Last Updated on Monday, 2 May 2022, 8:28 by Denis Chabrol
The Central Islamic Organisation (CIOG) on Monday- on the occasion of Eid Ul Fit’r- endorsed President Irfaan Ali’s ‘One Guyana’ platform regardless of religious persuasion and urged Guyanese to counter domestic violence, child molestation and racism.
“I wish to commend His Excellency, our President Dr. Mohammed Irfaan Ali on his ‘One Guyana’ vision. This can be achieved as long as it is grounded in religion. I, therefore, call from this pulpit on this day of Eid in our country , on my brothers and sisters in faith and my brothers and sisters in humanity, if you are a Muslim then be a good Muslim, if you are a Christian be a good Christian and if you are a Hindu be a good Hindu. All religions teach Love For All and hatred for none,” Head of CIOG, Moenul Hack said at a celebration to mark Eid Ul-Fit’r.
The Guyana government is yet to pass promised legislation to establish a ‘One Guyana’ Commission to be headed by Prime Minister Mark Phillips.
Mr. Hack said nothing is wrong with diversity such as race, gender or language and should be regarded as opportunities to cooperate for the benefit of all rather than barriers. “Those who are devoid of morality see these differences in race and religion as means of superiority and discrimination. They see everything, unfortunately, from a racial perspective which leads to the exclusion of some, violence against others, oppression and enslavement of humans by humans – all prohibited acts which we must condemn and eradicate from our society,” he said.
Stating that “all lives matter”, he expressed grave concern about the decades-long poor race relations in Guyana and called for this to be brought to an end. “Racism has impeded the development of our country and people for too long. Racism thrives among the ignorant. In this enlightened age we cannot allow racism to continue. Therefore, we have one option and that is to shun it and m0ve forward as believers in God Almighty and patriotic Guyanese to establish ‘One Guyana’.
Guyana’s two major political parties are largely supported by Indo and Afro-Guyanese, resulting in heightened tensions in the run up to and after general and regional elections.
Stressing that Islam is a faith of peace, the Muslim cleric also bemoaned other social conditions such as domestic violence and child molestation. “We are seeing too many cases of violence especially domestic violence in our society. We wake up to the news about a wife being buried in a shallow grave and many other cases of domestic violence sometimes ending in the death of a spouse,” he said. He warned men against unleashing violence on their spouses as that would have a domino effect on their offspring. “Don’t forget, our children are watching us and will replicate what they see us doing. Is this the example we want them to replicate on their own spouses and their own children? The best gift that we can give our children is to treat their mothers with dignity and respect,” he advised.
Sheikh M0enul appealed to Guyanese to restrain their anger among other dangerous emotions. “Anything that begins with anger will end with regret,” he said.
He also spoke out against sexual violence against children and called on Guyanese to do all they can to go after child molesters. “Sexual violence, including rape of our children, is prevalent in our country. Relatives molesting their own. Adults taking advantage of children who are vulnerable. Children’s protection is everyone’s business. Everyone must be vigilant to get these child molesters return to the Guyanese culture, my beloved gathering, that is it takes a village to raise a child,” the Head of the CIOG said.
Meanwhile, President Ali remarked that humanity is created with the ability to love, respect and improve themselves. “This the personal message that Ramadan has reinforced to all of us. It has reemphasised the point that regardless of where we stand in life or where we sit in life, we are but one. The purpose of us standing in prayers is to demonstrate and reinforce this fact that before God Almighty, we are nothing but the same. There is absolutely no difference based on any character based on any character, whether rich or poor, regardless of your status we stand together,” he said.
The President urged the Muslim community to do their part f0r standing up for principles such as rule of law, democracy and justice.