Diwali “paganistic nonsense” says Cook Islands Church leader

When Diwali was celebrated in Rarotonga, on 3 November, hundreds of people turned up to enjoy Indian food, music dancing and cultural display.

New Zealand’s High Commissioner to the Cook Islands Joanna Kempkers and Principal of Tereora College (the National College of the Cook Islands) Bali Haque addressed the Diwali gathering as well as various Hindu community leaders.

But the leader of a small christian church, Bishop Tutai Pere of the Apostolic Church of the Cook Islands, says celebrating Diwali involves idolatry, which is a blasphemy against the Christian God,

He said is reported to have said that Diwali is “paganistic or heathenistic practice” He talked about “It’s hidden spirit of sorcery and witchcraft” and urged that a stop be put “to this paganistic nonsense”.
His remarks have caused Hindus world wide to express their concern:

Vijendra Prakash, the general secretary of the Sanatan Dharam, Fiji’s biggest Hindu religious organisation says a Cook Islands Bishop is misguided for opposing the public celebration of the festival of Diwali on Rarotonga.

President of Universal Society of Hinduism Rajan Zed has written to the Cook Islands Prime Minister urging him to investigate the issue and ensure the Hindu community’s religious rights are protected.

Read Bishop Tuati Pere’s letter to the editor


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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