirkus Reviews, August 29, 2017, https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/mark -gonzales/yo-soy-muslim/; “Review: Yo Soy Muslim: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter,” Publisher’s Weekly, n.d., https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-4814-8936-2. 2. At times, the terms Latina/o, Latinx, and Hispanic are used interchangeably. While there is great discussion about whether or not to utilize “Latina/o,” “Latinx,” or “Hispanic” to refer to this demographic because of the different terms’ colonial, hegemonic, and non-Indigenous character, they are utilized regularly in the press and in popular discussions of race/ethnicity in North America. There are important differences between the terms: Hispanic, Latina/o, and Latinx. Broadly speaking, Hispanic is used to denote the contemporary nation of Spain, its history, culture, and language. Those who speak Spanish may be considered “Hispanic,” but this leaves out sizeable portions of the Americas. Latinx refers more exclusively to persons or communities of Latin American origin without gender binary “a” or “o” designations. While there is a significant overlap between the groups, Brazilians are a good example of Latinx people who are not Hispanic. Personal adoption of the terms to refer to one’s own ethnicity or race is low. Instead, most Latinx individuals refer to themselves as “Mexican,” “Salvadoran,” “Puerto Rican,” and so forth. In my writing, I have used both “Latina/o” and “Latinx.” While other scholars use terms such as “Latino Muslims” or “Latina/o Muslims” and the majority of Latinx Muslims prefer this terminology, I use the term Latinx the majority of the time, for multiple reasons. Principally, because (1) the use of the term by members of the Latinx Muslim sociality who are queer, trans, gender neutral, or who feel the term better encompasses their mixed identities; and (2) the multiple hyphenated identities of Latinx Muslims and the very “trans-creative” practices self-described in this chapter. See Chitwood, “Latinx Muslims ‘Like’ One Another.” 3. Gonzales, Yo Soy Muslim: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter. 4. Reversion is the emic term used for the process of conversion and the moment of transformation. Not only do Muslims believe in fitra, the concept that all people are born with a knowledge of Allah, but there are specific Latinx Muslim

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overtones in this terminology as well. At the macro level, Muslims believe that people forget the state of their birth in submission to God and get lost in their own selfsufficiency and the deceptive “freedom” of the world. Therefore, Muslims do not view conversion as such, but a “reversion” or return to the way they were born. Furthermore, Latinx Muslims view conversion as a return to Latinx roots. 5. See Morales, “Latino Muslim by Design.” 6. Dotson-Renta, “Latino Muslims in the United States After 9/11.” 7. Similar to how we viewed the “dreams” of pre-Columbian Muslim first contact with the Americas in Chapter 1. 8. Esmail, “Why History?” 26. 9. Ibid., 5. 10. Espinosa, Morales, and Galvan, “Latino Muslims in the United States,” 43. 11. Ibid., 4. 12. Ibid., 45. 13. Ibid., 3. 14. Ibid., 4. 15. Said, Reflections on Exile and Other Essays, 173. 16. Bowen, “U.S. Latina/o Muslims Since 1920.” 17. The vast majority of this chapter from here on was originally delivered as a paper entitled, “Dreams of al-Andalus: Narratives of Conversion and Identity Reconstruction Among Latina/o Muslims in the U.S.” at the American Academy of Religion—Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion (SECSOR) Regional Meeting, Nashville, Tennessee, March 8, 2015. 18. This analysis is derived from 135 different Latinx Muslims I surveyed through interviews that took place one-on-one at masjids, coffee shops, and restaurants in Houston, via a group interview with four Latinx Muslims at a masjid in Pearland, Texas, and via email and an online questionnaire with several sources in New Jersey, Washington, DC, Chicago, Miami, and San Antonio. Narratives also came from various articles posted online and conveniently gathered at HispanicMuslims.com or from Juan Galvan’s book Latino Muslims. Additional interviews were conducted in Puerto Rico, Florida, and New York. Latinx Muslim conversion narratives help provide a clear picture of conversion causeways and elements of community cohesion among Latinx Muslims in the United States. The content of these narratives, I argue, is intimately related to Latinx Muslims being quadruple minorities. Examining the conversion narratives of Latinx Muslims, I found there were thirty-one different conversion, or reversion, pathways that they took to Islam. See Chitwood, “Islam en Español.” 19. Gooren, “Conversion Narratives,” 93–112. 20. Sremac and Ganzevoort, “Testimony and Transformation,” 434. 21. Jindra, “How Religious Content Matters in Conversion Narratives to Various Religious Groups.” 22. First noted by sociologists Snow and Machalek in 1984, referenced in Yamane, “Narrative and Religious Experience,” 184. 23. Yamane, “Narrative and Religious Experience,” 185. 24. Howell, Short-Term Mission, 21. 25. Ibid., 21–22. 26. Sumayah Soler, conversation with the author, Bayamón, Puerto Rico, June 22, 2017. 27. See Martínez-Vázquez, “The Act of Remembering,” 127–150. 28. Martínez-Vázquez, Latina/o y Musulmán, 109. 29. Ibid., 103. 30. See Vásquez and Marquardt, Globalizing the Sacred.

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31. R. S. Warner, “Approaching Religious Diversity,” 199. 32. Isa Parada, interviewed by the author, Houston, TX, June 20, 2012. 33. Beginning in the 1970s, African American Muslims influenced Puerto Ricans in Harlem not only to convert to Islam, but also to form the first Latinx Muslim organization, Alianza Islámica. Furthermore, various leaders of contemporary Latinx Muslim organizations across the United States were touched by different strains of African American Islam and their effect is still potent. However, immigrant, and subsequent generations of, Latinx people were also brought into contact with “immigrant” Muslims from the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa in the urban centers they settled in. This led to increased numbers of conversion, especially following 9/11. As a result, Latinx Muslim communities in the United States not only bear the markings of African American impact, but that of “immigrant” communities and the global umma as well. See Bowen, “U.S. Latina/o Muslims Since 1920.” 34. See Lichter, Carmalt, and Qian, “Immigration and Intermarriage Among Hispanics,” 241–264. 35. Althoff, “Religious Identities of Latin American Immigrants in Chicago,” 127. 36. Campoy, “From Mexico to Mecca.” 37. Ibid. 38. Bilici, “Homeland Insecurity,” 596–622. 39. Althoff, “Religious Identities of Latin American Immigrants in Chicago,” 127–128. 40. See Grewal, Islam Is a Foreign Country. 41. Poston, Islamic Da’wah in the West, 29. 42. Ibid. 43. Ibid., 115–143. 44. Bowen, “The Latino American Da’wah Organization and the ‘Latina/o Muslim’ Identity in the United States,” 2. 45. T. Johnson and Scroggins, “Christian Missions and Islamic Da’wah.” 46. Kerr, “Islamic Da’wa and Christian Mission,” 156. 47. Daniel Abdullah Hernandez and Mujahid Fletcher shared with me the fact that they regularly engage in outreach to Latinx people outside the United States. Each imam spends two to four weeks a year on short-term mission trips to support masjids in these countries, to train da‘is there, or to preach in “revival-style” meetings that call Latinx people to Islam. Hernandez also raises funds and support for an Islamic Learning Center that he helped launch in Moca, Puerto Rico. 48. See Chitwood, “Targeted Islamic Outreach to Hispanics Achieving Results.” 49. Kerr, “Islamic Da’wa and Christian Mission,” 160. 50. Shaikh, “Latino Muslims in Los Angeles.” 51. Cadge and Ecklund, “Immigration and Religion,” 359. 52. See Morales, Latino and Muslim in America. 53. Morales, “Latina and Latino Muslim Religious Cultures,” 985. 54. Specifically, he discusses the differences between New York’s Latinx Muslims and those in Los Angeles. To do so, he uses Bowen’s research on New York’s Puerto Rican Muslims and uses his own observations in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside counties. 55. See Morales, “Latina and Latino Muslim Religious Cultures.” 56. Martínez-Vázquez, Latina/o y Musulmán, 12. 57. See Foucault, The Order of Things; Mead, “Trains, Planes, and Automobiles.” 58. Dufoix, Diasporas, 131. 59. See the parallels to Khaldun’s notion of “asabiyyah” in The Muqaddimah, 99. 60. Some examples include: aceite (olive oil), alfombra (carpet), azafrán (saffron), guitar (guitar), fulano (so-and-so), jirafa (giraffe), limón (lemon), marfil (mar-

