FIJI, November 19, 2013 (Fiji Sun): The Vishwa Hindu Parishad Fiji says comments by Cook Islands bishop, Tutai Pere, condemning Diwali celebrations held in the island nation are saddening.
VHP Fiji national president Jay Dayal said the bishop was forgetting the values of Christianity. "At the same time, we in Fiji are fortunate and so ever thankful to our government that Fiji is a secular nation that allows freedom of religious practices and personal beliefs bringing everyone together during their respective festivals," Mr. Dayal said.
"As a Christian, the bishop should learn to love his neighbors rather than enforce his imprudent personal beliefs on others that divide a society in a tiny island nation like the Cooks, said Dayal.
Bishop Pere was on Radio Australia labeling Hindus as idol worshipers (listen to the full recording at http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/inte ... tion-as-blasphemy/1220374). Mr. Dayal said: "Diwali is a festival of light not idolatry or blasphemy against Christians as alleged by the Bishop Tutai Pere. "He needs understanding with the significance of Diwali. Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, falsehood to truth and death to immortality.
Diwali was festively celebrated at the US Presidential White House by President Barack Obama with the First Lady. The British Prime Minister David Cameron, accompanied by his wife Samantha, visited the Swaminarayan Mandir, the largest traditional Hindu temple outside India, in north-west London and celebrated Diwali.
The Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper marked Diwali with members of Canada's South Asian community with crowds of hundreds in Mississauga, Toronto, Canada. The Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor embraced Malaysian Hindus at the Batu Caves and celebrated Diwali as well.
Mr. Dayal said: "As the leaders of some of the world's great nations joined hands with Hindus to openly celebrate Diwali on the same token the comments and dim-witted protest by Tutai Pere, Bishop of the Apostolic Church of the Cook Islands is sad but insignificant and VHP can only suggest to him to seek knowledge of the divine and rise above religious fanaticism." (You can listen to his complete response, also on Radio Australia, at http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/inte ... n-of-idol-worship/1221206)