19 Haziran 2018 Salı

TNT History Mini-Series: Accidental Turks in Brazil & Beyond (1866)/Part IX

//Ed. Note:  İmam Abdurrahman relates his dealings with 
the Moslems of Brazil in this chapter and describes his
impressions of Brazil and Rio, as well.//

Slave housing Jean-Baptiste Debret

The Former Religions of These Moslems

A great number of the people who became Moslems had previously believed
in various other things.  Some of them worshiped the sea, the wind and the devil, 
and some of them worshiped the sun, the moon, the stars and other things. Their 
brethren who saw the strong love and attachments of Moslems for one another 
quickly became Moslems.  So that the Christians would not learn about this, they 
said their noon and afternoon prayers in secret in their homes. 

I Have Kur’ans Obtained

One day while in the market, I encountered a seller of old books and I went into 
his store to ask about some books I needed.  In the store I saw a Kur’an that had 
been printed in France in Latin letters.  After looking through it and finding no 
mistakes, I asked the book seller to obtain a large number of them.  The price was
one French piece of gold.  A while later the books arrived and the Moslems 
bought all of them for this price.

 Fasting and Some Other Aspects

The Moslems here fast during the month of Şaban and they treat the month of 
Ramazan like any other month.  I declared  that this was forbidden and that 
fasting during the month of Ramazan was unique.  When they fast and pray they 
don’t swallow their spit, but rather spit it into  bowls they have place for this 
purpose.  And besides not engaging in relations with women, until sundown they 
won’t even talk to them.  The eat their “sahur” (morning meal during Ramazan) 
before the sun rises and break their fast at “yatsı” (prayers two hours after sunset).
During the last three days of Ramazan they even fast at night, drinking only a
few cups of licorice sherbet at “iftar” (fast-breaking meal at sunset during Ramazan). 

Women don’t fast at all.  They dress like European women and even drink alcohol.
A woman inherits half of her husband’s estate and the other half  goes equally to 
the  other heirs, regardless of whether they are male or female.  I therefore 
declared to them the rules of Islamic inheritance and the basic principles 
regarding inheritance.  The women, though, would have no part of this.

The Interpreter Confesses That He is a Jew

The interpreter that I have talked about was originally from the Magrib and the 
city of Tanca, in particular.  Because he was in close contact with Moslems he had
learned some things about the Kur’an.  When he came to this country he changed
his name to Ahmet.  The local Moslems,  seeing his Magribi clothing, his swarthy
appearance and hearing him speak Portuguese, assumed that he was a Moslem 
and showed him great respect.

With the exception of butchering a sacrifice and performing circumcisions,
 everything he taught in the name of Islam was contrary to Islamic law.  A while
 later, when I again asked him what his religion was, without blinking he confessed
 that he was a Jew.  He said, as well, that everything he did was based on the enmity
 he felt toward Islam and was done for his own self-interests.   After the local 
Moslems came to understand what kind of a man this interpreter was, they asked
 me what should be done.  In response, I said that they should do nothing and that 
the vengence of God would be imposed upon him in the course of time and based
 on conditions.  They released the man.

Slaves transport their owner in Bahia - 1860 - Marc Ferrez - Instituto Moreira Salles

 Tribal Chiefs

Each Moslem tribe has a chief and some of these chiefs are called Fa and some are 
called İmam.  The members of the tribe appeal to the chiefs on all matters and 
problems.  Because the tribal chiefs are in competition for supremacy with regard to 
influence and prestige, they are always at odds with each other.  I tried to warm their
 hearts and bring them together but without success.  The tribal chiefs are very much 
interested in knowledge about geomancy and alchemy.   Explaining that these were
 forbidden in Islam, I tried to get them to abandon them but this was not possible.

Moslems Give Up Alcohol

All Moslems here shave their mustaches and consider those who don’t to be infidels,
shunning them and refusing to intermarry with their daughters. They consider tobacco 
to be wrong but believe that alcohol is tolerable, drinking it out in the open. One day, 
a tribal chief invited me to dinner.  When I noticed wine on the table I informed him
that this was forbidden.  By the grace of God, they all vowed not to drink  - but some
of them began to smoke tobacco instead.

