Islam is the second biggest religion on Christmas Island after Buddhism. Most adherents are of Malay origins. The island’s Islamic school has been running for decades, with former students now teachers. Students of all ages rush to the air-conditioned comfort of the Islamic school on the foreshore overlooking the Indian Ocean. The language of instruction is Malay. A teacher explains that teaching their mother tongue is important. The island has only one mosque. It is heavily multicultural. Imam Abdul Ghaffar Ismail has been serving the Muslim community for 30 years. He is pleased that there are more kids on the island now. Parents still have to travel to Perth, about 2,500km away, to give birth. Religious and cultural identity are important to the island’s people. Despite being far from cities, the Islamic tradition is strong on Christmas Island. Ismail sees the role of the Malay community as critical to continuing generational growth.
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