- Title: Islam making strides among Cuban women
- Date: 16th August 2019
- Summary: CUBAN MUSLIM WOMEN WALKING THROUGH PLAZA IN OLD HAVANA (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CUBAN MUSLIM WOMAN, YAILIN FERNANDEZ, SAYING: "It took me a little work to change my ways of dressing; it was pretty difficult for me. My way of speaking, (it cost) a lot, because you know how we Cubans are, we talk loud, we gesticulate a lot, but it all goes (away) little by little, with wisdom, of course, and understanding and always asking Allah." VARIOUS, CUBAN MUSLIM WOMEN AT PIZZA SHOP SIDE OF FACE OF WOMAN WEARING VEIL CUBAN MUSLIM WOMAN, MARYAM CAMEJO, EATING PIZZA WITH HER FRIENDS GROUP OF CUBAN MUSLIM WOMEN TALKING IN STREET (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CUBAN MUSLIM WOMAN, MARYAM CAMEJO, SAYING: "The majority of Cuban women that were Muslim were older women and it was a time, too, when it was much more difficult to get access to knowledge. In recent years, the number of women converting has been increasing, and the number of young women has been increasing. Many of them are university students or they are about to be, women that have professional aspirations, that try a little to find that point where you can have your religion and at the same time live in this society." CUBAN MUSLIM WOMEN SEATED IN MOSQUE DURING ARABIC CLASSES WOMAN HOLDING KORAN VARIOUS, CAMEJO TEACHING ARABIC CLASS AT MOSQUE (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CUBAN MUSLIM WOMAN, MARYAM CAMEJO, SAYING: "The veil doesn't make me feel less Cuban, right? It doesn't even make me Arabic, because I'm not. So, sometimes when many people interpret that being Muslim inevitably ends up in a process of 'Arabization', let's say you end up in a no-man's land. Because I'm a Cuban Latina, and I don't want to lose who I am or the idiosyncrasies of a Cuban, or the idiosyncrasies of Latin Americans in general. It's very different, very distinct from those who are Arabic. In that sense, too, to accept Islam in the West brings with it consciously having the tools to be able to do it, because sometimes the Arabic sages don't give them to you. They don't give them to you because they aren't here, they don't give them to you because they don't know what life is like here." VARIOUS, CUBAN MUSLIM WOMEN WALKING DOWN STREET MUSLIM WOMEN PRAYING AT MOSQUE CUBAN MUSLIM WOMAN, ISAURA MARGARITA ARGUDIN, PRAYING CUBAN MUSLIM WOMEN AT CLASSES IN MOSQUE (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CUBAN MUSLIM WOMAN, ISAURA MARGARITA ARGUDIN, SAYING: "They've called me Taliban, they've called me crazy, they've even called me nun, and then you realize that they don't know the difference between a nun, a Muslim woman, a Christian, a Jew, who all have their differences. But, here in Cuba what people don't have is knowledge, and I could even see that at my job. They asked me and when I answered, (they said), 'I thought that you were this, I thought that you were that.' And, while I was explaining, letting them know who I am, those fears those worries that people have - they say to me, 'Now you seem normal to me,' and I tell them, 'Well, I've always been normal.'" PEOPLE AT WEDDING CEREMONY PRESIDENT OF THE ISLAMIC LEAGUE OF CUBA, PEDRO LAZO, DURING WEDDING CEREMONY WOMEN AT CEREMONY COUPLE PUTTING RINGS ON (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PRESIDENT OF THE ISLAMIC LEAGUE OF CUBA, PEDRO LAZO, SAYING: "There aren't more women than men, but there are many women, and we hope and aim for there to be more women. We need more women, because women are the mothers of the believers, people's mothers, the educators, right? That's why we think like that, that it's very good for there to be more Muslim women, and I think and I'm sure that there will be more." PLAQUE IN MOSQUE COMMEMORATING ITS INAUGURATION VARIOUS, PEOPLE ON STREET OUTSIDE MOSQUE MOSQUE TOWER MUSLIM WOMEN ARRIVING AT MOSQUE EXTERIOR OF MOSQUE
- Embargoed: 30th August 2019 16:00
- Keywords: believers Muslim practice women Islam Cuba faith religion Koran Havana mosque faithful
- Location: HAVANA, CUBA
- City: HAVANA, CUBA
- Country: Cuba
- Topics: Religion/Belief,Society/Social Issues,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA003ASGVZ9J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: More and more women wearing veils 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.
Neither the Caribbean humidity, the difficulty finding Halal food, nor the existence of only one mosque in the entire country has dissuaded these women from finding their faith in Islam.
Most Cuban Muslim women are converts to the religion and have come to embrace their new faith for varied reasons: spiritual revelation, religious curiosity, or because they are in a relationship with a Muslim partner.
Maryam Camejo is a 27-year-old journalist who converted to Islam seven years ago. She says that the number of women, and in particular younger women, who convert to Islam has been increasing in recent years.
Maryam is deeply involved in the local Muslim community and teaches Arabic and Koran classes at Havana's mosque which was inaugurated in 2015.
35-year-old Isaura Argudin says she has faced difficulties as a Cuban Muslim woman due to a lack of "knowledge" on the island.
According to the Islamic League of Cuba, the Muslim community in the country counts over 6,000 people including some 1,200 women.
(Production: Nelson Gonzalez, Anett Rios, Rodrigo Gutierrez)
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