While the hate on Muslims has taken a nosedive on social media, it is sadly still rife in our communities. Unfortunately, Islamophobia has become a reality in Fiji.
Nobody will benefit from this.
This hate and fear will not help our young economy in any way. All it will do is give credence to lousy politicians who cannot fight the upcoming general elections on their policies – because they do not have new ideas to take this country forward.
The best solution to this Islamophobia is the Civil Service Reform Unit. If past Governments had practiced merit-based appointments, we would have been miles ahead as a nation.
But it is happening today. People are appointed on their merit and if one does a thorough analysis of people within the civil service and those who head Government statutory bodies, it will open their eyes to the fact that there are people who hold those positions are appointed on merit.
One analogy the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has talked about is when a sick person goes to the hospital, the race and religion of the doctor does not matter to them.
And this is a fact. A person who has had no access to piped water is not bothered about the race and religion of the engineer or workers laying the pipes which will give them access to piped water.
They will be concerned about how qualified the workers are. They will want the best people doing the job.
This is how we will progress as a nation. Not by hating one race or religion. No. The 2013 Constitution is clear in protecting the rights of all its citizens.
Now more people have access to education. Fewer students are dropping out of schools because they cannot afford education. In 20 years’ time, we will have a nation where the majority will have a qualification of one kind or the other. That is where our focus is. Our debate should be centred around whether public funds are being used in the right place. Our debate should be around whether we have qualified teachers to do their jobs.
Our debate should be about how we progress as a nation.
It should not be about unsubstantiated claims based on peoples’ religion. Today the hate is directed towards the Muslim community. In 1987 and 2000, it was directed towards the Indo-Fijian community. Who’s next?
We will never progress as a nation, until we are able to look beyond what some lousy politicians and their puppets want us to see.