IRO chairman Cyril Paul told the Express that the visit will be raised in light of the controversy surrounding it.
He supported Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha general secretary Sat Maharaj’s stand on visiting evangelists learning about Trinidad and its mix of people and religions before coming to the country and making statements that could lead to discontent among followers of other religions. Maharaj who has protested Hinn’s May 19 visit also wants to know whether the State was sponsoring the trip.
Voicing his organisation’s objection to Hinn’s visit through a series of newspaper advertisements Maharaj also wrote a formal letter of objection to Prime Minister Patrick Manning citing Hinn’s international record, his previous visit to T&T when he claimed that he had cast off devils and referred to the country as a “voodoo land”, and the belief that Hinn will violate the laws of the land during his visit.
Maharaj said similar letters have been sent to President Max Richards and National Security Minister Martin Joseph.
Paul said religious groups preparing to sponsor foreign evangelists should take the time and the trouble to get the visitors to understand the plural mix of the country.
“We cherish our plural mix,” he said, adding that the IRO was put in place to foster respect among each group.
Paul said that insensitivity to religious groups should not be allowed. He said that there was need to understand the context and background that prompted the Maha Sabha to take such a stand and that comments made by Hinn on his first visit were interpreted as insensitive to various religious groups in the country.
“We have learned to recognise the importance of respecting each other’s way of life,” Paul said.
Hinn said during his 1999 visit that then Opposition Leader Patrick Manning would be Prime Minister.
Hinn’s three-day “Miracle Crusade 2” is to be held at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.
Maharaj said that the Maha Sabha was prepared to take legal measures to prevent Hinn’s visit.
“If State funds are used to finance this trip, and if the relevant ministries gave him a religious visa despite the fact that he disturbed the peace of the land then it is obvious that they are doing this for political reasons,” Maharaj said.
He said that it was taxpayers money and each citizen had the right to know.
Maharaj said under the Freedom of Information Act, the Maha Sabha wrote to the Prime Minister’s office inquiring whether government was financing Hinn’s trip. Sources in political circles are speculating the Manning might announce a date for the next General Election after the event.