Thank your creator
- Nov 22, 2010
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This is a victory for me," the 43-year-old woman said about her post-quake conversion. The former Protestant spoke in the tent-filled courtyard of her home, her face framed by a clean, black head scarf. "It's a victory that I received peace and found guidance."
Islam is hardly unknown in the Caribbean; countries such as Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname and Guyana have significant Muslim populations. Many of those nations have strong roots in countries such as India and Indonesia where Islam is widespread.
The ancestors of Haitians, by contrast, were brought largely from non-Muslim areas of Africa. Haiti's French colonial rulers also imported their Christian beliefs.
The recent growth of Islam, as well as other new religions, shows Haiti is modernizing and becoming more pluralistic, said Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, a professor of Africology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
"Inroads made by Islam (and by extension, by Mormonism and Rastafarianism) tell me that Haiti is very much a product of this century, subject to all winds, ill-winds and otherwise, that blow over the Caribbean nation-states," Bellegarde-Smith wrote in an email.
Rosedany Bazille, a 39-year-old teacher who converted several months after the earthquake, said she had felt rudderless before embracing the religion and was looking for a way forward.
"Islam can put people on the right path and show them who's God," she said.
With so much still wrong in Haiti, the need for Islam couldn't be greater, said Billy. Two months ago, he launched his live talk show to educate his compatriots about his adopted faith.
Billy's BlackBerry buzzed with missives, including this one in Creole: "M vle vini Muslim" "I want to be a Muslim."
Islam appears to spread in Haiti, a country where Christianity and Voodoo hold sway | Fox News