Scholarship about Muslims and Islam has by and large been delimited geographically in the Middle East. After the 9/11 onslaughts, the renewed involvement about Islam in general exposed the being of a ample Muslim population in the Latin Americas ( Hallar ) . While the migration of Lebanese, Palestinians, and Syrians in the late 1800s accounted for the greater figure of Muslims in Latin America now, new converts to Islam besides characterize the Muslim population today. In Ecuador, where the Muslim population is a really little minority compared to the preponderantly Roman Catholic group, non much has been written about them, their history, they manner of life, and the different challenges they experience populating in attachment to their professed religion. This paper traces the history and beginnings of Muslims in Ecuador, their modern-day experiences, parts, and jobs.

In 2008, the Ecuadorian fundamental law recognized the “ megadiversity ” of the biological and economic species in the state, protecting it by doing ecosystem rights or the “ rights of nature ” lawfully enforceable in the state ( Cardinal Intelligence Agency ) . Located along the Earth ‘s equator, therefore the name, Ecuador is home to the celebrated Galapagos Islands and the most biologically diverse ecosystem in the universe.

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Ecuador ‘s megadiversity besides applies to its population. Estimated at around 14,790,608, the state is the sixty-fifth largest state in the universe in footings of population ; it is besides one of the most ethnically diverse ( Cardinal Intelligence Agency ) . Its bulk group, the ladino, were posterities of the exogamy of the Spanish conquistadores and its autochthonal people and consist more than 65 % of the population. Accounting for a one-fourth of the Ecuadorian population are Amerindians ; the Creoles account for 7 % ; and Ecuadorians account for 3 % . Religion-wise, Ecuador is home to preponderantly Roman Catholic trusters which account for 95 % of the population, with 4 % following Protestantism, 1 % Mormons, and a minority of nativists, Jews, and Muslims. The Pew Research Center ( 2009 ) estimates a Muslim population of approximately 500 persons in Ecuador. Today, Ecuadorian Muslims are fighting to specify their topographic point and their individuality in a universe that has grown more cognizant of their being. An increasing figure of Ecuadorans are besides detecting a new manner of life as they embrace and convert to Islam.

History and beginnings of Ecuadorian Muslims

Thirty to fifty centuries ago, three Ecuadorian Indian civilizations were dominant viz. the Chorrera, Machalilla, and Chordeleg. Their faith involved idolizing the Sun and the head of the small towns were believed to be sent by the “ Sun God. ” Part of their spiritual patterns is the offering of immature adult females who were virgins as human forfeits as a gesture of gratitude for the big crop. These early Ecuadorans believe that the organic structure will raise after decease and because of this belief, they bury gold, lances, drinks, nutrient, and many others that will fix them in their journey in the hereafter.

Old ages after, the Incas who defeated the southern Ecuadorian tribes about shared the patterns and beliefs as the other Indian folks. When the Spaniards conquered the American continent, the passage to Catholicism was non dramatic. The Catholics simply had to alter the “ Sun God ” to the statue of the half-naked “ Son of God ” nailed to the cross.

One male monarch of the Incas by the name of “ Atahualpa ” was burned alive because of his strong rejection towards Christianity. Forced by the Spaniards to denounce his antediluvian beliefs, the Inca male monarch threw the Bible in protest. His rebelliousness catapulted to his executing for blasphemy. Since this period, Roman Catholicism was the official faith in Ecuador.

More than 100 old ages has passed, Protestantism penetrated Ecuador so other spiritual religious orders followed- Seventh-day Adventist, Latter-day Saints, Anglicans, Gnostics, Bahais and others. Indian and Far Eastern doctrines have attracted followings over the last 20 to thirty old ages. The Judaic people in Ecuador had no formal leading until 2001 when a representative from the Jewish community in Argentina was appointed as their caput.

First Muslim Settlers

The really first Muslims who settled in Ecuador were Arabians from Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon. Their out-migration to the Latin continent was because of their hunt for peace and purdah from the depredations of World War I and II. With Turkish passports in ownership issued by the Ottoman Empire, these Moslems have entered the Ecuadorian dirt. Because of this, the first Muslim colonists were known throughout Ecuador as the “ Turks ” . The Turks foremost settled in Quito, the capital metropolis and Guayaquil, the chief haven in the Pacific Ocean. Some of these Turks went to the coastal countries in the states of Esmeraldas, Los Rios, and Manab. What attracted the Turks really much is the repose of the state. The family-oriented civilization in Ecuador have likely reminded the Turks of their ain places in their several states.

