Latino Muslims a small, growing group
Puerto Rican lawyer Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, right, is among the thousands of Latinos who have converted to Islam.
November 23rd, 2011
04:23 PM ET

Latino Muslims a small, growing group

Wilfredo Amr Ruíz, is a lawyer, commentator on international politics and former U.S. military chaplain from Miami. He's also a Muslim, one of a small and growing number of Latinos who have converted to Islam.

He spent most of Monday fielding interviews and requests from radio shows that wanted to talk about the Latino Muslim community. The flurry of interest was spurred by the weekend arrest of Jose Pimentel, a Dominican Republic-born convert to Islam, on terrorism charges. Pimentel is one of several Latino Muslims to face terrorism-related arrests since September 11, 2001, including Jose Padilla, Bryant Neal Vinas, Daniel Maldonado.

He wished Islam had been in the spotlight for a more positive reason, he said, one that's closer to the true day-to-day of most Latino Muslims.

“I just came from a TV interview where they asked me, ‘What about this trend of Islamist Latino Muslims?’” Ruíz said. “There is no trend. If it’s a trend, then [there would be] a lot of people following it. If something’s a trend, talk about the people who have left behind crime and are living a pious life after becoming Muslims.”


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Filed under: Ethnicity • Latino in America • Religion • Who we are
November 23rd, 2011
12:17 PM ET

Opinion: Debate revealed Republicans' path to Latino vote

Editor’s note: Fernando Espuelas is the host and managing editor of the national talk show "Fernando Espuelas" on Univision Radio. He is also a political analyst on television, print and online. Espuelas is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute.

By Fernando Espuelas, Special to CNN

(CNN) - In the GOP debates, it has been hard to watch as the candidates repeatedly tried to out-do each other in “quien es mas macho” when it comes to maltreating undocumented immigrants.

How refreshing, then, to hear former Speaker Newt Gingrich in the latest CNN debate get off the GOP rhetoric hate-train and speak to real solutions to real problems in our nation's broken immigration system.

Gingrich made a distinction between American families that may include undocumented people and people with no real ties to our society. He supports the Dream Act – one of the most American of ideas, the concept that innocent kids should not be held responsible for the actions of their parents, that they should be given the opportunity to serve our country as they earn their path to citizenship. Gingrich recognizes the humanity and moral import of never splitting up families – a family-centric value system that the Republican candidates loudly tout but seem ever-ready to toss when it comes to the “illegals.”


Engage: Newt Gingrich's immigration stance; Discrimination at New Mexico university?
GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich took a moderate stance on immigration during last night's CNN debate.
November 23rd, 2011
12:11 PM ET

Engage: Newt Gingrich's immigration stance; Discrimination at New Mexico university?

Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported, untold stories from undercovered communities. Engage will not be posting on November 24, and will resume on November 25.

Front-runner Newt Gingrich urges 'humane' approach on immigration, cites Republican party values 
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich departed from fellow Republican candidates' conservative stances on immigration at last night's CNN debate on national security. - The Los Angeles Times, CNN

Albuquerque NAACP, black pastors allege 'rampant discrimination' at University of  New Mexico
"The Title VI complaint, which was [filed with the Justice Department and] also filed with the federal Department of Education, says university administrators have created a racially hostile environment for black faculty members, students and the staff ... The university’s president, David J. Schmidly, and the Health Sciences Center’s chancellor, Paul Roth, denied the claims of discrimination." - The New York Times; More coverage from KOB FULL POST

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Filed under: Engage
November 23rd, 2011
06:00 AM ET

Red Chair interview: The moment Heidi Durrow knew she wanted to write

Editor's note: Heidi Durrow is the Bellwether Prize-winning author of "The Girl Who Fell From the Sky," co-host of the weekly podcast "Mixed Chicks Chat" and co-founder and co-producer of the Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival.

By Heidi Durrow, Special to CNN

It took me a long time to realize an abiding dream — to publish a novel that was about real issues and also had my heart in it. It’s funny how now I can call the 12-year period - from writing the first words to the book’s publication — a “journey.”

In all honesty, that time was difficult and frustrating. When I was stymied by writer’s block and when the publisher rejections piled up, I was sometimes depressed and sometimes just filled with despair. Would my dream ever come true? Would the work ever pay off?

As I map out new dreams for my writing career, I am remembering those difficult times and trying to plan for them. And mostly, I’m remembering why I’m in this business at all: for the joy of it all – for the joy of connecting with readers – and maybe, just maybe, creating an inner revolution in just one person out there.

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Filed under: Pop culture • Race • Who we are