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Speak out against racism and hatred: Fiji PM
8:35 pm GMT+12, 17/03/2019, Fiji

Fiji is behind New Zealand and the families of the Christchurch massacre during their darkest hour.
 
These were the words of Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama in remembrance of the victims of the Christchurch shooting.
 
“Let us never forget our fallen Fijians, nor our brothers and sisters in New Zealand. To their families, you have the support of not just your fellow Fijians and of Kiwis, but people from all around the world who are holding similar vigils to honour the innocent men, women and children who lost their lives. We are with you.”
 
“Our voice must be louder than ever. We must recognize that this type of hatred does exist in the world, and we must root it out wherever it lies.”
 
“We must be aware that acts of extreme violence often begin in the form of hateful words and divisive ways of thinking.
 
Bainimarama said the terrorist attack is shocking as it became very personal to all Fijians.
 
“This surreal news event quickly turned to reality, as our friends and neighbors learned through word of mouth that Fijians were present during the attacks. Soon we found that Fijians were among the Muslim worshippers who were so brutally slaughtered, making this heartbreaking tragedy even more personal for our nation.”
 
“To our Muslim community I say this, you are safe and you are loved. My friends all too often after a hate filled act we describe the crimes as unspeakable but while this shooting in Christchurch is unfathomable in both its scale and the monstrous nature it was committed it is not unspeakable. Staying silent and not speaking up would be an injustice to the victims and to all of humanity. We must speak up and in light of New Zealand’s darkest day our voice must be louder than ever.”
 
The two Christchurch mosques were attacked while the worshippers were praying, Bainimarama reaffirmed the security of all Fijian Muslims and urged them to not give in to the fear the attack has created.
 
“Difficult as it may be, try not to let these acts of hatred intimidate you that was the goal of the coward who committed these crimes.  To our Muslim community, I say this; you are safe, and you are loved.”
 
The Prime Minister has urged all Fijians to speak up and recognise that there is no space for hatred of any kind.
 
“I call on all Fijians across all backgrounds and faiths to join in making this pledge; whenever you encounter someone who says something racist and hateful, whether it is online or in person, say something.  Do something.  Have the courage to call them out, and counter their hatred with reason.  Be the voice of love.  Be the voice of change.”
 
Of the 50 confirmed dead in the attack, two of the victims are Fijian.
 
There are also unconfirmed reports that another Fijian who was praying at the mosque at the time of the shooting remains unaccounted for.
 
Meanwhile, Fijian families whose loved ones died in the horrendous mosque massacre in Christchurch last Friday continue to await the release of their loved one’s bodies.
 
New Zealand High Commissioner to Fiji Johnathan Curr says they’re working to ensure that families can bury their loved ones as soon as possible.
 
“We are two nations united in our grief. The High Commission has been working to facilitate the travel of family members affected by this attack and leaders of Fiji’s Muslim community to enable them to attend to funeral arrangements and to console members of the Muslim faith community.”
 
General Secretary for the Pacific Council of Churches(PCC), Reverend James Bhagwan reiterated the Christian community’s stance condemning the atrocious act of hatred and pleading solidarity with the Muslim community.
 
“We are mourning with you, we are hurting with you and we will work to love one another and commit ourselves to end any form of hate based on faith.”
 
They made the comments at the solemn gathering which was held Sunday to honor and pay respect to those killed in the heinous hate crime.
 
Members of the Muslim Community, Diplomatic Corps, Members of Parliament and various religious leaders attended the interfaith event at the Makoi Women’s Vocational Centre in Suva.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/FIJI GOVT/PACNEWS


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