Latinx Muslims “Like” One Another: An Ethnographic Exploration of Social Media and the Formation of Latinx Muslim Community

  • Ken Chitwood


Sharing the results of multiple months of a “social media based ethnography” centered around the “Latino Muslim Facebook Group” (LMFG) and augmented by previous study of the wider Latinx Muslim community, this chapter by Ken Chitwood illustrates that via status updates, “likes,” pictures, videos, and other social media interactions, Latinx Muslims are crafting a distinct and hybrid Latinx Muslim identity in the context of a digitally connected transnational umma. Chitwood argues that this cosmos construction is a reaction to being “a quadruple minority” and is not necessarily grand in the mechanisms of its assemblage, but is instead created through seemingly mundane exchanges between multiple voices concerning everyday piety, digital visual culture, community tensions, and political discussions online and on the go via app.


  1. Aidi, H. (2003). Let us be Moors: Islam, race and ‘connected histories.’ Middle East Report, 229 (Winter), 42–53.Google Scholar
  2. Allen, J. L. Jr. (2009, August 14). ‘High tension’ and ‘low tension’ religious life. National Catholic Reporter.Google Scholar
  3. Anzaldúa, G. (1987). Las Frontera/Borderlands: The New Mestiza. San Francisco: Aunt Lute.Google Scholar
  4. Barzegar, A. (2003). Latino Muslims in the United States: An introduction. Journal of the High Plains Society for Applied Anthropologists, 23(2), 126–129.Google Scholar
  5. Bhabha, H. K. (1994). The Location of Culture. New York: Routledge Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bolivar, L. (2008, October 5). NSU lecture explores Islamic, Hispanic connection. Miami Herald.Google Scholar
  7. Bowen, P. D. (2009). Conversion to Islam in the United States: A case study in Denver, Colorado. Intermountain West Journal of Religious Studies, 1(1), 42–64.Google Scholar
  8. Bowen, P. D. (2010a). Early U.S. Latina/o—African-American Muslim connections: Paths to conversion. Muslim World, 100(4), 390–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bowen, P. D. (2010b). The Latino American Da’wah organization and the ‘Latina/o Muslim’ identity in the United States. Journal of Race, Ethnicity and Religion, 1(11), 1–23.Google Scholar
  10. Bruner, J. (1991). The narrative construction of reality. Critical Inquiry, 18(1), 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Canclini, N. G. (1995). Hybrid Cultures: Strategies for Entering and Leaving Modernity. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  12. Chitwood, K. (2015a). Islam en español: The narratives, demographics, & reversion: Pathways of Latina/o Muslims in the U.S. Waikato Islamic Studies Review, 1(2), 35–54.Google Scholar
  13. Chitwood, K. (2015b, March 7). Dreams of al-Andalus: Narratives of conversion and identity reconstruction among Latina/o Muslims in the U.S. Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion (SECSOR) Regional Meeting, Nashville, TN.Google Scholar
  14. Cool, J. (2012). The mutual co-construction of online and onground in Cyborganic: Making an ethnography of networked social media speak to challenges of the posthuman. In N. L. Whitehead & M. Wesch (Eds.), Human No More: Digital Subjectivities, Unhuman Subjects, and the End of Anthropology (pp. 11–32). Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.Google Scholar
  15. Darley, A. (2000). Visual Digital Culture: Surface Play and Spectacle in New Media Genres (Sussex Studies in Culture and Communication). New York: Routledge Press.Google Scholar
  16. de Búrca, B. (1986). The formation of Christian community. Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, 75(300), 415–422.Google Scholar
  17. Espinosa, G., Morales, H., & Galvan, J. (2017). Latino Muslims in the United States: Reversion, politics, and Islamidad. Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion, 8(1), 1–48.Google Scholar
  18. Fewkes, J. H., & Khan, A. N. (2017). Push narratives: Ubiquitous mobile news and participatory local media in Himalayan India. In M. S. Daubs & V. Manzerolle (Eds.), From Here to Ubiquity: Critical and International Perspectives on Mobile and Ubiquitous Media (pp. 219–236). New York, NY: Peter Lange International Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  19. Geertz, C. (1973). Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  20. Gooren, H. (2010). Conversion narratives. In Studying Global Pentecostalism: Theories and Methods (pp. 93–113). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  21. Hine, C. (2000). Virtual Ethnography. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hoover, S. M. (2006). Religion in the Media Age (Media, Religion, and Culture). New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Howell, B. M. (2012). Short-Term Mission: An Ethnography of Christian Travel Narrative and Experience. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.Google Scholar
  24. Jindra, I. W. (2011). How religious content matters in conversion narratives to various religious groups. Sociology of Religion, 72(3), 275–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kozinets, R. (2010). Netnography. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  26. Leichtman, M. A. (2015). Shi’i Cosmopolitanisms in Africa: Lebanese Migration and Religious Conversion in Senegal. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Martínez-Vásquez, H. A. (2010). Latina/o Y Musulman: The Construction of Latina/o Identity Among Latina/o Muslims in the United States. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications.Google Scholar
  28. Martínez-Vasquez, H. A. (2012). The act of remembering: The reconstruction of U.S. Latina/o identities by U.S. Latina/o Muslims. In A. M. Isasi-Díaz & E. Mendieta (Eds.), Decolonizing Epistemologies: Latina/o Theology and Philosophy (pp. 127–150). New York: Fordham University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Morales, H. D. (2018). Latino and Muslim in America: Race, Religion, and the Making of a New Minority (AAR Religion, Culture, and History). New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. MV Media. (2014, June). Seven indicators Muslims reached the Americas before Columbus. Retrieved from
  31. Paccagnella, L. (1997). Getting the seats of your pants dirty: Strategies for ethnographic research on virtual communities. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 3(1), 18–35.Google Scholar
  32. Pew Research: Social Demographics and Trends. (2013). King’s Dream Remains an Elusive Goal: Many Americans See Racial Disparities. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center.Google Scholar
  33. Pink, S., Horst, H., Postill, J., Hjorth, H., Lewis, T., & Tacchi, J. (Eds.). (2015). Digital Ethnography: Principles and Practice. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  34. Possamai, A., Turner, B. S., Roose, J. M., Dagistanli, S., & Voyce, M. (2016). ‘Shari’a’ in cyberspace: A case study from Australia. Sociologica, 10(1), 0–0.Google Scholar
  35. Postill, J., & Pink, S. (2012). Social media ethnography: The digital researcher in a messy web. Media International Australia, 145(1), 1–14.Google Scholar
  36. Sassen, S. (2004). Sited materials with a global span. In P. H. Howerd & S. Jones (Eds.), Society Online: The Internet in Context. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  37. SpearIt. (2007). God behind bars: Race, religion and revenge. Seton Hall Law Review, 37(1), 497–525.Google Scholar
  38. Spivak, G. (1988). Explanations and culture: Marginalia. In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics (pp. 103–117). New York: Methuen.Google Scholar
  39. Sremac, S., & Ganzevoort, R. R. (2013). Testimony and transformation: Addiction, meaning and spiritual change. Archive for the Psychology of Religion, 35(3), 434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Taylor, J. M. (2009). New Muslim Cool. PBS Documentary.Google Scholar
  41. Telli, M., Pisanu, F., & Hakken, D. (2007). The internet as a library-of-people: For a cyberethnography of online groups. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung, 8(3), 283–301.Google Scholar
  42. Turner, V. (1974). Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors: Symbolic Action in Human Society. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Urbanski, D. (2014, November 16). Turkey’s president says Muslims actually made this critical discovery—And well before 1492. The Blaze.Google Scholar
  44. Vásquez, M. A., & Marquardt, M. F. (2003). Globalizing the Sacred: Religion Across the Americas. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Veidlinger, D. (2001). When ‘friend’ becomes a verb: Religion on the social web. In E. M. Mazur & K. McCarthy (Eds.), God in the Details: American Religion in Popular Culture (pp. 219–236). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  46. Wagner, R. (2010). Godwired: Religion, Ritual and Virtual Reality. New York: Routledge Press.Google Scholar
  47. Wilson, S. L., & Peterson, L. C. (2002). The anthropology of online communities. Annual Review of Anthropology, 31, 449–467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Yamane, D. (2000). Narrative and religious experience. Sociology of Religion, 61(2), 185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ken Chitwood
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Southern California’s Center for Religion and Civic CultureLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations