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Islam in American Barrios & Prisons: Converts Reclaim Moorish Spain, Reject Church

[Image by SpearIt]

For those in the US typically designated as “Latino” or “Hispanic,” the historical legacy of Islam plays a role similar to that in the African-American context. As the term “Moor” was embraced by various African-American leaders to unite poor, disenfranchised blacks with the glory of Islam, the connection to Moorish Spain provides a powerful tool to re-imagine Latino identity. Converts learn that popular Latin American terms like ojala (“may God will”) derive from the Arabic ...

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SpearIt is an Assistant Professor of Law at Saint Louis University School of Law with extensive teaching experience, including teaching inmates at San Quentin State Prison.  Among other projects, SpearIt is currently working on a book manuscript, Raza Islamica: Prisons, Hip Hop & Converting Converts, and contributing book chapters to The Muslims in U.S. Prisons and Peacemaking: A Comprehensive Theory and Practice.

SpearIt earned a B.A. in philosophy, magna cum laude, from the University of Houston; a master’s in theological studies at Harvard Divinity School; a Ph.D. in religious studies at UC Santa Barbara; and J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law, where he also earned the Certificate in Law & Technology and served two years on the Berkeley Journal of Law & Technology. SSRN Author page: