Brazil’s Muslim Peoples – background

flooding-brazil-30-days.netBrazil is a vast country with a warm tropical climate and an ethnically varied and hospitable people. Often regarded as the largest Catholic country in the world, Brazil is also the birthplace of many cults from a variety of religious movements. The earliest significant Muslim presence in Brazil was apparently established several centuries ago with the arrival of thousands of black West African Muslim slaves.

The first great Arab immigration took place towards the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. However, this immigration was composed mainly of Orthodox Christian Arabs from Lebanon and Syria.

The second Arabic wave of immigration arrived about 40 years ago, bringing a large concentration of Muslims. The majority were involved in a variety of small- to large scale commercial activities.

Todays Brazil

Today, Brazil has a population of about 180 million, including several million people from an Arabic background. While most of them are at least nominally Christian, there are several hundred thousand Muslims (including a significant number of illegal aliens). Some estimates suggest that there are possibly over one million Muslims in Brazil, but accurate statistics are unavailable.

The Growth of Islam in Brazil

The first mosque in Brazil was built during the middle of the last century. This one gave rise to many others scattered all over the country. The region of Paran near Paraguay has the largest concentration of Muslims, followed by the city of São Paulo. Indeed, Brazil has become a hub for Islam in Latin America. During the past 30 years, Islam has succeeded in making a place for itself in Brazilian society by building not only mosques, but also libraries, arts centres, and schools and also by funding newspapers.

In addition, conversions to Islam are multiplying, especially among women who marry a Muslim and so take on the religion of their husband when they say their vows. Now, evangelical Christian Brazilians are mobilizing to face the growing Islamic presence, though not in sufficient numbers.

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Flag of Brazil

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Map of Brazil

Some missionaries are working full-time to proclaim the Gospel to Muslims. The pressure on missionaries is enormous, particularly in large cities where Muslims have a significant presence. Despite these difficulties, the work is starting to bear fruit. A number of former Muslims have become enthusiastic missionaries. Some are working in Brazil, but some have returned to their homelands as witnesses, despite the threat of persecution and various restrictions.

Prayer for the Muslims of Brazil

* Pray that Brazilian Christians will have a greater desire to know more about Islam and the means of effectively evangelizing Muslims. Christian friendship evangelization seems to be the method which seems to bear the most fruit. Love and appreciation can dissolve the hardest heart.

* Pray for the vital ministry of the full-time missionaries working among Muslims in Brazil.

* Pray that Muslim-background believers will be able to deal with the opposition coming from their families, close relatives and friends while they continue to proclaim the Gospel.

Background on Brazil (World Factbook)

Following three centuries under the rule of Portugal, Brazil became an independent nation in 1822 and a republic in 1889. By far the largest and most populous country in South America, Brazil overcame more than half a century of military intervention in the governance of the country when in 1985 the military regime peacefully ceded power to civilian rulers. Brazil continues to pursue industrial and agricultural growth and development of its interior. Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool, it is today South America’s leading economic power and a regional leader. Highly unequal income distribution remains a pressing problem.

Economy of Brazil

Characterized by large and well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, Brazil’s economy outweighs that of all other South American countries and is expanding its presence in world markets. Consumer and investor confidence revived and GDP growth returned to positive in 2010, boosted by an export recovery. Brazil’s strong growth and high interest rates make it an attractive destination for foreign investors.

Statistics on Brazil

Population: 201,009,622 (July 2013) World Rank #5

Life Expectancy at Birth: 72.79 years. World Rank #124

Ethnic groups: white 53.7%, mulatto (mixed white and black) 38.5%, black 6.2%, other (includes Japanese, Arab, Amerindian) 0.9%, unspecified 0.7%

Religions: Roman Catholic (nominal) 73.6%, Protestant 15.4%, Spiritualist 1.3%, Bantu/voodoo 0.3%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.2%, none 7.4%

Languages: Portuguese (official and most widely spoken language); note – less common languages include Spanish (border areas and schools), German, Italian, Japanese, English, and a large number of minor Amerindian languages

Literacy: 88.6%

School Life Expectancy: 14 years


About Islam in Brazil – Video

A video blogger discusses Islam in Brazil.


Comments

  1. I don’t think there is anything wrong with wearing Western clothing. Most Muslim women are not going around wearing burqas or anything like that. It is possible to live Islamically in Brazil and anywhere else and all of the things you mention have nothing to do with Islam being ‘ridiculous’. It’s more like people seem to be more concerned with pursuing pleasure at any cost, even disobeying God’s laws. Christianity demands much of the same restrictions you mentioned so if you are going to go on with your ‘big derisory laughter’ then you might as well extend that to Christianity as well.

  2. American, thank you for sharing your experiences and reflections. It is an important question to ask ex-Muslims or ex-converts from any faith. It’s a common question to ask hey why did you convert and what made you leave. It’s a rational thing to ask. I’m sure there are converts going both ways. I admire aspects of Islam with its focus on worshipping God in simplicity and modesty and the Koran is poetic. As a Catholic, I can appreciate some of its beauty, just as I appreciate the beauty in aspects of Judaism and Christianity.

    But the reason why I would never convert to Islam is because of Muhammad whom Muslims claim as a prophet. I read authenticated classical Arabic-language Hadiths which are hard to translate but still translatable to English. I read the hateful and disparaging sayings of this prophet. Some of his sayings were good and right in what one would expect from a messenger of God. But Muhammad seemed himself to be confused and flopping to extremes. Many of his sayings alarm the human heart, like a red flag because it goes not only against the loving teachings of Christ, but it also goes against what God Himself commands of his creation. I came to the conclusion I rather belong to a real prophet (Christ) with his teachings of compassion and love (which are in line with God’s Holiness) than follow a religion whose prophet goes against, and is the anti-thesis the very basic tenents of what the human heart knows is good. “Show me your leader, and I will tell you who your God is” an old, wise parable.

