Embracing Muslims in a Catholic Land: Rethinking the Genesis of Islām in Mexico


This study presents a contrasting hypothesis concerning the genesis and development of Islam in Mexico than the one generally held across academic spheres and current historiography. It demonstrates that Colonial and Early Independent Mexico and Islam may have as well known about the existence of each other. However, within the chronological framework in which the Viceroyalty of Nueva España lived and developed there were social hindrance, geopolitical imperatives and theological impediments and cosmovisions – in both sides of the Atlantic – that created the quasi– perfect circumstances for the Islamic tradition and Mexico not to really meet. This book provides new angles of study on the theme, and with it, new historiographical approaches.

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Jonathan Benzion is a PhD Candidate in Iberian and Latin American Studies at Sorbonne Université. His scholarly interests meet at an interdisciplinary intellectual carrefour that oscillates between History of the Middle East and Islamic and Jewish Studies, to History of Mexico and Iberian and Latin American Studies.

Introduction: On Hispania, Islām, Mexico, and Religious Tradition

1 Imagined Communities: An Islamic New World in Pre-Columbian Times

2 Fiction in the Archives: An Islamic Tradition in the Viceroyalty of Nueva España

3 Taqiyyah, Fatwas, and Cédulas Reales: A Novohispanic Crypto-Islām between Paradigm, Folk Tale, and Faith

4 Hidden Heretics in New Spain: Myth, Legend, and Evidence of the Abrahamic Religious Traditions of Colonial Mexico

5 The Corps Expéditionnaire Français of Napoleon III and an Islamic Resurgence in Mexico (1862–1867): Reassessing the Question

6 Le Bataillon Nègre Égyptien and the Resurfacing of Islām in Mexico (1862–1867): Rethinking the Equation

Conclusion: A Reappraisal of Claims versus Evidence

Academic institutions and national libraries, scholars, researchers, undergraduate and postgraduate students and general audiences interested in Iberian and Latin American Studies, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, and History of the Iberian Worlds.
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