Some Strange Things

Priests put Moslem children living in Brazil into pools filled with medicated water 
to baptize them and, in this way, convert many people.  They believe that the water 
in the pool will not go bad or smell over time.  Those who want to learn the truth 
about this shoud read the book entitled “Reddü’s-Sarih alâ Ehli’d-Dini’l-Mesih” 
(possibly meaning the book by Abdullah el-Tercüman el-Mayorkî entitled 
“Tuhfetü’l-Erib fi’r-Redd-i alâ Ehlü’s-Salib”.)

One of the main reasons that Moslems cannot avoid Christianity is this: when 
children are baptized the Patriarch gives the family a document that says “this child’s
 baptism was witnessed by notables of such and such tribe.”  When the government 
demands to see this document and it is not available for a particular child, then the 
child is seized spends his life working as a slave.

When a Moslem dies an official from the Patriarchy and a doctor come.  After the
 necessary examination, the dead person’s relatives are given a document.  Without 
this document, cemetery officials will not accept a body for burial.  Once the official 
and the doctor have finished their duties, the dead body is washed and wrapped and
 funeral prayers are said. However, these burials are not done in accordance with 
Islamic principles.  In order to teach them about washing a body, I washed a few 
bodies in front of them.  They don’t allow me to go into the city in my clerical 
clothes and prevent me from doing so.

Hiding Moslem Beliefs

At one time there was a major war between the blacks and the Christians, which 
the Christians won.  Because the Moslems caused this war, subsequenly they had 
to hide their beliefs out of fear.  When someone was exposed as being a Moslem he 
would either be killed on the spot, exiled or jailed for life. When I saw this I was

The Country of Brazil

Brazil comprises a portion of South America.  Initially, the Portuguese state 
occupied and seized this territory, establishing pleasant cities in various areas 
and engaging in intense building efforts almost everywhere.  Later, a member of 
the Portuguese royal family was appointed governor here and he declared 
independence, giving the country the name Brazil, which was linked to himself.

Brazil’s area is about 2,700,000 square miles and the population is 8,500,000.  
The Amazon River, one of the world’s largest rivers, passes through the center of 
the nation from west to east.  The Amazon begins in the Andes Mountains and
 reaches the Atlantic Ocean under the Equator.  Its length is 400 miles and its delta’s
 width is 180 miles.  The depth of the river is 175 fathoms.  The river water goes a
 long way before mixing with sea water.  There are rare and varied animals within 
the Amazon.  Brazil is severely lacking in minerals but, on the other hand, many 
diamonds have been extracted in the country.  Because gold is quite rare, all 
transactions are done with paper money.  Since the national income is weak, 
the government must borrow large sums of money.

 Rio de Janeiro

rio 1860 ile ilgili görsel sonucu

Rio de Janeiro is Brazil’s capital city.  Its weather is mild, water is plentiful,
the buildings are sturdy and well-ordered.  There are exquisite gardens and parks.
The city is situated at the 22nd parallel, south, and the 45th meridian, west. 

Commercial life is quite developed but mostly in the hands of foreigners. Since
 the people are ignorant they sew and reap barley and wheat.  They grind the fruit 
of a tree called ‘farine’, which resembles an oak tree, for flour, add bouillon and
 make ‘bulamaç’ (thick soup made with flour, butter and sugar) to eat.  Because it 
is cheap and digestive, it is the main meal for both rich and poor. The eat mostly 
cow’s meat and although vegetables are available, they are quite expensive. 
For example, cucumbers in the early part of the season sell for nearly 10 kuruş 
each. And even when plentiful, the price does not fall below 10.

Each market has a chief, who oversees buying and selling and making sure that
the shopkeepers don’t swindle the customers or treat them badly.  Nevertheless,
Brazil has not reached the level of European civilization.


TNT History Mini-Series: Accidental Turks in Brazil & Beyond (1866)/Part VIII

//Ed. Note: In this episode, İmam Abdurrahman explains how he
came to leave the Bursa corvette and remain in Brazil to teach the
local Moslems about proper Islam.//

blacks in brazil 1860 ile ilgili görsel sonucu
            Market women in Rio de Janeiro

Blacks in America

Based on the research I have done about the blacks’ situation, they are from among
the peoples of Africa.  Sixty years ago European pirates went to the shores of 
Africa and bought a large number of people from chiefs that they called ‘melik’ 
(king).  These chiefs were constantly at war with one another and in accordance 
with their rules of engagement, they could sell their prisoners to anyone else.  In 
this way, the number of blacks in American countries increased markedly.

