Saturday, August 19, 2006

Praising Allah -- en español

From the Orlando Sentinel:

Catherine Garcia enters the mosque barefoot and finds a spot on the floor. She kneels and leans forward. Palms, nose and forehead touch the ground. Her lips move, almost imperceptibly, whispering words in Arabic.

Three years ago, she would have been in a Roman Catholic church, murmuring prayers with her rosary beads. Today, she invokes Allah while reciting portions of the Quran.

Garcia, 33, is among an estimated 70,000 Hispanics nationwide embracing Islam, blending with apparent ease two cultures seemingly at odds.

They are renouncing salsa dancing, roasted pork and Christmas. But they are making their tamales with halal meat, reading the Quran in Spanish and sharing their faith at Hispanic cultural events.

"I am a Latino woman," said Garcia, who was born in Colombia and now lives in east Orange County. "I prefer to read the Quran in Spanish, and I praise God in Spanish. It's the language that I feel."