10 Feb 2005

Calls for Fiji churches to be more careful about pushing political affiliations

5:02 pm on 10 February 2005

There have been more warnings about Fiji churches allying themselves with indigenous political parties ahead of elections next year.

The head of Fiji's Catholic Church Archbishop Petero Mataca has voiced concern at calls for Fijian political parties to unite against other races in preparation for next year's elections

The director of the Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy, Aisake Casimira, says new far right churches especially attract many poor Fijians with their strong rhetoric.

But he says the danger is that these churches may prompt people to assert their religious, cultural or ethnic identity to such an extent that it becomes divisive and even violent.

"Warning new churches and the political parties not to make people go that way. I mean, the battle line has been drawn in terms of the governing political party calling for the Fijian political parties to unite. But there's also the assemblies of the Christian churches asking for people to focus on what prosperity and peace is, and the connection is that the SDL government is offering that so in terms of politics, the connection is made at the ideological level."

Aisake Casimira