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This 1985 article in Islamic Horizons highlights a presentation on Latinx people in Islam at the Museo del Barrio in East Harlem. At this time, a diverse Latino-led community was beginning in the Barrio known as Alianza Islamica, which started in 1987 with a journal of the same name. The founders made claim to Islam as part of the heritage of Latinx people. By the early 1990s, members were visible members of their neighborhood, hosting Islamic classes at their Lexington Ave mosque, providing services for food insecurity and offering funeral services for Muslim HIV/AIDS victims, a novelty at the time.
It is key to remember that El Museo del Barrio was born in the late 1960s from the demands of African American and Latinx parents for representational education for their children. Museum founder Rafael Montañez Ortíz wrote: “The cultural disenfranchisement I experience as a Puerto Rican has prompted me to seek a practical alternative to the orthodox museum, which fails to meet my needs for an authentic ethnic experience. To afford me and others the opportunity to establish living connections with our own culture, I founded El Museo del Barrio.”