Between voodoo and Christianity, no people are as religious as Haitians. Now today, Islam, the religion of the Muslims, widespread in the Arab world and Europe, continues to grow silently on the island of Haiti and without the recognition of state authorities.

An hour strikes. One after another, the faithful arrive on the court peacefully. Men, point beard, wearing tunics. Some under any outfit. Veiled women, covered to the feet. Children too.

Thus we recognize that Muslims are all over the world. This Friday, a hundred faithful gathered in the mosque "Mas jid At Tawhid" (Mosque of uniqueness) in Bois-Verna for prayer. We greet each other with a "Salam Alekum" hand on the chest. After washing hands, removed the shoes according to tradition, we enter the great hall where a smell of incense untap.

Basically, it's very dark. No lighting. Fans brew the air to try to calm the heat. Everyone is sitting on a mat covering the entire surface of the place and all are collected in a religious silence. Sometimes the face against the floor, they murmur prayers. In his sermon, the imam speaks of love of neighbor.

Every week, this mosque welcomes alone between 150-200 Muslim worshipers, mostly young. Most were previously Christians. As Gregory Alexander, who returns to talk with a sense of serenity: "I was in a religion called disciple. There they taught me many things in the Bible. But by following the Haiti-Islam show directed by Telemax regularly , I begin to detect some contradictions in the Bible. By making a comparison between different versions of the Bible, I finally realized that this is not a translation problem, but it is a forgery. I had accumulated enough evidence to conclude that Islam is truth and that the last prophet is Muhammad, not Jesus. And so I accepted Islam. "

Also former Catholics. "I was very young, I did not understand much. I was a Catholic. But looking at the Muslims, I like the way women are veiled. Then, in Islam, women have a lot of respect, "says Raïcha, a lady verging twenties, not too embarrassed with her dress sweeping the dust.


The history of Islam in Haiti is much older than the euphoric conversion of these young people. To relate the facts, the imam Doxa Jean Wilkil returns us to the colonial period: "Islam arrived in Haiti since the arrival of slaves because  many of them were Muslims. But a slave had no right to practice his own religion, he did not have his freedom. We can say that Islam returned to Haiti in 1986 to the arrival of a Haitian pastor who accepted Islam in Canada. So he began preaching religion in Haiti. Today he is an imam. "The first mosque was built in 1994 in Delmas 18.

Today, many people are talking about Islam in Haiti. The latest statistics available just after the 2010 earthquake, reported by Alexander Gregory, secretary of the mosque, report of five thousand adherents of that religion. Five years later, this has undoubtedly increased .

The religion of Muhammad attracts professionals, intellectuals, politicians including Senator Jeanty Jean William who does not always go unnoticed with a white cap on his head during the sessions in parliament. Only in the metropolitan area, there are nearly a dozen mosques located in Carrefour-feuilles, Delmas, Sarthe. And in some provincial cities including Miragoane, Gonaïves, Cap-Haitien, Jeremie, Marchand, Cayes.

Muslims also lead two schools and an orphanage in Haiti. The fundamental school of Islam which shares the same site as the mosque in Bois-Verna hosts, to date, about 120 students from Muslim parents, until the ninth year of basic class. "Catholics have schools, Protestants also. We too have our school, justified Esdra Thursday, Chairman, then director of the school. "But this is not a school where we provide training other than that established by the Haitian State. As in the Catholic school, we learn the catechism and we teach children Arabic, we speak of Allah. "In the Muslim schools, boys wear a blue tunic and blue sailor trousers. Girls wear a blue dress pants underneath the veil that covers the head to the feet, a veil covers the head, neck to the shoulders. Officials revealed that 5% of teachers are Muslims.


Over twenty-five years since Islam has been present in Haiti, it seems that the Haitian State has no say on the functioning of this cult. Off the record, a well-placed source in the Ministry of Cults admit that the religion is not yet legally registered, as there is no legislation governing the exercise of this worship. "The Constitution recognizes Haiti as a secular state, we have the right to practice the religion of our choice. We have taken the first step. We filed all necessary papers (at the Ministry of Cults) as a respect to the state. It remains to it to give us the papers to be finally legal. "

And when asked why they put all this time before making the application for recognition with the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Esdra Thursday answer is quite simple and clear:" The paper does not prevent us from growing. "


Unlike France, where the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), which aims to regulate Muslim religious activities, in Haiti there is no central authority that manages the Islamic religion. Anyway, this is what suggests Haitian Muslims. "Normally, once you are Muslim, regardless of your nationality, we become automatically united," said Jean Wilkil, former member of the congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. He adds a nuance: "By cons, all imams maintain very good relations between them. "For the operation of the mosque, they admit to be financed by donations collected between siblings and sometimes strangers. As a Libyan brother who attended the worship that Friday.


Much more than a religion, the phenomenon of Islam is also linked to political questions. Indeed, after each terrorist attack that occurs somewhere in the world, Muslims are often pointed out. As was the case on September 11, 2001. Following the attacks of Paris, the Muslim community in Haiti raised its voice and began a pilgrimage to the capital of to try to wash the face of the Prophet Muhammad. "A terrorist act has no religion," says bluntly Esdra Thursday. "If someone commits an action violating the law, we must punish him. It is not the religion that should be punished. Islam does not preach these kinds of things. Islam prohibits killing. I do not know if they are Muslim group with Islamic trend, but Muslims do not commit these actions. "


Moreover, in some countries of the world, the Islamic religion does not make good grace. Even at Uncle Sam, for example where the governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal says "if Muslims want to impose their cultures and values, it is not immigration, but it is pure invasion, simple. " But here in Haiti, Muslims do not have to complain about the reception. For now, we have not identified Islamophobic groups systematically on the ground. On the contrary, the number of believers have paradoxically increased, if we must believe the findings of Esdra Thursday. At some silver lining, he argues. "Despite everything said, people still seek to know Islam." But Islam remains a taboo in Haiti. For the state as for the people.