Religious reaction to the Reconciliation, Tolerance, and Unity Bill (Fiji)

Religious Reaction To The Reconciliation, Tolerance, And Unity Bill (Fiji)

Religious reaction to the Reconciliation, Tolerance, and Unity Bill (Fiji)

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Religion plays an important role in Fijian society. Indigenous Fijians are overwhelmingly Christian, predominantly Methodist but with significant Roman Catholic, Assemblies of God, Seventh-day Adventist, and other Christian minorities; Indo-Fijian are mostly Hindu, with a large Muslim as well as a smaller Christian minority. Religious organizations and preachers have been vocal in their comments on the controversial legislation that seeks to establish a commission with the power to compensate victims and pardon perpetrators of the coup d'├ętat which shook Fiji to its foundations in 2000.

The Methodist Church has endorsed the bill (with a faction dissenting), Hindu organizations have opposed it, as has the Roman Catholic Church and a number of other religious groups. Several religious groups have taken more nuanced positions, calling for dialogue, negotiation, and good will.

The Methodist Church

The Methodist Church announced its support for the bill on 19 July, according to the Rev. Timoci Nawaciono, head of the church's Nasea circuit. Methodist support was much coveted by the government, as almost two-thirds of indigenous Fijians are affiliated to the denomination. Nawaciono acknowledged, however, that Methodist support for the legislation was far from unanimous, and said that on 24 July, all parishioners will be asked to complete forms stating their individual opinions on it. On 1 August, the church announced that a majority of its members had voted in favour of...
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