In this episode, B.C. & Mordant welcome Jaime Mujahid Fletcher from Islam in Spanish to share his groundbreaking efforts in making Islam accessible to the Spanish-speaking community.
The idea was sparked when Mujahid became Muslim and was soon after designated spokesperson for the Spanish-speaking community. Being a new Muslim, he felt as though he wasn’t the most knowledgeable person for the job, but he realized he was the only one who could do it. From there, he discovered the serious lack of Spanish materials, and that a huge demographic was not being served.
Their first project was simple: turning one of the few existing Spanish books on Islam into an audiobook. The effort really took off from there, and its positive reception became a testament to its need in the community.
“We’ve gone on to produce over 500 audiobooks and have done over 200 T.V. shows,” he says. “We just built the first Spanish-speaking Islamic center in America.”
He shares the advances of this new 5,000 square foot facility, featuring state of the art technology and even a museum dedicated to showcasing the Latino contribution to Islam.
Another important part of what they do is dispel common stereotypes about Islam, such as most Muslims being Arab, or Muslims of certain backgrounds not existing. “We really succeed when we just connect with people and let them know about Islam from authentic sources.” The aim, however, is never to convert people. “We don’t mean to convert people,” he says, “we mean to educate people.” Still, hundreds of thousands have embraced Islam as a result of the effort.
“Islam in Spanish is the vehicle of how we can tell our narrative as Latinos embracing Islam,” he says. In the current sociopolitical climate, people are quick to blame the media for a negative portrayal of Muslims. But Islam in Spanish offers a different, more proactive approach that can be adopted by all groups who have ever been stereotyped.
“Don’t blame the media. It’s not the media that’s after Muslims. You have to empower your own narrative, define who you are, let people know who you are and how you contribute to society. Then, people will come to know you based on who you say you are.”