Mexico is a predominantly Catholic country, but the border city of Tijuana has always hosted a more diverse population of worshipers. In the last few years, one of the largest religions in the world has begun making inroads and building a presence there.
Every day, at a small, nondescript building in Playas, Tijuana, a handful of people gather to pray. They are worshiping at a masjid, or mosque, one of two new Islamic centers within a mile of one another, both of which have opened within the past three years. This mosque is called Masjid al-Islam, and it opened just over two years ago to give the estimated 200 practicing Muslims in Baja California a place to worship.
The population here is small, but incredibly diverse. People from all over the world attend this mosque; there are people here from India, Costa Rica, the Middle East, and of course all Mexico and the United States. They are all bumping up against the border together. While some live in this sleepy beach community by choice, many more are stuck here waiting for visas or, in recent years, deportees caught up in the net of the United States' ever-more-aggressive immigration policies.