Muslims In Mexico Under Greater Scrutiny From U.S.
The 2010 Mexican census says there are 3760 Muslims living in Mexico in regions as varied as Chiapas and Mexico City. The assassination of Osama bin Laden earlier this month has caused the Mexican and American governments to step up their surveillance of this little-known community.
According to M Magazine, Muslims occupy fifteen states in Mexico: Nuevo Leon, Chihuahua, Michoacán, Veracruz, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Puebla, Coahuila, Jalisco, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, Morelos and the Federal District or Mexico City. But it’s the Muslims in Chiapas who seem to draw the most ire from their government with fears that the Mayans they’ve held down for so long will call on Al-queada to help them rise up again.
A 2005 story in Germany’s Spiegel magazine, however, says Mayan Muslims have no interest in religious extremism. Their attraction to Islam lies in its perceived disinterest in race, something they’ve never experienced from their government.
“In Islam, the Indians rediscover their original values,” claims Esteban Lopez, the Spanish secretary general of the Muslim community. “The Christians destroyed their culture.” He presents the use and abuse of alcohol as proof. Alcoholism is wide-spread under Tzotzil Indians and the strict ban on spirits in Islam helps many to break the vicious circle of addiction and poverty.
In fact their white neighbors say Muslims in Chiapas are hardworking, running a pizza shop and a carpenter shop, and that the kids study Arabic and pray five times a day in the backroom of a residential building.
The second most monitored group of Muslims in Mexico are the ones in Michoacan who officials fear will have a run-in with fundamentalist Christian mennonite drug cartel La Familia. That would be a Road Warrior battle to end all battles. But there have been no problems on that front, either.
Only a couple of Muslim communities in Coahuila have been caught committing petty crimes like theft and forgery.
This hasn’t stopped the United States Department of Homeland Security from monitoring all foreign nationals entering the country of Mexico from Arab states. The most recent data, released in June 2010, indicated that during fiscal year 2009, officials detained at the border with Mexico 125 illegal immigrants of Syrian, Sudanese, Pakistani, Iranian, Iraqi, Lebanese, Yemeni, Nigerian, Somali, Algerian and Saudi Arabia origin. Among those arrested, Daniel Joseph Maldonado and Miguel Alfonso Salinas caught their attention after both were seized with documentation certifying them as Mexicans.
U.S. security officials said Maldonado has ties with Somali rebel groups and received terrorist training in Somalia in 2007. He was caught trying to enter the United States to indoctrinate young students and turn them into human bombs. Miguel Alfonso Salinas was arrested at the international bridge in New Mexico in 2006. He was subjected to interrogation by the FBI when it was discovered his real name is Ayman Kamal Sulmane, and his nationality is Egyptian.
Original post: Muslims In Mexico Under Greater Scrutiny From U.S.