Published on January 28th, 2014 | by Wendy Diaz0
We Speak Islam – Education in Spanish Language
The group, Hablamos Islam (We Speak Islam), formerly known as “PrimeXample” or “Latino Muslim Outreach Project” (LMOP) was created by a family of Muslim converts who sought to educate the general public about Islam, including both Latinos and non-Latinos.
One of its founders, Hernan Guadalupe, whose parents are Ecuadorians, was raised in a predominately Latino community in Union City, New Jersey. After his conversion to Islam in 2001, he began assisting prayers at the Islamic Education Center of North Hudson (IEC), an Islamic center with one of the largest population of Hispanic Muslims in the United States. A short time following his conversion, his brother, Diego, and his mother, Martha, also embraced Islam. Then three years later, Hernan married Wendy Diaz, a Puerto Rican who had converted in the year 2000 and lived in Maryland. Together, they collaborated with masjid IEC’s outreach (dawah) committee, organizing various events, and also volunteered with WhyIslam, an organization dedicated to dawah nationwide. With WhyIslam, they managed dawah tables in malls and commercial centers, distributing literature about Islam, and also followed up with new converts.
Motivated by wanting to teach their non-Muslim family about their newfound faith, Hernan and Wendy, along with Diego, began LMOP and PrimeXample, which referred to the excellent example and character of the Prophet Muhammad (May peace and blessings be upon him). Under this group, the three dedicated themselves to translating many articles about Islam from English to Spanish and also gave lectures at various universities in the Northeast about numerous topics dealing with Islam. One of the lectures was titled, “Latinos in Islam: Rediscovering Our Roots,” which presented the similarities between Latino culture and Islam due to the history they share. Eventually, the name LMOP was dropped in order to prevent misconceptions, since the dawah were directed at everyone, not just Latinos. The efforts continued with PrimeXample, utilizing the internet to distribute information and collaborating with Muslim Student Associations in universities and mosques to plan educational events.
After some time, and after having lived in Egypt for a year to study Arabic, Hernan and Wendy, also known as Abu and Umm Uthman (the father and mother of Uthman), decided to dissolve PrimeXample and focus more on the dawah to the Latino community. They changed the name to “Hablamos Islam” which represented what the name implies; to speak about Islam in the Spanish language with the purpose of education. This service is directed towards Latinos who have embraced Islam and also to those who are curious and/or motivated to learn about the religion. Abu Uthman says, “There are many resources about Islam available in English nowadays, however, there is a greater need for these services in Spanish, and this is what Hablamos Islam wants to facilitate, insha’Allah.”
Currently, the webpage www.hablamosislam.com offers articles, videos, and fatawa (Islamic jurisprudence in question/answer format) in Spanish and is one of the most popular pages amongst the Spanish-speaking Muslim communities, Alhamdulillah. After searching for information about Islam geared towards children, the founders of Hablamos Islam realized there was a lack of resources available and they took the initiative to also form the children’s site: www.hablamosislamninos.com. With the determination to offer educational materials to both Spanish-speaking Muslim parents and children, Hablamos Islam Niños has published four Islamic children’s books, three of them being bilingual Spanish/English, and they have created a program called “Hablamos Islam with Ahmed” (We Speak Islam with Ahmed), which teaches children some aspects of Islam in a fun way and in their native tongue. These programs can be found in their website and also on YouTube under the name “Hablamos Islam.” The site also offers coloring and activity pages, poems, and information for parents to help them in teaching their children about Islam, insha’Allah. There is also a page on Facebook dedicated to Hablamos Islam, where many fans unite to hear the latest news about their projects.
With Allah’s help and with the support of many brothers and sisters, Hablamos Islam plans to do much more for Spanish-speaking Muslims and non-Muslims all over the world, insha’Allah. They hope to increase awareness about the lack of Islamic resources available for children in Spanish, insha’Allah, and so far, they have been able to convince two Islamic stores to carry their bilingual books, masha’Allah. Also, by way of donations, they were able to distribute free books in Puerto Rico, Ecuador, and Colombia. Their goal is to print and distribute more books in all of Latin America, Spain, and the US, insha’Allah, as well as provide many more videos and articles through their site. Currently, their books are available for purchase on the official Hablamos Islam Niños website and also through the page: www.nuestratiendita.bigcartel.com. All proceeds go directly towards the production of more resources in Spanish.