Miami converts

Is the new wave of illegal aliens the next group of converts?

Via Miami Herald

Keyla Calix, a 25-year-old Honduran living in downtown Miami, didn’t think her friend’s gift of a Quran would lead her to reject her Catholic upbringing.

But two years later, after a serious evaluation of Islam sparked by the holy book, she will head to a mosque Monday morning for Eid al-Fitr, a celebration that marks the end of Ramadan.

“My family thought that Islam was just for Arabs,” Calix said, “but Islam is for everyone, not just for Arabs or Pakistani.”

Miami’s Islamic community will celebrate the end of Islam’s holy month alongside a series of new beginnings, like Calix’s. She is part of a growing segment of Miami’s population converting to Islam, according to Miami’s Islamic leaders.

Twenty years ago, there were five mosques in the Miami area. Now, there are about 30, said Shabbir Motorwala, a member of COSMOS, the Coalition of South Florida Muslim Organizations.

Two to three people a month are converting to Islam in each South Florida mosque, said Mohammed Badat, the Imam at a mosque in Kendall. Many of them, he said, are Hispanic women like Calix.

Islam is a natural religion for Hispanics to embrace because both cultures are family-oriented and emphasize taking care of young people and the elderly, Badat said. He also said that those who choose to convert are often well-educated and pick Islam after much thought and research.

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