The chief economic activity of the first Ecuadorian Muslims was merchandising. In the beginning, the economic system of Ecuador mostly depended on swap trading or the interchanging of goods and merchandises. During the first 20 to thirty old ages, the Muslims encountered legion challenges in local trade and commercialism. The distances they had to walk is really long, follow the station service through the mule ‘s dorsum, and seek to make the most accessible community or small town to make concern. The first Muslims in this South American state were exposed to different imposts, manner, and gastronomy. They exchange their goods such as day of the months or “ Tamar ” , rose H2O or “ maiy zahar ” , mashed fried peas or “ falafel ” , and arduous Sweets like “ basbusa ” and “ baklawa ” with the local wheat flour or “ pinol ” , herb H2O or “ agua aromatic ” , dark sugar cane or “ panela ” and banana.

The Muslim Identity

Since the purpose of coming to Ecuador for most of the first Muslim colonists is to seek “ Dunia, ” they had a really hapless background about their faith and accordingly their individuality as Muslims was overshadowed by the strong and dominant Roman Catholic faith. Very few of the early Moslems have settled with their partners from their native states while bulk married with the locals. The earlier Muslim households in Ecuador were the Jairala, Becdach, A’riz, Shayyeb, Soloh, Dassum, among others. Unfortunately for some of their posterities, some opted to be converted to Christianity as their merely spiritual option. Few of the Muslim households would hold their kids educated under an Islam-based course of study in Muslim states.

By the ulterior portion of the 1940s, Muslims and Arab Christians were grouped as one due to their Arabic roots. The first organisation of Muslims and Arab Christians is known as “ Lecla ” . Issues of their different spiritual orientation were non discussed. Then by the center of the 1980s, a societal organisation emerged and this is known as the “ Arab Club ” . Approximately during this period, there was increased migration of Muslims to Ecuador. Approximately 20 Egyptian work forces were fighting to make US shores without sing the hazards involved. Dishonest travel bureaus are utilizing Ecuador as their gateway to the US. Eventually some of them left Ecuador while others choose to remain in the state.

A minor migration affecting Indian Pakistanis occurred in the early 1990 and bulk have reached their migratory ends in Canada and the US and they leave no hint or indicant of their spiritual association with Islam. As the twentieth century comes to a stopping point, Muslim migrators came from states in West Africa such as Ghana, Nigeria, and Liberia, whose internal struggle and civil breaks have pushed them in hunt of the new topographic point to reconstruct their lives.

The mid 1980s saw the embrace of Islam by the local Ecuadorian public. Though the word Islam is unheard of, the locals were extremely influenced by the piousness of the Muslims while analyzing in the US and European universities. They have come to see Islam as a faith for all therefore it is cosmopolitan. Aside from that they considered the faith a brotherhood which brings people from all walks of life to work harmoniously to achieve peace. Islam besides offered instructions non found in the Catholic instructions. Despite the fact that these new Muslims enthusiastically propagated their faith in Ecuador, it was a battle by traveling against the current. In the mid 90s, the figure of Ecuadorian Muslim converts continue to turn. At present, every Friday Markss at least a individual “ Shahada ” . This turning tendency came to footings with unfavorable judgment and rejection every within their closest family. There are approximately 500 Muslims life in Ecuador today.

A Muslim Heritage

Moslems in Ecuador and in Latin America in general derive a alone sort of heritage from the part ‘s political history. This heritage dates back to 711 when the Muslim Moors led by Tariq ibn Zayid conquered Spain for 700 old ages. For seven centuries of Muslim regulation, Spain became influenced by Islamic music, literature, and architecture. Religious tolerance as preached by Islam allowed the common being of assorted spiritual denominations such as Judaism and Christianity. Unlike other vanquishers, the Moors preached Islam but did non enforce transition to their faith. When the Muslim conquering ended by 1492, all Muslims were forced back into Christianity with the menace of expatriate or executing. During the flowers of the Spanish Inquisition, the conquistadores started to transport off Muslim slaves to the New World and Africa – and these Muslim finally landed in Latin America. The forced migration of Muslim slaves every bit good as the migration of Muslim Arabs of the Ottoman Empire started the spread of Islam into the continent.

