Haitians Find Islam
12 Oct 2012 12:18 GMT
 

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Losing their beloved ones, precious belongings and even worship places in 2010 disastrous quake, Haitians are converting to Islam after finding unconditioned solace, help comfort from Muslim charities (more)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Losing their beloved ones, precious belongings and even worship places in 2010 disastrous quake, Haitians are converting to Islam after finding unconditioned solace, help comfort from Muslim charities worldwide.

"After the earthquake Muslims came from everywhere, like the UK, USA, France, Belgium, to help bring some order," Muslim convert Kishner Billy, who hosts a nightly TV program, told Voice Of America on Thursday, October 11.

“Catholics and Protestants also came. Yes, after the quake we have more Haitians converting to Islam,” he added.

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Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, was rocked by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake on January 12, 2010, the worst in around 200 years.

Homes, schools, hospitals, even the National Palace where the president resides, were all destroyed.

An estimated 3 million people were affected and an untold number of people are still trapped under rubble, with many desperate voices being heard crying for help.

Many religious groups have teamed up to offer relief aid to millions of Haitians including, Islamic Relief USA and Muslim Aid which launched an emergency appeal to raise $250,000 in aid for Haiti.

Five days after the disaster, Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) sent a group of Muslim doctors to Haiti.

After scrambling to find a way to help, IMANA forged a partnership with the Comprehensive Disaster Response Services (CDRS), which was already on the ground in Haiti doing the logistical work needed to set up a medical clinic.

New Life

Finding Islam, the new faith helped give Haitians some direction in their lives following the earthquake.

School teacher Darlene Derosier, a mother of two, converted to Islam after losing her home in the earthquake and the death of her husband a month later.

"For me the victory is that you lived, but you did not think you would," she said.

Derosier has helped build one of the mosques in her neighborhood.

The poor country is now home to at least five mosques.

There are no firm statistics on the number of Muslims in Haiti.

A 2009 study by the Pew Research Center on the world's Muslim population estimated that Haiti had about 2,000 devotees.

Islamic leaders in the country insist the figure is much higher and growing.

Islam is hardly unknown in the Caribbean; countries such as Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname and Guyana have significant Muslim populations.

Many of those nations have strong roots in countries such as India and Indonesia where Islam is widespread.

The ancestors of Haitians, by contrast, were brought largely from non-Muslim areas of Africa. Haiti's French colonial rulers also imported their Christian beliefs.

Most Christian Haitians identify themselves as Roman Catholics.

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net



-- OnIslam


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