    Khadija, your ugliness came out and what you have written for all to see here is a very bad reflection on Muslims. You act like an ill tempered child when your own Quran teaches patience and temperance. Why don’t you learn how to be “good”…

  3. Hi Los Angeles dude,

    You are right about women in the West being sexualized and treated dishonorably by men who claim their faith but do quite the opposite on weekends (partying, drinking, clubbing whatever the list goes on). It is shameful and Zak is painting a broad stroak with generalizations that really don’t work. In some Muslim countries that are more free and liberal, the men have a stronger and patient atitude toward their women but in some arab and south asian countries (afghanistan, iran, saudi arabia) the muslim men in those countries have no sense of the true sacredness of their women whom they stone to death, imprison and so on. Cultural influences have bearing, not all muslim countries are equal. Remember also that Western does not equate to Christianity, there are many religions practiced so do not assume a person is this or that religion because of their names, appeareances etc. because assuming that is like zak’s generalizing.

    Zak be nicer to the people here and look at yourself in the mirror reflect on what you see before you start spilling vulgar.

  4. born in adam nabi,after ibrahim,nohoo,moosa,heartly welcome in world nabi rasool (salalahoo allivasalam) we are praying lot of power in tell great name allah. who is
    the adam who is the ibrahim,noohu,moosa, eesa.all messengers histry allah says
    nabi rasool.o messenger u know nabi ibrahim,noohu,moosa,your brother eesa.
    nabi rasool told i dont know everthying great allah.you know everything thats all.

  5. Your islamic cult of terror is not welcome in my country. We have plenty enough on our plate already with catholics, protestants and others.

  6. STUPID, READ THE HOLY BOOK QURAN CAREFULLY AND THEN DARE TO SAY THAT ISLAM SUPPORTS OR OPPOSSES KILLING

  7. What pedophile prophet? Are you seriously that ignorant? Back then, people had shorter lifespans (in some countries a max of 50 years) and girls would reach puberty and mental maturity more quickly because of the tough environments they lived in. Marriages between children and adults were common, so girls could be married off an early age before they died (short lifespans). Do some more research before insulting Rasulullah, peace be upon him.

  8. This comment made no sense at all, but I will respond to it anyway. Animals are in a perfect state of submission to God in Islam, seeing as they have no souls. They simply live their lives surviving and adapting to their environments. By the way, seeing as how the the Canaanites and their livestock were killed brutally according to the Old Testament, is Christianity a balanced religion?

  9. @KKKK:
    It’s also a well known fact that Islam is the fasted growing religion in the United States, and that the largest pool of converts comes from Christianity.

  10. Islam is Satanic? Can you then explain why Muslims say “Audu Billahi Min Ash SHAYTAN arRAJIM” (“I seek refuge in God from SATAN the ACCURSED”)? Can you also explain why the Qur’an says that Satan is an enemy to mankind?

  11. It is a well known fact that one reason Greeks converted to Paul’s Christianity, was because they were familiar with the “God has a Divine Son” concept that existed in Greek Mythology (e.g. Heracles). Also, if we could simply take Paul’s word that he is an apostle, then with your logic, you should also accept Muhammad salallahu alayhi’ wa sallam as a prophet just because he claimed to be.

  12. The guy on the video has the personality of a plant. Couldn’t you find anyone more energetic. It was painful to watch. I do appreciate your work.

    • LOL, I hadn’t noticed. Finding decent and appropriate video I find hard to do. Please look for something better, I’m happy for suggestions, but your comment really made me laugh, and for that, I am thankful. (Many comments are just awful!)

  13. These comments are hilarious to me. Brazil for the most part is an immigrant country. There are more people of lebanese decent living in brazil than lebanon itself. Arab culture isn’t alien to brazil however most are christians from the middle east. only a minority are Muslim. For the most part Muslims are totally integrated into society and therefore aren’t that visable. I doubt most women wear hijab in brazil. For the most part brazilians are extremely tolerant. But being in an overwhelmingly catholic nation, islam and other minority religions do stick out so it’s more of curiosity when inquiring on Islam. It’s only been recently Brazillian muslims have started to really mobilize themselves, and due to an increase in palestinian refugees. Many Brazilians who are disillusioned with the catholic church are turning muslim. however, since islam in brazil was always been labeld ‘arab’ they find it hard to integrate with the nominal muslim population.
    BTW, i live in a country with many chinese, blacks and other races but yet most of my friends are my same ethnic group

  14. actualy muslims are 1,5 million in brazil, and catholics are tolerant because they aren’t real catholic

  15. Why are you so defensive and abusive Khadija? Is this because you know deep down that American is right? Muslims are always defensive as they know that they keep their numbers purely due to having more children, forced conversions in in their countries and persecution of thier own who convert to Christianity or other faiths. I challenge any muslim country to have freedom of religion and conscience in their countries and see how many will convert to Christianity!

  16. Are you forgetting there were wild celebrations and bursting of crackers in palestinian areas, pakistan and afghanistan when 9/11 happened? Why do you have a selctive memory? If mohammad was so interested in saving Jewish children, can you explain the massacres of Jewish tribes, raping of Jewish women, and forced conversio or submission of all the Jews in Arabia?

  17. ok you belive by JESUS but does Jesus said i am God worship me in bible ?

  18. jesus,,(eisa) only messenger of GOD..

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