I am somewhat disturbed reading about the commitment of the Tongan Muslim community to set up a boarding school in the country. It is amusingly predictable that the leader of this group assured the rest of the Tongan community that Islam is a religion of peace. However, the involvement of Islam in the generation, support and even in masterminding terror groups and their acts of terror around the world should be enough to get the alarm bells ringing loudly in our communal consciousness. I must admit that this message is biased indeed by my personal commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ (just as our Muslim friends are entitled to be biased by their religious commitment). Amongst other things, Jesus Christ is known as the prince of peace even though this depiction may have been contradicted by his followers throughout the course of world history.
I must also acknowledge that I am utterly unfamiliar with the content of Islam's sacred book. However, from my amateurish level of historical knowledge I gather that Muhammed, the Founder of Islam, was a soldier. Hence, the way in which Islam has supported the so called 'freedom fighters' operating all over the world via militaristic means to achieve whatever objectives (political or otherwise) they might have is apparently in total agreement with the way of their Founder.
Our constitution of course allows us the freedom of religion and thus there is no need to be necessarily inhospitable to any religious group including our Muslim friends. Perhaps what might assist the Tongan communal spirit from hereon is an awareness that our Muslim friends operate under an ideological banner totally different (and perhaps even contradictory) to the biblical principles underlying the Tongan Constitution which guarantees freedom in the Tongan society at large.
Rev Dr Ma'afu'otu'itonga Palu
maafu [dot] palu [at] gmail [dot] com