Islam Experiencing a Renewal in Haiti

When Haiti's 2010 earthquake hit, it shattered the infrastructure of the country. Thousands of people lost their homes, ending up in tent cities beyond the borders of Port-au-Prince. Survivors of the quake were left, not only without shelter, but without food or water. Although relief aid poured in from all over the world, logistics prevented it from reaching the quake survivors quickly. Because of this, the religion of Islam won new converts, for they were able to offer shelter in the mosques and food.

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One of the disaster relief agencies, Islamic Relief USA, arrived in Port-au-Prince and erected 200 shelters, later building a 20-classroom high school. Imam Robert Dupuy says the five mosques located on the island were able to house many hundreds of people. As a result, Islam has experienced more conversions.

Qualities that attracted earthquake survivors to Islam were its doctrine of personal responsibility, focus on learning, and several daily ablutions. Its ritual daily cleansings helped the new converts prevent infection by cholera. Cholera infects those, who have been exposed to dirty water and contaminated food. Islam's orderliness, cleanliness, and penchant for education are attributes that appealed to survivors thrown into chaos, unsanitary living conditions, and less access to education.

Although the prevalent religion in Haiti is Catholicism, modeled by French colonists, the surge of converts to Islam since the earthquake is a renewal of the faith, dating to 1804 when the leader of the slave revolt, Boukman, was discovered to be a Muslim.

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Read more: Cholera, Religion, 2010 Haiti earthquake, Islam, Mosque, Islamic Relief USA, Religion

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