30 Apr 2007

Religious leader in Tonga says Muslim children need school to learn about faith

10:46 am on 30 April 2007

A religious leader of the small Muslim community in Tonga says its children need a special school to be taught the basics about their faith.

Tonga's Muslim community is planning to raise funds in the Middle East to build the country's first Muslim boarding-school.

A religious leader and former school teacher in Tonga, Sheikh Imam Abdul Kader says the school would follow the Tongan school curriculum, but offer Arabic and Islamic Studies as an option for Muslim and non-Muslim children.

The Sheikh says it is important to give Muslim children the chance to learn more about their religion and their origin.

"Every church here has got their own school. Christians, they have got their own school, New Zealanders have a New Zealand school, Bahai that is a new faith here, they have a Bahai school. Why should Muslims not have a school for their own community as a symbol that Muslims live in this place?"

The Sheikh says the school will be free of charge and a small delegation will go to Saudi Arabia and Qatar in June to raise money.