10 Aug 2005

Fiji Muslim community denies training foreign students as terrorists

10:37 am on 10 August 2005

Fiji's Muslim community is denying that foreign students are being trained as terrorists by Islamic fundamentalists in Fiji.

The Daily Post reports that both the Fiji Muslim League and the Ahmadiya Muslim Jamat have strongly rejected the allegations, adding that they are moderate Muslim.

They deny running any Islamic training programmes for radical Muslims, or those who believe in jihad or holy war.

The Muslim bodies were reacting to the request by the Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, to police to investigate the conversion of Solomon Islanders to the Muslim religion who were then sent to Fiji for training.

Mr Downer's concern followed the recent London bombings and statements by radical Muslims in Australia.

The president of the Fiji Muslim League, Hafiz Khan, confirmed they have foreign students at the Islamic Institute for the South Pacific in Suva but said all their schools offer a curriculum prescribed by the ministry of education.

He said the schools offered religious classes which were confined to the teaching of the Koran and the Arabic language.

Mr Kahn said the allegations are baseless because Fiji Muslims are moderate and do not support terrorism.