(o) Blog and US Got It a Little Wrong on Religious Freedom

 The Coupfourpointfive blog heading reads "US Report Says No Religious Freedom in Fiji" but the US report (and indeed the blog text) pointed to a decline in religious freedom in Fiji, not its demise. The International Religious Freedom Report 2009 by the US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor released on October 26 attributed the decline to the Police flirtation with the New Methodists and their Christian Crusades which, we earnestly hope, is now over. 

These matters need to be brought to our attention but the blog should not dramatize the situation with a misleading heading and it should not leave readers unaware the situation has recently improved.  The so-called Christian Crusades -- and, as far as I know, the inclusion of New Methodist  sermons at the compulsory weekly police parades -- have been abandoned.

It does, however, speak poorly of a regime that claims to seek a break from the bigotry of the past that they ever took place.


The Max said…
Just last Sunday, there was a gathering of Methodists (not New Methodists) youths held at Sukuna Park to commemorate their youth week. My family participated in this and it was one of the biggest gathering of Methodist youths at Sukuna Park.

People who care about this country would not really be bothered by misinformation or disinformation coming from anti-government bloggers. We just go on with our daily lives and do what's best for the country, ourselves and families.
Anonymous said…
The police crusades led by Commissioner Teleni has had long-term implications for police morale generally, I am reliably informed that unfortunately it has been continued by senior officers even after JVB has put a stop to the public shows and TV appearances of both the police and the New Methodists.

It is best that Teleni and some of his still crusading senior officers be removed from the police force so that this very important institution can eventually become more professional, secular and inclusive. In doing so it will regain some credibility.

Liu Muri said…
The Coup Four and Half headline about no religious freedom in Fiji is utter rubbish and nonsense. Fiji has public holiday on Diwali, Prophet Mohammed birthday and Christmas and Easter. All are free to practice their religions, so where do you get this bull about no religious freedom. My Karua tells me that his neighbouring Ramayan mandali in Lautoka Fiji sings Ramayan and drink grog till 3am, no problem, no restriction. The sounds still ring from Mosques without any restriction, so where do you get your news from? You are mischief-making if you say that what is happening for some few hundred police officers means there is no religious freedom. I cannot believe any Hindus could be coerced or threatened. Remember, India had Mogul and British Raj for some 1,000 years, yet Hinduism has remained intact, so what you saying about some crusade in Fiji? Get real
Red Dragon said…
Religious freedom IS alive and well in Fiji and it always has been. What we do NOT require is fundamentalist belief of any kind which overrides rational thought and the capcity to change one's belief or....one's opinion based on evidence. THerefore, it is imperative that people should be freely allowed NOT TO PRACTISE RELIGION without being coerced in any way.

"When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, Sir?" (Maynard Keynes)

This is a fundamental, if you like, of sensible, rational thought. Religion falls into the area of 'belief'. Not much about religion can be proved rationally. Even the Bible and the interpretations of the Bible and the Koran are various.

So, let us get 'real and rational'. We must always respect others beliefs and be tolerant but we should allow that religious belief is a PERSONAL/INDIVIDUAL matter and.....people may choose to change their minds. What is so wrong about that?
Anonymous said…
One has said quite plainly elsewhere that Police Forces anywhere and everywhere must be:

law-abiding as enforcers of the law
inclusive racially
inclusive with regard to gender

This is a 'given' anywhere in the world. Police Forces have ethical standards and there are plenty of good guides to the Code of Conduct for Police Officers available from the Commonwealth or other trans-national sources. To work together, Police Forces must share values, discipline and knowledge. Their understanding may be tailored to their local circumstances but should also prepare them globally: Liberia/Sudan/Cambodia/Kosovo/Bosnia are some of the locations in which Fiji Police Officers serve. So, they ARE and should always be aware of how religious intolerance coupled with racist thinking and fundamental belief can ruin the peace and lead to genocide.
S.O.E. said…
One further observation must be made about leadership in the Police Force. While it is a good thing to 'abandon' any concept or practice which may be deemed inappropriate or of questionable outcome, this also does give rise to a sense of 'uncertain leadership'.

Leaders must always be overtly certain. They must have carefully thought through their actions and they must be prepared for all the criticisms or inconsistencies which may be pointed out to them by others. This is 'a political approach': not Party Political but a SMART approach in any field where leadership is exercised (business for example). Leadership must come from the top and it must always take due consideration of the many views which may differ (expressed or not). However, at the end of the day, the Leader MUST LEAD. There is a time for explanation and then there is a time for decision: that is his/hers alone. See and listen to President Obama as he wrestles with the hardest decision of his presidency: to send or not to send 40,000 more US soldiers to war in Afghanistan.