Blog Now Uses Religion to Divide Fiji and Attack the Bainimarama Government

I was hoping not to have to comment on CoupFourPointFive so soon after I picked them up for  published so many false rumours — The AG and PM arrested by Driti; Driti and Ratu Tevita sacked; Driti and Ratu Tevita reinstated after apologizing to the PM for plotting his overthrowal.  Their whole aim, of course, is to misinform, cast doubt, give their anti-government readers fresh heart, and distract and divide those who are not convinced Bainimarama is the Devil Incarnate.

Now, following last week's harmonious meeting of the PM with Fiji's Muslim leaders (and the bomb scare on an American plane) they apparently think the time is ripe to plant further doubts in the minds of Fijians, this time about its "home-grown" Muslims.  They have attempted to do this by resurrecting the Bali bombings, mentioning the vulnerablity of Nadi Airport to Islamic terrorist attacks, and noting that Fiji could be "a potential incubator for [local] religious zealots in the age of al-Qaeda related global terrorism."   The article, based on an old US White House paper brought to light by Victor Lal just before the 2006 Coup, weaves back and forth between assuring local Muslims they were not suspect to the "potential incubator" assertion, but the overall intent is clear. Fiji's Muslims should be watched by Fiji's non-Muslim citizens.

Comments (spelling unchanged) accepted by the blog published followed the same theme: "Bainee's government has been infiltrated extensively by them so far. Islam is a religio poltical idealogy based on stone age Arabic dessert culture... [They are peaceful] because they have been in the minority so far and have not been radicalised."

The article concluded with an editor's note (more of this later).  I quote: "Non-mainstream Ahmadiyya Muslims – who after the 2006 coup provided the bulk of support to the dictator – the Tablibanistic illegal Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, Brigadier-General Aziz Mohammed, the Shameem Sisters, Dr Sahu Khan other Ahmadiyyas who joined various Boards and Commissions and the membership of the Peoples Charter."

One of their readers wrote: "ahmadiyas see fiji as the gateway to the world. gaining control of it is a strategic necessity for world religious domination hence it is worth paying any price." While another wrote: "Very good, now what about a report on the ever growing extremist Hindu global threat." The article and the comments leave little doubt that with Sunni Muslims, Ahmadi and Hindus all suspect, their concerns are more to do with race than religion. Religion is just the divisive scapegoat of the moment.

Now, to correct the other errors made by the CoupFourPointFive editors. Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum is not an Ahmadi. He is a Jamaati Sunni Muslim. Brigadier Aziz is not an Ahmadi. He is a Miladi Sunni. Shaista Shameen is not an Ahmadi. She is a declared agnostic. Nazhat Shameen and Sahu Khan are Ahmadi but Khan is currently facing disciplinary charges before the Independent Services Commission so he is hardly a member of the "coup-supporting brigade."  Of the five people they target, they are wrong on four of them. And as far as I know there are no Ahmadi on any Government Boards, Commissions or Committees.

It is also evident that the editors  have no knowledge at all about the Ahmadiyya movement which was founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmed (1839-1908) of Qadian in the Punjab during a time when many reform movements emerged in Indian and Western societies. Witness Wesleyanism, the SDA, LDS, Jehovah Witnesses, etc.; Arya Samaj, the Ramakrisha Mission, and Baha'i. The list seems endless. Times of major social upheaval tend to bring forth new religious interpretations.

Ahmadi are not considered Muslims by other Muslims. They are considered heretics.  Ahmadi are remarkably tolerant to other religions (Jesus is a prophet, and the Hindu Ram Chandra  and the Sikh Guru Nanak "reformers" are considered "men of God").

Ahmed refined the meaning of jihad (a term much misunderstood in the West). The military or so called "Holy War" aspect was dropped and replaced by "the greater, inner jihad of personal self-improvement and struggle against one's base desires." (Walsh 2006: 253). Ahmadi believe that reform of religious thought is the key to a rational religious philosophy.

Further, they are considered a persecuted minority by the United Nations and have been subjected to violent attacks by extremist Muslim groups. The last such attack was in Lahore in February when Taliban shot Ahmadis in a mosque during Friday prayers, killing dozens. Thus to call Ahmadis "talibanistic" is both crass and ill-informed.

Once again the editors of CoupFourPointFive have shown that in their haste to attack Fiji's de facto government, they have failed to do their homework.  And Victor Lal's hint that fear of Muslim terrorists nudged Bainimarama towards the 2006 Coup is just too fantastic for words.