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ble), rincón (corner), taza (cup), zanahoria (carrot), hola (hello—possibly derived from ó Allah), and many, many more including names such as Omar and Fatima. 61. Bolivar, “NSU Lecture Explores Islamic, Hispanic Connection.” 62. Benavidez, “My Granada Experience.” 63. S. Dale, The Orange Trees of Marrakesh, 42. 64. Benjamin, Reflections, 25–26. 65. See Maryam Noor Beig, “Andalusia When It Was . . . ,” Hispanic Muslims, n.d., http://www.hispanicmuslims.com/andalusia/andalusia.html. 66. Viscidi, “Latino Muslims a Growing Presence in America,” 58. 67. Ibid. 68. See Aidi, “Let Us Be Moors,” 42–53. 69. Martínez-Vázquez, Latina/o y Musulmán, 100. 70. Imam Wesley Lebron, conversation with author, Union City, NJ, May 16, 2016. 71. Farah, Islam, 322. 72. See MacKay, “The Hispanic-Converso Predicament”; Vásquez, “Poesía morisca (o de cómo el español se convirtío en lengua literaria del islam).” 73. See Mayiyaa, “My One Problem with Other Latino Muslims,” Everything Is Illuminated: Nothing to See Here, June 10, 2013, http://mayiyyaa.wordpress.com /2013/06/10/my-one-problem-with-other-latino-muslims/. 74. Martínez-Vázquez, Latina/o y Musulmán, 101. 75. Anderson, Imagined Communities, 5–7. 76. Safran, “Diasporas in Modern Societies.” 77. See Gilroy, Black Atlantic. 78. See Werbner, Imagined Diasporas Among Manchester Muslims; Kuortti, Writing Imagined Diasporas. See also Braux, “Azerbaijanis in Russia: An ‘Imagined Diaspora.’” 79. See Dufoix, Diasporas. 80. See J. Z. Smith, Map Is Not Territory. 81. Tweed, Our Lady of the Exile, 94. 82. Ibid., 94. 83. Ibid., 93. 84. Ibid., 138. 85. Ibid., 139. 86. See Eickelman and Piscatory, Muslim Travellers. They include notions of religious travel as pilgrimage, proselytization, and the movement of students and scholars as well as exiles and migrants. 87. See Cooke and Lawrence, Muslim Networks. 88. Appadurai, Modernity at Large, 2. 89. Ibid., 31. 90. Ibid., 7. 91. See Glick Schiller, “Transmigrants and Nation States,” 94–119. 92. See Appadurai, Modernity at Large. 93. As was noted earlier, both terms—Latina/o and Hispanic—are colonial constructs and essentializing terms for a broad, and diverse, group of Spanish-speaking people. However, I integrate “Hispanic” in this instance because of its etymological roots in España, Spain. 94. This parallels the sentiment of many other Muslims as well, including many pilgrims who travel to the Córdoba mosque-cathedral, which for them is a “mythical” place of Islamic advancement, peace, and presence in the West. See Calderwood, “The Reconquista of the Mosque of Córdoba.” 95. In some ways, you might be able to say African American Muslims acted as a “proximal host group” for Latinx Muslims, but this bears much more study for

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the terminology to be applied appropriately and authoritatively. Cf. Bowen, “The Latino American Da’wah Organization and the ‘Latina/o Muslim’ Identity in the United States.” 96. See Martínez-Vázquez, Latina/o y Musulmán. 97. P. C. Johnson, Diaspora Conversions, 18. 98. Balibar and Wallerstein, Race, Nation, and Class, 71–85. 99. P. C. Johnson, Diaspora Conversions, 235. 100. This can also be seen in the lives of Trinidadian Muslims and the discussion about authenticity debates presented to us by Aisha Khan in Chapter 5. 101. See Hill, History, Power, and Identity. 102. Cf. Dufoix, Diasporas, 34. 103. See Tweed, Crossing and Dwelling. 104. Mittarmeier, Dreams that Matter, 3. 105. Flores, Divided Borders, Kindle loc. 4246ff. 106. Tsing, Friction, 214. 107. Taylor, Recovering Place, 39. 108. It must be said, however, that these dreams are not always inclusive and that this ethnicization of Muslim identities subtly maintains preexisting boundaries. While Latinx Muslims are able to inscribe themselves into the narrative of Islamic history through dreams of al-Andalus, there are elements of the Andalusian—or Moorish—heritage that are subsumed under the Iberian emphasis featured in Latinx Muslim narratives. Scholar Omar Ramadan-Santiago has spoken to me about negligence toward Africanity in Puerto Rican imaginations and in reconfigurations of Andalusian heritage. In his work, Ramadan-Santiago emphasizes the Africanity of Islam in Puerto Rico and the debt that Latinx Muslims have to their African forebears. This is part of a broader and long-standing debate about the African roots of Puerto Rican identity and wider Latinx characterizations of culture. See Juan Flores’s work on ethnicity in Divided Borders.

11 The Americas as Part of a Broader “Muslim World”

ABDALLAH YUSUF DE LA PLATA GREW UP IN AN ATHEISTIC Argentine family. Born Nestor Daniel Pagano, his father was an ardent socialist and “an enemy of all religion.”1 He was taught to love and care for the poor, to be honorable, but abandon all that is religious. In his own words, Abdallah “accepted the first two of his teachings, but not the last one.”2 He started a journey to understand religion and explore faith. He went on pilgrimage to the basilica Nuestra Señora de Luján just outside of Buenos Aires. He explored Zen Buddhism, Hindu traditions, and philosophers such as George Gurdjieff. A little interested in Islam, he started to learn Arabic at the local Islamic center in La Plata, Argentina, under the direction of Imam Mahmud Hussein of Buenos Aires. The Arabic classes were part of the community’s dawah and although Abdallah “did not go with the intention to learn religion,” he was welcomed by their teachers, softened by their hospitality, and challenged by their teachings.3 Just four weeks after starting the course, he reverted to Islam. Now, it has been almost two decades, and Abdallah’s journey has taken him from Argentina to Iran to Mecca for the hajj and has taught him that the essence of being human is being “pure, free of prejudices, and other similar defects” that impede one’s ability to “accept the message of God.”4 Although he had no intention to become Muslim, his current trajectory is inherently intertwined with ancient pathways and contemporary networks across the ummah. Standing before the Kaaba in the heart of the Hejaz in Saudi Arabia, this convert from La Plata typifies the behaviors and experiences of many Muslims across the world today who sustain long-term and intricate

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transregional ties with multiple locales, Muslims the world over, and the lattices that exist between them. Bringing together the various stories and strands in the preceding chapters, I conclude with comments on the overall narrative of the book to reemphasize my attempt to situate Muslims in Latin America, the Caribbean, and across the American hemisphere while at the same time situating the region in the wider narrative of global Islam. Abdallah’s story, in combination with other stories encountered along the way, reminds us that a representative part of the story of global Islam lies in the Americas and that significant aspect of the story of the Americas includes Islam and Muslims. The prime aim of this book is to make plain the interwoven and coconstitutive nature of the Americas and global Islam and the significance and presence of Muslims in the hemisphere over the longue durée. This book began with three simple claims: (1) Islam and Muslims are not foreign to this region, but an integral part of the history and contemporary narrative of Latin America and the Caribbean; (2) Latin America and the Caribbean are part of the landscape of global Islam, despite relatively lower numbers of Muslims; and (3) recognizing these two facts helps us see both Latin America and the Caribbean and global Islam in new light, thus opening new avenues for historical understanding, contemporary research, and public discussions and debates over identity and religion, culture and history. In exploring the history of potential Muslim arrivals to the Americas before Europeans, we began to see how Latin American and Caribbean Muslims make much of these stories in an attempt to rewrite history in their favor and underscore the “Americanness” of Islam and how Muslims have been part of the Americas just as long as, or even longer, than Europeans. Building on this quasi-mythical foundation, I considered three specific, and solidly evidenced, histories of Muslim existence and influence in the Americas dating back some 500 years: (1) the specter of Andalusian Spain and the presence of Muslims in Nueva España, despite the nation’s strict prohibitions against their coming; (2) the importation of Muslim enslaved persons from West Africa and elsewhere and their place in the colonial Americas and legacy thereafter; and (3) the narrative of indentured servants from Indonesia and India who came to places such as Suriname and Trinidad, respectively, and immigrants from across the landscapes of global Islam who came to shape the contemporary face of Islam and Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean. Each of these histories undergirds the argument that Islam and Muslims are not foreign to this region, but instead are an integral part of its historical narrative. It is time they are appreciated for this presence and influence. The first part of this book helps us start in such a direction. While the number of Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean remains relatively low, this does not mean that their stories are insignifi-

