Fiji a secular state – will not rebuild churches

The Fiji Government will not spend its money  to rebuild churches that have been destroyed by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama told Parliament that Fiji was a secular state and the Government would not give priority to one faith over another.

He was responding to a question asked by Opposition MP Mosese Bulitavu on why the government won’t assist in rebuilding churches and village halls damaged by Winston.

“As the Prime Minister and as a Christian, I respect the important role religion plays in our lives.”

“And they (Opposition) are playing on this. I know the reason why they (Opposition) came up with this question,” Bainimarama said.

“We are a multi-faith nation and we have a Constitution that guarantees religious freedom and establishes Fiji as a secular state.”

“Fijians practice many different faiths, it can do so knowing that they are protected under our laws and that Government does not favour any one religion over another.”

He said Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and other denominations could all practice freely in Fiji.

“What about the mosques and temples that suffered damage, are those also the responsibility of Government to rebuild?”

Mr Bainimarama said Government was not in the position to decide whose churches were worthy of rebuilding and it was not Government’s job to build any house of religion in Fiji.

He said village halls and churches are more capable of financing their own repairs than the many distraught families who have no homes.

Bainimarama says communities should be responsible for rebuilding their places of worship and village halls.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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