The threat of terrorism is real and security should be provided to high-profile visitors with a wide international following.
Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry said unlike in the past, terrorism was now a threat and security should be provided to high profile visitors regardless of the purpose of their visit.
He was responding to cabinet’s decision this week to provide security for American evangelist Benny Hinn at the expense of taxpayers.
The cost of the security arrangements for his visit in January could not be established.
Mr Chaudhry said there was no reason why security should not be provided, as long as all religious organisations received the same treatment.
“There is nothing wrong with government providing security for Pastor Benny Hinn, he is famous and has a lot of following and with terrorism as a real issue, they need security,” Mr Chaudhry said.
“But as long as the same is provided to any visiting religious leaders and not only to those of the Christian faith.”
United General Party leader Mick Beddoes said the Government should not discriminate against any religion and should treat everyone the same.
But, he said, he was bewildered why a pastor visiting the country on a goodwill mission required security.
Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji president Kamlesh Arya said the Government had never assisted them in any way when they hosted high-profile religious leaders except to approve entry visas.
He said it was unusual for government to provide security for visiting religious leaders.
Mr Arya said there should always be a healthy separation between the church and State.
Fiji Muslim League president Hafiz Khan is out of the country and could not be contacted.