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October 11, 2012

Islam Gains Followers in Haiti

by VOA News

Christianity is among the dominant religions in Haiti, but Islam has shown a noticeable increase in followers since the 2010 earthquake that killed more than 300,000 people and left more than 1 million others homeless.

Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, is now home to at least five mosques.

School teacher Darlene Derosier, a mother of two, helped build one of the mosques in her neighborhood.   She said she converted to Islam after losing her home in the earthquake and the death of her husband a month later.

"For me the victory is that you lived, but you did not think you would," she said.

People of many religions arrived in Haiti following the earthquake to lend assistance.   

But Muslim convert Kishner Billy, who hosts a nightly TV program, said that Muslims appear to have had the most lingering impact.

"After the earthquake Muslims came from everywhere, like the UK, USA, France, Belgium, to help bring some order. Catholics and Protestants also came. Yes, after the quake we have more Haitians converting to Islam," he said.

Billy said Islam has helped give Haitians some direction in their lives following the earthquake.

There has been no official tally on how many Haitians have converted to Islam, a religion still not recognized by the Haitian government.