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cant. Instead, as the second part of this book shows, the narratives of Islam and Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean are interwoven with broader currents and themes in Latin American and Caribbean studies and research on global Islam. From the diversity of Muslim practice (Sunni, Shi‘i, Sufi, Salafi, Ahmadiyya, and otherwise) to their distribution across the hemisphere, from the global war on terror to alterglobalization movements, the struggle for Sunni hegemony, and the experience of diaspora communities, the accounts of Muslims in Argentina, Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, the Latinx United States, and elsewhere help us see how Latin American and Caribbean Muslims are not only part of global Islam’s networked landscape, but also part of the diverse dynamics at play in shaping the contemporary Americas. Moreover, this also invites scholars to see Muslims in the Americas as a prime case for analyzing issues related to global political, social, and economic orders more broadly. In recognizing these presences, influences, and significances, we can begin to see Latin America, the Caribbean, and global Islam in new light. This opens up new avenues for historical understanding, contemporary research, and public discussions and debates over identity and religion, culture, and history. In particular, I see this book encouraging two important developments. First, it is my hope that the study of Islam and Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean can serve as a critical subfield in pushing beyond current impediments in the discipline of Islamic studies as a whole. Even with the rise of the study of global Islam, and various attempts at problematizing the global/local divide, the scope of the field has failed to fully incorporate other geographies and the study of Islam beyond the Middle East, North Africa, and Southeast Asia is still underrepresented. Thus, there is a pertinent need to globalize the study of “global Islam.” Second, studying Muslims in the Americas helps scholars better apperceive the religious, cultural, political, and social dynamics of Latin America and the Caribbean. I suggest that the exploration of Islam and Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean serves as a prime opportunity to further explore prominent themes in the study of the Americas such as historical globalizations, contemporary migration, indigeneity, transnationalism, diaspora religion, global political orders, race and ethnicity, media and communication technologies, worldwide economic networks and their dissidents, and cultural hybridity. Moreover, it helps scholars address questions of identity and belonging in the region by expanding our notion of what it means to be “Latin American,” “Caribbean,” or “American.” Too often, the study of so-called peripheral Muslim constituencies— such as those in Latin America and the Caribbean—becomes the purview of minority anthropological monographs and cultural reports rather than as central to understanding Islam as it is today. Thus, researchers studying Islam in Latin America and the Caribbean (and the Americas in general) are

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still fighting for their space in multiple fields. Stuck between global Islamic studies on the one side and Americanists of multiple kinds on the other, scholars find that both seem to not know what to do with Islam and Muslims in the Americas as of yet. To counteract this situation, scholars can, and should, explore the ways in which Islam and Muslims have been part of the diachronic narrative of the region and how they have shaped the material culture of specific countries and cities, and also explore intellectual connections between Muslims in the area with those elsewhere. Such avenues of research will make explicit the entanglements of Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Americas in global Islam. We must make concerted efforts to understand every dimension of Muslim lives as they are implicated in various histories, narratives, contexts, environments, and material cultures.5 Stories in places such as the Americas, as this book has attempted to make explicitly clear, are intertwined with Islamic civilizations writ large and vice versa. Likewise, global Islam is enmeshed in other stories, geographies, and networks beyond the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) or even Shahab Ahmed’s proposed “Balkans-to-Bengal complex.”6 Further deprovincializing global Islamic studies,7 and building on the efforts of scholars studying sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and Europe requires displacing the focus on origins and allowing a greater spatialization of historical narrative and contemporary communities. This will mean emphasizing structure, transformation, and relationships (temporal and spatial, material and ecological, sociocultural and religious) and exploring the interactions of Muslims, and nonMuslims, at varying scales. Recognizing that space is pluralized, scholars must follow transnational flows to various places and when appropriate engage in multilocal fieldwork to properly work the connections, flows, encounters between spaces and places, people, and the networks that bind them together (or drive them apart). This will better illustrate how Muslims and Americans are taking part in a globalized world, informed by multiple discourses, histories, and communities, and living in a state of simultaneity in various places at once. This is not a plea for a post-Islamic frame of study. Instead, the idea is to thicken global Islamic studies by making it both more complex and comprehensive and truer to the lived experience of Muslims today. The story of global Islam is a complex weaving together of coexisting constituencies spread across vast geographic spaces. Their overall narrative is a series of discourses and embodied realities sharing space, relating to one another, often with causal consequences, but not totally assimilated into an overarching “Islamic civilization.” Our task as students of global Islam is to look for the ties that bind a multiplicity of Muslim narratives to one another under the canopy of “Islam” even as we explore ways that these narratives connect Islam to stories usually considered outside of its bounds—in this

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case, Latin America and the Caribbean. Islam then becomes a partially bounded entity imbricated in structures and processes that connect it to hitherto underconsidered parts of the world. By defamiliarizing ourselves with the common narratives about Islam, its origins, and its importance, and instead refining our analysis to better approach the field’s major themes and questions in new places, we might better take notice, and record evidence of, transnational stories within global Islam that were previously filtered out or overlooked. The global ummah still matters, and so does its history and trajectory, but we must expand our notion of it, destabilize its proposed metanarratives with alternative local narratives, and complicate the often oversimplified layers of its interpretive contexts.

Areas for Further Consideration I also suggest that our study must go beyond simply considering the Muslim “contribution” to Latin American and Caribbean culture or the Latin American and Caribbean’s “contribution” to global Islam, and instead recognize this as a matter of politics and justice. As Shaikh Muhammad Nizami writes of Black Muslims in Islamic history, considering their “contribution” to Islam “in fact positions them as ‘fringe associates rather than inherent fellows.’”8 As he argues, “the global history of Islam is a story that cannot exist independently of the various Black sahaba, ‘ulama, warriors and saints who make up its very existence”9 so too this book seeks to show how Islam and Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean are central to the story of the region of focus and the narrative of global Islam as a whole. To not recognize them as such would leave us open to cultural, political, and social interpretations that relegate Latin American and Caribbean Muslims to the sidelines of their region of residence or heritage and the global ummah. Similar to how Nizami writes of Black Muslims, defending the rightful place of Islam and Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean—Black Muslims included—in history and the contemporary scene “is therefore more than an academic issue of accuracy—it is also a matter of social justice.”10 It is my hope that this book brings an increasing awareness to the interwoven story of Islam and the Americas and this might provoke the ability to recognize one’s identifications in that of the supposed Other—whether they be American, Muslim, or both. Islam is not a “foreign” religion in the Americas. Instead, as has been shown, it is quite the “domestic” affair, even though it is entangled with a network of dynamics and socialities across the globe. Nonetheless, as one of the students in my Islam in the Americas class readily pointed out, acknowledging—and even appreciating—the long-term presence and influence of Islam and Muslims in the region will not necessarily change hearts, minds, attitudes, or practices. This is unfortunately

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true. Perhaps not surprisingly, we are not able to change the world with a single book, journal article, social media post, one-off conversation, or even a daylong protest. Instead, the development of postures and practices that help us remain supple, and hospitable, toward those we perceive as Others takes long-term effort on the ground, in day-to-day relationships, and in sustained efforts at teaching, writing, and leading. While many of us want to bring about change immediately or react to perceived injustices and outrage, real civic engagement and change take time, relationships, and strategy. However, this book aims to be a start to such conversations, relationships, sustained approaches, and long-term policies. It contends that the issue of imagining Islam as something foreign, problematic, and Other is not only a question to be pondered, but a story to be told, a narrative that unfolds over time, and a series of contemporary snapshots to be shared, discussed, and taken further in ongoing research and reflection. Regardless of the context or conversation, my ambition has not been to tell the whole story of Islam and Muslims in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Latinx United States. That is an impossible task. Nor did I presume to tell the only official version. That is a task of hubris. Instead, I humbly submit this as a synthesized narrative of the major plot points and some significant people, places, events, and stories of the many Muslims in the American hemisphere. This book fills a void, but it is not alone. It is also not definitive. It is an introductory narrative meant to invite further consideration, deeper questions, and lively debate. It is my desire that a general interest book like this will spur those seeking more understanding to not only know more about the world around them in the pages of this book but push beyond its binding to engage in their own research, to ask additional questions, and to enter into ongoing discussion in an important, if still emerging, field. This book was designed to provide insight into some of the notable existent literature in the fields of study and perhaps to motivate future research and provide possible inroads for further considerations by scholars and students just starting to become conversant with the subject. However, it has not been able to tell every story or include every aspect of research on Islam and Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean. On that point, I must humbly admit that there were many stories left untold and plenty of intriguing research left out. Of particular interest would be an extensive study of Sufism in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Latinx United States. While Sufism is not a defined sect or denomination of Islam—as it is often represented to be—there are Sufi communities across the Americas: Naqshbandi groups in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Peru; the Murabitun World Movement in Mexico; the Instituto Luz Sobre Luz (also known as Tekke de la Orden Jalveti Yerraji) in Mexico City; Latinx Muslims in the United States who are members of turuq

