Imam in Samoa says Christians should be more open

Christians should be more open to other religions and not discriminate, says the Imam of the Muslim faith in Samoa.

According to RNZI, Dr Mohammed Bin Yahya was responding to comments by the National Council of Churches that Islam should be banned in Samoa.

The Secretary General of the council, Reverend Ma'auga Motu, described Islam as a threat, calling on the Prime Minister to review the religious freedom provisions of the constitution.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi said Article 11 of the constitution on freedom of religion would not be part of the amendments but he added that any amendments would focus on making it clearer that Samoa is a Christian country.

Imam, Dr Mohammed Bin Yahya, said he does not have a problem with that because the constitution would say that the government should be run to Christian principles.

But Dr Yahya said those Christian principles be defined.

"We have all kinds of Christianity in Samoa, let us not play with it, the truth is Catholics are different, Methodists are different, Congregational churches are different, they are all different, so we need to define what principles they are talking about."

"Just like Islam, there are some other sects in Islam, when you talk about Sunni or Shiite, we need to define, are we talking about this Islam or that Islam," he said.

Islamic leader, Dr Mohammed Bin Yahya, who was raised as a Catholic, said the only Christian church to invite him to talk about Islam was the Methodist Theological college.


Some Muslims in Samoa after a call to prayer. Photo: RNZI/Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia