Information on the treatment of Muslims and Rastafarians who convert to Islam [LCA28797.E]

Specific information on the treatment of Muslims and Rastafarians could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. A Malaysian National News Agency (BERNAMA) article states that "the Muslim minorities in nine Caribbean island states are in dire need for Muslim preachers, teachers, copies of the holy Quran, translations of the Quran, books on Fiqh, Tafsir and the prophet's biography" (28 Oct. 1997). The article also mentions that "in St Lucia there are 5 dakwa workers. In addition, there are 28 Muslim medical students in the Spartan Medical School. The school authorities allowed them the use of a room as a prayer area" (ibid.).

In a 17 February 1998 telephone interview with the Research Directorate, a library assistant at McGill University's Institute of Islamic Studies in Montreal, stated that the term "dakwa" is used in south east Islam and refers to a missionary religious activity or propaganda within the Islamic community. The library assistant also mentioned that the term has no pejorative meaning.

The 1997 edition of the World Directory of Minorities states that "approximately 90 per cent of [St Lucia's] population is estimated to be of African descent, the rest of mixed African-European parentage. No minority rights issues have been identified" (1997, 113).

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1997, consulted on Sharenet, states in the chapter on St Lucia that "the Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government respects this right in practice" (1997, 24).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1997. 1998. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of State.

The Malaysian National News (BERNAMA). 28 October 1997. "Caribbean Muslim Needs Assistance." (NEXIS)

McGill University, Institute of Islamic Studies, Montreal. 17 February 1998. Telephone interview with a library assistant.

The World Directory of Minorities. 1997. Minority Rights Group International.

Additional Sources Consulted

L'état des religions. 1987. Paris: La découverte.

Encyclopedia of Islam. 1990. Leiden: Brill.

The Encyclopedia of Religion. 1987. Vol. 7. Edited by Mircea Eliade. New York: MacMillan.

Le grand atlas universalis des religions. 1988. Paris: Universalis.

Les grandes dates de l'Islam. 1990. Paris: Larousse.

Human Rights and the World's Religions. 1988. Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press.

Islam and Islamic Groups: A Worldwide Reference Guide. 1992. Edited by Farzana Shaikh. London: Longman Group UK.

Minority Rights Group International. No. 64. "The Rastafarians". London: Minority Rights Group International.

Religion in Politics. 1989. London: St. James Press.