Islam in Oceania

Islam in Oceania

Islam in Oceania refers to Islam and Muslims in Oceania. Some countries in Oceania, notably Australia, have Islam as their third largest religion, after Christianity and Buddhism. By current estimates, there are 500,000 Muslims in Oceania (340 000 in Australia, 36 000 in New Zealand, 62 500 in Fiji, 6 350 in New Caledonia, 2 000 in Papua New Guinea, 350 in Solomon Islands, 200 in Vanuatu, 100 in Tonga, tiny numbers in Kiribati and Samoa.

According to a 2007 article in Pacific Magazine, entitled 'Green Moon Rising', Islam has seen a substantial increase in adherents amongst the peoples of Vanuatu, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia. There have been thousands of indigenous converts to Islam in Melanesia.

There is also approximately 400 Muslims in Palau whose government recently allowed a few Uyghurs detained in Guantanamo Bay to settle in the island nation.

Geography

Eastern French Polynesia (Tuamotus) is antipodal to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, where Islam originated.

History

Islam has been in some parts of Oceania for at least 400 years (since the 1600s). When the people of New Guinea traded with China and the Malay empire, in the early 17th century, the presence of Islam was felt in Oceania for the first time.

Other parts of Oceania hadn't felt the presence of Islam until the 19th century. For instance, the first Muslims in Fiji came when Muslim migrants came on a ship bringing indentured labourers to Fiji in 1879. Muslims consisted of 22% of the boarders on Leonidas, which was the first such ship.

  • Recommend Us