The Muslim Religion As a Strength of Ethnic Identity: The Case of Chamuslim in the South of Mexico

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 8:45 AM
Room: Harbor Lounge B
Oral Presentation
Daniel GUTIERREZ-MARTINEZ , Social Science, El Colegio Mexiquense, Zinacantepec, Edo. de México, Mexico
In the early years of the 70´s a Muslim Spanish family arrive to the South State of Chiapas and encounter the Tzeltal indigenous ethnic group. The result of this interaction in the last 40 years has been a religious conversion that have been going up to a 600 hundred people and continue to grow (from 800 hundred that exist today in all Mexico). Since then different Muslim divisions have been created differentiating the Tzeltal communities around (at least three different groups). Some sociological religious theories focus a lot in the conversion process, and less into the strength ethnical identity as a main factor to understand what some wrongly named "popular religion". This case will be a great example that the community Identity passes before Ethnical Identity and even religious conversion. Even though a monotheistic institutional religion conversion serve more to maintain and fortify the communal ethnical identity than a spiritual meaning. The key here is that the community identity provide more central meaning that the religion itself.