New Mexican Muslim community marks Ramadan

The indigenous Tzotzil Mayan Muslim community in Mexico's state of Chiapas numbers at about 600 converts to the religion.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The Mayan Muslim community in San Cristobal de las Casas is marking its 22nd Ramadan.

Muslims around the world are observing Ramadan this month, including one community of indigenous Mexican Muslims in the jungles of Central America.

In the heart of the state of Chiapas on Mexico's border with Guatemala, a small and much-persecuted group of Tzotzil Mayans is celebrating its 22nd Ramadan.

This community of 600 Muslims lives in San Cristobal de las Casas, a town with deep Roman Catholic roots.

“People here cannot understand why we fast, and most have preconceived notions of what Islam is,” says Ibrahim Chechef, the world's first Mayan Imam.

“But when they see that we are peaceful, and do not seek conflict, the prejudice often turns into understanding. Empathy has been a great tool throughout my life.”

TRT World ’s Alasdair Baverstock went to find out how Islam arrived there.