Editorial comment – Promote love, respect

Sunni Muslim believers celebrate Prophet Mohammed's birthday. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

YESTERDAY was a special day for Muslims around the country.

We celebrated the birthday of Prophet Mohammed.

Muslims believe the prophet was a perfect example of being upright, merciful, compassionate, truthful, brave, generous and distant from all evil character.

We should embrace that and together dedicate ourselves to doing good for our country.

We should all work to raise the quality of life for everyone who calls Fiji home.

Surely we can all benefit from Prophet Mohammed’s teachings.

There are many challenges for Muslims around the globe.

Prophet Mohammed’s teachings are aimed at nurturing peace, harmony and mutual respect for one another.

In fact, these are the basic tenets of most religions.

We live in a multiracial country, where religion, cultural and traditional identity and values are appreciated.

We have grown up alongside one another, appreciating many things, making us a special nation of people who have learnt to live together.

If you haven’t already done so, perhaps it is time to learn about, and appreciate other religions.

Think about it!

Despite the many different religions we follow, and our racial make-up, we share one common factor, and that is our ability to live in peace and harmony with each other.

The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, said something during celebrations in 2016 that is still apt today.

“Every year, this occasion serves as an opportunity to appreciate the diversity of thought we enjoy in our society,” he said.

“The values taught by the Prophet Mohammed formed the foundation of Islam, and carry meaning for all of humanity, irrespective of cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds.

“Our shared identity as Fijians transcends religious boundaries.

“We can all respect the impact the Prophet Mohammed has had on universal values, moralities and ethics. And we can all seek to uplift ourselves and our communities to live out the virtues of unity, understanding, peace, justice and equality.”

Surely people of faith have an important role to play in the order and conduct of our society and government, as individuals and congregations.

In 2014, he said the government must depend on people of faith as a moral compass.

People of faith, he said, gave voice to principle and ensured ethics and morality were a part of our political dialogue.

This was essential for any society, but especially for a democratic one, he said.

Many Fijians may realise that religion could be a unifying force.

We live in a country that is diverse in many things — from religion, to tradition and culture, and racial composition.

In the face of our differences, we should promote love, understanding and mutual respect for one another. Inter-religious harmony will have a large bearing on peace and tolerance in our country.

That should be part of our contribution to nation-building.

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