BOGOTA -- The imam keeps the volume on the speakers turned down so the call to prayer doesn’t disturb the nearby coffee shops and convent. Even so, dozens of Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians have heard the call, kicking off their shoes as they enter a nondescript mosque in this predominantly Catholic country.
Latin America’s thriving Arab communities have long produced presidents, pop stars and tycoons. But ties between the two regions have been tenuous at best. That’s starting to change as an ascendant South America seeks new allies and trade routes, and the Middle East taps into a region that tens of millions of its countrymen call home.
The hemispheric marriage was supposed to be consummated this month in Peru, during a meeting of heads of state of South America and the Arab League. But the upheaval in Middle East that led to the resignations of presidents of Tunisia and Egypt forced a last-minute postponement.
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