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SOLOMONS’ CHURCHES WORRIED MILITANTS CONVERTING TO ISLAM ‘Targeting’ former combatants for conversion ‘worrying’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 13, 2009) – Christian churches in Malaita in Solomon Islands say conversions of people they believe are former militants to the religion of Islam pose a threat to the social stability of the country.

It’s estimated there are up to 350 Muslims living in the Solomons, mainly in Malaita, where the vast majority are Christians.

Many of the former militants involved in the violence that ended six years ago remain unemployed and it’s these people church leaders say Muslim leaders are targetting for conversion.

The Catholic Bishop in Malaita, Chris Cardone, says the actions of these leaders are worrying.

"Some Muslims have come in to logging companies," said Bishop Cardone. "They seem to target poorly educated people who happen to be some of the militants from the tension times and that has caused some instability in the eastern parts of Malaita."

The Anglican Bishop of Malaita, Sam Sahu, shares the same concern.

The Muslim leader, Musa bin Marsan, said earlier there are no tensions around their involvement in the country.

Radio New Zealand International:

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