Fiji to stay secular state: Bainimarama
FijiFirst leader Voreqe Bainimarama speaking to hundreds of Sakoca residents in Nasinu at a FijiFirst campaign rally
Taken from/By: FBC News
Report by: Akosita Talei
FijiFirst leader Voreqe Bainimarama has called out politicians who are campaigning to return Fiji to a Christian state from our present secular state position.
Bainimarama says he received a video this week showing some members of SODELPA campaigning to get rid of our secular state that is enshrined in our constitution.
Speaking to hundreds of Sakoca residents in Nasinu at a FijiFirst campaign rally, Bainimarama said the reason his government decided to declare Fiji a secular state in the 2013 constitution was simply to ensure that faith of all Fijians are protected and respected.
“You know what the secular state does for us? It gives you the freedom to follow any religion you want. Me as a Christian, Hindu, Muslim, you do whatever you want. The Christian state will be tied to the Christian but we don’t know which Christian denomination will take over whether it’s going to be the Methodist, whether it’s going to be the catholic, you’ve heard what the catholic bishop is saying he’s all wrong so you might end up listening to somebody giving you wrong statistics all the time.”
Even NFP Leader Biman Prasad and FLP parliamentary leader Aman Ravindra Singh – both campaigning strongly against the continuation of a FijiFirst government – agree with Bainimarama’s stance on the issue of religious freedom for all Fijians.
”Biman Prasad:” We agree with that. Fiji should remain a secular state at all times because we respect all the different ethnic groups, their culture, their tradition and religion as Fiji is a multiracial and multi-cultural country and its right to have the constitution provide for that fundamental freedom.
”Aman Ravindra-Singh:” We are a multiracial country, we have many people from different ethnicities and also from different religions and different backgrounds and the biggest thing that we all need to do is to respect one another to live peacefully and coexist peacefully.
Bainimarama says SODELPA’s ongoing push for a Christian state shows Rabuka’s party wants to take Fiji to the old days when religious freedom was not guaranteed.
”And if you hear the debate we have in parliament you will know that these are the people that started the 87 and 2000 coup, the people that took you apart especially the IndoFijian people and I feel for you and that’s why I did what I did in 2006 to help protect you people and call you all Fijians.”
Several attempts to get comments from SODELPA were unsuccessful.
The 2013 Constitution highlights religious liberty as recognized in the Bill of Rights and is a founding principle of our State.
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