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U.S. Latino Muslims Speak the Language of Shared Cultures [US News & World Report | CAIR-FL's Wilfredo Amr Ruiz]

By By Aqilah Allaudeen,, For U.S. News & World Report, On 02 July 2020, Read Original

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MIAMI – THE SMELL OF freshly made croquetas lingers in the air. The staff rush to complete orders while keeping cases stocked with hot pastries and desserts like the café's famous tres leches (milk cakes). Most of the workers are Cuban, and nearly everyone is speaking Spanish.

That was more than a decade ago, but Yasemin Kanar remembers her first day as a part-time fondant cake decorator at Vicky bakery in Miami Gardens like it was yesterday. Kanar, now a popular beauty social media influencer, was still in high school at the time. She walked into the bakery dressed modestly, wearing a hijab.

"It took awhile for people to get used to that, but everyone was really nice to me," Kanar recalls. "Once we started talking to each other in Spanish, we were on the same page."

Kanar, now known for her social media channels, was born to a Cuban mother and Turkish father in Miami. Her mother, the daughter of a prominent Cuban émigré family, converted from Catholicism to Islam in her early 20s after a spiritual search. She raised Yasemin, her brother and sister in a household strong in both culture and in faith. Her father influenced her moral outlook, Kanar says, but her personality is more Cuban.


Wilfredo Ruiz, the communications director for the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, is a Latino convert to Islam. He agrees that language kept him connected to the Latino community after he converted to Islam.

Cultures and languages mixed during the centuries of Muslim rule in the Iberian Peninsula. "Language goes back many years, and you will see many similarities between Spanish and Arabic," Ruiz says. "Perhaps that's another reason why many Latinos feel the connection to Arabic and Islam."

Read Full Article: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2020-07-02/numbers-of-us-latino-muslims-growing-rapidly

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