Many Muslims in Latin America believe that Islamic transition enables them to repossess their true heritage. Muslim scholars assert that European influence came much later than African/Islamic influence. Evidence of this is in the Spanish linguistic communication itself, literature, doctrine, and music. Hispanic civilization so derives a big portion from the parts of the first Muslim colonists shipped off from the Iberian Peninsula. As Islam spread rapidly, it became a profound influence on the Latino manner of life ( Vendan and Pervost 28 ) .

This averment is combative nevertheless because historical books and paperss do non advert the parts of Islamic heritage in Latino civilization save for a few facets. The educational system besides does non learn about Islamic values and its impact on present Latino American civilization. Some of the great parts of Islam to metropoliss in Latin American include the brilliant Islamic architecture that has built the metropoliss of South America. Brazil ‘s old churches are designed with Arabic penmanship carved by Muslim slaves brought to the continent from the Iberian Peninsula. Islamic art is besides outstanding in many Cardinal American churches. Many churches all over South American besides install mosque arches and domes, typically Islamic architectural manners. In Quito, Ecuador, Islamic art can be found in the Andalusian Spanish architectural manner copied from Islamic architecture. Andalusian Islamic architecture is besides seeable in Quito ‘s downtown country ( Suquillo, “ Muslim Valuess in Latin American Culture ” ) .

Major and minor hints of the influence of Muslims in Ecuador occurred as a consequence of Muslim migration into the state. Aside from art, linguistic communication, and architecture, Islamic values such as difficult work, industry, affinity for trading every bit good as Arabic nutrient signifier a great part to the diverse and beautiful civilization in Latin America today ( Vendan and Pervost 33 ) .

Aside from sing transition to Islam as a historical necessity, the younger coevals of Latinos is attracted to Islam because of their disillusion with Catholicism. Many Latino Muslims position Catholicism as an elitist faith which has historically disenfranchised many of the continent ‘s hapless and autochthonal populations. Many besides view Catholicism as holding been damaging to the rights of autochthonal ascendants. Among native Latinos who convert to Islam, there is a prevailing position that Catholicism has merely served the hapless in theory but non in pattern. Today, Catholicism has non played a major function in bettering the predicament of the disadvantaged and have non defended their rights adequately as a church should. Alternatively of the ‘elitist ‘ Roman Catholic Church, many view Islam as the true faith of the oppressed.

This position seems to explicate why Islam entreaties to minority groups in Latin America and elsewhere. Most of the Islamic transitions belong to marginalise groups and those who are fighting for equality. Many militants and progressive minds have besides found a more effectual ally in Islam as the Qur’an does non merely dig in spiritual issues but in political issues as good. In taking Islam, some “ became became serious immature work forces seeking to promote ourselves within our society. We got this from Islam ” ( qtd. in Viscidi ) . Some Muslim bookmans hypothesize the Islam ‘s strong place on integrity and racial equality is an appealing construct to minority and disadvantaged groups ( Vendan and Pervost 34 ) . This besides explains why more and more African Americans in the U.S. have converted to Islam in the past decennaries. To many who decide to change over to Islam, it is “ a universal religion where people of all walks of life pray together. Religion unifies civilization and enhances it ” ( qtd. in Sanchez and Juan 33 ) .

Ecuadorian converts have besides cited how Islam provides both stuff and religious support for its faithful. For case, the path record of Muslim spiritual organisations indicates that it caters non merely to the demands of Muslims but non-Muslims as good. Elsewhere in the universe, Muslim organisations provide public assistance services, instruction plans, dressing thrusts, developing for adult females, and anti-poverty steps to ease the flight of the disadvantaged.

However attractive Islam may be to many, Latino Muslims see a struggle of individuality because Catholicism has been so profoundly ingrained in their civilization. Some who are believing of change overing may experience that their transition to Islam may be construed as being treasonists to their Catholic heritage. Furthermore, converts besides face the trouble of being accepted into the mainstream community. Being portion of the “ other ” has a strong possibility of acquiring converts alienated or even disowned by their households or equals ( Cook 4 ) . Despite their many activities and their presence, Muslim organisations still find that many people have no cognition or are nescient about Islam. This is why Muslim spiritual organisations are endeavoring to acquire people to cognize more about Islam and chase away incorrect impressions and prejudices about Muslims and Islamic philosophy ( Suquillo, “ Islam in Ecuador ” ) .