Because of the slavery of blacks, a few years ago there was a great war between 
the North and South in America.  In the end, they made peace by agreeing that 
blacks could not be bought and sold.  Now, most of the blacks in America have 
been freed from the chains of slavery.  Those who remain slaves will become free 
after a specified period.  The number of Moslems among the blacks in America 
is quite small.  And since these Moslems left their home countries at a very young
age, they are quite ignorant. When some of these Moslems see me they are very 
pleased and invite me to their homes to teach them the tenets of Islam.

I Go to Their Homes

After I explained the blacks’ situation and their requests to the Captain he gave 
me permission to visit their homes.  They have turned a big house on the outskirts
of the city into a mosque and worship there secretly.  I went with an interpreter 
who is apparently a Jew.  Later, I will relate all of his dastardly deeds and immorality.
I conducted evening prayers as an imam.  After performing the obligatory acts and 
greeting them, the congregation joined me in ‘sünnet’ (sunnah).  They don’t know 
how to pray as a congregation and normally pray by themselves.

I noticed one of them praying by himself.  After saying “Allahü ekber” (God is 
greatest), he bent once to the right and once to the left.   Before ‘rükû’ (bowing 
down and putting the palms of his hands on his knees) he went straight to the ‘secde’
 (prayer rug) and kissed it.  He repeated this a number of times.  Then, he said 
whatever came into his head and left prayers without saying goodbye.   While 
praying he coughed and spit the thing in his mouth into a bowl he had put in place 
beforehand.  Afterwards I realized that the Jew interpreter had taught him this 
illegitimate action, because he showed quite a bit of respect toward the Jew and 
asked his advice on everything.

 When I had the chance I asked the interpreter what his religion was.  In 
response he told me that he was a Moslem but that he had left his country before 
learning the basic tenets of Islam.  He said that he knew the blacks well and that 
since he was in a foreign country he could not perform his religious duties properly.
  Adding that the heat is quite terrible here, he confessed that last year he couldn’t 
fast for 15 days during Ramazan but since he had a valid excuse God would not 
hold him responsible.

I listened to him in amazement but since I needed his services I could not voice 
my objections.  I asked him to tell the blacks that henceforth they must conform 
to everything I say and do.  First of all, I began with a sermon and advice, explaining
  God’s oneness and power and the endless miracles of the Great Prophet, who is 
deserving of the most exalted greeting.  In this way, I stayed with them for 13 days 
and explained to them the mandates and prohibitions of religion, to the best of my 

In any case, within this period I did not see any effect whatsover from the efforts
 I had expended.  I judged that  this stemmed from the interpreter not really 
knowing the Portuguese language very well at all.   But later, after I myself learned 
Portuguese, I understood that this was not the only reason.  Evidently, in accordance
with the villainy of his nature, the interpreter had contorted my statements. Since I
had run out of energy and, in particular, because my leave had expired, I returned
to the ship.

blacks in brazil 1860 ile ilgili görsel sonucu
     Black slaves attending a family in Brazil, 1860

The Captain’s Fear and Anxiety

Upon returning to the ship I spoke with the Captain.  Having not seen me in many 
days, he reprimanded me, saying “I regret having given you leave. Henceforth, 
you will not meet with the local Moslems.  If the Brazilian Government were to 
hear about this they might create a problem, accusing the Ottoman Government 
of sending missionaries with the ships to create divisions among the people.  And
 I will be the one held responsible.  I have heard that the Moslems here hide their 
religion out of fear.  The people in this country are ignorant and they are known 
for their wickedness.”

In response, I explained to him the state and characteristics of the Moslems I saw,
their ignorance and heresies vis-a-vis basic religious knowledge and how I tried to
motivate their religious feelings.  He then said to me “If I give you permission I 
will be called to account by our government.  If I don’t give you permission, I will
have failed to fulfill the stipulations of Islamic brotherhood.  Since a Moslem like 
us has not set foot in this country since the inception of Islam, it is incumbent upon
us to remedy the shortfalls in this community’s knowledge  of religion.”  For three
days and three nights we considered the matter from all sides.

They Request a Man from the Moslem Captain

Then, a few of the blacks came aboard the ship.  Because the Captain knew 
English, they brought with them an interpreter who knew both English and 
Portuguese.  They addressed the Captain, saying “up till now we thought that all 
the white people in the world were Christians and only blacks were Moslems.  
Therefore, we are very happy to see you.”  Then they requested that someone be 
left behind to teach them about Islam. 

