Brazil is a predominantly Christian country with Islam being a minority religion, first brought by African slaves and then by Lebanese and Syrian immigrants. Due to the secular nature of Brazil's constitution, Muslims are free to proselytize and build places of worship in the country.
Since the Portuguese colonized Brazil in the 16th century, it has been overwhelmingly Catholic. And today Brazil has more Roman Catholics than any other country in the world – an estimated 123 million.
80% of Brazilians are Catholic. That said, the original African religions brought by slaves and their descendants are preserved by many followers and are part of the landscape.
An organized collective of Muslim believers was formed only with the arrival of slaves from West Africa in the seventeenth century (Pinto 2011), most of who were taken to Bahia in Northeastern Brazil.
Muslims make up a majority of the population in 49 countries around the world. The country with the largest number (about 209 million) is Indonesia, where 87.2% of the population identifies as Muslim.
Arab immigration to Brazil started in the 1890s as Lebanese and Syrian people fled the political and economic instability caused by the collapse of the Ottoman Empire; the majority were Christian but there were also many Muslims. Immigration peaked around World War II.
Yes, Brazil has halal food. Brazil is one of the largest exporters of halal meat in the world, and many restaurants and supermarkets in Brazil offer halal food options.
Brazil is also home to the largest Arab population outside of the Arab world, made up of at least 9 million people, most of whom are of Lebanese or Syrian descent.
Nobody knows for sure the size of Brazil's Muslim population. In 2010, when the most recent census was conducted by the government, 35,000 Brazilians declared themselves as Muslim, a very small proportion of the total population of 210 million. Many in the country believe that the number is much higher now.
There are currently about 150 mosques in Brazil.
Argentina has the largest Muslim minority in Latin America. Although the national census does not ask about religious affiliation, precluding accurate statistics, Argentina's Muslim community is estimated to number around 1% of the total population. Estimates in 2000 ranged around 400,000.
Hinduism has been called the world's oldest religion still practised, though some debate remains. The word Hindu is an exonym although many practitioners refer to their religion as Sanātana Dharma (Sanskrit: सनातन धर्म, lit.
Due to the secular nature of Brazil's constitution, Muslims are free to proselytize and build places of worship in the country.
In Brazil, eating pork used to have negative connotations. But A Casa do Porco, or The Pork's House, in downtown São Paulo, has transformed pork into a gourmet food, kicking off a culinary trend throughout the country.
One of the few dishes eaten the length and breadth of Brazil, feijoada is a hearty stew of black beans, sausages and cuts of pork of varying quality – traditionally veering towards the lower end, with trotters and ears all going into the mix.
Beginning in the early twentieth century, Japanese nationals (Nikkei) arrived in Brazil as contract agricultural workers. Most were younger sons from rural areas of Japan facing the economic upheaval that accompanied Japan's modernization efforts; few intended to emigrate permanently.
According to some offi cial sources, 1.5 million Muslims live Brazil; 750,000 in Argentina; 10,000 in Colombia; 100,000 in Venezuela; 14,000 in Panamá; 81,200 in Suriname and 60,000 in Trinidad and Tobago31. In Latin America Muslims have always been uniting according to their national identity.
Out of all Arabs and Arab descendants in Brazil, according to the ABCC's survey, 56% speak only Brazilian Portuguese. Out of the 44% who also speak other languages, most (26%) speak English, followed by Arabic (24%), Spanish (10%) and French (7%).
The majority of the world's Muslims live in Muslim countries, specifically in Asia and the Middle East, with Indonesia being the country with the largest Muslim population. However, the Muslim population is also growing in other regions, such as Europe and North America, due to immigration and conversion.