Alfonso Flores looked relieved. Standing at the front of the prayer hall, the 29-year-old dental technician accepted hugs and handshakes from other members of the Centro Islámico, America’s only mosque founded specifically to be a place for Spanish-language programming for Latinos. Flores had just taken the shahada, the Islamic profession of faith, at the mosque’s first-ever Cinco de Mayo celebration on Saturday, where community members with roots in Colombia, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba and other countries served halal variations of their traditional foods, while celebrating their shared identity as Muslims.
“We’re like a family,” said Ana Ortiz, a Puerto Rican Muslim originally from New Jersey, who was serving food at the festival’s Puerto Rico tent. Since it opened on 30 January 2016, 18 people like Flores have taken the shahada at the mosque in Houston. There are more than 55 million people of Hispanic origin in the United States, and more than 3 million Muslims. Estimates of the number of Latino Muslims in the US range from 30,000 to 300,000. READ MORE