16 Oct 2013

First mosque opens in French Polynesia

3:02 pm on 16 October 2013

French Polynesia's first mosque is being opened in Tahiti.

The mosque in Papeete has been launched by the Islam Center of Tahiti, which is run by an imam from France, Hicham el-Berkani.

The imam, who is 23, says he has no outside support for the mosque, which is expected to serve several hundred Muslims believed to live in Tahiti.

The opposition A Tia Porinetia party is alarmed, saying it is standing up against any form of religious extremism in the territory.

It says it wants to know if the mosque has been properly approved by the city, the territorial government and the French state.

The party says it questions the veracity of the media reports, according to which the young imam decided to set up a mosque in Tahiti after a few exchanges via the internet.