Mayan Indians in Chiapas Convert to Islam in Significant Numbers

February 18, 2005

Source: Arab News

On February 18, 2005 the Arab News reported, "Despite the predominance of Catholic Christianity in Mexico, Islam has established itself on the edge of [San Cristobal de las Casas], a little way off from the town’s beautiful and plentiful churches. Some 300 people from the Tzotzil Mayan community now bow their heads daily in the direction of Makkah to pray to Allah. In the madrasa — the Islamic school — children are learning the Qur’an, and many of them are also cared for, often under better circumstances than in their parental homes. Some Tzotzils have even made the pilgrimage to Makkah... It is an historical irony that the man who came in 1995 to tell their descendants that the crucified man was not the son of God and that the true word of God lay in the words of the Qur’an was again a Spaniard. The man from Granada was Aureliano Perez Yruela, a member of a Sunni sect. He quickly found new converts to Islam among the Tzotzil."