Juan Galvan told the crowd at Western Michigan University that his own ethnic background reflects the changing profile of modern Muslims.
As he opened his presentation to members of WMU's Muslim Student Association, Galvan said that Islam is a religion of many faces, races and nationalities. “The most ironic thing about today is that a Mexican-American Muslim from Texas is about to speak with a group of people who live in Michigan,” he said at the MSA banquet, held March 24.
Here he was, Galvan said, a Hispanic Muslim appearing at a Midwestern university to speak to young Muslims who hailed from many lands.
“It is through God's mercy, love, blessing and grace that we meet today,” he said. “And, for this opportunity to meet with you, I thank you.”
Galvan grew up Catholic in a small Texas town. He converted to Islam in college a few years ago after meeting a man who explained, among other things, that Spain was a Muslim country for more than 700 years and that “thousands of Spanish words have Arabic roots.”