More and more women wearing hijab can be seen walking through the picturesque streets of old Havana, but these women aren’t tourists from far-flung places, they are Cuban Muslim women whose numbers are growing by the day, Reuters reported.
Maryam Camejo, a 27-year-old journalist who converted to Islam seven years ago, says that a growing number of women, and in particular younger women, have been converting to Islam in recent years.
These women were not deterred by the Caribbean humidity, the difficulty finding Halal food, and the existence of a single mosque.
However, 35-year-old Isaura Argudin said she faced difficulties as due to a lack of “knowledge” on the island.
To help new converts, Maryam is deeply involved in the local Muslim community and teaches Arabic and Qur’an classes at Havana’s mosque which was inaugurated in 2015.
Cuba is a predominantly Catholic country with about 85 percent following Christianity.
Islam was introduced to Cuba by Muslim students who came from countries such as Pakistan in the 1970s and 80s.
The small Muslim community gathers usually in a small prayer hall in Havana’s old quarter.
The Muslim population, though growing by new numbers of reverts, is a few thousand people, forming about 0.1 percent of the population.
According to the Islamic League of Cuba, the Muslim community in the country counts over 6,000 people including some 1,200 women.