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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Dec. 6) – The Fiji Home Affairs Ministry has rejected visas for an Asian religious group that was supposed to have arrived into the country today.

The visa rejection came at the eleventh hour and Universal Federation of Peace Conference coordinator Steven Osbourne confirmed the group had left Samoa bound for Fiji.

The Fiji Council of Churches called on the Government to investigate the purpose of controversial South Korean Reverend Sun Myung Moon's trip to Fiji before approving a visa.

Osbourne alleges there were some people trying to stop this conference behind the scenes using the Government as a shield.

"The visa for Reverend Moon and his group was denied at the very last minute as the aircraft bound to Fiji left Samoa," he said.

"The group detoured to Australia and will stay there until we get this issue sorted out with the Fiji Government."

Reverend Moon is on a global tour of 100 cities that began in September to promote a new international body for the resolution of conflict, Universal Peace Federation.

The conference will begin tonight at the Sheraton Resort in Nadi where close to 400 dignitaries are expected to attend.

Reverend Moon is in the Pacific as part of the mission of peace but cancelled his trip to Vanuatu and instead went to Samoa following a backlash from churches in Vanuatu and delay in visa approvals by the government in Port Vila.

A self-proclaimed South Korean messiah, Reverend Moon is a controversial religious figure among fundamentalist Christians because of his bizarre Biblical interpretations and his reported brainwashing tactics.

Overseas media reports say his church has torn thousands of young people from their families and he has grown harshly anti-American in recent years.

Reverend Moon has also spent time in jail for tax fraud and obstruction of justice.

[PIR editor’s note: According to PIR files, Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi was to deliver welcoming remarks in Apia, American Samoa, on December 4 - with hymns for the service provided by the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa Nofoalii choir.]

December 7, 2005


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