“Taco Trucks at Every Mosque” Celebrated Latino and Muslim Unity

*This is perfect! It should be done everywhere. VL


By Denise de la Cruz, OC Weekly (4 minute read)  

Orange County’s Muslim and Latino communities broke bread—or rather, tortillas—last night at the second “Taco Trucks at Every Mosque” event this month, this time at the Islamic Society of Orange County in Garden Grove. The event celebrates the breaking of fast (iftar) during the month of Ramadan and is meant to educate and unite the public in a simple way about the purpose of fasting with a side of tacos.

The name of the event is, of course, a clever pun on the infamous warning self-hating Mexican Marco Guiterrez said on national television that America would have “taco trucks on every corner” if Latino culture isn’t stopped. Local Muslim activist Rida Hamida and Santa Ana Valley High teacher Ben Vazquez thought of the idea in the wake of Trump’s presidency and now it’s come to fruition as a full-blown event of unity. Yesterday, it drew in about 1,400 people of all ethnicities and religions. The line for halal tacos was so long, it stretched out to the mosque’s parking lot.

From al pastor tracing its roots to shawarma to most Spanish words starting with “al” being Arabic in origin such as algodón and almuerzo, (“al” means “the” in Arabic—see more fascinating Spanish and Arabic lingual connections here), the shared history of Muslims and Latinos dates back to 1492, that titanic year that saw Columbus “discover” America and the fall of Islamic Spain. “There’s a lot of shared history. This [event] is an opportunity to share that common history,” says attorney Todd Gallinger, a Muslim convert and one of many organizers of Taco Trucks at Every Mosque. “The message for tonight is let’s come together and get to work.”

While the event focused on Latino and Muslim unity, anyone was welcome to join the halal taco feast. “One of the highlights for me was an Asian Muslim sister from Cambodia who spoke about her personal experience [on] what it was like to be Asian American and Muslim,” Gallinger says, “Hopefully, it’s the start of a movement for a different change.”


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