 The Captain Gives Me Permission to Stay

After the Captain spoke with the blacks, he left it up to me as to whether or not 
I would remain here.  I said that  I would remain for the pleasure of God. The 
next day, putting my faith in God, I boarded a rowboat and went to shore.  At 
the pier I was greeted with affection by those who had come. 

Without any delay, we boarded a train and headed toward the outskirts of the city.
They brought the Jew interpreter that I described before with them to help me 
meet them all.  He had me begin by writing down and memorizing some essential
words in Portuguese that I needed to know.  Since there was no one for me to talk
with in my native tongue, in a short time I learned this new language enough to 
get by.

At this point our ships set sell toward their intended route.  Before leaving, 
though, the Captain told the Brazilian authorities that I would be staying in the 
country to tour around.  They had responded by saying that wherever I was I 
would be shown hospitality and sent on.  I only learned about this much later.

blacks in brazil 1860 ile ilgili görsel sonucu
               Black slaves working a field in Brazil.

 I Begin to Give Lessons to the Moslems

I settled into a house that had been prepared for me.  Five hundred people gathered
around me so I began to give lessons a few times a day, at various times. Among 
the people there were none who knew anything beyond the Kur’an’s “Amme cüzü”
(the section of the Kur’an that begins with the 78th sura and contains all the short 
suras to the end of the book, formerly used as the second Arabic reading book in 
schools.)   Those who had knowledge of the Amme cüzü were from the elite members
 of the group, who have been given the title “Fa”, meaning great scholar.

Since their language is quite different, they have difficulty pronouncing Arabic letters.  
They use the European alphabet and there are no equivalents for the Arabic letters se, 
ha, hı, zel, sad, dad, ayın, gayın and he.  They have to pay very high prices for a Kur’an.
But they buy them not for reading or learning.  The Kur’ans they buy are left on top 
of chests merely as a blessing.

I began teaching and training by selecting young people, along with adults who 
were interested.   Each day in the afternoon I had a general meeting to teach them 
all the basic tenets of Islam.  Both the children and the adults memorized the hadis 
relating to praying five times a day.  I prepared a short book in Portuguese, using
 Arabic letters.  To the best of my ability, in the book I translated God’s attributes, 
the prophets – may peace be upon all of them, abdest (washing), praying, fasting, 
the hajj and alms, adding some advise for them, as well.  Most of my students 
memorized the book and behaved accordingly.

Those Who Attain Honor With Islam

One day, one of the leaders of the community came to me with another fellow.  
They greeted me as I had taught them to.  Previously, they would use a special 
way of greeting when meeting a scholar:  they would bow down with their heads
uncovered and then rub their eyes and faces on the ground, maintaining that 
position until given permission to lift their heads from the ground.  With God’s 
grace, I was able to get all the men to abandon this un-Islamic practice but some 
of the women continued to behave this way. In any event, let us return to our 
subject...after accepting the greetings of these men who had come to me, I 
respectfully gave them permission to be seated.  The man began by saying 
“This fellow has wanted to become a Moslem for a long time but since he is 
poor he has been unable to become a Moslem.  But now he has obtained an 
amount of gold.”

When I asked why he obtained the gold, he responded by saying “When a man 
wants to become a Moslem, he pays a gift of money to the guide as an indication 
of the sincerity of his intention.    The guide then gives the man a document 
showing that he is a Moslem, enabling him to be shown respect by other Moslems.
In fact, for this document your interpreter won’t accept a penny less than 20 
pieces of gold and turns the applicant away.  He said that the Prophet – may peace 
be upon him, has ordered this.”

Immediately, I told the man about the “Kelime-i Şahâdet” (Confession of Faith). 
And instead of accepting the money he offered me, I gave him some of my own
money.   After this incident I organized a big meeting and told everyone that it is
 forbidden to take money from someone wanting to become a Moslem.  I asked 
those attending to inform others about this.  As a result, within a short time the 
number of Moslems rose to 19,000.


