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Exploring Muslim Philanthropy in the Latinx Americas

In lieu of our typical newsletter, this issue is dedicated to articles and interviews produced in collaboration with the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative (MPI) and its Journal of Muslim Philanthropy & Civil Society (JMPCS), in partnership with Indiana University Press, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists, International Institute of Islamic Thought, and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. 

The issue grew out of a colloquium, hosted by LACISA and sponsored by MPI in 2022. The colloquium featured a range of presentations based on original research that spoke to how Muslims in Latin America and Latinx Muslims in the US are engaging in a wide range of philanthropic activities and activism to address what they see as critical issues facing the world and that they view as aligned with their faith.The presentations addressed a variety of related questions, including:

  • What philanthropic activities are undertaken by Muslims in Latin America? By Latinx Muslims in the US?

  • What themes, issues, or people groups are Muslims focusing on and what kinds of institutions and organizations are they creating (e.g., hospitals, nonprofit newspapers and publications, disaster relief programs, refugee and migrant aid, etc.)?

  • At what levels is this philanthropic activity carried out: the local, national, regional, and/or trans- national/regional? 

  • What partnerships—intrafaith, interfaith, or between Muslims and other actors in civil society—are being created through shared philanthropic action?

  • Does dawah count as philanthropy? Does philanthropy count as dawah?

  • How are these terms used and applied among Muslims in Latin America or Latinx Muslims in the US? How do Muslims in the Latinx US and Latin America mix, combine, or remix classic notions of giving, charity, and aid from both Latinx and Islamic cultures and histories?

  • How are concepts like zakat, sadaqa, and waqf interpreted and applied in Latin America or by Latinx Muslims in the US?

  • Are there any accents or emphases that are unique to, or particularly pronounced among, Muslims in the Americas?

The special issue took up these questions with the insights of both scholars and activists, insiders and outsiders, in contexts as diverse as Puerto Rico and Brazil; Medellín, Colombia and Detroit, Michigan.

In the newsletter, you will find brief introductions and links to each of the articles and interviews included in this special edition. If you would like to access the journal issue in full, with additional articles and book reviews, you can do so HERE. 

As always, I and the associate editors of the LACISA Newsletter thank you for your readership and participation. As we celebrate all that has come before in the last three years, we also look forward to our fourth year of operation and welcome your future contributions.

We are always on the lookout for essays, member notes, news, and interviews about a wide range of topics -- especially for our next edition (Spring 2024). If you are interested, contact We thank you in advance, for your continued support of our emerging field. 


Ken Chitwood

Senior Editor, LACISA

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