Latino Muslims Receive More Attention and Support

June 28, 2002

Source: The Arizona Republic

On June 28, 2002, The Arizona Republic reported that "the estimated 40,000 Latino Muslims in the United States remained far off the country's cultural radar until earlier this month when a Latino Muslim named Jose Padilla was accused by federal authorities of plotting... to detonate a radioactive 'dirty bomb' on U.S. soil... Authorities said Padilla... was raised a Catholic, but converted to Islam... Padilla's arrest did not bring the kind of attention the small but growing number of Latino Muslims want. They are quick to defend their religion as peaceful... Padilla's arrest shocked many Latino Muslims, including Juan Galvan, vice president of the national Latino American Dawah Organization... [which] works to promote Islam to Latinos... Galvan believes the publicity over Padilla's arrest only added to negative perceptions about both Islam and Latinos."