ISLAM and MUSLIMS IN TONGA
Land area : 277 sq mi (717 sq km); total area: 289 sq mi (748 sq km)
Population (2007 est.) : 116,921
Capital city (2003 est.): Nuku'alofa, 24,500
Monetary unit : Pa'anga
Languages : Tongan (an Austronesian language), English
Ethnicity/race : Polynesian, European
Religion : Christian (Free Wesleyan Church claims over 30,000 adherents)
Literacy rate : 99% (1996 est.)
Economic summary : GDP/PPP (2002 est.): $244 million; per capita $2,300. Real growth rate: 1.4% . Inflation: 10.3%.
Situated east of the Fiji Islands in the South Pacific, Tonga (also called the Friendly Islands) consists of some 150 islands, of which 36 are inhabited. Most of the islands contain active volcanic craters; others are coral atolls.
Polynesians have lived on Tonga for at least 3,000 years. The Dutch were the first to explore the islands, landing on Tafahi in 1616. British explorer James Cook landed on islands in 1773 and 1777 and dubbed them the Friendly Islands. The current royal dynasty of Tonga was founded in 1831 by Taufa'ahau Tupou, who took the name George I. He consolidated the kingdom by conquest and in 1875 granted a constitution. In 1900, his great-grandson, George II, signed a treaty of friendship with Britain, and the country became a British protected state. The treaty was revised in 1959. Tonga became independent on June 4, 1970.
The government is largely controlled by the king, his nominees, and a small group of hereditary nobles. In the 1990s a movement began aimed at curtailing the powers of the monarchy, and the Tongan Pro-Democracy Movement (TPDM) has continued to gain in popular support. In 1999, Tonga gained UN membership.
Islamic History and Muslims
Tonga’s Muslim community is planning to raise funds in the Middle East to build a new boarding school on Tongatapu. The school is to follow the Tongan school curriculum, but additionally offer the Arabic language and Islamic studies as options. Sheikh Imam Abdul Fader, a spiritual leader of the Tongan Muslim community and a mathematics teacher, said their project is to build a three-story boarding school that will serve Muslims and non-Muslims, especially orphans who are often deprived of education.
The children in the school will not be forced to study or convert to Islam. He also said that a small delegation of Tongan Muslims will leave in June of 2007 for Saudi Arabia and Qatar to seek donations and funding for the new school, since these two countries are well known for their strong contributions to the Muslim community in Australia and New Zealand. Islamic Centers and Organizations
Muslim Owned Business