Have there been major challenges in creating this center for Latino Muslims? Have there been any oppositions from the community at large?
Masjid Al Hamza lies two minutes away from the IslamInSpanish Centro Islamico in Houston, but we are not on a competitive race with them. Our services are geared towards the Spanish-speaking Muslim community. Lying in the center of its region, this community masjid lies in an area where there are many Spanish-speaking Muslims from all across Latin America. Statistically by the year 2050, one in every three will be Latino.
I will tell you my own personal experience. As a revert and Spanish-speaking Muslim, even though I’m bilingual, Spanish was my mother tongue — the first language I spoke at home. It is different to actually receive the message from your own mother tongue than in a tongue that you have learned over time. So for me, this center is a dream come true.
A lot of born Muslims do not understand this so it is important to explain our situation. It is not that we are branching off and segregating ourselves. We are one Ummah. We pray five times a day and we fast in the month of Ramadan.
There is an ayah in the Quran (49:13) that says that Allah created us from a man and women and branched us of into different tribes to get to know one another. It is very important to keep that in mind and to remember that everybody speaks the tongue of the land.
Especially in the United States, we are a melting pot. We have people from all over the world in this country. Here in Houston, there are people from all over Latin America who deserve to receive the message of Islam. On the day of judgment, we will be held accountable for not spreading this message.