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Al Jazeera Showcased Distorted False Coverage Says Grace Road Group

The documentary claims South Korean followers of the Church who work for its companies in Fiji have not been paid, have been physically assaulted, been separated from their families, and kept in slave-like conditions.
20 Nov 2019 19:22
Al Jazeera Showcased Distorted False Coverage Says Grace Road Group
Grace Road Group managing director Daniel Kim with staff outside their restaurant at RB Patel Harbour Point Complex . Photo: JONA KONATACI

Grace Road Group has officially spoken out against a video which it says was a misleading and brutally edited video clip, which was recreated and aired by Al Jazeera on Friday, November 15.

The Al Jazeera documentary, called Escaping Korea’s Pacific Cult, alleged abuse surrounding Grace Road, many of which were claims that had been previously reported.

The Grace Road Church has hundreds of followers in Fiji.

Allegations

A Facebook post by GR Group said: “All the content was in a biased perspective of Al Jazeera and completely misleading.

“The original video clip was intentionally edited and they had cut out the entire context.

“Instead, Al Jazeera created a whole new baseless context to drive a wedge between GR Group and Fijians by making it appear as if Reverend Esther Shin was speaking ill of and enslaving the people of Fiji.

“During the message on that day, the Reverend had explained that we are all servants of God, and she quoted the word of God in Genesis chapter 1 in which God created Adam and gave command to rule, enjoy and subdue all the earth.

“Reverend Esther Shin has said that we should be thankful to the people of Fiji who have kept Fiji beautiful. Even for Christian refugees, we will respect them as fellow sons of God.

She has clearly emphasised that we must never treat anybody as servants for us, instead, we are all servants of God and His children.

“Several media agencies have been slandering and maligning the Church and GR group with malicious editing.

“But GR members, who see, hear, believe and act according to the Bible, are giving our very best to achieve a world where God alone is truly God, and we will show that the truth prevails in the end.”

However, the Fijian Government had issued a statement last Saturday saying:  “A reporter with Al Jazeera recently noted that no one from the Fijian Government was available to comment on a recent documentary that outlines ongoing allegations about businesses affiliated with Grace Road Church.

“Al Jazeera should know that Fiji operates within the realm of the law, and this remains the case. Certain matters in relation to Grace Road Church are currently being handled by the Ministry of Employment and Police, and we must allow due process to take its course without the interference of Government comment.

“Government also cannot comment on the documentary’s newly-revealed video showing remarks of the church’s former leader, as it is presently unclear if it has been altered or doctored in some way.

“Meanwhile, we can point to adherence to electoral law to clarify that only Fijian citizens –– and no other national –– can be elected to Parliament, so any notion otherwise is unfounded and irresponsible fear-mongering at its worst.

“Finally, we have adhered to international law as we cooperated with our South Korean counterparts in past investigations, and will continue to do so moving forward to investigate any allegations of breaches of the law.

“Any allegations of breaches of Fijian laws and workplace rules and regulations will be met with appropriate action to protect the well-being of the Fijian people and those residing in Fiji.”

Documentary claims

The documentary claims South Korean followers of the Church who work for its companies in Fiji have not been paid, have been physically assaulted, been separated from their families, and kept in slave-like conditions.

It also suggested the leaders of the Church may have plans to enter Fijian politics.

Grace Road Church

Grace Road Church has set up more than a dozen companies in Fiji over the past five years.

The church’s leader was sentenced to six years in prison in South Korea in July, convicted on child abuse, false imprisonment and assault. She is appealing that sentence.

Feedback: laiseana.nasiga@fijisun.com.fj

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