Last Updated on Monday, 1 February 2016, 17:24 by Denis Chabrol
As Guyana joins the rest of the world in observance of interfaith week 2016, President David Granger says that it is imperative that Guyana look at diversity as a source of strength and not one of weakness.
The President made the statement at the Arthur Chung Convention Center on Monday at the launch of Interfaith Week 2015.
Religious faiths represented according to the program circulated include, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Bahai and Apostolic Pentecost.
According to the President, Guyana has reached a state of tolerance for other cultural values but that tolerance must now transform to acceptance, since that aspect is lacking.
“We are proud of our diversity it is a strength it is not a weakness…Guyana needs to move to a higher level. We need to graduate from tolerance to acceptance,” the President stated.
Granger affirmed that Guyana as a sovereign state support the call for interfaith harmony and as such it is enshrined in the constitution.
“The State itself has a duty to support and encourage interfaith harmony…Guyana sees interfaith harmony as an obligation and not an option,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Social Cohesion Minister Amna Ally stated that it the religious community is one of the most strategically positioned to foster peace and harmony, and must use that position to its advantage.
“Because through religion they are captive gatherings, congregations and audiences…there is therefore tremendous potential for all of the world’s religions to promote peace and stability,” she said.
People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Parliamentarian Juan Edghill, who was also present at the launch noted that the religious community has a serious role to play against the suicide scourge afflicting Guyanese.
“It cannot be a coincidental meeting that we meet up. We have to do some deliberate things…get into our villages and communities…Religious leaders can be doing much more in Guyana in tackling the scourge of suicide,” he stated.
“We have to identify ourselves with the problem…we can’t see the problem as somebody’s else’ problem out there…If we keep saying where the problem is and we never identify with the problem, we will never find a solution,” he added.