Friday, September 20, 2013



Note:  Some rather interesting background reading for your long weekend.  ELZN is a  revolutionary group in south of Mexico.  

Allah in Los Altos de Chiapas
SEPTEMBER 19, 2013

Quran classes in Los Altos de Chiapas.
Photo: Miguel Dimayuga
The Emir Mohammed Nafia and Hayy Idriss  were advanced of Islam in the Chiapas Highlands . After January 1, 1994 , when it went public the existence of the EZLN , both had the idea of ​​returning to the Zapatista movement as Muslim to join other " rebellious peoples " of the world . They failed. But they managed to turn in some Tzotzil Muslim before were evangelicals, who were promised that their new faith would deliver them from exploitation. These again - after studying the Koran in Spain and Morocco, keep alive the religion of Allah on the shores of San Cristobal de Las Casas.

SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, CHIS . ( Process ) . - Ibrahim is a  tzotzil native of San Juan Chamula you like Spanish  . His adopted brother Daud the same. On the outskirts of this city have a mosque where they teach the Koran to a group of children , mostly indigenous .

Daud and Ibrahim and studied the holy book of Islam first in Chiapas , and then in Spain and Morocco . The Friday evening wear traditional clothes of the imans and pray in Arabic, Spanish and Tzotzil .

Hailing from a village of deep religiosity , in which for decades evangelicals and Catholics have fought, they and 600  other indigenous in Los Altos de Chiapas chose Islam 15 years ago. " Pray the coral snake ," they said in their community , referring to the Koran.

The history of both  seems like fiction.  They lived several years in Europe and North Africa in order to meet other Muslim communities and study the Koran, now spread among his people in the mosque built in the colony Arcos La Alborada .

Ibrahim , 32, a leader of his community and is married to Yanna . They have three children , which is considered a blood alliance to grow Islamism among the Tzotzil of San Juan Chamula .

In his childhood Daud was abandoned and now, at 25, is teacher of Islam than a dozen children. Just returned from Spain and Morocco, where he spent three years perfecting his knowledge of the Koran.

But not only the story of Daud and  Ibrahim and like fiction.  So is the arrival of Islam to Chiapas.

In 1994, after the uprising of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation ( EZLN ), a pair from Granada ( Aureliano Pérez Yruela - the Emir Mohammed Nafia - and Esteban López - Moreno-  now Hayy Idriss , of the Murabitun World Movement ) traveled to the Lacandon Jungle to to speak with Subcomandante Marcos. His intention was to convince the Zapatistas to take the path of Islam and join other " rebellious peoples " of the world .

The founder and leader of the Global Movement all Murabitun (MMM ), Ian Dallas , was born in 1930 in the Scottish town of Ayr . Some sources say as a graphic designer , playwright , actor and even exrepresentante of The Beatles. In 1967 he embraced the Islamic faith inspired by Abdelkarim Dauodi , the imam of the mosque Qarawiyyin , in Fez , Morocco. Dallas took the Abdelqader name .

Islamic Zapatistas 

Coming from Granada , Perez Yruela and Lopez Moreno arrived in Chiapas in 1993, set up a restaurant, a bakery and a carpentry shop in San Cristobal de las Casas. On January 1, 1994 , when they knew the EZLN , had an idea: to turn the Zapatistas to Islam .

Had contact with Commander Tacho and more - today with deputy commander  - Moises, also credited as reporters of one of its publications , La Gaceta de Granada , attended several meetings between the EZLN and social groups .

In 1995 they tried to meet with Marcos , who sent a letter of 14 pages of MMM in which he proposed an alliance and establish Islam among indigenous rebels. Marcos did not receive them .

Gaspar Morquecho , journalist and researcher based in San Cristobal de Las Casas for over 25 years, has made a thorough investigation of the arrival of the Spanish Islamics in  Chiapas and indigenous evangelicals conversion to Islam.

Morquecho shows the reporter a copy of this letter : 

" Brothers : We are writing to you with all appreciation and respect that your heroic and exemplary struggle inspires . We want to greet all your struggle and to express our gratitude for the example of nobility and dignity that you are offering to the world. Every cry of freedom of each of the oppressed peoples of the world is a breath of courage and hope for all. 

" We are the World Movement spokesmen of Murabitun a Western Muslim movement committed to the restoration of freedom , justice and dignity in all corners of the world .

" We have followed your struggle with great interest and admiration from the start. We send a first message of greeting through Comandante Tacho and Moises .  We had an interview with them in San Pedro de Michoacan two days before the military strike ordered by the international lenders by Zedillo , the February 8, 1995 . We have seen also as reporters of one of our magazines , La Gaceta de Granada , consultation held in Agua Escondida on June 5 last .

" The purpose of this letter is to actively participate in the request for advice that you launched in your statement filed in Larráinzar III . From this letter we would like to have an interview with you , somewhere in the jungle to comment broadly outline points here and get to your service to develop a work plan in which we now commit to participate if you you think of interest.

" We want to help to help us, because your struggle to succeed for the benefit of all mankind . "

The MMM letter asks the Zapatistas did not use the term "demand " because that's holding assume a " slave language " , but against those responsible for the situation : the banking system. But this points out the need for a global fight through an alliance of rebel villages and " the implementation of economic and political plan of social reconstruction of your people on the basis of the government without state and economy without usury."

