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SAMOA, THE FIRST CONFESSIONAL STATE IN THE PACIFIC

Bangkok desk / Noel Caballero // The small island nation of Samoa is set to declare itself as the first confessional state in the Pacific, stating in the constitution that it is a “Christian nation founded on God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”.

In late May, the Samoan parliament approved the amendment during its third reading with the support of 43 members, with six abstained and none against.

The amendment of article 1 of the 1960 constitution was proposed by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele in the last parliamentary session of 2016 and it sought to reflect the predominant Christianity among its 200,000 inhabitants.

According to the latest census, 98 percent of the country’s population follow different churches, with 32 percent following the Congregational and 19 percent devoting to the Roman Catholic Church.

Sailele defended the merit of abandoning the country’s secular nature is to prevent possible religious tensions and a hypothetical influence of Islam.

Reverend Maauga Motu, General Secretary of Samoa’s National Council of Churches, was being more critical as he sought a ban on Islam, a religion that was introduced in the country in 1985 and is now being followed by about 0.03 percent of the population, according to official figures.

“The people of this Islamic faith are very wise in maneuvering things in order to let them come in to any country. So we want to prevent that (…) even though there are so many people who are good people but still there are some dangerous people among them who might come and threaten our peace,” Motu said in an interview with Radio New Zealand.

Small communities of Hindus, Buddhists and Jews are also present in Apia, the country’s capital.

The Head of Samoa’s Muslim League, Laulu Mohammed Daniel, expressed concern over the constitutional amendment, saying it could lead to a discrimination against non-Christians, and jeopardize bilateral relations with other nations such as China, one of the country’s main economic partners.

“Does this mean that we will not be accepting any more money from the Chinese and everywhere that are not Christians ? (…) Will they advertise jobs asking each applicant to submit a letter from church ministers?” the imam told the newspaper Samoa Observer in Dec. 2016.

“We think we hold this special pride that we would be the only nation in the world to declare the nation as Christian state but the consequences are immense,” Daniel said.

However, Samoa’s Attorney General Lemalu Hermann assured everyone that the country respects freedom of religion, as guaranteed by article 11 of the constitution.

“The individual freedom of religion of all citizen within our nation; remains intact,” Hernan said after the confirmation of the change, according to the Samoa Observer.

The legislation is now pending approval from the Head of State, Tuiatua Tupua.

The beliefs of Samoan natives were based on animist polytheism before the arrival of the first European colonizers in the 18th century, according to anthropological studies. (EFE/Practica Español, June 2017)

Exercise of comprehension B.2

Lee la noticia y responde las preguntas. (Read the news and answer the questions)

Congratulations - you have completed Lee la noticia y responde las preguntas. (Read the news and answer the questions). You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%. Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%
Your answers are highlighted below.
Question 1
En la noticia se dice que...
A
el estado de Samoa no quiere ser un estado cristiano.
B
el estado de Samoa es laico.
C
el estado de Samoa se va a declarar cristiano.
Question 2
Según el texto...
A
no fue necesario reformar la Constitución de Samoa para que esta se declarase un estado confesional.
B
hubo una reforma constitucional para que Samoa se declarase un estado confesional.
C
el primer ministro de Samoa tiene pensado realizar una reforma constitucional.
Question 3
Según el texto, Samoa siempre fue un estado confesional.
A
Falso.
B
No se sabe.
C
Verdadero.
Question 4
Samoa es...
A
un país en el que viven cientos de miles de personas.
B
uno de los países más poblados del mundo.
C
un país en el que habitan unas pocas decenas de miles de personas.
Question 5
Todos los habitantes de Samoa son cristianos.
A
No se sabe.
B
Verdadero.
C
Falso.
Question 6
En la noticia se dice que...
A
algunos sectores de la población teme que pueda haber algún tipo de discriminación religiosa.
B
nadie considera que esa reforma pueda generar cualquier tipo de discriminación.
C
el Gobierno de Samoa reconoce que ya no existe libertad religiosa en el país.
Question 7
Todos los samoanos cristianos son católicos.
A
Verdadero.
B
No se sabe.
C
Falso.
Once you are finished, click the button below. Any items you have not completed will be marked incorrect. Get Results
There are 7 questions to complete.

Exercise of vocabulary B.2

Congratulations - you have completed .

You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%.

Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%


Your answers are highlighted below.
Question 1
Un país insular...
A
está en un continente.
B
no está rodeado por el mar.
C
se encuentra en una isla.
Question 2
Un estado 'confesional' es aquel que...
A
separa el ámbito político del religioso.
B
pertenece a una determinada confesión religiosa.
C
es laico.
Question 3
Se utiliza el término 'hipotético' para expresar que algo es seguro.
A
Verdadero.
B
No se sabe.
C
Falso.
Question 4
El 'imán' es quien preside la oración canónica musulmana.
A
Falso.
B
No se sabe.
C
Verdadero.
Once you are finished, click the button below. Any items you have not completed will be marked incorrect. Get Results
There are 4 questions to complete.

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