ISLAM and MUSLIMS IN PERU
National name : República del Perú
Land area : 494,208 sq mi (1,279,999 sq km); total area: 496,223 sq mi (1,285,220 sq km)
Population (2007 est.) : 28,674,757
Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Lima, 8,180,000 (metro. area), 7,029,928 (city proper)
Other large cities : Arequipa, 837,300; Trujillo, 725,200; Chiclayo, 598,400
Monetary unit : Nuevo sol (1991)
Languages : Spanish, Quéchua (both official); Aymara; many minor Amazonian languages
Ethnicity/race : Amerindian 45%, mestizo 37%, white 15%, black, Japanese, Chinese, and other 3%
Religion : Roman Catholic 81%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1%, other Christian 1%, unspecified or none 16% (2003 est.)
Literacy rate : 87.7% (2004 est.)
Economic summary : GDP/PPP (2007 est.): $217.5 billion; per capita $7,600. Real growth rate: 7.5%. Inflation: 3.5%.
Peru, in western South America, extends for nearly 1,500 mi (2,414 km) along the Pacific Ocean. Colombia and Ecuador are to the north, Brazil and Bolivia to the east, and Chile to the south. Peru is divided by the Andes Mountains into three sharply differentiated zones. To the west is the coastline, much of it arid, extending 50 to 100 mi (80 to 160 km) inland. The mountain area, with peaks over 20,000 ft (6,096 m), lofty plateaus, and deep valleys, lies centrally. Beyond the mountains to the east is the heavily forested slope leading to the Amazonian plains.
Peru was once part of the great Incan Empire and later the major vice-royalty of Spanish South America. It was conquered in 1531–1533 by Francisco Pizarro. On July 28, 1821, Peru proclaimed its independence, but the Spanish were not finally defeated until 1824. For a hundred years thereafter, revolutions were frequent; a new war was fought with Spain in 1864–1866, and an unsuccessful war was fought with Chile from 1879 to 1883 (the War of the Pacific).
Islamic History and Muslims
The statistics for Islam in Peru estimate a total Muslim population of 837, representing 0.003 percent of the population. There are a handful of Islamic organizations in Peru, including the Asociación Islámica del Perú and the Musulmanes Peruanos of Naqshbandi Haqqani tariqa, all located in Lima. A group of Muslims have also set up a webpage named Musulmanes Peruanos.
The Latin American Muslim Unity (LAMU) organization, based in Fresno, California, United States, has drawn up a proposal for the first Islamic orphanage in Peru, in order to deal with the current crisis of homeless children. LAMU also channels extensive funds to Muslim dawah programs in Mexico and Peru. This project has not materialized.
Muslims came to Peru with the coming of the Spaniards. Many Muslims, then called "Moros", or Moors by the Spaniards, arrived fleeing persecution in Spain. They settled in many places in Latin America, especially Peru, where they had a strong influence on the local way of life including, dress, food, architecture, and the social and political systems. Many of them had very important positions in society, and the women until recently used to wear hijab and were known as "Las Tapadas Limeñas", or "the Covered Ones from Lima". This was a sign of distinction, as many of the Muslim women who immigrated from Spain were the social elite. Today in Lima we have the famous "Balcones Limeños". These balconies are crafted in the "Arabescos" style. They are wooden balconies which protrude from the building's facade and offer the women views with privacy. Walking through the streets of Lima, one can almost imagine that he is walking through the streets of Al-Andalus. Islamic architecture pervades the city.
So the Limeño way of life has been heavily influenced by Islam. But many Muslims, because of persecution, were forced to go into hiding and became "crypto-Muslims", identifying as Christians but secretly practicing Islam. Over time, even this secret affiliation was lost and Islam disappeared from Peru.
The second wave of Muslims came with the migrations from Palestine and Lebanon in the 1940's of Muslims fleeing the Jewish persecution in their homelands. These Muslims were largely merchants. Over time they developed considerable wealth but lost some of their Islamic identity. The descendents of these immigrants still exist in Peru in large numbers, but their Islam is, for the most part, not apparent.
Beginning in the 1980s, Latinos who had travelled abroad and encountered Muslims began converting to Islam. They began da'wah activities, inviting both the immigrant Muslims and the Latino community to Islam. However, being for the most part economically disadvantaged, the resources of these Latino Muslims has been limited. A musalla was opened in a neighborhood in Lima called Jesus Maria in 1993 but was closed due to lack of funds. Another musalla, opened around the same time in Villa El Salvador, was later closed for the same reasons.
Today these nomadic Muslims of Lima have no place to worship Allah as a group. LAMU's immediate goal is to re-open a musalla in Lima which will serve the needs of the Latino Muslim community.
The first Muslims
The story of the arrival of Muslims to Peru usually confined to the waves of migration carried out from the nineteenth century to the twentieth century. However, it should be taken into account prior to migration and for that they must try back in time, until the fifteenth century.
Since the year 711, formally begins a new era for the Iberian peninsula, to receive the arrival of the first Muslim commander-in-command of Berber Tariq bin Ziyad. This notion traditional and widely disseminated by the Western historiography has been contradicted by the historian Ignacio Olagüe, who says - as regards the entry of Islam in Andalusia, which was not by any invasion of Arabs, but rather through a slow assimilation of some revolutionary ideas that came from east to the Andalusian ports in trade, especially in the eastern Andalusia (Almeria, Murcia and Malaga), the first to Islamization in S. VIII. Islam was unknown in the western part of Andalusia (Cordoba and Seville), until S.IX. In this sense, because it has never speak of Islamic invasion of Spain ( "the Islamic revolution in the West" Ignacio Olagüe).
The permanence in Islamic lands Iberian lasts nearly 8 centuries (more than it takes the life of Catholic Spain today), at which time there was a remarkable coexistence between different cultures and faiths: Muslim, Christian and Jewish. Although, more is to say, lifestyle Arab-Islamic precedence in any sphere of life: the use of the language of the Koran, Arabic (the works of scholars of all religions were in Arabic); architecture; literary and academic life in general; meals and names, etc..
After the fall of the last Muslim stronghold in Granada, the expulsion begins in 1492 - headed by the Catholic Monarchs of the population-Muslim and Jewish. While some Muslims chose to forced conversion as a means to stay in the country (his own country and country of their parents), many of them decided to leave and arrive at Muslim lands.
In those years, the euphoria of war also led to a religious euphoria within Catholicism, materialized in the Courts of the Inquisition. Ballero Jaime Martin, in his thesis on the Metaphysics of Historic Power excursus on the cultural identity from studies of the production and reproduction of the religious capital of the Jewish and Islamic Communities in Lima, mentions that the major offensive was inquisitorial in the year 1492 reaching "relaxed 433 (burned) in person, relaxed in effigy and reconciled in a year."
So, with the arrival of Spanish boats to americas, also landed those Muslims allegedly converts. This generated a great deal of concern in the Spanish authorities, as can be detached from the Royal Decree of 1501, by which the Catholic Queen instructs his envoy Fray Nicolas de Obando: "No consent or lead that there are Jews or Moors, neither people nor heretics nor reconciled again converted to our faith, and unless it is black slaves .... "
Despite these facts Muslims arrived in americas bequeathed much of his art. For example, until now can be seen in Lima (and started in the colonial Lima) Mudejar construction designs, such as two-storey houses, organized as a quadrangle and rooms open to a courtyard inside the square which can be reached through a hallway acoderado, denoting their origins clearly Andalusian.
As for food, we can still enjoy Marzipan, turrones, alfeñiques and mazamorra (derived from mass arrears), among others. There is no forgetting the origin of many names.
Many of the slaves who were brought from the west coast of Africa were Muslims, who form a thousand turn off your faith and their descendants born in Peru.
Migrating from Middle East
While, as we have seen, Muslims came and made several centuries, the Muslim migration is more palpable that occurred during the late nineteenth century and during the twentieth century.
The Ottoman Caliphate that had begun to suffer the ravages of usury West, dominated much of the Arab Middle East. Many of the Muslim Arabs living under the Caliphate government, before the Ottoman decadence (which coincided also with the Napoleonic attack on Egypt and the advance of European colonialism), americas decided to emigrate in search of better life opportunities. So, arriving traveling to Peru, en route to americas, north African ports of the Mediterranean, crossing the ocean Atlanta and the Panama Canal to the port of Callao.
The number of emigrants, as noted researcher Martin Jaime Ballero, is not accurate, but included Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians, who come largely from 1904 to 1925. 90% were merchants and over the years lost their religious identity, finally mingling with Peruvian society. It must be remembered that much of the population of Arab origin are Catholics and Orthodox, but whose parents were originally Muslims.
The second wave of migration of Arab Muslims is from 1948, when creating the State of Israel and begins the sad and bloody period of relocation of refugees to the occupation of their homes by the Zionist entity. Like the first group of Muslims who arrived in the early twentieth century, the newcomers were merchants. Although also have faced problems to preserve their religious identity (many of the later generations have lost the Islam of their parents), they are the ones who succeeded in establishing the first Islamic religious centre in Peru, 40 years later. The Islamic centre, at present, is located in the district of Magdalena del Mar, in Lima. The influx of Muslims from Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as conversions, have expanded the diverse melting pot of Islam.
