Islam In Latin America -- By: M. David Sills

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 15:2 (Summer 2011)
Article: Islam In Latin America
Author: M. David Sills


Islam In Latin America

M. David Sills

and Kevin Baggett

M. David Sills is A. P. and Faye Stone Professor of Christian Missions and Cultural Anthropology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Dr. Sills previously served as a missionary in Ecuador, as a church planter and general evangelist among the Highland Quichua people and as Rector and professor at the Ecuadorian Baptist Theological Seminary. His recent books include Reaching and Teaching: A Call to Great Commission Obedience (Moody, 2010) and The Missionary Call: Find Your Place in God’s Plan for the World (Moody, 2008).

Kevin Baggett is a D.Miss. candidate at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Introduction

It took the tragic events of 9/11 for Islam to register on the radar screen of many Americans. Since then, a growing awareness of Islam’s strength and influence in our world is causing an uneasiness among Westerners. This growing awareness is not only fueled by the daily news of revolts and riots in the predominantly Muslim countries of the world, but also by Islam’s burgeoning global advance. The contemporary resurgence and rapid spread of Islam evokes words of caution and concern from conservative Western politicians, but also from theologians and missiologists. A recent installment of the Kairos Journal, reporting on current trends in world religions and world-views states:

This new phase of Islamic resurgence is funded by wealthy oil-rich Muslim nations and is facilitated by the movement of Islamic populations into post-Christian Western societies. These new Muslim immigrant communities jostle for power with declining European societies that have lost much of their confidence and sense of pride in their own heritage. Western government policies on multiculturalism facilitate the empowerment of well-organized Muslim minorities. In turn, these increasingly dynamic Muslim immigrant communities throughout the West are undergoing a process of creeping militancy increasingly influenced by Islamic activists seeking to gain strategic advantage.1

Remarkably, while the prevalence of Islam in Europe is frequently addressed, most Westerners are unaware of the growing presence of Muslims in Latin America. This growing population and influence has come about through immigration as well as conversions of Latinos to Islam. A Google search of the terms “Islam in Latin America” returned over 10,000,000 results. These results included blogs, websites, organizations, and even Wikipedia entries dedicated to the presence of Islam in Latin America, all of which are divided between those in favor and those opposed to Isla...

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