Muslim Religious Organizations

The moving ridge of migration to the Americas marked the inflow of Lebanese and Palestinian immigrants to Ecuador in the 1800s. While bulk of them were of Arab lineage and leftovers of the Ottoman Empire, some of them were Christians and some of them became assimilated into their new state as Christians. Nonetheless, some of them besides remained Muslims. Historical records suggest that the earliest Lebanese immigrants came to Ecuador in 1850. They carried with them Islamic values, traditions, and civilization – an facet that made life hard for them ab initio. Majority of the Lebanese Muslims which migrated foremost were male and settled foremost at the state ‘s capital, Guayaquil. The adult females came subsequently. Like most migrators, they found it hard to set to the host state ; they faced favoritism but were determined to do a comfortable life in Ecuador. Most of them became enterprisers and owned shops. Soon, some of the most of import political participants in Ecuador were of Arab lineage: from Assad Bucaram Elmhalim in 1916, to Guayaquil ‘s city manager in 1996 Jamil Mahuad Witt, and former Vice President Alberto Dahik Garzozi ( Roberts 13 ) . While many Middle Eastern migrators became assimilated into the Catholic manner of life, a few of them remained disciples of Islam and strived to construct their ain community and follow their ain traditions while esteeming the dominant civilization.

Moslems in Ecuador belong to a tightly knit community of believers. During the center of the 1900s, native Ecuadorians became converts of Islam and chose to populate near to the Arab community. In order to execute supplications, they foremost rented a little flat which subsequently became a private flat provided by the Egyptian Embassy. The Ecuadorian fundamental law requires all spiritual organisations to register in order to exert freedom of faith.

In Ecuador, the first and largest spiritual organisation officially registered with the authorities is the Centro Islamico del Ecuador. Founded in 1994, the Center receives Muslims and non-Muslims likewise and is a hub non merely for spiritual intents but besides for socio-cultural and educational activities supposed by the instructions of Sunni Islam. Unlike many musjids, the Center is an independent entity that is built without any foreign fiscal support.

The Center besides serves to assist to develop a “ echt Muslim Ecuadorian individuality ” guided and inspired by values of Islam ( Suquillo, “ Islam in Ecuador ” ) . In its early old ages, the musjid occupied merely the first floor of the Center. Soon, it was transferred to a residential country in order to do the musjid more convenient for occupants.

The Center serves as a gathering topographic point of Ecuadorian Muslims and a locale from which non-Muslims could larn more about Islam and the Islamic manner of life. Through the Center, misconceptions about Islam are resolved so that a better apprehension of Islam is presented to non-Muslims. For Muslims, the Center educates immature and old Moslems about the Holy Qur’an and the Arabic linguistic communication. Furthermore, it specially caters to adult females who comprise many of Muslim converts through talks and a well-stocked library that offers books written in Spanish, English, and French.

Part of the duty of the Islamic Center is the interlingual rendition and publication of Spanish literature which tackle on assorted subjects on Islam. The centre has besides translated five books to Spanish: ‘What the Bible says about Muhammad? ‘ , ‘Understanding Muslims and Islam ‘ , ‘Tawheed ‘ , ‘Muslim Christian Dialogue ‘ and ‘The truth about Jesus ‘ . Spanish booklets were besides published and they are entitled: ‘Islam at glimpse ‘ , ‘Mount Arafat Sermon ‘ , ‘Do you know that ( the Pope at the clip of our Prophet Muhammad SAAWS, embraced Islam? ) ‘ , ‘General facets about fasting in Ramadan ‘ , ‘Misconceptions about Jihad ‘ , ‘Danger in dancing ‘ , ‘Is Jesus truly God? ‘ , ‘You should cognize about this great adult male ( Prophet Muhammad SAAWS ) ‘ , ‘Who invented the three? ‘ , ‘What is Islam? ‘ , ‘Islamic Fundamentalism? ‘ , ‘What Islam is non about ‘ , ‘Muhammad in the Bible ‘ , ‘Fire in your tummy ( about intoxicant ) ‘ , and ‘According to the Bible, Jews have no right on Palestinian land ‘ ( Suquillo, “ Islam in Ecuador ” ) .

