29 Dec 2016

Muslim leader warns against Samoa becoming Christian state.

5:24 pm on 29 December 2016

A Muslim leader in Samoa is warning the government that there will be negative consequences if Samoa is made a Christian state.

Catholic Cathedral in Apia in Samoa. church, christian

Catholic Cathedral in Apia, Samoa. The Samoa Prime Minister has tabled a bill to make the country a Christian state. Photo: RNZI/ Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

The Samoa Observer reports the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi tabled a Constitution Amendment Bill during the last sitting of Parliament for 2016 which would make Samoa a Christian nation.

However the head of the Muslim League in Samoa, Laulu Mohammed Daniel Stanley told the Observer he believes that the government has not thought this through.

Laulu said Christian States normally declare one form of Christianity as their official religion and he believes this will be a source of social tension among the various denominations in Samoa.

He said this could also result in discrimination in employment for non-Christians in both the private and public sector and having a government system based on Christian principles raises questions about Samoa's bilateral relations with non-Christian nations such as China from whom Samoa borrows regularly.

But Muslims would not be affected he said as long as article 11 of the Constitution, which allows for freedom of religion, remains intact

Meanwhile another bill tabled by Samoa's prime minister during the same sitting seeks to remove the appointment of the Director of Public Prosecutions and return its powers and duties to the Attorney General.

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