Intolerance condemned

THE Citizens’ Constitutional Forum says it strongly condemns the continuing cases of religious intolerance and sacrilege around the country.

The CCF’s comments come after the Fiji Police Force reported receiving numerous complaints of stoning incidents during Hindu celebrations of the Ram Navami festival.

“As an organisation that has worked tirelessly against the scourge of racial discrimination, xenophobia and hate based on ethnicity, the CCF views these crimes as inexcusable and appalling,” CCF chief executive officer Sara Bulutani Mataitawakilai said.

While the country also marked the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination yesterday, Mr Mataitawakilai said the 2013 Constitution protected the rights of Fijian citizens’ to freely practise their religion of belief and worship and it was the responsibility of every Fijian to respect places of worship.

“CCF encourages active citizenry where it is the responsibility of every Fijian to keep their communities and neighbourhoods safe and report to the authorities when they see suspicious behaviour especially concerning places of worship.

“Fiji’s multiculturalism has often been touted as an attraction to entice visitors to our beautiful country and the fact that these crimes continue to occur should be of grave concern not only to authorities but to each and every individual Fijian.

“Racism and xenophobia will truly be defeated if we as a society take collective responsibility for addressing the issue.”

Mr Mataitawakilai said the CCF would continue advocating against racial discrimination and called for Fijians not to condone racism and xenophobia.