There are two other Muslim spiritual organisations in Ecuador: the Centro Islamico Al Hijra and the Fundacion Islamica Cultural Khalid Ibn Al Walid. The Centro Islamico Al Hijra is besides located in Guayaquil while the Fundacion is located in Quito, Ecuador ( Islamic Finder ) .

Worship in the Masjid

Prayer is cardinal to Ecuadorian Muslims. Worship in the musjid is the same for Ecuadorian Muslims as with all other Muslims anyplace in the universe. It is compulsory to take places or slippers when come ining a mosque – a pattern that reflects regard for the house of supplication and its believers. The supplication halls in the musjid contain no benches or chairs, merely rugs which are aligned to confront Mecca, Islam ‘s holy metropolis.

Ecuadorian Muslims go to the musjid in order to execute salat, one of the “ five pillars ” of the Islamic religion. Prayers are organized five times a twenty-four hours. The musjid in Ecuador is unfastened one hr before the obligatory Fard supplications. However, the faithful can offer five supplications all throughout the twenty-four hours from their place: Fajr ( before dawn ) , Dhuhr ( afternoon ) , Asr ( noon ) , Maghrib ( after sunset ) and Isha’a ( after twilight ) ( Islamic Finder ) . Ecuadorian Muslims can happen out the proper supplication times throughout the twenty-four hours from the proclamations posted near the musjid and even online ( Islamic Finder ) . The Islamic hebdomadal sanctum twenty-four hours is Friday.

Prayers inside the musjid are performed by work forces but non for adult females. This tradition has been sometimes criticized as discriminatory for adult females. However, Muslim bookmans have cited that the principle behind this prohibition is to continue the regulations sing the interaction of work forces and adult females as written in the Qur’an. Womans can idolize in the musjid from separate Chamberss where they can see the imaum or the prayer leader. Most Ecuadorian Muslim adult females besides prefer to pray from their places.

Before formal supplications, all are required to execute a rite of cleansing called wudu where the ears, face, weaponries, custodies, and pess are washed. The musjid has washrooms for work forces and adult females for this intent. Believers step into the supplication hall with the right pes and state in Arabic “ Oh Allah, open the door of clemency for me ” ( Asani ) . Two rhythms of supplication are so performed, followed by a salute ( tahiyatul-majid ) and the sequence of standing-kneeling-prostration.

Reasons for Conversion to Islam

Moslems in Ecuador have a alone experience as they pattern their religion. Belonging to a community of faithful consisting less than 1 per centum of the population, it is non unusual that many Ecuadorans are non cognizant that there are Moslems at all. Hence, educating non-Muslims about the tradition and patterns of Muslim Ecuadorians is a challenge. However, the figure of one-year converts to Islam in Ecuador has surprisingly increased and the Muslim community is undergoing alterations as a effect.

Yahya Juan Suquillo, Ecuador ‘s imaum or spiritual leader, states that the impression that Islam attracts few converts is untrue. In fact, the transition rate among Christians is traveling at an accelerated gait. Suquillo, who was named one of the 500 most influential Muslim leaders of 2009, believes that Islam ‘s entreaty in Ecuador every bit good as in Latin America comes at a clip when the whole continent is in hunt of its ain individuality ( The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre 24 ) . The societal jobs that beset the continent have made its people look for religious alteration – and Islam has a alone trade name of spiritualty that entreaties to most people. Latin America is fertile land for Islamic da’wah and the passage from Christianity to Islam is non so hard since Islamic influence is already built-in in Latino civilization. However, Muslim spiritual organisations have fallen short in placing the strong possible Latinos to accept Islam despite the predomination of Catholicism ( Suquillo, “ Islam in Ecuador ” ) .

Ecuadorian Muslims are besides in hunt of their Islamic individuality – which they found at place and abroad. Some Ecuadorian Moslems are economically comfortable and can direct their kids abroad to analyze Arabic and Islamic Studies. Some who have gone on to analyze in Cairo were posterities of the original Muslim colonists in Ecuador: “ My gramps on my female parent ‘s side helped convey Islam to Ecuador, I belong to that household and it makes me proud ” ( Delgado qtd. in Makary ) .