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(orders, plural of tariqa); and reports of various movements (e.g., Gurdjieffian, Inayati, Yerrahi, Maryamiyya, Mevlevi, Mouride, Nimatullahi, Tijani, or Universal Sufis among others) in places such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and elsewhere.11 Although Sufis can be organized into formal networks and brotherhoods, they are more often diffuse and integrated into other streams of Islam (Sunni, Shi‘i, etc.). Furthermore, while various communities may share a name and a historical point of reference or lineage (e.g., the Naqshbandi), they may have little else to do with one another. For example, the phenomena associated with Sufism (wird, dhikr, asceticism, etc.) are not universally observed among those seeking inner transformation through Islam. Moreover, although some Sufis eschew politics, others such as Tijaniyya and Muridiyya in Senegal have long been involved in politics (one Murid serving as president in Senegal) and the Naqshbandi of the Levant being heavily involved in sectarian violence following the US-led invasion of Iraq, just to name a couple of examples. Because of this, scholars would do well to remember that it is difficult, if not impossible, to study Sufism in the abstract and that it is better “seen and studied at the level of the tariqa.”12 Apropos to this book, such research is needed in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Latinx United States. Diverse flows of Sufism have reached the Americas over the past few centuries via texts, traditions, and traveling individuals and socialities ranging from the legalistic to the New Age and neotraditional. Further research into Sufi turuq across the region and on Sufism as a whole would be of benefit to a wide range of disciplines including the study of religion in the Americas and global Islam. However, Sufi communities in the Americas are not alone in deserving attention and further research, to which this book was not able to afford time or space. There is the story of inter-American solidarities existing between Mexican Muslims and Latinx Muslims in Los Angeles, Houston, and in the California borderlands;13 the hospitality of welcoming communities in Ecuador toward those fleeing the war in Syria; and political solidarities between Puerto Ricans and Palestinians in the United States and Borikén. 14 The existence and struggle of Muslims in the Dominican Republic did not receive the treatment I wish I could have offered them, despite the work of my student Evelyn Veras, who piqued my interest in this topic. The same could be said for the accounts of Muslims in Peru, Colombia, El Salvador, Jamaica, and elsewhere in the Americas. I would have loved to include something about the impact of Black Muslim organizations (e.g., the Nation of Islam) in the Bahamas and other locales in the “Black Caribbean.”15 Or, I thought of including a discussion of Islamophobic writers and speakers who are seemingly fascinated with the claims of Abdullah Hakim Quick and others that Muslims were the first to “discover” the Americas. 16 As I was finishing the first

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manuscript for this book, a professor of Latinx studies told me about the tensions and opportunities that exist between Christians and Muslims in Venezuela.17 This raises the point that more could, and should, be said about Muslims in countries such as Venezuela or Colombia, although there is already a robust body of work that has been done.18 There is also a relatively new Ahmadiyya hospital in Guatemala, which the “Khalifa” (or Caliph) visited in 2018. There are Darul Uloom schools in Trinidad and Tobago and Haiti that need to be considered alongside, and as part of, the already extensive educational networks in South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere in the Americas. There are also Indigenous communities such as the Kalinago in Dominica, the Mapuche in Chile or the Wayuu in Colombia. There are also places such as the tiny musalla (prayer space) I came across in the east of Barbados, where just a few faithful Muslims gather to pray each Friday in front of a local Black convert’s home. Each of these socialities and their stories deserves to be explored in more detail. Indeed, there are so many other histories to uncover, stories to tell, and case studies to analyze and discuss. Being trained in ethnographic methods, I am biased toward the study of people, socialities, and cultural dynamics. To that end, I have focused more on “Muslims” than I have on “Islam.” However, future research may endeavor to interrogate more about texts, traditions, and Islamic discourse in the region and approach Islam in the Americas from more text-based or traditional disciplinary approaches. This may lead to a deeper understanding of the ways in which the Americas are intertwined with Muslims elsewhere, and it is one particular area I would have liked to have researched myself. However, like any academic work, I must now leave it to you, the reader, to pick up where I left off. It is my hope that perhaps in another decade or two this book is a simple, and increasingly irrelevant, signpost in a field that has far surpassed its claims and case studies. At the very least, within ten or twenty years, I believe this book will be sorely in need of update and revision. For now, this book serves as an interlude in a conversation, a collection of comments on a particular present with reference to past literature and an eye to the future of the field. Despite my hopes for its irrelevance in the future, it is my desire that right now it is a rather relevant text for readers from a variety of disciplines. At the very least, perhaps it can serve as a tantalizing introduction to a subfield that they may not have been aware of. To that end, it is a synthetic account of some of the significant concerns, contours, and current motifs of Islam and Muslim socialities in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Latinx United States. I hope it inspires you to learn more about the ways in which Islam and Muslims in Latin America and the Caribbean are an integral part of the wider Muslim world and have, for centuries, been a dynamic thread weaving their way through the American

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story. Abdallah’s life history testifies in part to the intricate ways in which these strands of global history and contemporary dynamics are interwoven. Who knows how many “Abdallahs” are left to get to know and whose accounts prove valuable to take the field—and our apperception and appreciation of it—that much further forward.

Notes 1. Galvan, Latino Muslims, 34. 2. Ibid., 35. 3. Ibid., 36. 4. Ibid., 37. 5. Bender, Rethinking American History in a Global Age, 6. 6. See S. Ahmed, What Is Islam? 7. Kurien, “Sociology in America or a Sociology of America?” 8. Nizami, “There Was No Black ‘Contribution’ to Islam.” 9. Ibid. 10. Ibid. 11. Sedgwick, “Sufism in Latin America.” See also da Silva Filho, “A mistica Islâmica em Terrœ Brasilis”; González, “El islam en la Ciudad de México”; Montenegro, “‘Alawi Muslims in Argentina”; Petsche, “A Gurdjieff Genealogy.” 12. Sedgwick, “Sufism in Latin America,” 7. 13. See M. R. Gallardo, La solidaridad entre los musulmanes de las Américas. 14. Awartani, “In Solidarity.” 15. See Morgan, “Atlantic Crescent.” 16. For example, Pam Geller’s heavily Islamophobic and fear-mongering foreword to Dale, The Muslim Discovery of America. 17. Marcos Kempff, conversation with the author, St. Louis, MO, April 9, 2018. 18. See M. del R. García, Identidad y minorías musulmanas en Colombia; Castellanos, Islam en Bogotá.

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Index

Abolition, of slavery, 87, 93, 98–99, 108, 187 Afghanistan, 109, 117, 124n63, 153 Africa, 73n60, 75–76, 83, 85, 146, 167. See also specific countries African Americans, 70, 90–91, 244n33, 245n95 Afro-Muslims, 40, 41, 70, 89–92, 183, 239, 251; slavery of, 76–77, 85 Afro-Puerto Ricans, 1–2, 64 Afro-Trinidadians, 98, 101, 103, 109; Jamaat al-Muslimeen and, 102, 163–164; Salafism among, 162–163 Age of Exploration, 60, 61 Agency, 88, 198, 216, 220, 241 Ahmadiyya Muslims, 18, 25, 101, 107, 123n19, 254; in Mexico, 181, 190, 199 Ahmed, Shahab, 12, 250 AKP. See Justice and Development Party los Alarifes (Andalusian and North African Muslim builders), 69–70 Alianza Islámica, 230, 231, 244n33 Allah, 36–37, 110, 131, 199 ALMA. See Atlanta Latino Muslims Association Almoravids, 51, 191–192 Alterglobalization, 25, 182, 188–190 Alter-Islamism, 212–217 American hemisphere, 4, 23, 26n12, 67, 85; Muslim exclusion in, 2–3, 10–11 Americas, indigenous peoples of the, 4–5, 34, 42, 44; population decline of, 53, 76, 83, 85; Spanish colonialism and, 53, 57–59, 61, 63 Americas, the, 2, 6, 95n69, 252–253; Arab immigrants in, 111–118, 122; global Islam and, 15, 21, 28n57, 144–145, 250; global war on terror and, 152–162; indentured

servants in, 98–104, 106–111; Muslim slaves in, 76–78, 81; narratives of, 3, 23, 30, 33; Pre-Columbian Muslim contact theory for, 23, 36–37, 42. See also First contact; Pre-Columbian Muslim contact theory; Slavery; Spanish colonialism Amerindian peoples, 39, 40–41, 66; Spanish colonialism and, 53, 61, 85 AMIA. See Argentine Israeli Mutual Association Amin, Muhammad, 193–194 Amulets, 18, 79–80, 87, 91 al-Andalus, 51–52, 224, 226, 233–241. See also Andalusian Spain Andalusian Spain, 24, 50, 68, 74n87, 224, 239, 248 Anderson, Benedict, 238 Anjuman Sunnatul Jamaat Association (ASJA), 101–102 Anti-Arab sentiment, 167, 172, 184 Arab Brazilians, 132–139 Arab Muslims, 97, 115–116, 135 Arab Spring, 117, 212 Arabic (language), 37, 39, 76, 79, 247; in Brazil, 134–137; for Latinx Muslims in US, 231 Arab-Israeli conflict, 115–116 Archaeology, 38, 44, 47n43 Architecture, 67, 187, 213; Islamic, 68–70, 235, 237; Mudéjar, 68–69, 74n87 Argentina, 114, 175, 247; Arab immigrants in, 167–168; Muslims in, 25, 167–171; terrorism impacting, 151–152, 154, 169 Argentine Immigration Directorate, 168 Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA), 151–152, 169–170

277

278

Index

ASJA. See Anjuman Sunnatul Jamaat Association La Asociación Latino Musulmana de América (LALMA), 230 Atlanta Latino Muslims Association (ALMA), 230 Atlantic Ocean, 36–37, 38–39, 41, 99. See also Transatlantic Atlantic world, 5–6, 24, 236 Azemmouri, Mustafa. See Estabenico

Bahamian Muslims, 82, 253 Bahr al-Zulamat. See Atlantic Ocean Battle for Condado de Coímbra (mythical), 62 Battle of Clavijo (mythical), 62 Bayt-al-Hikma (House of Wisdom), 53 Belonging, narratives of, 30–31, 44 Berbers, 51, 69–70, 79, 234 Biases, 34, 90, 174–175 Bin Laden, Osama, 160, 172 Blanqueamiento (whitening), 9, 50, 112 Bomba y plena (music), 1, 64 Borders, 8, 25, 62, 158–159, 172–174, 214; Latinx Muslims in US and, 230–231 Borinquen, 121, 126n112. See also Puerto Rico Brazil, 38–39, 114; Arab immigrants in, 135– 138, 145; Foz do Iguaçu, 136, 142–144 172; Gülen Movement in, 137–138; halal export industries in, 25, 127–130, 139– 140; Muslim converts in, 132–133, 136, 138–139, 145; Muslims in, 128–130, 132– 138, 161; slave insurrection in, 87–88, 134 Bush, George W., 153, 156, 215

Caballeros, in La Fiesta de Santiago Apóstol, 3, 64 Cabeza de Vaca, Álvar Núñez, 34, 56, 59 CAIR. See Council on American Islamic Relations Caliphates, 36, 51, 151, 159, 192, 210, 240 Canada, 41, 43, 163 Candomblé (religion), 7, 134, 135 Capitalism, 25, 130, 132, 140, 189, 240 Caribbean, 1, 64, 104, 163; indentured servants in, 24, 98–104, 106–118; in PreColumbian Muslim contact theory, 35, 37. See also Latin America and the Caribbean Carnival (celebration), 105, 122 las Casas, Bartolomé de, 40, 61, 187 Castro, Fidel, 207, 215 Castro, Raúl, 209, 216 Catholicism, 5, 7, 59, 61–64, 169, 228–229; in Brazil, 133, 135; in Cuba, 207, 216; in Mexico, 184, 188–189, 194–195, 198. See also Spanish Crown CCEM. See Islamic Cultural Center of Mexico Centro Islámico de la República Argentina (CIRA), 168–169

Chiapas, Mexico, 8, 25, 69, 181–182, 187– 191, 194–197 Christianity, 7, 53–54, 66, 68, 89, 100, 154; of Arab immigrants, 113, 135, 142, 167–168, 184; in Islamic Spain, 51–52; Protestant, 5, 176n24, 184, 188, 194, 198. See also Conversion; Evangelicalism Cien años de soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude, García Márquez), 118 CIRA. See Centro Islámico de la República Argentina; Islamic Center of the Republic of Argentina Citizenship, 11, 57, 153, 161, 229 Ciudad del Este, Paraguay (founded as Puerto Presidente Stroessner), 142, 143, 172 Clothing, 40, 87–88, 103, 134, 187, 204. See also specific clothing articles Cofradías (religious brotherhoods), 63, 73n66 Cold War, 113, 166, 173, 215 Cold war, for Sunni hegemony, 24–26, 209–221 Collective narratives, 3, 240 Colón, Cristóbal. See Columbus, Christopher Colonialism, 3–4, 6, 12–13, 39, 42, 56, 183; Corpus Christi festival and, 64–65; Dutch, 107–108. See also European colonialism; Spanish colonialism Columbus, Christopher (Cristóbal Colón), 29, 31, 40, 41, 50, 187; first contact by, 35, 44, 45, 49, 56–57 Communism, 161, 166, 173, 215 Connell, Curtis C., 156, 172, 174 Conversion, to Christianity, 56, 57, 68, 72n31, 183; of slaves, 77, 81, 83, 85, 91, 134 Conversion narratives, 226–228, 230, 233 Converts, Muslim, 18, 42, 53, 58, 82, 89, 229; in Argentina, 170–171; in Brazil, 132– 133, 136, 138–139, 145; in Cuba, 205, 207; identities of, 184–185; of Latinx in US, 26, 223–233; in Mexico, 181–191, 194–197; shahadah for, 120, 194; of Tzotzil peoples, 8, 181–182, 187–191; in West Africa, 78–79. See also Reversion Convivencia (peaceful coexistence), in alAndalus, 51–53 Córdoba, Spain, 36, 51, 53, 245n94 Corpus Christi festival, 64–65 Cortés, Hernán, 29, 40, 61 Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), 230 Creolization, 7, 105–106, 139 Crusades, 53–54, 58 Crypto-Muslims, 133, 183 Cuba, 56, 69, 82, 209; Havana, 25–26, 206, 208, 218, 220–221; mosques in, 31, 40, 203–206, 208; Muslims in, 204, 207–208, 222n5; Turkey and, 206, 208, 214–217 Cuban convertible pesos (CUCs), 203, 205 Cuban Islamic Union, 208

Index Cultures, 11, 105, 137, 153, 162, 230; Indigenous, 2, 39, 40–43, 126n112, 181. See also Latin America and the Caribbean; Popular

Da’is (missionaries), 100–101, 116–117 Dallas, Ian. See as-Sufi, Abdalqadir Data, 18, 32, 76, 168. See also Populations Dawah (the “call” to Islam), 45, 89, 101, 138, 163, 247; in Cuba, 207–208; for Latinx Muslims in US, 227, 230–232; in Mexico, 184–186; by MMM, 192–193 de Ovando, Nicolás (Friar), 58, 84 De-Africanization, 77, 90 Decolonization, 11, 12, 165 Democracy, 173, 215, 217 Demographics, 18, 107–109, 207, 224–226. See also Populations Dhimmi/dhimmitude (status), 52, 187 Dhuhr prayers, 119, 120 los Diablitos, in La Fiesta de Santiago Apóstol, 1–2, 64, 65 Diasporas, 92, 97, 106, 109–110, 118, 125n73, 214; identities of, 237, 239–242; imagination and, 86, 224, 226, 233, 236– 238; Lebanese, 142, 172; Palestinian, 115, 121; of Shi‘i Muslims, 24–25, 144 Diouf, Sylviane, 78, 80, 86, 89, 90 Discrimination, 10, 121, 135, 171, 229 Diyanet. See Presidency of Religious Affairs Documents, historical, 34, 36–41, 57, 76 Dominican Republic, 69, 84, 86, 253

Economies, 122, 150n81, 165, 183; of halal industries, 24–25, 127–128, 139–142, 144–147 Egypt, 79, 212, 219 Eid al-Adha, 101, 184 Eid al-Fitr, 108, 184 Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (ELZN). See Zapatista Army of National Liberation Erasure, 43, 65, 70 Erdoğan, Recep Tayyip, 206, 208, 210–211; alter-Islamism promoted by, 212–217; promoting Pre-Columbian Muslim contact theory, 31, 40, 44, 209 Estabenico (Mustafa Azemmouri), 33–34, 56, 75, 183, 199n6 Ethnicities, 8–9, 88, 99, 109 Euro-American worldview, 5, 24, 211 Eurocentrism, 4, 11, 30 Europe, 4, 26n10, 51, 161 European colonialism, 4, 33, 44, 58, 75–76, 92, 133; imaginations of, 40–41, 60, 71; indigenous people and, 10, 23, 40–41; Pre-Columbian Muslim contact compared to, 29–30, 43

279

European Union, 211–212, 213 Evangelicalism, 188, 194, 198, 230 Evidence, 68–70, 159, 166, 239; archaeology as, 38, 44, 47n43 Evidence, for Pre-Columbian Muslim contact, 23–24, 29–30, 32, 35, 45–46, 46n16; historical documents as, 36–41; language as, 38–40, 41–42, 47n44; secondary sources as, 41–42, 47n43 Exclusion, Muslim, 2–3, 10–11, 27n40, 65 Exports, of halal products, 25, 127–130, 140 EZLN. See Zapatista Army of National Liberation

Ferdinand II (King), 37, 49 Fiction, 31–32, 40, 158–159; Estabenico in, 33–34, 75 La Fiesta de Santiago Apóstol (The Festival of St. James the Apostle), 1–3, 10, 61–62, 63–64, 73n60, 94n46 First contact, with the Americas, 5, 23–24, 30, 43; Columbus, C., making, 35, 44, 45, 49, 56–57. See also Pre-Columbian Muslim contact theory Five Percent Nation (FPN), 91 Foreign policies, 217, 218–219 Foreign policies, US, 155–156, 158, 161–162 Foucault, Michel, 32, 215, 241 Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, 136, 142–144, 172 FPN. See Five Percent Nation Freed slaves, 86, 87 Frontiers, 18, 25, 62, 173–174