Something different regarding previous migrations was carried out in the department of Tacna, south Peru, on the border with Chile. When carried out the opening for the importation of used cars in the city of Tacna, Muslim merchants began to arrive in Pakistani origin, which in a very short time rented a house that served as Mosque, in addition to having various musallas in their places of work. The current mosque, with a special design that embellishes the city, was completed nearly 4 years ago. The Muslim community have reached just over 600 members, that number has gradually decreasing ido by the change of economic policy and that has led to the emigration for commercial reasons. Despite this, many Pakistani Muslims remain in Peru, with families established in Tacna and active part of the economic life of the city. Like the Arab heritage in our food, food Pakistani has become popular thanks to the three restaurants that exist in the city, which is owned by Muslims of that nationality-and-besides providing halal products to the community.
Currently there are about 300 Pakistani Muslims, emphasizing the high number of conversions, especially of women. There are also immigrants from India, some Arab countries, as well as Chileans and Colombians.
Muslims Native of Peru
Conversions in Peru not be something new, although it has been very low in the early years of migration until the last 10 years. One of the earliest Muslims Peruvians took Islam 28 years ago (ironically accepted Islam in Venezuela, where it already existed Islamic community) is also among the first to make the pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca.
Gradually, within the span of the past 10 years, young Peruvians began to move closer to Islam, some of whom participated in the establishment of An Nur Mosque, located in the district of Breña in Lima, who had one years of existence and which attracted many people to Islam.
Despite the terrible events of September 2001, Peruvian-conversions after that date-reaching levels higher than any other time, it is currently the most active group. Perhaps, for many Peruvians (and Hispanic Americans), this conversion is only close the circle, which remained open for centuries, with its Islamic past.
In recent years, the work of dissemination of Islam-both in Lima and in Tacna-has increased progressively in the hands of the first generation of Muslim converts and many descendants. So, let's say it has entered a new phase of Islam in Peru, with a joint effort between Muslims from different backgrounds in an effort to introduce Islam to the Peruvian population and Latin America in general.
Mosque Bab ul Islam
The Mosque of Bab ul Islam is located in Tacna, Peru. It was founded in 2000 by Pakistanis immigrants and is the only Islamic construction in the country. It is currently being built by Sher Afzal Khan Barikoti who is building a Shah Wali-Ullah School of Sciences alongside it.
The sense of Muslim Peruvians
Dr. Salma Peña
The following is the content of the statement made by a Peruvian sister, Dr. Salma Peña during the inauguration of the Congress of Islamic Organizations of Latin America and the Caribbean, held from 14 to July 17, 2005 in Lima
Salam Alaikum wa Rahmatulah wa Barakatuh
BISMILLAHI AR-AR Rahman-RAHIM
I am very pleased to address you and I thank Allah subhana wa ta'ala we can be gathered here today to give the Opening Encounter Islam to be carried out here in Lima in these coming days.
I am here representing the Muslim Women Peruvian and would like to share with you a little about our life as a Muslim and our thinking here in Peru.
Some of us are Muslim and some time ago and recently we are Muslim and inshaAllah our community continues to grow. Here habemos sisters who are working or studying, some who are unique in their family being Muslim and many of us even our families do not accept that are chosen to Islam as a religion, but they can not understand the high significance for us is that the be Muslim and use our Hijab.
If we decide to be Muslim because Allah subhana wa ta'ala guided us the best path even if our families or friends think that we were wrong. Even if some sisters still find it difficult to use the Hijab for some reason, and because even in this country is strange to see a woman using hijab, I can tell you that the principle is a bit difficult because one is observed curiously, or people related to us with what we spend in the media, but Alhamdulillah our faith is what helps us cope with all these situations and gives us strength to move forward.
This our Muslim community needs to be united, we are where we are from Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela, Bolivia, etc. .in Islam there are no borders Islam is only one and we all must make this one better, better relationship between us as brothers, better relationship with our families, better relationship with our society. Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) guided us to Islam do this our way the best we follow the example of our Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wa salam) who taught for years the best man's conduct as a human being filled with good morals and good values so we can win the Janaah (paradise). That Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) is with each of us and help us become better people every day.
Wa as salam alaikum As Wa Salaam alaikum
There, I lived among the fields of fertile valley of Majes, its river flow and the enigmatic archaeological remains to be erected throughout the 7 km. My mother took me to the Catholic Church to the accompanying but never felt something special nor true for those things and those strange rites cristianoides. When completing 16 years I moved to Arequipa to continue studying at university and there for the first time I read the Koran in Spanish, but there remained.
Back home, I went with my normal life working and studying and deeply analysed such doctrines taught but not completely accepted. Normally attend the church on Sunday and found where I met my rules. Keep my high priest as Mayor Elder was to spend as Seventy, but something stopped me.
In 2000, I decided to resign and retire permanently from the church and take an indifferent stance toward faith and religion, whatever. However, my soul had thirst for knowledge and contacts with the true and real God, and that my life is free from doubts and mysteries and illusions about my creator. Inclusive, I think I entered a period of atheism and rejection.
As salam Alaikum (May peace of God upon you this) were the first words I heard about Islam in 2002, those same words every time they had a greater impact on my life was going according rediscovering Islam that I had within me . Many times one wonders what the real purpose of our life, our existence, rather than perhaps some others, some more frequently than others but always get to ask this.
Thank God always believes in, although he had a personal way to do that because the religious beliefs that I instilled not allowed me to take a closer relationship with God.
At the beginning of my youth, to begin to learn more about life, not missed one question is, What is the true meaning of my life?. It was understood when he needed to have a close relationship directly with God as He has given life, I used to tell me if the life has given us then also had to teach us how to live. And so began my attempt to have a direct, unique and close to God. And after you've been looking for one year Islam came to my life in the best moment (and is that God is the best of planners).
Having attended a Christian church where I learned many good things, I met very good people, Islam came to my life to dispel any confusion and to realize that Islam was the light of our lives, that Islam represented the submission of the desire to one of the only worthy of worship that is God, who sent the prophets to guide us and remind us that always conducted our worship only Him. When that happened no longer feel bad about not worship the prophet Jesus (peace of God be upon him) when he went to the Christian church, because I understood that he had been blessed in reencontrame with Islam (as all are born Muslims) and that my love for the prophet Jesus was not going to stop but they would want even more to follow the true teaching of all prophets sent the only God and worship him serve only God who said in the Holy Quran:
Sister Leydith Davila Flores
BISMILLAHI AR-RAHMAN ER-RAHIM BISMILLAHI AR-Rahman ER-RAHIM
Islam is my love for God, obedience and abide by the rules that were delivered to our prophet Mohammad (SAW) and sends the prophet as an example to follow.
Islam change my life, in the form of worship and pray and many other things, I am grateful to Allah (SWT) for everything good and bad that you learn a lot and The guides us throughout our lives.
Yibril Ibn Mekkah
My conversion to Islam was not for personal reasons, but it was the will of Allah be praised, at any given moment of my life. Since my childhood was already linked to the religion of love, I felt in my heart beats endless emanating from Allah. Their presence was connatural to me through my childhood games breathed land, I felt the air and water and saw the trees and sky; thus learned to know the divine manifestation and omnipotence of Allah. During my teenage years my mother told me a dream theirs regarding my name Yibril and without knowing what would later in the Umma (the Muslim community) from the Shahada (Testimony conversion to Islam). For those years, before the conversion, I became interested much in the world's religions and began a series of studies of self and therefore a certain way or put in the practice as well. After that I join in a dark phase in my life, as if it were a test of faith toward the divine. The skeptical and nihilistic philosophy prevailing in my mind and my soul gradually be undermined in the chaos of existence, had lost direction and lacked a central axis or spiritual life and Yahannam (hellish state) is opening in my being .
My existence turns and turns and was in April of 2001 a strange thing happened to me, as if it were a breath of salvation, it was like someone had breathed my soul and my whole being awakened in the serenity and peace and I realized then that through the consolidation of benevolence and love that emanates from Allah, the man can dignify in life.
That began my closeness to Islam that occurred in various forms as they knew: Music, Tradition, Philosophy and Religion. It has always been emphasized in the history of religions by Western authors that Islam is the last protestor tradition of God in the world and is well chronologically and is at that point where men must add to their mercy and leniency, since everything This implies having a single toward the divinity of Allah be praised.
In December 2004 I approached the Musallah of Lima, where the Muslim Brotherhood received me with sincerity and at any given time I had the intention to make the Shahada, but only Allah knows that time is.
Already in the first half of January 2005, while walking along a street, went Cavilaciones that moment would be my conversion, suddenly found a key route in the new door, I took it and I said: "This is the key to me open the doors of Islam. The next day, on January 16 this year became the Shahada by the will of Allah be praised. And only on Saturday and ordered the man to put on the path to the straight and only owe gratitude for being here, the veneration by the course of day we breathe and prostration by His divine grace that illuminates our hearts.
Islamic Centers and Organizations
Muslim Owned Business
History of Islam in Peru(
(http://www.uga.edu/islam/peru.html, June, 2008).