11 Sep 2003

Fiji Council of Churches condemns attacks on Hindu and Moslem places of worship

5:31 pm on 11 September 2003

The Fiji Council of Churches has condemned sacrilege at places of worship and appealed to the perpetrators to refrain from such actions.

The Fiji Sun reports that the statement comes after continuing attacks on Hindu and Moslem places of worship around the country.

It quotes the council secretary, Ben Bhagwan, as saying not only are the statues of deities and properties damaged, but money has also been stolen.

He says this is demoralising to followers of other faiths and amounts to intimidation and a violation of their human rights.

Mr Bhagwan has called on Christian church ministers and preachers to proclaim such acts as sinful and a violation of the Christian teachings on love, goodwill and tolerance of their neighbours.

Meanwhile, a prominent women's activist from Fiji's west, Prue Rouse, says attacks on places of worship are offences against whole communities and their most sacred beliefs.

Mrs Rouse has called for penalties of the utmost severity against the perpetrators, adding that they dishonour themselves and their country to say nothing of their God.