Gelofes, 83, 86 Gender, 102–103, 242n2. See also Women Geographies, 92, 111, 128, 172–173, 214; colonialism and, 3–4, 6, 13; of global Islam, 15–17, 209, 221; of global war on terror, 153, 160. See also American hemisphere; specific regions Global Islam, 3–4, 6, 78, 225, 229–231, 248– 249; the Americas and, 15, 21, 28n57, 144–145, 250; Cuba and, 206–207; geographies of, 15–17, 209, 221; globalization impacting, 11–12, 145–147; halal industries supporting, 25, 127–131; narratives of, 11–12, 19, 45 Global South, 116, 156, 160 Global ummah (Islamic community), 24–25, 45, 139, 190, 197, 242 Globalization, 9–10, 15, 55, 228, 236; global Islam impacted by, 11–12, 145–147; of halal industries, 24–25, 127–128, 139–142, 144–147; religions and, 7–8, 145–146 Granada, Spain, 37, 40, 49–50, 51 Green, Nile, 145–146 Gülen Movement, 137–138, 149n67, 216 Guyana, 107, 132

280

Index

Habib’s (fast-food chain), 129, 147n10 Hadith, 79, 130 Haitian Revolution, 89, 95n61 Hajj, 92, 210, 219, 247 Halal (lawful or permissible), 129–130, 132; global industries for, 24–25, 127–128, 139–142, 144–147 Hanafi madhab, 100, 107 Haram (prohibited), 92 130 Harlem, New York, 229, 239, 244n33 Havana, Cuba, 25–26, 206, 208, 218, 220–221 Hechicería (witchcraft), 59 Hejaz (region), 146, 247 Heterotopias, 215, 233 Hezbollah, 155, 157 Hijabs, 40, 103, 170–171, 187, 197 Hinduism, 99–100, 101, 109 Hip-hop, 83, 92 Hispanic identity, 54, 242n2, 245n93 Historical narratives, 9, 31–33, 35, 51–53, 235–236, 248 Hizmet movement, 216 Homelands, 122, 224, 236–241 Hosay festival, 104–106 Human rights, 91, 170, 175, 217 Hybridity, 8, 25, 105, 110, 132–136; of Tzotzil Muslims, 181–182, 193–198

Iberia, 66, 68, 150n103 Iberian Peninsula, 37, 52, 54, 62–63, 68, 239; Reconquista of, 49–50, 61, 66–67 IDB. See Islamic Development Bank Identities, 1–2, 44, 89, 101, 122, 139, 161; of converts, 184–185; diasporic, 237, 239– 242; ethnicities and, 88, 99, 109; Hispanic, 54, 242n2, 245n93; indigenous, 8, 197–199; Islamic, 77, 81, 92; Latina/o, 225, 242n2, 245n93; Latinx Muslims, 53, 233–241, 246n108; Other/Otherness as, 14, 57; plural, 143–144, 225–228; postcolonial, 8, 236; Spanish, 54, 57 Identities, Muslim, 24, 52–53, 82, 134, 137, 152 IHAF. See International Halal Accreditation Forum Illiteracy, 76, 84, 100 Imagery, 66–67, 73n60; in La Fiesta de Santiago Apóstol, 1–2, 62, 64, 94n46 Imaginations, 14, 17, 23, 24–25, 30, 33, 61; alter-Islamist, 212–217; diasporas and, 86, 224, 226, 233, 236–238; of European colonizers, 40–41, 60, 71; of homelands, 238–241; of Spanish colonizers, 54–55, 59, 72n50 Imams, 100, 110, 120, 205 Immigrants, 97, 122, 125n88, 126n103, 228– 229; Christian, 113, 135, 142, 167–168, 184; Lebanese, 129, 135, 142–144, 171– 172, 183; Yemeni, 204–205, 220–221

Immigrants, Arab, 24, 97, 111–118, 121, 122, 143, 183; in Argentina, 167–168; in Brazil, 135–138, 145; Christianity of, 113, 142, 167–168, 184 Immigration, Muslim, 8, 50, 77, 136–137, 158, 168; of indentured servants, 24, 98– 104, 106–111; from Lebanon, 142–144 Imperialism, 5, 45, 85, 239; Karam on, 158, 172–173; of Spain, 50, 57, 59 Indentured servants, Muslim, 50, 77, 93, 97, 248; immigration of, 24, 98–104, 106–111 India, 97–104, 145–146 Indigenous languages, 39, 197 Indigenous peoples, 37, 64–65, 254; cultures of, 2, 39, 40–43, 126n112, 181; European colonizers and, 10, 23, 40–41; identities of, 8, 197–199; in Mexico, 187–191, 193– 198; population decline of, 76, 83. See also Americas; specific peoples Indonesia, 24, 97, 106–111 Indo-Pakistanis, 107, 109 Indo-Trinidadians, 98–102, 106, 109, 163 Institutions, Islamic, 8, 91, 108, 135–136, 183; in Mexico, 185–186, 190, 196 Insurrections, slave, 85–89, 94n30, 134 International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF), 131, 132 Iran, 116–117, 157, 169–170, 211, 217 Iranian Revolution, 116–117 Iraq, 51, 104, 117, 153, 216, 253 Isabella I (Queen), 37, 49 ISESCO. See Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization ISIL. See Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Islam, 8–9, 11–14, 57, 60, 108, 116, 195; in Brazil, 132–137; in the New World, 66, 83– 85; terrorism and, 164; in West Africa, 78– 79. See also Global Islam; Halal; Institutions; Islamic Spain; specific branches Islamic architecture, 68–70, 235, 237 Islamic Center of the Republic of Argentina (CIRA), 168–169 Islamic Cultural Center of Mexico (CCEM), 185–186 Islamic Development Bank (IDB), 107, 109 Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), 107, 109 Islamic identities, 77, 81, 92 Islamic laws, 128, 130, 131 Islamic Revolution (1979), 116 Islamic Spain, 51–52, 228, 234–235 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), 151, 154, 162–164, 166, 176n24, 216 Islamic studies, 15, 19, 24–25, 145, 249–250 Islamidad, 224, 228, 232 Islamophobia, 25, 84, 90, 174–175; stereotypes and, 158, 159, 180n152 Israel, 114, 142, 169

Index Jamaat al-Muslimeen, 102, 163–166, 179n87 Jamaat al-Tablighi movement, 190 James the Moorslayer (Saint) (Santiago Matamoros), 61–64, 66, 72n50, 73n60. See also La Fiesta de Santiago Apóstol Javanese Muslims, 106–111 Jewish people, 49–50, 52–54, 57–58, 169, 184 Jihad, 25, 87–88, 152, 159–160, 165–166 Judaism, 7, 8, 20–21, 72n31 Jummah prayers, 120, 205 Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkey, 211–214 Kalinago peoples, 63–64, 181, 254 Karam, John Tofik, 21–22, 24, 55, 115, 152; on imperialism, 158, 172–173 Karamokos (holy men), 80 King Fahd Islamic Cultural Center, 168, 171, 180n127

Labor, 75, 82, 98–99 Ladinos, 83, 85, 86 LADO. See Latino American Dawah Organization Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam in Paramaribo, 108 LAJSA. See Latin American Jewish Studies Association Lal Dhari (Moulvi Haji Sufi Shah Mohammed Hassan Hanfi Qadi), 100–101 Lalami, Laila, 33–34, 56, 75 LALMA. See La Asociación Latino Musulmana de América Languages, 61, 101, 109, 134, 138, 233–234; for Atlantic Ocean, 36–37; colonialism shaping, 24; diasporic, 237; as evidence for Pre-Columbian Muslim contact, 38– 40, 41–42, 47n44; indigenous, 39, 197. See also specific languages Latin America, 20–21, 159–160, 210, 212; Orientalism in, 161–162, 164–165; Pink Tide of, 116, 211 Latin America and the Caribbean, 4, 7, 13, 18–19, 23, 54, 112; global war on terror in, 151–152, 154–156, 160–161; indentured servants in, 24, 97–104, 106– 111; petro-Islam in, 219–221; Salafism in, 25, 162–166. See also Americas Latin America and the Caribbean, cultures in, 5–6, 24, 54, 251 Latin American Jewish Studies Association (LAJSA), 21 Latin American Muslim Religious Leaders Summit, 31, 209, 211 Latina/o identity, 225, 242n2, 245n93 Latinidad, 224–225, 232, 239–240 Latino American Dawah Organization (LADO), 230–232

