Religious arrogance saddens prominent Samoan

A Samoan who is a senior Member of Parliament in New Zealand, Aupito William Sio, has urged Pasifika communities in New Zealand and everywhere to be more responsible.

Speaking on Tagata Pasifika earlier this week, he admitted there is arrogance within the Pacific communities when it comes to religion, saying some of the comments he has heard following the Christchurch terrorism attack saddened him.

"Within our communities there is a sort of arrogance around religion and I know with some of the feedback that I get from young people; there’s a group of young people who are quite angry that the person responsible for the massacre promoted himself as a white supremacist, white nationalist.

"But there is also another group of Pasifika and Samoans I’ve noticed, who are also espousing similar views as promoted by white nationalists against Muslims and so it saddens me," he said.

He said talking about racism and discrimination, does not particularly point to one group of people.

"I think we have a responsibility, a duty of care for us to look internally, first and foremost.

"Too often we justify what we say on social media or out in the public by saying this is our right; freedom of expression and freedom of speech but freedom of speech without a care of responsibility on how that impacts on people is reckless and immoral on my view."

The Mangere MP emphasized that the New Zealand government aspires to be a welcoming nation for all races and all religions.

"We have to basically understand that NZ is a country that is welcoming of all races and all religions; it doesn’t mean that we’re perfect but that’s the aspiration as a goal, within this particular government," said Aupito.

Aupito William Sio is passionate about advocating for diversity and the needs of Pacific peoples. He migrated to New Zealand as an eight year old to live in Otahuhu in 1969. His father comes from the village of Letaupe in the district of Lotofaga while his mother’s side is from the village of Satapuala. 

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