In alliance with other peoples the MMM explains : "The union of Tzeltales , Tzotziles , Choles , and tojolabales in the ranks of the Zapatistas is an example of brotherhood among peoples , which should be expanded to strengthen.

" We, the Global Movement Murabitun , we invite you to sit down with representatives of the peoples of Chechnya , Kashmir , the Basque Country and other peoples who today are at the forefront of the fight against the tyrannical world banking order , and with which we have relations collaboration , dissemination , guidance and support in their various struggles . They have asked that I pass on his invitation to share now fighting effort together to enjoy the pride of victory.

"Here are your allies , which will make your group strong , practical support and expand your vision a brotherhood movement will set an example for the world.

" The new world order designed by bankers separates and destroys peoples , strengthening and uniting the states under economic duress of the global banking system .

" The new alliance of rebels of the world unite peoples and peoples magnify States dismantled , eliminating borders and destroying the tyranny of the global banking system . "

In the long letter the MMM proposes to the Zapatistas create a new economic order abandoning the use of money and wages , the establishment of a free market of goods without intermediaries , mainly the banks , the restoration of economic domination of women , the association of producers and traders associations and the "liquidation of the state and abandoning their institutions."

Once this is achieved , he adds, "Social construction , political and economic of your people will be real and will become an example for Mexico and the world . With all this and we can talk about Freedom, Justice and Democracy in its real meanings and not as demands but as established facts for the benefit of your people and of all humanity " .

In those days of February 1995 Marcos fled before the entry of the army and federal police to the Lacandon Jungle , who wanted to arrest him by order of then-President Ernesto Zedillo.

The letter of the Islamic movement and had no answer,  to that silence Perez Yruela and Lopez Moreno took another path : convert to Islam the Chamula Indians promising to help build the 'golden'  dream : A purely Indian market , free from the presence of the mestizos and whites, who only exploit .

Conversion of the Chamula

At age 15 , before converting to Islam after meeting Yruela Perez , Ibrahim called Anastasio Cheb Cheb and professed evangelism , his maternal grandfather , Miguel Gómez Hernández . This , known as Miguel Caxlan , was one of the first to convert to evangelism in Chiapas in the seventies, for which he was persecuted , killed and skinned in 1981. 

" My grandparents lived in Chamula. My grandfather Salvador Cheb Cheb was highly respected because he had the gift of healing people . The clan was well known and respected among the authorities. On the side of my mother , my grandfather Miguel Gómez Hernández , known as Miguel Caxlan was among the first who converted to evangelism and was persecuted and murdered in 1981 . Everyone in my family were persecuted , "says Ibrahim to process while preparing for Friday prayers .

He explains that the Spanish accent acquired it after living five years in Spain , then traveled to South Africa, Germany , England , Morocco and Algeria. " I know the house of Allah , it has rewarded me ," he says cheerfully.

The accent , he says, also comes by his marriage with Yanna , daughter of Esteban López Moreno , who has two boys and a girl . "There is no blood or alliance or premeditated strategy to strengthen Islam with Cheb Cheb clan , simply having a marriage with her was because God, Allah, got  my way and thanks to her I could meet new people ; all I know and what I have is for her, " says Ibrahim .

Seven years ago Ibrahim and his family built the mosque - cement a large room built in the mountains on the outskirts of San Cristobal, where they pray and teach the Quran to other Indians . He estimates there are already 600 Chamula converted.

In his opinion, the proximity of the Chamula with Islam is because the Indians " do not see it as a religion but as a way of life, a dawa " (called ), very similar to his generosity and humility , "and that arriving makes Islam not see a difference. "

On Friday he is responsible for leading the prayer for about 20 people who come to the mosque , most are family . All make the purification (cleaning of arms, feet, eyes , ears and mouth ) before entering the room barefoot where instead of carpets on the floor are straw mats .

His prayers in the mosque do not differ much from those of the other Indians in the Catholic church in San Juan Chamula , where they pray in their language, kneeling , and crouching many times before the image of the saints, which offered food and an alcoholic drink called posh ( spirit ) in exchange for health.

A part of the sentence in which thank God is said in Arabic, the other in Tzotzil and one in Spanish . Is assisted by Daud Ibrahim , who has just returned from Granada and Morocco , where he studied the Qur'an.

" We are not Jehovah's Witnesses who go knocking on doors . We see Islam as a way of life , the dawa , as something generous and peaceful , "says Ibrahim and rejects the image of violence and terrorism which has been associated with their religion in recent years.

"I've seen how we are investigated , how to spy on us , but we have no fear , we have nothing to hide , the only fear I have is from Allah We do no terrorist acts , as the outsiders , the government or those of other Catholic and evangelical churches who accuse us of being terrorists and Nafia and Estaban who were of the ETA . They just want ( s) to stain the name of all because they see they are losing people, " Ibrahim charged .

While Ibrahim invited to share the food after prayer , Daud , who was once called Jorge Patishtán - is responsible for the care of children who are taught the Quran three times a week.

Daud was an abandoned child who picked up the family of Ibrahim . During his childhood he was taught Spanish and adolescence he was converted to Islam. His progress was so rapid that in the last three years he was taken to Spain and Morocco to memorize the holy book of Muslims.

It will be the next leader of the Chamula converted to Islam , a religion that sees daily grow the number of the faithful on the outskirts of San Cristobal de Las Casas , where six other religions cohabit ( Catholic plus several Protestant ) to make a small religious Babel this city in the mountains of the Chiapas Highlands .


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