281

Latino Islamidad, identity, 224–225 Latinx Muslims, US, 3, 7, 13, 157, 242n2; alAndalus for, 224, 226, 233–241; identities of, 53, 233–241, 246n108; Muslim conversion in, 26, 223–233; reversion to Islam for, 90, 223–225, 227–228, 232– 238, 242n4 Laws, 5, 128, 130, 131; of the Spanish Crown, 50, 57–58, 61, 84–86, 91 Lazo Torres, Pedro, 206, 208 Lebanese civil war, 115, 116, 142 Lebanon, 112, 114, 116, 118, 169; immigrants from, 129, 135, 142–144, 171–172, 183 Limpieza de sangre (“purity of blood”), 58, 59, 62, 176n26 Literacy, 56, 72n45, 79–81; of slaves, 76, 85, 133 Loíza Aldea, Puerto Rico, 1–3, 10, 61–62, 63–64, 73n60, 94n46 Longue durée, Muslims over the, 20, 22, 24, 90, 170, 248

Macri, Mauricio, 151, 167, 170 Madhab (school of thought), 100, 107, 218 Madrasahs (Arabic schools), 78, 89, 91 Maghreb, the (region), 69, 79, 80 Makruh (disliked), 130–131 Malês, 87, 88, 95n55, 134, 148n38 Mali Empire, 38–39 Mandingos, 82, 83, 84, 102 Mandinka peoples, 39, 41–42 al-Mansur (Abu Aamir Muhammad bin Abdullah ibn Abi Aamir, al-Hajib alMansur), 72n50 Maps, 15–17, 36, 37–38, 46n23, 147, 150n105 Marabouts (scholars), 80, 134 Mare Tenebrosum. See Atlantic Ocean Marginalization, 14, 101, 102–103, 161, 163, 175 Al Markas as Salafi (organization), 186 Marquez, Schuyler, 133, 136, 137, 148n38 Martínez-Vázquez, Hjamil A., 228, 232, 235 Mashbuh (questionable), 130–131 Masjid Abdallah (mosque), Cuba, 203–206 Masjids. See Mosques al-Masudi (Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn al-Husain al-Mas‘udi), 36, 37 Mecca, 38, 92, 110–111, 205, 247 MENA. See Middle East and North Africa Mestizaje (mestiçagem/mestizo), 2, 9, 19, 70, 142, 228 Metanarratives, 33, 227, 251 Mexican War of Independence, 63 Mexico, 41, 66, 114, 128, 158, 225; Indigenous peoples in, 8, 181–182, 187– 191, 193–198; Muslims in, 8, 161, 177n32, 181–191, 199 Mexico City (Ciudad de México), Mexico, 56, 182–183, 185–186, 200ni16

282

Index

Middle East, 78, 86, 112–114, 117, 131, 137; refugees from, 97, 115–116 Middle East and North Africa (MENA), 13, 14–15, 115, 127, 140, 250 Military, US, 155–156, 160 Minorities, 11, 18, 168; quadruple, 226, 234– 236, 238–240, 243n18 Missionaries, 100 , 199, 230–231 Missionaries, Muslim, 24–25; da’is as, 100– 101, 116–117; in Mexico, 181–182, 189– 190, 193, 198 MMM. See Murabitun World Movement Monroe Doctrine, US, 155–156, 174 “Monsters,” Muslims as, 24, 51, 52, 61 Moors (los Moros), 26n3, 37, 40, 62, 66, 234; architecture influenced by, 68–70, 235, 237; in the New World, 57–58, 61, 85; vejigantes representing, 2, 10, 64 Moriscos (former or secret Muslims), 57–59, 69, 85, 93, 235, 239 Morocco, 26n3, 55, 56, 79 Mosques, 55, 89, 100, 102, 135, 138; in Argentina, 168–169, 247; in Cuba, 31, 40, 203–206, 208; in Mexico, 185, 189, 190; Saudi Arabia funding, 168–169, 206, 217– 220; in Suriname, 107–108, 124n57. See also specific Mosques Movimiento Murabitun Mundial. See Murabitun World Movement Mudéjares (unconverted Muslims), 68–69, 74n83 Muhammad (Prophet), 100, 130, 194 Multiculturalism, 52, 107 Murabitun World Movement (MMM), 181, 189–190, 191–197 Musa (Mansa), 38–39 Music, 1, 64, 83, 91, 92 Muslim Brotherhood, 157, 212 Muslim World League, 107, 206 Muslim-majority countries, 127, 132, 212 Muslim-minority countries, 111, 128, 131– 132, 212 Muslims. See specific topics

NAFTA. See North American Free Trade Agreement Nakba (disaster or catastrophe), 114 Narratives, 10, 65, 97, 240; of the Americas, 3, 23, 30, 33, 35; of belonging, 30–31, 44; conversion, 226–228, 230, 233; of global Islam, 11–12, 19, 45. See also Historical narratives Narváez expedition, 56, 75 Nation of Islam (NOI), 18, 91–92, 163 National security, US, 155, 160 Nationalism, 54, 215, 219 Neoliberalism, 25, 130, 132, 189 New Spain (Nueva España), 34, 68, 70, 182, 249. See also Mexico

New World, 5, 29–30, 49–50, 54–55; Islam in, 66, 83–85; Moriscos in, 57–59, 85; Muslim slaves in, 24, 76, 82. See also Americas New York, US, 55, 133, 151–152, 175, 186; Harlem, 229, 239, 244n33 9/11 attacks, 9, 15, 117, 152–153, 170, 174–175 NOI. See Nation of Islam North Africa (bilad al-Maghrib), 37, 56–57, 69, 78, 97 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 189 Nueva España. See New Spain el Nuevo Mundo. See New World Nur Ashki Jerrahi Sufi, 186, 195, 201n71

Obeah (religion), 8, 105 Ogún (god), 73n50 OIC. See Organization of Islamic Cooperation Old World, 43, 61, 67 Omar Ibn al-Khattab mosque, 143 Online culture, 162, 232 Operation Iraqi Freedom, 73n69 Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), 107, 109, 124n55 Organizations, Islamic, 107, 109–110, 135– 136, 211; in Cuba, 207–208; in US, 230– 232. See also specific organizations Orientalism, 60, 147n10, 158, 161–162, 164–165 Orientalism (Said), 60 Ortakoy mosque, Turkey, 209, 215 Other/Otherness, 14, 57, 60, 161, 228, 251–252 Ottoman Empire, 58, 113, 135, 167–168, 209–210

Pakistan, 207–208 Palestine, 114, 115, 119, 121, 142 Paraguay, 115, 142, 143, 154, 172 Paramosques, 226, 230–231 Patria (heritage), 65, 115 Pedro, Yahya, 205, 208, 209, 216–217 Pentecostal Christians, 226, 229, 232 Peru, 64–65, 69, 167, 177n32 Petro-Islam, 217–221. See also Wahhabism Petroleum, 165, 218–219 Pilgrimages, 61–62, 66, 72n50, 234–235, 245n94; hajj as, 92, 210, 219, 247 Pink Tide, in Latin America, 116, 211 Pinzón brothers, 56–57, 71n24 Piri Reis map, 37–38 Plantations, 83, 87, 98–102, 108, 133; Muslim slaves on, 76–77, 81, 82 Plural identities, 143–144, 225–228 Poetic Pilgrimage (hip-hop duo), 92 Popular culture, 8, 60, 65–66; global war on terror in, 154–155, 157–160 Populations, Muslim, 4, 15–16, 19, 51, 77; in Brazil, 136; in Cuba, 207; in Haiti, 88; in Mexico, 181; in Suriname, 18, 106

Index Populations, of Indigenous peoples, 53, 76, 83, 85 Port of Spain, Trinidad, 162–165 Portuguese (language), 137–139, 149n73 Postcolonialism, 8, 9, 24, 25 45, 236; in the Caribbean, 104, 163 Postmodernism, 31–33, 45, 46n8, 238. 241 Power, 77, 78, 198, 212–213, 220 Prayers, 80, 119, 120, 137, 205, 208 Pre-Columbian Muslim contact theory, 29–30, 34, 42, 46, 239; Erdoğan promoting, 31, 40, 44, 209; Quick on, 35–40, 41, 43, 44– 45. See also Evidence Presidency of Religious Affairs, Turkey (Diyanet), 206, 208, 209, 211 Protestant Christians, 5, 176n24, 184, 188, 194, 198 Proxy wars, 210, 217 Public opinion, of Muslims, 25, 57, 117, 136– 137, 170–171 Puerto Rico, 2, 29, 65, 67, 69, 225, 235; Jayuya, 118–121; Loíza Aldea, 1–3, 61– 62, 63–64; Muslims in, 6, 65, 83; slave insurrection in, 86 al-Qaeda, 154–155, 159 Quadruple minorities, 226, 234–236, 238– 240, 243n18 Quick, Abdullah Hakim, 46n12, 47n43, 106– 107, 153; on Pre-Columbian Muslim contact theory, 35–40, 41, 43, 44–45 Quran, 24–25, 79–80, 87, 130

