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Be Mindful of Village Rules, Say Religious Leaders

“Each Fijian has the right to their faith. But we should respect our neighbours who might not agree with the way we pray. Everyone has to follow the village rule no matter what religion a person belongs to.
18 Mar 2019 11:00
Be Mindful of Village Rules, Say Religious Leaders
Akuila Petero, a Muslim, who is building a home/worship house at Nasaibitu Village in Wainibuka, Tailevu.

Faith-based organisations in Fiji believe that everyone has the right to religion, but they must always be mindful when it is in a village setting.

They were reacting to Akuila Petero, a Muslim, who is building a home/worship house at Nasaibitu Village in Wainibuka, Tailevu.

However, he claimed he was stopped and assaulted by his clan members because they were against the idea.

General Secretary of the Seventh Day Adventist church of Fiji, Pastor Joe Talemaitoga said everyone had the right to religion.

“We have to respect each other’s religion, but have to follow the protocol of village life. It is part and parcel of how we were brought up in Fiji,” Mr Talemaitoga said.

“Each Fijian has the right to their faith. But we should respect our neighbours who might not agree with the way we pray. Everyone has to follow the village rule no matter what religion a person belongs to.

“It is important that village life is upheld and respected. We also just finished building a church at Nasaibitu Village. We had to seek permission and that is how it is done.

“It is not about religion, but about how a village operates where protocols must always be considered.”

Assistant General Secretary of the Methodist Church Jeremiah Waqainabete said “No matter what religion we are in the village rules must be followed.

“It is the way the village operates so when it is in a village setting a formal request has to be considered.”

Shree Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji national president Sarju Prasad said he would not be able to comment because he was not aware of the situation.

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said “The Korovou Station officer as well as the Divisional Manager Community Policing team is monitoring the situation while the parties hold discussions to resolve their differences. We are also working closely with the Roko and Provincial Council office to ensure discussions are held to resolve their differences.”

Nabitudua clan elders  say they will comment later this week.

Edited by Percy Kean

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