To know the only true God, honor and obey Him, and make Him known.
There are two main groups of Muslims in Latin America:
1) The Shiites
- The Shiites can mostly be found in Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Bahrein, Pakistan, and India. They believe that the first legitimate successor to Muhammad was Ali. Ali was Muhammad’s cousin and he was married to Fatima, Muhammad’s daughter. The Shiites think that the best government is where the religious leaders are also the civil political leaders. (In this regard, they are somewhat similar to Christians who teach Theonomy and Christian Reconstructionism.) They strongly uphold that the Imam, or principal religious guide for Islam, should be a descendant of Ali. (This concept is similar to the Roman Catholic dogma of apostolic succession.) There are Shiite communities throughout Latin America. Some Shiites are working toward the establishment of a revolutionary political party in every country in Latin America, like the Hezbollah group in Venezuela. The Qur’an and the Sunna are the base for all law, but the Shiites tend to add in some of their own traditions.
2) The Sunnis
- The Sunnis represent the majority of all Muslims in the world. Their base of authority is the Qur’an and the Sunna. They would be somewhat similar to Protestants, in the sense of holding to a strong conviction concerning the supreme authority of their holy writings.
- There are two small subgroups within Sunni Islam. Most Sunni Muslims do not subscribe to either subgroup.
- One of these subgroups is the Sufi. They are looking for mystical experiences. The Sufi emphasize renouncing self and the evil of materialism. In regard to their worship style, they seek to have profound emotional experiences with God, especially through meditation and a form of ecstatic dance. They focus on the love of Allah and they interpret the Qur’an in an allegorical sense, through the lense of their personal experience. There is a large community of Sufi Muslims in Chiapas, Mexico. Many, in this community in Chiapas, are converts from the evangelical Christian faith. Sufis normally must swear strong allegiance to their spiritual leader.
- The other subgroup is called the Salafi. They would be similar to fundamentalist Christians who subscribe to Theonomy and Christian Reconstructionism. A violent struggle, for them, is not against the will of God… in order to bring about the submission of all peoples to Islam. The Salafi are divided into two main groups: 1) The Wahhabi… a group that originated in Saudi Arabia. They are very strict and legalistic. Most of the people in Saudi Arabia are part of this group. 2) The Qutbi… a group that originated in Egypt. Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri are examples of people who subscibe to this ideology. The Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS both have a Salafi background.
- The majority of Sunni Muslims think that the Salafi are extremists.
- The Salafi movement is strong in Latin America.
There is a movement called Hizb ut Tahrir that is gaining more and more supporters across Central Asia. (They also have a website in several languages seeking to recruit people from around the world to their cause.) They are spreading the message that democracy should be written off as ineffective and replaced by the Sharia law.