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Practicing Islam in Catholic Cuba

Updated 8:53 PM ET, Sun April 10, 2016
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Hassan Abdul Gafur, one of the few thousand Muslims in Cuba, converted to Islam in 1994. Photographer Joan Alvado said the Muslims he met in Cuba were converts. "Many of them were Christians before or some other religion, or a few of them were atheists as well," Alvado said. Joan Alvado
A child photo of Elsa Morales, a Cuban who converted to Islam two years ago and changed her name to Fatima. Joan Alvado
Fatima, seen in her bedroom with an image of Jesus Christ in the background, is the only Muslim in her family. Joan Alvado
Osman Reyes became a Muslim in June. He used to practice Santeria. He lives with his family on the outskirts of Camaguey, Cuba. Joan Alvado
Muslim women gather for prayers. They meet every Friday in Havana's Marianao quarter. Joan Alvado
Ali moved to Havana five years ago and got tattoos while he was a musician playing in reggae bands. He converted to Islam in 2014. Joan Alvado
Yarima, Ali's daughter, is one of the first babies in Cuba to be born Muslim, Alvado said. Joan Alvado
A Muslim enters the so-called mosque of Camaguey. It is a very humble place of worship that was built in 2001. It follows traditional Cuban architectural techniques -- the roof is covered with palm leaves to protect the inside from the heat. Joan Alvado
Ahmed Aguero prays in Camaguey. Joan Alvado
Islamic clothes hang inside the home of the Imam of Camaguey. The Imam has no closet, works for the Cuban government, and lives in a single room with two children. Joan Alvado
A 72-year-old woman named Shahira struggles with an Islamic scarf. She was an active Christian until three years ago. Now she is member of the Cuban Islamic Committee for Women. Joan Alvado
A 71-year-old Cuban named Muhammad Ali attends weekly yoga classes in Havana. Yoga allows him to keep fit while he also strengthens his spirituality, Alvado said. Joan Alvado
Ahmed Aguero exercises every morning in Havana's famous Malecon. Joan Alvado