One of the biggest challenges for the Ecuadorian Muslim population is how to incorporate their increasing figure of autochthonal converts into the Muslim Ummah. There are many facets about Islam that attracted converts in Ecuador. Some have cited that the modestness and religionism of Islam is what they admired most in the faith. Others have besides cited the consistence of Islamic philosophy as opposed to Catholicism. Others have besides cited the influence of a Muslim friend or co-worker they admired ( Rich ) . Some find that the record of Islamic communities in keeping order and cleaning up vicinities of offense and poorness was the most admirable thing about the faith. Converts who have been exposed to offense, drugs, and harlotry find earnestness in the Islamic community to assist them reform. There is besides an attractive force in what Islam offers: the “ return to traditional values ” ( Sesin ) . Like many Latino converts to Islam, Ecuadorian Muslim converts besides believe that Islam offers a new sort of spiritualty than what they have been accustomed to. Others cited the that Islam offered a purely monotheistic position compared to Catholicism which teaches the construct of the Trinity every bit good as belief in the Virgin Mary and Catholic saints. It besides is surprising that alternatively of sing Islam as repressive against adult females, female converts province that Islam provides a position of adult females with self-respect and esteem – something that is non highlighted in other faiths ( Sanchez and Juan 26 ) .

Islamic philosophy is besides one of the chief attractive forces of the faith non merely in Ecuador but in Latin America in general. Muslim rules are consistent with the tight and devout household values which characterize Latin American families. Harmonizing an Ecuadorian Moslem:

“ There are cultural similarities and household values built-in to Hispanics and Muslims.A Typically, Hispanic families are tight knit and devout, and kids are reared in a rigorous environment – traits that mirror Muslim families ” ( Guadalupe qtd. in “ Pick Islam ” )

Furthermore, in footings of philosophy, Islam resolves some of the issues that most people have with Catholicism. Islam ‘s absence of a apostolic hierarchy makes everyone equal in the presence of God. The definition of “ God ” in Islam is besides less ambivalent, as there is merely Allah unlike the Catholic Church which promotes the worship of Saints, and the Virgin Mary. In Islam, many feel that “ Everyone who prays before God is equal ” ( qtd. in Viscidi ) .

Other family-related values and close affinity ties are built-in to Muslim communities ; the same is true for Latino communities. There are several Islamic norms which mirror those extremely valued by Spanish americans such as regard for the aged, child raising, and the value/role of matrimony ( Sanchez and Juan 32 ) . To many converts, Islam has helped them live a life of moderateness and grasp for household and maternity ( “ Pick Islam ” ) . Islam has besides provided converts with a belief system that spoke of kindness, regard, and love for household. Some converts expressed that because Islamic rules consider moderateness instead than competition or aspiration as the norm, its trusters were more “ grounded and in touch with existent life ” than faiths that value individuality ( qtd. in Hallar ) .

Challenges faced by Ecuadorian Muslims

Converting to Islam poses several challenges. First, because Islam is a manner of life and non simply a faith, converts brace with the trouble of seting their once decadent life style to accommodate the dogmas of modestness and economic system in Islam. Young converts expressed “ non being ready to give up parties ” as a great challenge for them ( qtd. in Rich ) . For most adult females converts, the stereotypes that are frequently attached to Islam and Muslims became a great hinderance for them as they strived to be accepted by the Catholic households. Native Ecuadorian Muslims comprise more than half of the population of Muslims in Ecuador. Their apprehension of the faith is best reflected in their mode of dressing. Almost all of the females don the hijab and long frock daily. A chief issue for adult females converts is the manner of frock. Muslim adult females are required to have on the appropriate vesture, normally the headscarf or hijab. Many Catholics position have oning the hijab as an oppressive act and make non understand its demand. The younger coevals of Muslim converts in Ecuador is besides looking frontward to a more progressive Islam – 1 that is maintaining up with the times but does non run contrary to the cardinal instructions of Islam and the values of the Islamic civilisation itself ( Sesin ) .

Integration with a preponderantly Catholic population has besides subjected a few Muslims in Ecuador to harassment and favoritism. In a UN Commission on Human Rights Report, Muslim leaders alleged that Ecuadorian Muslims encountered favoritism when they apply for employment, loans, or lodging. However, due to the little population of Muslims in Ecuador, favoritism is non social and does non happen often ( UN Commission on Human Rights ) .

