Bula Vinaka and As-salamu alaikum.
I wish our Muslim sisters and brothers in Fiji a very happy Eid-al-Adha.With the sacred duty of the Hajj delayed for a second year and your services and celebrations constrained to your homes, your fellow Fijians — of all faiths — join you in prayer for an end to this terrible pandemic and the restoration of the lives we knew.

Eid-al-Adha quite literally means the “Festival of Sacrifice”. It signifies the readiness of Abraham to sacrifice his own son after God commanded it. Though God spared his son, Abraham’s willing faith has served as inspiration for followers of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity; different religions, bound by common thread. And today, regardless of faith, we stand united to contain and defeat a deadly threat in our midst.

Our response to this pandemic calls on every Fijian to sacrifice in the name of the collective good. It calls on our compassion to care for our health and the health of others. We have seen a great many Fijians — including many members of our Muslim community — live out those ideals through their service to those most vulnerable among us and their sacrifices to keep the nation safe.

To end this outbreak, our commitment to each other cannot wane. I ask you to remain in adherence to our COVID-safe measures. I ask that you be vaccinated to protect yourself and your country from the worst effects of the virus. And I ask that you keep faith that we will triumph over this disease and take back the lives we knew. So that soon, our mosques, churches and temples can be open, all of us can safely be together, and our many sacrifices will not have been in vain.

Eid al-Adha Mubarak!