With a Bible in one hand and a hammer in the other, a Fijian Christian entered a Hindu temple July 4 and smashed a statue of the monkey god Hanuman as well as other religious objects.
Iliesa Raqili, a recent convert from Hinduism, pleaded guilty to destroying property, but insists that God told him to damage the temple in Nausori. Raqili, 25, received a one-year suspended prison sentence.
The light sentence drew protests from local Hindus, who make up 38 percent of Fiji's population. Many organizations condemned the attack, including the ecumenical group Interfaith Search Fiji, which includes Methodists, Catholics, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Hindus, and Muslims.
While Fiji's constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion, it also designates the country "a Christian nation." Christians constitute about half of the population.1
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