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Concern over Samoan Bill

Pacnews
Saturday, February 04, 2017

APIA, SAMOA OBSERVER - The Samoan Government's push to amend the Constitution to define Samoa as a Christian State could undermine freedom of religion.

That's the opinion of the National University of Samoa's Director of Samoan Studies, Leasiolagi Dr Malama Meleisea.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand, he said he was unclear whether the Bill would guarantee religious freedom as the original Constitution intended.

He said the Constitutional Amendment Bill (No.2) reflected concerns about the influence of other religions.

"They are framing their concern about Islamism and so on in a very emotional way," Mr Leasiolagi was quoted as saying.

"So the leaders of the main Christian denominations are more or less saying that we want to protect our turf but in order for us to air these concerns we are going to frame it in the context of what is happening in the world."

Mr Leasiolagi said the Bill could give rise to discrimination and intolerance.

The Bill was widely supported by Parliament when it convened last week.

According to the Constitutional Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2016's Explanatory Memorandum, the government aims to insert in the Constitution that Samoa is a Christian nation to declare the dominance of Christianity in Samoa.








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