TNT History Mini-Series: Accidental Turks in Brazil & Beyond (1866)/Part VII

//Ed. Note: Herewith the continuation of this story, with the 
account of İmam Bağdatlı Abdurrahman Efendi, the imam 
of the Bursa corvette, whose focus was on teaching the 
Moslems - whom he was surprised to find in Brazil - the proper
tenets of Islam.  In particular, as will be seen, the reasons given 
for and the details of his departure from duty on the Bursa to 
remain in Brazil are at odds with the account given by Engineer 
Faik in Part IV.//

slave trade brazil map ile ilgili görsel sonucu

First Moslems in Brazil/Brazil Travel Log

By İmam Bağdatlı Abdurrahman Efendi


Brazil Travel Log is the story of an Ottoman man’s discovery of a world he knew 
nothing about and his efforts to realign this world in his mind.  The story begins 
140 years ago with two Ottoman warships on their way to the Persian Gulf that get 
caught in a storm and are dragged all the way to the American continent and the 
shores of Brazil.  The hero of the story is Bağdatlı Abdurrahman Efendi, the imam
 assigned to one of the ships. 

When the ship Abdurrahman Efendi was on entered the port of Rio de Janeiro the 
crowd of people there was quite interested because in their books the Ottomans 
were described as “cannibals”.   Among the crowd were some people of African 
heritage.  This unexpected meeting created general amazement and the Brazilians 
were surprised to find out that the Ottomans were not cannibals.  On the other hand,
when the Ottomans learned that there were Moslems living in this distant land they
were equally amazed.  The Africans there were twice as surprised because they 
thought that Islam was a religion only for blacks and yet they saw that the Ottomans 
were believers, too.

The blacks were more intrigued by the Ottomans and wanted to assuage their curiosity.  
They were particularly interested in Abdurrahman Efendi because of his religious garb.
The blacks were forced to appear to be Christians since they were not allowed to live 
as Moslems and had hidden their beliefs for centuries.  Because of the conditions 
imposed upon them, the blacks had grown distant from true Islam, such that a Jew 
from the Magrib, who identified himself as a Moslem, was able to change the rules 
of  Islam as he pleased and make these people believe in him.

After their first meeting with Abdurrahman Efendi, the blacks obtained information 
about Islam and asked him to teach them more about Islam.  Abdurrahman Efendi 
consulted with his ship’s captain and accepted this request.  Abdurrahman Efendi 
left the ship and began living together with the blacks, working with them for years 
to institute a comprehensive renewal of their faith.  After staying in the important 
centers of black life there and realizing this long and tiring task, one day 
Abdurrahman Efendi  gave in to his homesickness and set sail for Istanbul.   
He did not neglect, though, to write the story that would become the Brazil Travel 

The adventure of these African people in Brazil began in the sixteenth century and 
despite the fact that over time they came to comprise two thirds of the nation’s 
population, their cultural identities have been essentially hidden.  Even today, written 
sources stress that Brazil’s population of nearly 150 million makes up the largest 
Catholic group in the world.  Yet, today at least half of Brazil’s population is 
comprised of people  of African descent and a significant portion of them are 

Although the Brazil Travel Log is a short book, it is an interesting work because it 
sheds light on the historical period of the adventure of Brazil’s Moslems, whose 
existence is still not officially recognized.  Since it is perhaps the one and only 
written record of this reality, it carries added importance.                             

The difficult language of the original work, first published in 1288/1871, has been 
simplified in this new version 140 years later, to make it easier for readers to
understand.  In light of the contents, we also thought it was appropriate to add 
The First Moslems in Brazil in the title.  While updating the language of the original 
work, we may have wrongly written some place names that are no longer in use.  
For this we ask your indulgence.
N. Ahmet ÖZALP (Ed. Note: transcriber from Ottoman to modern Turkish)


Translator’s Foreword (by Antepli Mehmed Şerif)

Limitless thanks and praise to great and almighty God, who has adorned our minds 
and understanding with the beautiful cloth of Islam.  Limitless health and happiness
 to the great Envoy and his noble friends who have shown us the path to happiness 
by relating the rules of religion that tell us right from wrong. 

