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Islam in Ecuador: Wikis

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The statistics for Islam in Ecuador estimate a total Muslim population of about 275. The first Muslim settlers in Ecuador were primarily Arabs who immigrated from Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Syria, and Egypt following the two World Wars and the destruction of the Ottoman Empire. Their settlements were concentrated in Quito and in Guayaquil with smaller communities in Manabí, Los Ríos, and Esmeraldas provinces. Arab Christians and Muslims created a non-religious ethnic organisation called Lecla in the 1940s and The Arab Club in the 1980s. By the mid 1990s indigenous Ecuadorians began converting to Islam, and together with the Arab community, they rented an apartment to be used for Friday prayers. Later the Egyptian Embassy provided a private apartment for the same purpose. The Centro Islámico del Ecuador, founded on October 15, 1994, was the first Muslim religious organization recognized by the government. Its current leader is Juan 'Yahya' Suquillo, a convert and former military officer. The religious activities, as well as social, cultural and educational activities are conducted according to Sunni Islam and the centre receives no financial support from any foreign country. The Islamic Center also translates and publishes literature in Spanish on a variety of Islamic topics. The Centro Islámico del Ecuador sends representatives annually to the Latin Muslims Leaders gathering that usually takes place in Argentina.

In 2004 the Centro Islámico Al Hijra was founded in Guayaquil -Ecuador's largest city and economic hub- and recognised by the government as a religious organisation. Its current leader is Juan 'Abdullah' Saud who is a convert to Islam.

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