16 Nov 2005

US concerned about attacks on Hindu temples in Fiji

9:01 pm on 16 November 2005

The United States has expressed serious concern about continuing attacks on Hindu temples in Fiji.

Radio Fiji reports that each year the US State Department issues a report on religious freedom world wide and this year's report has featured attacks on Fiji's Hindu temples.

The United States ambassador in Fiji, Larry Dinger, says there have been no major concerns about religious freedom in Fiji or the rest of the Pacific.

But Mr Dinger says the latest the report highlights the continuing desecration of Hindu temples in Fiji as a serious problem.

In the latest incident reported this week, a temple at Narere in Nasinu near Suva was broken it no for the third time this year and trashed.

Mr Dinger says there is no suggestion that the government is responsible for the attacks on the temples and he has called on those responsible to stop, saying it is an embarrassment for the country.

The National Federation Party has called on the government to amend the Penal Code to enable the courts to impose harsher penalties on those who desecrate temples.

The party general secretary, Pramod Rae, says the desecration of the temple at Narere for third time this year confirms the extent of racial and religious intolerance in Fiji.

Mr Rae says every week Hindu temples are targetted by elements who have no regard for the sanctity of places of worship.