Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Back to the middle ages in Samoa

Before the wars of religion and seven and a half million dead made them recognise the value of religious tolerance, European states persecuted those who followed a different religion from their ruler. Today, Samoa seems intent on going back there, with the Prime Minister considering constitutional changes to reflect christianity while the powerful council of churches is calling for an outright ban on Islam:

Samoa's council of churches has welcomed the prime minister's call to review the religious freedom provisions of the constitution.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi recently said the country's supreme law may be changed to recognise Christian principles and teachings, not just in the preamble.

However the Secretary General of the Samoa Council of Churches, Reverend Ma'auga Motu, said he would go a step further and ban the religion of Islam.

He said even though most Samoans are Christian, Islam poses a future threat to the country.

The supposed justification for this is concerns about "Islamic extremists". I can think of no better way to radicalise people and turn them to extremism and violence than to ban their religion. On the flip side, if you want people to live in peace, you leave them in peace. Interfering in people's private choices rather than ignoring them is the cause of discord.