Islam in Peru

The statistics for Islam in Peru estimate a total Muslim population of 5,000, largely based in the capital of Lima, Peru;[1] a number which has remained static since 1980.[2]

Islam was historically introduced by Spanish Moors, although today's population is almost entirely of Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian origin.[1][2]


In 1560, the Spanish rulers of Peru sentenced Lope de la Pena, described as a "Moor from Guadalajara", to life imprisonment for the crime of "having practiced and spread Islam" in Cuzco and was also required to wear the Sanbenito around his neck for his entire imprisonment.[3][4][5] Other sources give his name as Alvaro Gonzalez.[6]

His colleague, the mulatto "son of a Spaniard [Juan Solano] and a black woman",[6][7][8] Luis Solano was similarly convicted of spreading Islam, but was executed for the offence.[7][9]

As persecution increased in the Spanish dependencies, Muslims ceased identifying themselves by their religion and became nominal Christians; eventually Islam disappeared from the country entirely.[10]

Islam was reintroduced to Peru in the 1940s, during the Nakba exodus, Palestinian and Lebanese Muslims fleeing persecution from the newly formed State of Israel.[10]

In 1974, the Nation of Islam, through its counterpart in Belize, began importing Pacific Whiting fish from Peru to the United States, where it was sold as an Islamic alternative to mainstream fish markets.[11]

In 1993, the Muslim community opened a masjid in the Jesús María District of the capital, but it was later closed due to financial difficulty. Another location was opened in the Villa El Salvador district, but met with similar difficulties and also closed.[10]


There are a handful of Islamic organizations in Peru, including the Asociación Islámica del Perú, the Musulmanes Peruanos of Naqshbandi Haqqani tariqa and Shia Islamic center all located in Lima. A group of Muslims have also set up a webpage

In 2007, there were unsubstantiated claims that Islamist militant sympathisers were helping arrange entrance to the United States through their country.[12]

The Latin American Muslim Unity (LAMU) organization, based in Fresno, California, United States, has drawn up a proposal for the first Islamic orphanage in Peru, although it has not yet materialized.

In January 2011, Peru joined a number of other Latin American countries in announcing its recognition of the State of Palestine as a legitimate nation.[13]


  1. 1 2 Shaikh, Farzana. "Islam and Islamic groups: a worldwide reference guide", 1992
  2. 1 2
  3. Encyclopedia of African-American culture and history: the Black experience in the Americas, Volume 4, page 1561
  4. Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas, Page 147
  5. Central Institute of Islamic Research, Pakistan, Islamic studies, Volume 45, Issues 1-2, 2006
  6. 1 2 Lea, Henry Charles. "Inquisition of the Spanish Dependencies", Page 321
  7. 1 2 Bowser, Frederick P. "The African Slave in Colonial Peru", Page 251
  8. Louis Cardaillac, "Le Probleme Morisque en Amerique, Page 293
  9. The African Slave in Colonial Peru 1524-1650 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1974), 251.
  10. 1 2 3 LAMU, History of Islam in Peru
  11. Curtis, Edward E. "Black Muslim Religion in the Nation of Islam", Page 105
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