Fiji’s Muslims pray for peacekeepers

The Fiji Muslim League has requested all its mosques and centres to pray for the wellbeing of the 45 Fijian soldiers held in captivity by the al-Qaida affiliated group al-Nusra.

League president Hafizud Khan said Muslims around the country shared the same concern that, as Fijian troops were serving in a peacekeeping capacity under UN mandate, any harm or hostile captivity of such personnel should not have happened.

“The Fijian peacekeepers have served gallantly and peacefully over the years in many locations and their dedication to peacekeeping a neutral science, in the line of their duty is depictive of the kindness, friendliness and generosity for which Fijians are recognised all over the world,” he said.

Mr Khan said Fiji Muslims would pray that good sense prevailed and all efforts being made by responsible bodies would yield positive results.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Fiji’s national secretary Aleem Shahhas also expressed deep sorrow and sadness at the act of terrorism in Golan Heights.

Mr Shah said the formation of terrorist groups such as al-Nusra, taking peacekeepers as hostage and killing innocent people was not condoned by Islam.

He said it was neither the teaching of Islam as preached and practised by the Prophet Muhammad.

“All the members of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Fiji are reminded to pray for the safety of our countrymen in their daily prayers,” he said.

On Sunday of the Then India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam had a special nationwide prayer today for the 45 Fijian soldiers held captive in Syria.

The prayer was held in all three of the Sangam temples in Suva, Nadi and Labasa.

Last Thursday Fiji’s army chief Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga dismissed as “sick” a suggestion by former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka that the Pacific nation’s Muslim minority will face a backlash if 45 UN peacekeepers taken hostage by Islamic rebels in the Golan Heights are harmed.

On Wednesday, in an interview on Radio New Zealand International  Rabuka  had said Fiji’s Muslim community could face a serious backlash if the peacekeepers were harmed by al-Nusra.

Rabuka subsequently insisted that his comments about a possible backlash against Muslims over the fate of captured UN peacekeepers had been misinterpreted.

“If (General Tikoitoga) had listened to the full interview, he would know that I was calling for firm and compassionate leadership at this difficult time,” he told Radio Australia.

On Saturday Tikoitoga confirmed that the al-Nusra front had pulled out from negotiations with the United Nations after giving its demand.

On Tuesday Tikoitoga said the al-Nusra Front has made three demands for the release of the peacekeepers:

  • It wants to be taken off the UN terrorist list;
  • That humanitarian aid be delivered to parts of the Syrian capital of Damascus
  • Compensation for three of its fighters who, it claims, were killed in a shootout with UN officers.

He said the UN is expecting the rebels to come back to the table very soon.

 

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