NEWS

PM: We Will Keep You Safe, Secure

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says the Government will ensure that people are kept safe and secure from religious attacks and extremism. “These attacks on our temples are attacks on every
31 Jan 2018 11:36
PM: We Will Keep You Safe, Secure
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum during the public forum/talanoa session on the desecration of temples in Fiji at the Shree Gopal Sadhu Hanumaan Gadhi Mandir in Nakasi on January 30, 2018. Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho is standing second from right. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says the Government will ensure that people are kept safe and secure from religious attacks and extremism.

“These attacks on our temples are attacks on every Fijian and every religion in Fiji. They are attacks against our Constitution and our secular state,” he said.

“And they are attacks on the very bonds of nationhood that connect us all and that unite us in our great journey forward as a nation.

“As one nation, and one people, we must stand together to condemn these acts of hatred. We must stand in defence of our Constitution and we must stand together in the defence of our countrymen and women, who have every right to practise their own religion and feel safe everywhere in Fiji.”

His statement was read by Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at a talanoa dialogue at a Hindu temple called Shree Gopal Sadhu Hanumaan Gadhi Mandir in Nakasi near Nausori last night. Mr Bainimarama could not attend because he was sick.  He was invited by the Sanatan Dharam Pratanidhi Sabha, the country’s largest Hindu organisation, to address the people in the wake of a spate of temple attacks. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum and Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho attended on his behalf.

Mr Bainimarama said: “There are places in the world where people live in fear of religious attacks and extremism, but not here in Fiji. We must not allow that to happen here.

“We are one nation, home to all Fijians united in a common purpose. These attacks on our temples are attacks on every Fijian and every religion in Fiji.

“They are attacks against our Constitution and our secular state.  And they are attacks on the very bonds of nationhood that connect us all and that unite us in our great journey forward as a nation.

“As one nation, and one people, we must stand together to condemn these acts of hatred. We must stand in defence of our Constitution and we must stand together in the defence of our countrymen and women, who have every right to practise their own religion and feel safe everywhere in Fiji.

“We all know there have been dark times in our history where Fijians felt unwelcome in their own country. We all know there are still old forces in Fiji that want to drag us back into that past by dividing us along ethnic, religious and communal lines. And these attacks are designed to do just that.

“They are designed to intimidate, they are designed to make us fearful and they are designed to divide our way of thinking along the lines of ethnicity, religion and communalism.

“As I’ve said, there are politicians, political parties and their supporters who either directly, publicly or privately add fuel to the fire or at best, keep quiet. Don’t let them lead you down this destructive path again.

“I am here today – we are all here today – to say loudly and clearly that those old forces, those seeking to divide us, will not succeed.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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