After 9/11, Muslims in Ecuador have besides gone under careful examination by the populace and have been associated with terrorist act. Concern on terrorist infiltration in Ecuador is low but it is still a concern that may hold a damaging impact on its Muslim population. The connexions of the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah is strong in several Latin American states, and the ample presence of Lebanese immigrants in Ecuador has made American and Ecuadorian governments leery however. Muslim proselytism among native Indian populations have been viewed as an act that could let hawkish sermonizers or militants to foment people into back uping panic Acts of the Apostless and groups ( UN Commission on Human Rights ) .

As a spiritual group, Ecuadorian Muslims have besides faced challenges that threaten their presence and being as devout Muslims with a distinguishable manner of life and civilization. The followers are some of the troubles that the Ecuadorian Muslim community faces ( Hallar ) :

1. There is a deficiency of public consciousness about the Islamic faith and manner of life in general that may account for the favoritism that some experience as a consequence of their spiritual association.

2. Keeping a separate Islamic individuality is troublesome and hard for many trusters. Many Ecuadorians pattern Islam indiscriminately and without a thorough apprehension of Islam and its values, traditions, and rules. This is debatable for many converts because they are unable to develop and keep a new individuality as Muslims. Due to this crisis, they retain the traditions of the old faith and absorb the patterns of the dominant civilization which contradict Islam.

3. There is a scarceness of Islamic schools or madrasah and entree to instructors who can supply equal direction on the Arabic linguistic communication. Learning Arabic is important to the Islamic religion because the holy texts such as Qur’an and the Hadiths are all written in Arabic. Well-off Ecuadorians are able to direct their kids abroad in Egypt or in Libya to get formal direction in Islamic Studies and Arabic but those who can non afford such an instruction have trouble acquisition.

4. The deficiency of fiscal resources besides hamper with the aims of Muslim spiritual organisations in edifice musjids, installations for schooling, and acquisition of spiritual texts to farther Islamic instruction among Muslim young person and kids.

5.There is besides a deficiency of spiritual sermonizers who are able to talk Spanish and literate of the traditions and civilization of Ecuador to be able to efficaciously distribute the Daw’ah. Islamic proselytizing is less effectual when sermonizers are unable to talk the linguistic communication and to accommodate to cultural patterns.

8. There is besides a deficiency of Islamic secondary schools to assist Muslim young person and striplings develop a solid Islamic individuality. Educational resources available in mainstream school do non account for the historical parts of Muslims in the Latin American continent. Misconceptions about Islam and Muslims are non adequately dispelled and resolved.

9. There is a deficiency of spiritual texts that are non translated into Spanish. This makes it hard for converts to adequately understand and analyze by themselves the rules that Islam adheres to.

10. Coordination among different Muslim spiritual organisations is besides hampered because of geographical differences which take ample sum of economic resources. There is a demand to develop extended webs within the Muslim population in Ecuador.

11. There are few chances for Muslims around the state to convene at conferences and spiritual assemblages in order to portion experiences, thoughts, and decide issues and jobs in their communities.

12. There is no strong media affair which can supply an Islamic position on issues that concern Ecuadorians. A strong connexion with the media will assist in supply an alternate point of view to chase away incorrect images of Islam and Muslims in general as portrayed in the local media.

Possibly the strongest challenge for the Islamic community in Ecuador is how to interrupt through the barriers in a society which is preponderantly Catholic. This is a trouble that needs to be addressed because an Islamic individuality is easy dying because of the fast integrating of 3rd coevals Muslims into mainstream civilization. Alternatively of placing themselves as “ Muslim, ” they identify as Ecuadorian, Brazilian, Mexican, or Peruvian. Exogamies have besides lead to the weakening of Islamic pattern. Most Muslims that marry Catholics are unable to maintain up with the supplications and can no longer read the Qur’an. Furthermore, the cultural tensenesss between the old and the new coevals of Muslims are debatable. Parents who want their kids to go faithful Muslims find that their kids are immune to developing Islamic individualities, make up one’s minding alternatively to incorporate contradictory patterns which may take to the obliteration of spiritual individuality wholly. The fleet integrating into the mainstream Latino civilization may set their cultural individuality at hazard for extinction unless unified attempts are made to continue the Islamic manner of life ( Cook 6 ) .

