Are there many Muslims in Cuba? Why would a Cuban want to become a Muslim? These are the two questions I am most frequently asked when introducing myself, or in the case of old friends, re-introduce myself by my Muslim name, Assad Jibril Pino. The answer to the first query is a simple yes. Several thousand Muslims reside in Cuba, most of them descendants of Lebanese immigrants. However, the second question always makes me pause and ponder before I reply, even though I have heard it hundreds of times. It is a loaded question of course, because it presumes that religion is the product of ethnic identity, and that Muslim and Cuban only belong together on the restaurant menu of a Miami luncheonette: "I’ll have Moros y Cristianos, with a side of croquetas."
To see the whole account of Pino's conversion, check out IslamOnline.net: Born in the Fist of the Revolution: A Cuban Professor's Journey to Allah