Until recent times we were unaware that there were any Moslems on the American 
continent.  But five or six years ago, two Ottoman warships sent to the Persian Gulf 
via the Cape of Good Hope, visited Brazil, one of the countries of America, and by 
coincidence the mariners learned that there were a good number of Moslems there.
The imam assigned to the ships, Bağdatlı Shaikh Abdurrahman Efendi, responding to 
the requests of the Brazilian Moslems, left his naval imam duties and spent a few years 
there, solely for the satisfaction of almighty God, teaching the basic tenets of religion 
to the local Moslems.   Later, he returned to Istanbul and wrote a travel log in Arabic 
providing valuable information about the number and status of the Brazilian Moslems.
As everyone knows, Islam’s shining sun first rose across the Asian continent to 
illuminate the environs there and within a short time spread to Africa, Europe and 
the islands of the Ocean.  Now we understand that Islam reached America a few 
hundred years ago.  Consequently, there are Moslems on all of the five continents 
of the world.  According to the latest research, on the islands of the Ocean and 
particularly in the interior of Africa, at the Cape of Good Hope, in China and the 
region of the North Pole, there are numerous Moslems.  But because of the great 
distances between them, the various Moslem communities have not been able to 
establish contact with one another and, in fact, may be completely unaware of these 
distant Moslem communities.  Because they are so far from the center of Islam, most
 of these communities have to one extent or another corrupted their beliefs.  One of 
these was the Moslem community at the Cape of Good Hope and to remedy this 
situation the Ottoman regime assigned Ebu Bekir Efendi there eight years ago.

As we noted above,  we had been unaware of the Brazilian Moslems but based on 
what writer Abdurrahman Efendi has told us, they were equally ignorant of us and 
did not even realize that there were white Moslems in the world.  Abdurrahman 
Efendi, after making both sides aware of one another in a detailed manner, 
surmounted great obstacles and encumbrances to correct the beliefs of the Brazilian 
Moslems.  There is no doubt that he will be rewarded many times over by God and 
that all Moslems will greet his efforts with gratitude.

Despite my own shortcomings, I have translated Abdurrahman Efendi’s travel log
into Turkish since everyone will be interested in the information he has provided. 
In general, I have tried to be true to the original text but ignored some place names
that I deemed irrelevant to the subject.

Success comes from God.
Antepli Mehmed Şerif (Ed. Note: translator from Arabic to Ottoman)

brazil's slave trade ile ilgili görsel sonucu
                   Slave market in Rio, 1824


I am Abdurrahman, the poor, sinful son of Abdullah, and I am originally from 
Baghdad.   While living in Damascus, some difficulties prompted me to leave there
and I spent some time wandering.  Finally, after many hardships I came to Istanbul,
where I entered into the service of Kaptan-ı Derya Ateş Mehmed Paşa, whom I had
met previously, as an imam.  A while later, after Mehmed Paşa died, I became an
imam for the Navy.

At that time the Sultan ordered that  two ships of the fleet be sent to Basra via the 
Ocean route.  I wanted to travel to and see foreign lands and this was very much of
an opportunity in line with my desires.  At the beginning of September in the year 
1865 we departed Istanbul in the aforementioned ships, headed for Basra.  However,
en route we encountered countervailing winds that forced us to the coast of South 
America and to the shores of the capital of Brazil.  In order to teach the Moslems 
living there the basic tenets of Islam, I left the ships and remained there.

I thought it would be appropriate  to relate some of the interesting things and events 
I witnessed while there in this short book.  I have given this work the title “Tesliyetü’l
Garib” (Consoling the Poor).  I ask that my valued readers forgive my mistakes and

Our Meeting with Moslems

On the second day after our ships arrived in Rio de Janeiro, all of the officers left to 
visit the city.  I went with them and I was wearing my clerical clothes.  A black 
Sudanese man who saw me on the pier gave me an exaggerated respectful greeting.  
Since the man was in Western clothes, I thought that he was mocking me so I didn’t 
return the greeting.  When he didn’t understand the questions I put to him in Turkish
 and Arabic, my assumption that he was mocking me grew stronger.  I left and after 
touring the city I returned to the ships in the evening.

The next day, a lot of Europeans came to see the ships and among them there were 
some blacks. When they came on board the ship they greeted us by saying
“İyo Müslim” but since no one on the ship understood Portuguese we didn’t know 
what they meant. They toured the ships and left.  Later, another group came and said 
the same thing the others had said. When we got up to say our noon prayers they got 
up, too, and we all washed ourselves and prayed.  Consequently, we realized that 
they were Moslems.  We paid them respects and offered them some hospitality.  In 
the evening they departed very happily.  The next day, a larger group came and they 
brought an interpreter with them who knew both Arabic and Portuguese.  They came
 into my cabin, taking off their hats.  Through the interpreter, I told them that taking
 off one’s head covering was not respectful, according to Islam.  The chuckled at 
themselves and I succeeded in having them show respect properly.