Race, 8–9, 112, 163 Racism, 76, 84, 90, 92, 159 Radical Islamism, 155, 157, 160, 170 Ramadan, 87–88, 206 Reconquista (or the Reconquest), Spanish, 49, 54, 57, 66–67, 239 Recruitment, ISIL, 162–164, 166 Refugees, 97, 115–116, 117 Reggaeton music, 1, 64 Relación (Cabeza de Vaca), 34, 56, 59 Religions, 7–8, 51–52, 76, 216, 229, 237; in the Americas, 59, 63; of Arab immigrants, 112, 118; in Brazil, 132–140; economies and, 144–147; in Mexico, 182, 188, 193–197; rational choice models for, 196. See also Conversion; Reversion; specific religions Religious wars, 81, 165, 176n26 Resistance: of Indigenous peoples, 64–65; of slaves, 76–77, 80, 85 Reversion, to Islam, 90, 223–225, 227–228, 232–238, 242n4 Rights, 87, 101, 115, 189; human, 91, 170, 175, 217

Sahel (the region), 5, 79

283

Salafism, 25, 162–166, 178n83, 220 Salim (Arab immigrant), 112, 118–121 San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, 8, 25, 69, 181–182, 187–191, 194–197 Santería, 7, 73n60, 216 Santiago Apóstol. See James the Moorslayer Santiago Matamoros. See James the Moorslayer El Santo Niño de Atocha (Holy Infant of Atocha), 66–67 Saudi Arabia, 128, 147, 247; mosques funded by, 168–169, 206, 209, 217–220; petroIslam of, 217–221; Turkey and, 26, 212, 221 SBM. See Sociedade Beneficente Muçulmana Scholarship, 7–8, 9, 11, 22, 160, 164; on global Islam, 13–17, 19–21; Islamic studies, 15, 24–25, 145, 249–250; postmodern, 31–32; on Pre-Columbian Muslim contact theory, 34–46 Sea of Darkness. See Atlantic Ocean Senegal, 144, 253 Senegambia (region), 75–76, 89 Shahadah (profession of faith), 110, 120, 194, 227 Shaikhs, 103, 205 Shakira, 118, 209 Sharia (Islamic law), 108, 159 Shi‘i Muslims, 100, 104–105, 107, 155, 168, 177n32; diaspora of, 24–25, 144; in Mexico, 185, 200n26 Six Day War, 115 Slave trade, transatlantic, 24, 50, 57, 76–77, 81, 133, 150n103 Slavery, 56–57, 70, 100; abolition of, 85, 87, 93, 98–99, 108, 187; of Africans, 75–76, 83, 167; conversion via, 77, 81, 83, 85, 91, 134; of Estabenico, 33–34, 56, 75; insurrections against, 85–86, 94n30; of Muslims, 24, 76–78, 81, 82–84; resistance against, 76–77, 80, 85 Slavery, of West African Muslims, 24, 75, 76– 77, 108, 248; insurrections by, 87–89; literacy of, 81, 85, 133; talismans and amulets used by, 79–80 Social media, 162, 176n24, 223, 232 Socialism, 159–160, 247 Sociedade Beneficente Muçulmana (SBM), 135–136 South Africa, 65, 192 South Asia, 24, 160 Southeast Asia, 107, 131–132 Soviet Union, 214–215 Spain, 2, 45, 55; Catholicism in, 50, 58, 61– 62; Córdoba, 36, 51, 53, 245n94; Granada, 37, 40, 49–50, 51; imperialism of, 50, 57, 59; Muslims in, 49–50, 52–54, 57–58; Reconquista in, 49, 54, 57, 66–67, 239. See also Andalusian Spain; Islamic Spain

284

Index

Spanish (language), 56, 83, 208, 231, 244n60 Spanish colonialism, 71, 161, 183, 187; of the Americas, 49–50, 57–59, 63; Amerindians and, 53, 61, 85; imagination and, 54–55, 59, 72n50 Spanish Crown (empire), 49, 53, 63; as Catholic, 50, 58, 61; laws of, 50, 57–58, 61, 84–86, 91 Spanish Inquisition, 37, 59, 133 Stereotypes, 135, 136, 139, 147n10; Islamophobic, 158, 159, 180n152 as-Sufi, Abdalqadir, 189, 191–193 Sufism, 18, 25, 79–81, 93n10, 107; in the Americas, 252–253; in Mexico, 186, 198– 199 Sunni hegemony, cold war for, 24–26, 209–221 Sunni Muslims, 100, 136, 142, 155, 168, 181, 190 Suriname, 8, 18, 106–111, 124n57 Syria, 114, 117, 129, 135, 216 Syrian civil war, 117

Tadjahs/taziyas (floats), 104–106 Taíno culture, 2, 126n112 Takveeatul Islamic Association (TIA), 101–102 Taliban, 157–158 Talismans, 59, 63, 79. See also Amulets TBA. See Tri-Border Area Terms of service, for indentured servants, 99– 100, 108 Terrorism, 24–25, 136, 158, 163, 176n9, 189; Argentina impacted by, 151–152, 154, 169; Tres Fronteras harboring, 155, 156– 157, 171–174. See also War on terror; specific terrorist organizations TIA. See Takveeatul Islamic Association TML. See Trinidad Muslim League Transatlantic, slave trade, 24, 50, 57, 76–77, 81, 133, 150n103 Transnationalism, 6, 8, 128–129, 137, 140 Tres Fronteras (Triple Frontier region), 116, 142–144, 175; supposed terrorists in, 155, 156–157, 171–174 Tri-Border Area (TBA), 157. See also Tres Fronteras Trinidad, 8, 18, 89, 105–106, 111, 122n1, 175, 254; indentured servants in, 97–104; Salafism in, 162–166 Trinidad Muslim League (TML), 101–102 Trump, Donald, 155, 157, 158 Turkey, 31, 138, 186, 213; Cuba and, 206, 208, 214–217; Latin America and, 210– 212; Saudi Arabia and, 26, 209, 212, 221 Tzotzil peoples, 8, 181–182, 187–191, 193– 198, 202n86

UAE. See United Arab Emirates UK. See United Kingdom Umayyad Caliphate, 36, 51 Ummah (Islamic community), 53, 92, 104, 124n55, 191–193, 231–232; global, 24– 25, 45, 139, 190, 197, 234, 242 United Arab Emirates (UAE), 119–120, 127, 131 United Kingdom (UK), 92, 98–99, 254 United States (US), 4, 89, 120, 151, 172, 214– 215, 230–232; Black Power Movement, 163; Foreign policies, 155–156, 158, 161– 162; foreign policy, 155–156, 158, 161– 162; immigrants in, 228–229; Manifest Destiny, 173; Monroe Doctrine, 155–156, 174; Muslims in, 9–10, 55–57; pilgrimages in, 66; Puerto Rico and, 241; Saudi Arabia and, 219; war on terror led by, 151–154, 161, 166, 173–174. See also Latinx Muslims; specific states Vejigantes (representation of Moors), 1–2, 10, 64 Venezuela, 159–160, 211, 254 Virgin Mary, 62, 67 Vodou, 89, 91

Wahhabism, 100–101, 216–218, 220 War on terror, global, 15, 24–25, 50, 155–160, 162, 176n10; following 9/11 attacks, 152– 153, 170, 174–175; religions in, 153–154, 176n26; US leading, 151–154, 161, 166, 173–174 Wars, 54, 55, 62, 67, 72n50, 153; proxy, 210, 217; religious, 81, 165. See also specific wars West Africa (bilad al-Sudan), 38–39, 41, 78– 79, 102, 235. See also Slavery White supremacist movement, 46n8 Women, Muslim, 92, 100, 171, 205, 225; IndoTrinidadian, 102–103; Mexican, 186, 197, 201n71 World War I, 167, 168, 209–210 World War II, 110, 114 Wudu (purification), 203–204

X, Malcolm, 92

Yemen, immigrants from, 204–205, 220–221 Yo Soy Muslim (Gonzáles), 223–224 Yom Kippur War, 115, 219

Zakat (compulsory charity), 192–193 Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), 181–182, 188–191

About the Book

THE “MUSLIM WORLD” IS OFTEN NARROWLY CONCEIVED AS TIED to the Middle East and North Africa, or more broadly as encompassing Africa’s Sahel region, South and Southeast Asia, and parts of the Balkans. But what about Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)? It is this question that inspired Ken Chitwood’s book. Chitwood traces the story of Muslims in LAC: their deep roots in the region, as well as the current connections among the multiple networks of people, ideas, economies, politics, and religion that extend across the Americas and beyond. Moving from pre-Columbian encounters to the present day, his rich account leaves the reader with a deeper understanding of an integral, but little recognized, part of the Americas and global Islam. Ken Chitwood is the Fritz Thyssen Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fel-

low at the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, Free University of Berlin. He is also an award-winning religion newswriter with bylines in Newsweek, Salon, The Washington Post, Religion News Service, The Los Angeles Times, and Christianity Today.

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