25 Jan 2006

Fiji Prime minister defends Benny Hinn crusade

11:11 am on 25 January 2006

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has defended last weekend's so called "miracle crusade" by the American preacher, Benny Hinn.

Mr Qarase, his wife and members of this cabinet attended all three days of the crusade which has been criticised by individuals and groups with disabilities who say Mr Hinn only raised false hopes of healing.

But Mr Qarase has told the Fiji Sun newspaper that the message of salvation was what mattered and not the healing which was only a small part of it.

Mr Qarase says thousands of people were healed in the three days of the crusade through Mr Hinn's message.

A member of the Fiji Disabled People's Association who is confined to a wheel chair, Sajendra Sharma, has been quoted as saying that if Mr Hinn claimed to be a healer, their vocational centre for trainees would not be needed after they were healed by him.

In an editorial today, the SUN says "Mr Hinn's advertising was very specific that the crusades were about healing, but too many of those who believed in the message that they would be healed went away angry, bitter and depressed."

The newspaper says "it is clear that there was a very definite policy that those with obvious and serious disabilities would not qualify for any miracles." .