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The United States of Islamexica? By: Julia Gorin
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, September 01, 2005

I have a joke that goes: First we got bilingual schools--where Spanish-speaking kids aren’t learning English, but English-speaking kids are reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish. Then there was the California school where students were made to dress, fast and pray like Muslims for three weeks. What's next for American public school children? Islamic prayer in Spanish?

Well, I thought I was kidding. Now that Venezuelan presidential dictator Hugo Chavez is forging alliances within Iran, Iraq and Libya and is rumored to be supplying false documents to 300 or so al-Qaida terrorists, I’m not so sure. And when Ricky Martin turned up in Jordan recently, donning a black-and-white Palestinian kaffiyeh reading “Jerusalem is Ours,” I realized there really might be something to this trend (after I got past my initial confusion that oh no, Puerto Rico also wants Jerusalem?!).


Islamic Society of North America numbers show there are about 40,000 Latino Muslims in the U.S., according to a Christian Science Monitor article last year, and “Latinos account for six percent of the 20,000 Muslim conversions in the United States each year, according to a report published by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.”


The Monitor item, out of Union City, NJ was titled “U.S. Latinas Seek Answers in Islam,” and began by describing Jasmine Pinet as she “sits on the steps outside a mosque here, tucking in strands of her burgundy hair beneath a white head scarf, and explaining why she, a young Latina, feels that she has found greater respect as a woman by converting to Islam.


“‘They're not gonna say, “Hey mami, how are you?”’ Ms. Pinet says of Muslim men. ‘Usually they say, “Hello, sister.” And they don't look at you like a sex object.’....Anecdotal evidence suggests that the number of Latino converts to Islam may be rising."


No kidding. Does the name Jose Padilla, aka Abdullah al-Muhajir, ring a bell? That’s the former Chicago gang member and Muslim convert who was convicted last year for plotting to either unleash a dirty bomb or nuke here, or just blow up New York apartment buildings. Padilla has company: the South American tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina has become a training and hideout nexus for Middle Eastern terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. And last week, a group of Mexicans took an example from Palestinians while crossing into California illegally, throwing baseball-sized rocks at an overhead Border Patrol helicopter, gashing the rotor and forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing.


On a more benign note, a recent CBS news report revealed that Iran is the nose job capital of the world. Whose ideal-nose photo are the young women clutching when they walk into the plastic surgeon’s office? J. Lo’s!


We may not be at the point of a Spanish-language Koran-study elective in schools yet, but the Latin-Muslim vogue that’s been picking up steam calls for at least some new vocabulary. To describe the 40,000 Latino Muslims, I suggest the term Larabinos, and for the Jennifer Lopezes of Iran--since Iranians are not Arabs--the more accurate, post-operation classification would be Muslinas.


Lending itself to the Hisparabic chic is Michigan Rep. John Conyers’ Web site, which offers to translate the page into either of two languages: Spanish or Arabic. Not to bolster the gruff “Speak English!” crowd, but senior citizens aside, if you’re Hispanic, don’t speak English and vote for Conyers, you’re probably looking to help La Raza give parts of the country back to Mexico. And if you’re a non-senior-citizen Muslim who doesn’t speak English and votes Conyers, you’re probably looking to Islamicize the country. Were these two groups to find a common language, say Sparabic, they could merge into a single entity called Muslicans, and form a fusion extremist wing named al-Raza or La Qaida—which, under the guiding principle of “Su casa es mi casa,” would work toward the creation of the United States of Islamexica.


And why not? Let them fight the Chinese for it!  

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