Scandalous smear said…
Croz, a great piece of real journalism on your own part. Congratulations. Very few people would have had the foresight and tenacity to examine the backgrounds of prominent Fiji Muslims in such detail. Let's see if there's any explanation from 4.5. They've chosen to ignore your decision to cut them loose from your links but this isn't going to be quite so easy to dismiss. It's totally reprehensible in the Fiji context to use religion to make any political point without having a very firm anchor in fact. But to do so in a way that suggests prominent people are part of some kind of global Islamic conspiracy is unforgivable. Let see what Victor Lal has to say for himself in defence. I will take silence from him and 4.5 on this one as an admission that this was nothing more than a grubby smear. We don't hear a word about the many Hindus in Fiji who support the regime and that's as it should be. Nor do we hear about Hindu extremism, which is also appropriate in the Fiji content. We all know Fiji's Muslim community has done everything it can to keep extremism at bay. It deserves credit for this, not to have its prominent adherents linked to terrorist groups in a domestic political argument that has nothing to do with religion.
No Extremism said…
In my view the take over of a legitimate government is extremism. I did not vote for the military regime AG. He is a muslim who is part of a coup which has abrogated the constitution, sacked the judges and damaged the rule of law in fiji. This is not sending a good message out about Fiji muslims. It concenrs me greatly that they are supporting this anti democratic anto Christian coup.
This group will NOT destroy the methodist church. Never.
Joe said…
Croz, C4.5 is only highlighting contents of Qarase Govt's DWP. To interpret it as you have, makes you no different to Michael Field. It is a known fact that Islamist terrorism is on a Global front. Nadi can be a potential target as flights in and out are to and fro countries that are in the coalition forces in places like Afghanistan etc.
Reasoned alternate voices silenced said…
What avenues do you think those who are opposed to the overthrowing of an elected government and the extended rule by a military dictatorship have to express their views Croz ?

Could for example they march peacefully through the streets of Suva ? Could they hold a gathering of like minded people ? Could they publish their own newsletter ? Could they hold a rally ? Could they take a case to the courts ?

The answer to all these questions is of course NO. Not only are all these activities prohibited by decree in Fiji there is an even darker reason they can’t follow these avenues. The reason is once you become known as anti-frank or anti military you are effectively unemployable in Fiji and you will be pursued. Intimidation by the military continues, use of FICAC to scare and harass people continues and of course the general threats continue.

All of this is no excuse for the tactic of some blogs. I’m not defending them but would like to see this reasoned blog spend more time on the general fairness situation in Fiji. Apart from the odd comment on the PER you now seem to dismiss anyone who has a view that is different from the current defacto government.

Surely those who do not support coups (any of them) and who do not support military rule have a valid view point. They should be allowed a voice in Fiji.

Croz, you have published many great quotes on meeting in the middle, compromise, debate and the like but rarely raise a whisper these days that none of this is welcome by our defacto PM.

Perhaps you and others could dedicate the same energy on these issues that you do on $F4.5 blogs (that’s what the site is worth post devaluation  )
News ? said…
A prominant Fijian Ratu Saki has been declared not guilty in the high court after being pursued and harassed by FICAC for four years. But not a word from you on this Croz ? You are off in Coup coup 4.5 land reading their blogs like it appears most of your readers do daily. Now back to what is happening in Fiji.

On Saki you could even give it a positive military positive spin if you want. Mission completed as he is leaving Fiji...
question said…
Where was your outcry when the former police commissioner spent 4 years using public money for his devisive Chritian crusade with the full backing of our PM and military council ?
White paper said…
Actually Croz if you read the defence white paper (Fiji's) it is relevent. Not the part about mulims. It gives a credible reason for Frank taking the action he did - his role, power and that of the RFMF where to be reduced. Unfortunately this never happened and Fiji has continued with a coup culture with the RFMF right at the centre of that culture...more so today than ever.
sara'ssista said…
Yes i note that there were very many quite commentators when the last illegal commissioner of police was forcing police whether muslim hindu or whatever to attend his own brothers crusades and requiring them to swear allegience?? So while i do not condone any racial taunts or vilification when this regime it supporters seem very quiet when people are threatened with being forced out of their job for not being supportive of christian crusades. BTW if this regimes so bold and reformist where is the indian, president or vice president, chief justice ?? where is the fanatical drive to boost indian numbers in the military??? This is lip service and this regime expects everyone else to reform except themsleves, and heres the surpirse, it appears coupsupporters feel the unrepresentaive military is just working fine like it is. Hurrah.
Christian said…
How can the Editors of CoupFourPointFive look at themselves in the mirror?
Anti-Christian coup? That is a new angle!From what I have observed and read, the Methodist Church in Fiji has strayed somewhat from what the Church should be doing, that is preaching the Gospel - the good news of Jesus Christ. Instead it appears that the Methodist Church in Fiji has become far too politicised and the focus has been on building bigger and better barns(Churches),mainly from previous government donations and from people who can ill-afford to give much. No way should a Christian or church member EVER be forced to give money to the Church. Yes tithe as much as you can afford but never feel guilty or pressured to give more than you feel you able to. God looks at the heart - the inside not the outside. Has the Methodist Church in Fiji forgotten this? This coup may well be the saving grace for the Methodist Church in Fiji!
Balance? said…
Croz, with all due respect I think you have compromised your proclaimed stance as a balanced person when it comes to your blog and its contributions.

