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Call for respectful dialogue

Charlene Lanyon
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

FIJI is a multiethnic, multilingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious country and we need to be able to collaborate on issues affecting Fijians.

Methodist Church in Fiji president Reverend Dr Tevita Banivanua made this statement at the Pacific Peace Conference in Suva.

The conference was held to coincide with the International Day of Peace, which is celebrated globally today. (September 21)

"We need to meaningfully engage in the issue of interfaith prayers, not as a state issue but in the process of respectfully living together in a multi-religious community," Mr Banivanua said.

"We need to engage in dialogue between mainstream religious and smaller religious communities, including indigenous religious perspectives, in a way of listening to other voices among us.

"Dialogue and collaboration does not mean compromise of our doctrinal beliefs and tradition and we will certainly not do so for the sake of political expediency or political correctness."

Mr Banivanua said Fijians must be able to celebrate their unique diversity.

"We must acknowledge that this rich diversity has also presented us with difficulties, in terms of how we relate to those different from us," he said.

"This feeling of otherness is compounded when it is based on religion and ethnicity or culture.

"As human beings we need to keep reminding ourselves of our common humanity first, rather than focusing on that which divides us."

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