21 Sep 2012

First mosque opens in Marshall Islands

6:49 pm on 21 September 2012

The first mosque has opened in the Marshall island capital, Majuro.

Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community celebrated today's opening with a blessing and food as well as prayer and readings from the Koran translated into Marshallese.

Ahmadiyya's national president Falah Shams and Imam Matiullah Joyia emphasised the message that from its founding in 1889, Ahmadiyya has explicitly rejected "jihad by the sword."

Mr Shams says instead the community has promoted an "intellectual jihad of the pen to defend Islam" and rejects terrorism in any form.

Rongelap's mayor James Matayoshi welcomed the religious group as one that "rejects violence" and thanked both the Ahmadiyya and its sister organisation Humanity First for their work with local government to establish computer centers and training for local people.