NEWS

Emotions are High Over Worship House Plan

Akuila Petero, a Muslim, is building a house which he says will double as his home and a worship place.
17 Mar 2019 11:44
Emotions are High Over Worship House Plan
Akuila Petero. Photo: Wati Talebula

Tension at Nasaibitu Village in Wainibuka, Tailevu, is high after the Nabitudua clan members clashed over a plan to build a worship house.

Akuila Petero, a Muslim, is building a house which he says will double as his home and a worship place.

But the villagers, who are predominantly Seventh-day Adventists claim it is a mosque and they oppose it.

Mr Petero said he respected the religion of his fellow clansmen and he believed they must respect his.

“They did not like the fact that I have converted to Islam.

“My brothers (those who also converted) helped me in the building of my house.

“Life in the village is normal, but they do not accept the fact that I have converted.

“The first incident happened last month and the second this month. When the truck transporting my house materials came to drop materials they were stopped.”

Construction of Akuila Petero's home at Nasaibitu village in Wainibuka, Tailevu. Villagers are claiming that it is a mosque. March 16, 2019. Photo: WATI TALEBULA

Construction of Akuila Petero’s home at Nasaibitu village in Wainibuka, Tailevu. Villagers are claiming that it is a mosque. March 16, 2019. Photo: WATI TALEBULA

Mr Petero said everything changed when he converted to Islam.

“All I wanted was to build a bigger house to accommodate my brothers. There are 60 of us. My brothers are from different villages and when they come home we all worship together,” he said.

“In the village they have all been saying that I am building a mosque, but what they don’t know is that I am building my house.

“When my clan heard I had converted to Islam they said that I wanted to become a Muslim so that I can be provided assistance.

“I will continue to build my house because the one I am currently in is small and I don’t have a proper water supply.

“I used $1500 to buy pipes to ensure proper water supply. My house is located on the hill and the water pressure is low.

“The problem has nothing to do with the village, it is just one clan and we are all family.

“When my brothers and I were carrying timber for my home we were abused and assaulted.

“When we were carrying the timber I was assaulted by my own clan. Some of my brothers were badly injured.

“After they did this I reported it to the Police.”

Clan elders to respond

The other party has asked the Fiji Sun to interview clan elders sometime this week.

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said “the Korovou station officer as well as the Divisional Manager Community Policing team are monitoring the situation while parties hold discussions to resolve their differences.

“We are working closely with the Roko and Provincial Council Office to ensure discussions are held in an amicable manner.”

Edited by Percy Kean

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