Not that I'm anti government or for that matter pro government, all i have seen on your blog is anything and everything painting a rosy picture of Fiji. I'm afraid this is not the case as i have just spent 4 weeks in Fiji.

Freedom of expression is a wonderful gift, which unfortunately doesn't exist in fiji at the moment - well certianly not for those critical of the regime but i would have thought you would be a bit more fair and balanced in your approach.

Do you think the AG's aunty processing pay for cabinet minister's is appropriate? why don't you investigate these matters instead of shooting C4.5 eveytime. I don't blame you for that because i think that website is all but anti Frank.

Come Croz, don't taint your unblemished record - in the name of a media freedom
Racist attacks said…
So croz
You are now telling those who don't support the illegal regime that you and your coup supporters can attack Fijians and their culture and Chiefs, and their Christian Methodist religion with impunity, but as soon as someone comments about muslims - it is religious attacks. No wonder Fijians and Samoans despise you and your kind? You can make constant racist attacks but as soon as someone sneezes, you and your coup supporting kind bleat 'racism'.
snoopy said…
Coup 4.5 have spun so many rumours over the last 4 years that it is beyond a joke. They have no credibility left!
Joe said…
We are under Sharia law. Watch this and see if you find any resemblance.
Salus Populi said…
@ sara'ssista and others:

During the time of the Christian Crusade in the Fiji Police Force it was frequently made more than clear that the forcing of any religion or any religious ideology on anyone let alone on members of a Police Force - an institution which must guard and uphold the safety and security of every civilian in the land - was untenable and unconscionable and, at the end of the day, would be counter-productive. This has now been ended. Not before time.

It is also perfectly permissible for any thinking, sentient human being to choose to have NO RELIGIOUS BELIEF and they should be freely and sensibly allowed this choice. There are many very good and dedicated Fiji Police Officers: they do not require a religious "turn around". They require our support and our confidence to allow them to do for us the right thing: what they are paid by us, taxpayers, to do.
sara'ssista said…
@Salus...yes but while i agree that religeion is up to the individual, like this regime, the crusade went on ,and on and on and with no intervention until the very end . Is this how things work in this regime?? rather admit it was an appalling mistake and then no investigation into these actions. I am not surprised to see , again that standards are very different for the military and that abuse of office is really only for civilians. My point, again, is that while this regime talks about methodist ministers having no role in politics they were perfectly happy the New Methodist Church' running the police. Only they don't see this as hypocracy, the arrogance of this was expected.
Sa sega ni dodonu na gaunisala oqo said…
This notion among some anti-regime campaigners that discussing such things as the Vanua and the Methodist Church constitutes an attack on indigenous values is ridiculous. These are legitimate issues for all Fijians to canvass. But, of course, they are the "real Fijians" - the term they're now embracing to set themselves apart from the rest of us. That's right fellas. This is when you become the fringe dwellers in our country, increasingly on the margins of national life and regarded as extremist oddities. Take a tip from an old dog. Join the modern world and you've got a future. Wallow in your separateness and you're finished. You seem to want to emulate the Afrikaner in retreating to the lager and making some kind of last stand. But like the Afrikaner, you'll come to understand the futility of such a course and hopefully rejoin the real world. Yes, lash out if you have to. Your problem is that I'm not a "mongoose", a stereotypical Kai Idia blow-in. So lashing out at me is also futile. All around you are fellow i'Taukei who realise that yours is the old way. The new Fiji beckons. Welcome aboard.

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