“I immigrated to the U.S. in 1988 from Sinaloa and lived there until 2013,” he said over the hum of prayers. “I was deported in 2013. My wife and two sons still live in North Carolina, and I haven’t seen them since. But before I was deported, I was in prison for a while, and that’s where I found Islam.”
Cardenas went on to speak about the sacrifices that many of the mosque’s attendees have struggled with. He cited religious, culinary, and social differences between Islam and mainstream Mexican culture, but said the biggest barriers Mexican Muslims face is seeking acceptance from their families.
“A lot of Muslim converts clash with their Mexican relatives who disagree with their conversion to Islam,” he said.
Happily, Cardenas’ family’s reaction to his conversion has been almost entirely different.
“My family is happy with my new religion, because they say that before I converted I was an entirely different person. They know I’m a better person because of Islam today.”