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Muslim Converts in Mexico Make Up a Diverse, Fast-Growing Community

Mexican-convertsBy Bernd Debusmann, Fox News Latino MEXICO CITY -- When Moroccan national Said Louahabi arrived in Mexico City in 1994, he and fellow Muslims had to attend religious services at the Pakistani embassy because there were no mosques or Islamic centers.

"I started looking for Muslims and a mosque when I first arrived," Louahabi, an English teacher, told Fox News Latino. "At the time, we met at the Pakistani embassy, and there were only about 80 people -- most of us were foreigners."

Now, Louahabi prays alongside hundreds of other Muslims -- foreigners and Mexicans alike -- at the three-story Muslim Community Educational Center in the city's upscale Anzures neighborhood.

Friday prayers at the Islamic Center are given in Arabic and Spanish. The crowd is diverse: Mexican converts to Islam, expatriates, embassy staff from the Middle East, Africa, Pakistan and Central Asia. The Islamic Center even fields a soccer team.

The mosque was packed at a service just before the beginning of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, this year falling in July.

Many Mexicans who converted to Islam say they've been impressed with the religion's growth in Mexico.

"I used the Internet and books to learn about Islam," said Mexican convert Alexander Huttanos, an airline pilot who goes by his Islamic name, Ahmed Abbas. "Islam has come a long way in Mexico." (Read more)

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