CAIR-LA: ISLAM'S APPEAL SPANS MANY CULTURES
CHINO - When the sun finally sets and the fast of Ramadan ends for the day, Luqman Malik joins the faithful at the Baitul Hameed Mosque for a feast of chicken, rice, potatoes.
And Mexican food.
Islam is a tapestry, Imam Shamshad A. Nasir says, a religion that attracts men and women of many cultures.
More Latinos are embracing the faith, said Hussam Ayloush, a Corona man who is spokesman for the Southern California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. While he has no exact numbers, he said the shift is clear.
"Go to the mosque in downtown L.A. and you'll see a large number of Latinos," he said. "People are seeking a place where they feel the spirit of peace."
He said they are willing to make sacrifices to find that peace.
That includes Latinos like Malik, a Catholic by birth, who found solace in Islam in the days after Sept. 11, 2001.
He was in college, and didn't like the way his Muslim friends were being treated.
"People were saying they were not good people," he said. "That's not true."
It made him want to learn more about Islam, and he found himself drawn to its teachings and traditions. After much study and thought, the 26-year-old Chino man decided to convert.