17 Oct 2013

Tahiti's first mosque closes one day after opening

5:06 pm on 17 October 2013

The city administration of Papeete has forced French Polynesia's first mosque to close - one day after it was opened by a new imam from France.

The opening caused an uproar and prompted the presidency to restate that the French constitution guarantees freedom of religion.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"Within hours of opening, an opposition party warned against Moslem extremism and queried if the 23-year-old imam had a permit. A deputy mayor summoned the imam to say the first floor of the building rented by his Islamic Association of Tahiti can only be used as office space and no meeting may be held there for safety reasons. He says police will check on the premises to ensure no Friday prayers will be held. The mosque's launch caused a media storm and overwhelmed a news website, which shut down the comment section because it no longer managed to vet apparently offensive contributions."