Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times
The first Ahmadi in Marshall Islands accepted Islam some 25 years ago, when Hafiz Jibrael, the first Missionary of the community came to the islands. He converted from Christianity. Now he is the first President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the Marshall Islands.
He is 72 years old married and has 12 children.
The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands (Marshallese: Aolepān Aorōkin M̧ajeļ),[note 1] is an island country located in the northern Pacific Ocean. Geographically, the country is part of the larger island group of Micronesia, with the population of 68,480 people spread out over 24 low-lying coral atolls, comprising 1,156 individual islands and islets. The islands share maritime boundaries with the Federated States of Micronesia to the west, Wake Island to the north,[note 2] Kiribati to the south-east, and Nauru to the south. The most populous atoll is Majuro, which also acts as the capital.
Sam Ali Nena helped build the first mosque in his town Majuro along with his wife. His wife donated the parcel of land on which the mosque is built.
He recalls that he has always maintained his Muslim identity. At the time of tragedy of September 11, 2001, he did face some prejudice from local Christians and Mayor James of Majuro helped him overcome negativity.
After his conversion initially, Sam Ali’s contact was lost with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, but, more recently when the community was formally established, when Falah Shams, Vice President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of USA and Editor of the Muslim Sunrise, the oldest Muslim publication of North America, started regularly visiting the islands with different humanitarian programs.
Now there are some 150 Ahmadi Muslims in Marshall Islands.
Nuclear claims between the U.S. and the Marshall Islands are ongoing, and health effects from these nuclear tests linger. Project 4.1 was a medical study conducted by the United States of those residents of the Bikini Atoll exposed to radioactive fallout. From 1956 to August 1998, at least $759 million was paid to the Marshallese Islanders in compensation for their exposure to U.S. nuclear testing.
Sam Ali Nena is now charged with the task to formally set up the Ahmadiyya Community in the island of Kosrae.