Mexico’s indigenous Muslims in Maya heartland

  • A trip to Mexico’s indigenous Maya heartland showed me how a vibrant Muslim community had sprung up in this predominantly Roman Catholic country.
  • In the southern state of Chiapas, home to a lush mountainous landscape, I photographed members of a small Muslim community made up of hundreds of mostly indigenous Tzotzil men and women, many of whom converted to Islam from Catholic or other Christian denominations.
  • Locals say the conversions to Islam here began in the late 1980s, around the same time Mexico’s Zapatista movement was gaining traction in Chiapas, as institutions including Christianity and capitalism came under increasing criticism.
  • Umar, an indigenous former evangelical pastor, converted to Islam in the late 1990s and now serves as a bridge between local Christians and Muslims.

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