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Christian community in VI 'very welcoming'- Muslim expat

Imam Abdul Malik, a Muslim expatriate in the Virgin Islands (VI), says since moving to the territory just about a year ago things have been testing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Imam, who is the resident religious leader of the BVI Islamic Society, appeared on the Monday, January 11, 2021, edition of the Umoja Show with moderator Cromwell Smith aka 'Enju En Ka' on ZBVI radio 780AM where he spoke about his experiences living the VI.

Testing year brought about by the pandemic

“We are a relatively small community, myself, I am relatively new to the BVI as a Muslin man. I’ve only been here for the period of one year, and unfortunately, it has been a very testing year because of the pandemic,” he said.

The Imam noted that while he is still new to doing ‘Islamic work’ in the territory, the religion remains relatively small compared to other religions like Christianity.

Over the years, while many VI Christian leaders have found themselves embroiled in scandal, the Imam said his experience co-existing with Christianity and Christian leaders has been positive so far.

“Based on my experience personally, I have found the community in the BVI, despite being a Christian community, they are very welcoming,” he said.

He dispelled talks of any backlash or hostility from the Christian Community for being Muslim.

Muslims & Christians co-exist in local unity

“That’s the thing with religion, we are all supposed to be able to co-exist with social cohesion, without any dispute, despite our religious beliefs. So thus far, I have not experienced any hostility or any difficulties.

"I have witnessed a fair amount cohesion in the BVI,” he said.

The Imam; however, moved to clear up one misconception he said is held by Christians and non-Muslims, which is that Muslims refer to ‘Allah’ is a different God, than the God worshipped by Christians and Jews.

“This is not true, there’s only one God… we believe that there is one God, but Allah is just that Arabic word that’s used,” he said.

To illustrate his point, the Imam revealed that in Arabic speaking countries, Christians and Jews would refer to God as ‘Allah’ and hence, in the Arabic versions of the Holy Bible, the world Allah would be there instead of God.

Translating the word

He said that while Muslims believe that the Holy Bible is indeed the word of God, there are some authenticity issues with some aspects of the Bible that came as a result of changes.

This change he said corrupted the revelation and the true meaning of the Bible.

The Imam noted, however, that the Holy Quran does not have the same authenticity issues, as it is often cited in its original Arabic text.


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