Latino and Muslim in America: Race, Religion, and the Making of a New Minority
First academic study to critically engage religious lives, organizations, and representations of Latino Muslims in America
Harold Morales, an associate professor of Religion at Morgan State University, is the author of the momentous new book, Latino and Muslim in America: Race, Religion, and the Making of a New Minority (Oxford University Press, 2018). Morales’ monograph provides a rich ethnographic analysis of various Latino Muslim communities, groups, and individuals in America. Situated in the context of hyper-racialization of post 9/11, Morales carefully lays out his interlocutors’ powerful journeys of reversion (instead of conversion) to Islam and how they form historical and cultural continuities but also transformations, such as through evoking Islamic Spain (Al-Andalus) or food cultures. With its intersection of race, ethnicity, religion, and media studies, Morales’ has made a formidable contribution to the study of Islam in America, but also broadly on American religious experiences.
Drawing on four years of media analysis, ethnographic and historical research, Morales demonstrates that Latinos embrace Islam within historically specific contexts that include distinctive immigration patterns and new laws, urban spaces, and media technologies that have increasingly brought Latinos and Muslims into contact. He positions this growing community as part of the mass exodus out of the Catholic Church, the growth of Islam, and the digitization of religion. Latino and Muslim in America explores the interactions between religion, race, and media to conclude that these three categories are inextricably entwined.