Ashna Kumar (Fiji Sun)
The Methodist Church of Fiji, one of the largest Christian denominations in the country, has expressed its strong support to Prime Minister Josiah Voreqe Bainimarama on his condemnation of anti-Muslim talk.
Methodist Church President Reverend Epineri Vakadewavosa said that the Methodists agreed with Mr Bainimarama and condemned attacks against any religion.
“We do not appreciate such behaviour against our Muslim brothers and sisters. The Methodist Church has always respected other religions, their rights and their freedom to worship. We live in a multiracial and multicultural community. We should respect and love one another. It is in our Constitution and our teachings to respect one another. We do not condone such behaviour. We stand by what the Prime Minister has said.”
Mr Bainimarama condemned anti-Muslim attacks on social media during a Talanoa session at Vusasivo Village, Cakaudrove, on January 26, 2018.
He also defended the role of Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, who is a Muslim.
One of the country’s largest Hindu organisations, the Shree Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha, has also come out to support Mr Bainimarama.
The following is a statement issued by its National President Sarju Prasad:
No one should make any racial comments about another’s religion. We should not divide anyone and separate them on racial or religious backgrounds.
We live in a country where we have a diverse society living together. Diversity is the truth of life in this country. We must have unity.
We are meeting with the Prime Minister to thank him for his kind support. We want to seek assistance to get to the root of the racial discrimination that has been going in the country.
Some of the issues we will discuss with the Prime Minister are the racial intolerance which is on-going right now.
And to take those people to task who do such things with maximum penalties.
Muslim League grateful
Fiji Muslim League National President Hafizud Khan said that his Organisation appreciated Prime Minister’s support and his request to stop criticising the Muslim community.
He said, “Over the years we have had a lot of tolerance and patience. We have always tolerated what people said about the Muslim community. Recently, there have been a lot of remarks said about the Muslim communities through social media.
These things are happening now that never used to happen before. We also want everyone in their communities to live peacefully and happily. We also respect other religions and culture.”
The above article, edited by George Kulamaiwasa, appeared in Fiji Sun issue dated January 28, 2018. It has been reproduced here under a Special Agreement with the publication.
Mr Bainimarama in Vusasivo Village, Cakaudrove, on January 26
(Picture Courtesy: Fiji Sun)