- Islam in Chile
The statistics for Islam in Chile estimate a total
Muslimpopulation of 3,196, representing 0.02 percent of the population. There are a number of Islamic organizations in Chile, including Sociedad Musulmana de Chile y Mezquita As-Salam ("Muslim Society of Chile and MasjidAs-Salam") in Santiago de Chile, Mezquita Bilal ("Bilal Mosque") in Iquiqueand the Centro Cultural Mohammed VI ("Mohammed VI Cultural Center") in Coquimbo.
According to "Chronicles of the History of Chile" by Aurelio Díaz Meza, there was a man in the expedition of discoverer
Diego de Almagro, called Pedro de Gasco who was a morisco, or Moor from al-Andalusin Spainwho was forced to convert from Islam to Catholicism. The coming of "moriscos" was covered by history but, recently scholars of Chileanhistory have started acknowledging the country's Moorish heritage and its effects on the development of Chilean culture and identity.
The first major wave of Muslims to
Chilebegan in 1856, with the arrival of Arabimmigrants from the Ottoman Empireterritories consisting of today's Syria, Lebanonand Palestine, who founded the Sociedad Unión Musulmana. In 1988 the construction of the mosqueof Santiago de Chile was initiated by Sheikh Taufiq Rumie', who had led the Muslim community for more than sixty years. The mosque was finished in 1989 and was inaugurated by a prince of Malaysiain 1996.
By end of the 1980s many indigenous Chileans converted to Islam, which increased after the completion of the mosque. Usama Abu Gazaleh was elected
Imamof the mosque following the passing of Taufiq Rumie'in 1998. In 1997Pakistani retailers purchased land for the construction of the Bilal Mosque and madrasain Iquique, which was completed in 1999.
[http://www.chileislam.cl Centro Islámico de Cultura]
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