Muslim Ecuadorian Women

Most of the converts of Islam in Ecuador have been adult females ( Rahman ) . Ecuadorian adult females present many grounds for their determination to change over to Islam and why, despite accepting a minority faith, they have become steadfast in standing by this determination.

In a UK-based magazine, several Ecuadorian adult females were interviewed as to their determination and experiences when change overing to Islam. Most of them made their shahada or declaration of religion at the Centro Islamic del Ecuador. Many were attracted to Islam upon listening to a co-worker or professor and being impressed by the humor and spiritualty being offered. Their intelligence of transition did non acquire positive reactions instantly from their households but shortly, after detecting alterations in behaviour and the religiousness to their new faith, their households shortly accepted their determination. The strongest ground for disapproval was that Islam was associated with terrorist act and force. The deficiency of consciousness or even ignorance about Islam made their determination to change over hard to accept on the portion of their households ( Rahman ) .

Visible alterations in behavior include moderateness and vivacious spiritualty. Most of the adult females interviewed said that they had become less hedonic, less mercenary, and more tolerant and respectful. Bing accepted by equals after seeing them wear a hijab was surprising to most, but the initial daze wore off. Harmonizing to the adult females converts, the hijab ever invites attending from people and is viewed by most to be a inhibitory signifier of frock. They surmised that the lone thing that keeps non-Muslim people by and large negative about Islam is because they do non cognize much about the faith and the media sometimes depict Muslims as simply “ terrorists. ” However, like most of the adult females, they grew funny about Islam after 9/11 and so did their households. This makes making out to other people of different religions a alone challenge to Ecuadorian Muslim adult females ( Rahman ) .

Integrating into Islamic patterns did non turn out excessively hard because the civilizations of Muslims and Christians in Ecuador are merged. Whatever differences both faiths have, they are tempered by the fact that they both believe in one God and are fervent in their several religious beliefs. The good thing about being Ecuadorian Muslim adult females compared to Muslim adult females in Europe is that the hijab is non politicized ; adult females are free to wear their hijab and to have on the mode of frock appropriate to them as Muslims ( Sesin ) .

Despite being in the minority, Ecuadorian Muslims live in a society by and large tolerant of their manner of life. Muslim spiritual leaders are active in suggesting Torahs which will profit Muslim and other minority groups. A recent enterprise is their engagement in the National Assembly in negotiations sing the giving of spiritual privileges to Islam and other minority faiths equal to that being enjoyed by the Catholic Church or get rid ofing privileges wholly ( Rahman ) .


When you talk about Islam, Ecuador is a state that will possibly non traverse anyone ‘s head. However, there is a little but strong Muslim community in Ecuador with a proud history and a rich Islamic heritage that is being cultivated in order to advance integrity and spiritual tolerance. Ecuador is 95 % Catholic ; hence Catholicism permeates about every facet of civilization and manner of life for most Ecuadorans.

Ecuadorian Muslims descended from Arabs who fled the war-worn former districts of the Ottoman Empire – from Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. They brought to Ecuador their Islamic values, traditions, and rules such as trading, difficult work, spiritualty, and spiritual tolerance. Soon, the inflow of Muslim migrators from Pakistan and India provided extra parts to Ecuadorian civilization. Aside from migrators from South Asia and the Middle East, a turning figure of native Ecuadorians converted to Islam – a phenomenon that continues until now. Due to its little size, Muslims in Ecuador live a tight-knit and incorporate community of trusters. They pattern Islamic rites such as supplications and adhere to traditions such as Ramadhan like every Muslim anyplace in the universe ; at the same clip, they besides celebrate local Ecuadorian traditions. The Muslim community in Ecuador besides faces challenges as they seek to proselytise autochthonal Ecuadorans with the Daw’ah. They lack fiscal resources, deficiency Arabic schools, developing in the Arabic linguistic communication, and deficiency of proficient and interceding accomplishments to chase away misconceptions about Islam and to educate Ecuadorans more about Islamic instructions. As the Ecuadorian Muslim community battle to keep a strong Islamic individuality, they brace with the challenge of integrating with a dominant Catholic civilization and some grade of favoritism.

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