Papua New Guinea new frontier for expansion of Islam in Oceania

Papua New Guinea is the new frontier for the expansion of Islam in Oceania says Fr. Franco Zocca SVD, a missionary in Goroka and scholar of Islam at the Melanesian Insitute.

Islam arrived in Papua New Guinea about 35 years ago, when a mosque was opened near Kimbe, West New Britain.

Islam was officially registered in the state in 1983, with the recognition of the “Islamic Society of Papua New Guinea”, and Muslims who originally came from outside of PNG started recruiting at a local level, with an exponential growth.

In 1986, the Muslims of Papua were four, in 1990 they had grown to 440 and in 2000, their number had risen to 756, scattered in different provinces of the country.

Today, according to the “Islamic Center” in Port Moresby, the local Muslim population has about 4,000 people.

The Commission for Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference has organized meetings with representatives of the Muslim community and dialogue is still continuing.

Currently, the Muslim community in Papua is served by 15 Islamic centers led by imams, while the Muslim youth in Papua New Guinea receive scholarships to study abroad in Islamic schools in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Fiji. Upon returning home, they will become teachers, scholars and Koran jurists.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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