NATION

Diwali Uproar: Methodist Leadership Defends Itself From Social Media Comments

He clarified that anything coming from the church has to come from the executives. He said he was unaware of the post until he was questioned by the Fiji Sun yesterday.
11 Nov 2020 10:24
Diwali Uproar: Methodist Leadership Defends Itself From Social Media Comments
Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma president Reverend Epineri Vakadewavosa. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Diwali can be celebrated on any day and the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma has called on people to respect the rights of others and have religious tolerance.

Methodist church president Reverend Epineri Vakadewavosa’s comments come a day after the internet almost broke with numerous posts criticising or supporting an anti-Diwali post by SODELPA Member of Parliament, Lynda Tabuya.

This was followed by a post on the church’s official page by the church’s communication officer, Wilfred Regunamada.

“The church supports the unity of the people. We are living in a free and democratic society. Everyone has the right to religion and worship according to the principles of our society and the constitution,” said Reverend Vakadewavosa.

He clarified that anything coming from the church has to come from the executives. He said he was unaware of the post until he was questioned by the Fiji Sun yesterday.

He said the initial statements put on the church’s page were not sanctioned by the church but were the personal opinions of Mr Regunamada.

The post was taken down two hours after it was posted.

Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma communications officer Wilfred Regunamada. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma communications officer Wilfred Regunamada. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Mr Regunamada said his post on the church’s page was intended to make people stop racial and religious vilification. He said he did that to make church members aware that they should refrain from such comments.

He said his post was not in support of Ms Tabuya’s post questioning the celebration of Diwali on Sunday.

“While reading through the post and comments, I saw a lot of racist comments and vulgar words being used, my thoughts was to offer a more peaceful approach in acknowledging and understanding each other,” Mr Regunamada claimed.

“Diwali is part of Fiji. It was the way they were getting at each other. There were some church members, I thought the church should at least or me as a communications officer from the church to say something.”

He said Diwali will be celebrated by Fijians in years to come and there was a need to be understanding.

After receiving a massive backlash online the Church removed its statement, two hours after its posting.

The Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha said they would ask its members to be mindful of church times and be mindful of others when using firecrackers.

Ms Tabuya is yet to comment on the matter. Questions were sent to SODELPA on the matter as well. They are keeping quiet on the issue.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj

Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper