Message to the Nation from
Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes
President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
on the Occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr 2018

Eid-ul-Fitr celebrates the end of the period of Ramadan, a month-long commitment to fasting, prayer and contemplation by Muslims worldwide. It commemorates the season in which the Prophet Muhammad received divine revelation and in which one night is described by the Holy Qur’an as being better than one thousand months.

The Islamic community of Trinidad and Tobago has spent the last month practising self-restraint and engaging in acts of charity and forgiveness. Fasting or sawm is the fourth pillar of Islam and advocates restraint not only from food and drink, but also from malice and ill-will. A considerable level of dedication and selflessness is required for this undertaking, which is why it is indeed a great pleasure to extend warm greetings to the Muslim community on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr 2018.

Today is a joyful day for Muslims around the world, as celebrations are held in homes, mosques and communities. The emphasis placed on family and community life during Ramadan is reflected in the festivities of the day, as people seek to share their experiences and engage one with another.

Here in Trinidad and Tobago, our diverse heritage enables every creed and race to share in the joy of those who would have broken their month-long fast. I encourage the entire national community to reflect thoroughly on the values of brotherhood and generosity demonstrated by Muslims during the observance of Ramadan and the celebration of Eid. We can all benefit from adopting similar perspectives in our attitudes and interactions with our fellow citizens.

The solidarity and sacrifices made by Muslims during this time and in their daily lives highlight the stark contrast between the spiritual values of brotherhood, peace and mutual respect advocated in the Holy Qur’an, and the violence, hatred and intolerance practised by some who claim to share the same beliefs. It is indeed a paradox, that right here in our blessed nation, there are one or more criminal gangs who call themselves ‘Muslims’ but whose actions cannot be reconciled to the Qur’an’s message of peace and tolerance.

It is alarming to observe the distortion of the message of Islam practised by some in Trinidad and Tobago and around the world, who have been drawn into lifestyles of brutality and contempt for human life. It must dishearten those who strive to be devout ambassadors of their religion to see it so inaccurately portrayed; but they must remain steadfast in exemplifying the true tenets of their faith and we all must be discerning to realize that the abhorrent acts of the minority do not at all reflect the teachings, values and principles of Islam.
Let us therefore be reminded of the words of our national motto, ‘Together we aspire, together we achieve.’ When we are united in the determination to secure a stable and prosperous country, we can be assured of a better and brighter future.

For that reason, we ought therefore to be guided by the teaching of the Holy Qur’an which aptly instructs us to strive to ‘do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately.’ I join with all citizens of Trinidad and Tobago in wishing the Muslim community a safe and happy Eid.