10 Sep 2003

Fiji police say places of worship attacked for valuables

5:35 am on 10 September 2003

Fiji's police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, says places of worship are targetted by thieves because of valuable property kept on the premises.

He says no group is immune from thieves who attack temples, mosques and churches alike.

He made the statement in response to a call from the National Federation Party for an urgent review of the Penal Code to counter increasing religious intolerance in the country.

NFP leader Prem Singh said every time a politician or a religious leader made a racist or a seditious remark, places of worship like temples and mosques were desecrated.

Mr Singh says the government's silence and its failure to condemn the acts in the strongest manner were sending wrong signals.

But Mr Hughes says thieves target premises where they can obtain property or other valuables.

He says trends do not indicate that any particular religious group is being disproportionately targetted.