Turkey Hosts First Latin American Muslims Conference

Istanbul: The first Latin American Muslim Leaders Religious Summit, hosted 76 religious leaders from more than 40 countries, last fortnight at Istanbul, to discuss issues that surround Muslims living in Latin America.
During the meeting, the issues surrounding lack of organisations to meet children’s religious education and the lack of Spanish speaking imams was raised. Hosted by the Department of Religious Affairs under the title of “Building Our Tradition and Future,” and attended by Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Venezuela, Peru, and Columbia, issues regarding the Muslim minorities in South America was discussed.
Other countries including Costa Rica, Haiti, Honduras, and Jamaica and other countries make up a population of nearly 4.5 million Muslims in South America as well as those in Brazil and Argentina. The issue of aiding the younger generation in warming towards Islam and to establish organizations to help meet their needs was also the focus.
The summit was supported by five religious organizations, including the Eurasian Islam Council, the African Religious Leaders Summit, the Meeting of European Muslims, the Balkans Meeting of Religious Directorate Leaders and the World Islam Scholars’ Peace, Moderation and Foresight Initiative.
The meetings that continued for four days highlighted the need for Muslims in South America to be united. Once the census is complete, the number of Muslims residing in South America is estimated to be nearly 30% of the population of South America.
Muslim representatives said that in contrast to the West, there is very little Islamophobia and that the Muslim minorities did not have as many problems as the Muslims in other Christian countries. The United Cuban Islamic association leader Yahya Pedro Lazo Torres, said that they were free to practise their religion in the communist run country. Establishing the first Islamic Centre nearly 20 years ago, Torres explained that Muslims were recognized under the Constitution socially and politically and were permit to teach Islam and Islamic Sciences.

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