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"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Police: Sacrilege of Hindu Temples by Christians Increasing

Police: Sacrilege of Hindu Temples by Christians Increasing

Fiji Times
(Wednesday, March 30, 2005)

Temple sacrilege incidents have risen in the past four years with a record of 48 incidents investigated by police last year.

According to police statistics, sacrilege incidents have risen from 29 in 2001 to 48 in 2004.

While the incidents decreased in 2002 to 21, it rose again to 36 in 2003.

The statistics, which were released by police spokeswoman acting Assistant Superintendent Unaisi Vuniwaqa, said in that period, the Western Division recorded the highest numbers of incidents.

"Twenty-five of these incidents were committed in the Western Division, with 18 being recorded in the Southern Division in 2004," she said.

The Western Division received 14 reports in 2001, six in 2002 and 12 in 2003.

The Southern Division saw its lowest reports in 2003 at three, but recorded the second highest number last year at 18.

The second highest number of incidents in 2003 was recorded in the Northern Division at 12 but the number decreased to only two incidents in 2004.

Of the four divisions, only the Eastern Division has recorded less than six incidents in a year for the past four years with the only one case reported in 2002. Acting ASP Vuniwaqa said police could not pinpoint whether the incidents were committed out of religious intolerance.

"The only thing I can say is that, people should always have an open mind when it comes to sacrilege incidents," she said.

She said the blame could not be put on one particular group of people.

"Most of those who commit the crime are opportunist robbers who do things when the opportunity arises. Such incidents arise when they take that opportunity," she said.

"However, we cannot tell Hindus to stop keeping money and valuables in their temples because that might be an insult to their faith."

"The only solution is for those who are committing the act to stop what they are doing because it is wrong," she said.

Last week, acting President, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi said Fiji was fortunate it did not plunge into racial and religious war after Indian people showed restraint in not retaliating against crimes of sacrilege against them by Christians.

Speaking about sacrilege while opening the 79th Then India Sanmaraga Ikya Sangama in Suva, Rau Joni said the start of Hindu intolerance began with the first 1987 coup.


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