Eid Mubarak 2016

Message from His Excellency Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona ORTT, SC President of the Republic Of Trinidad and Tobago on the occasion of EID-UL-FITR 2016

Today marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan and the beginning of the month of Shawwal, the tenth month of the lunar Islamic calendar. Our Muslim brothers and sisters have just concluded a month of individual and collective sacrifice, personal introspection and deep prayer as exemplified through their commitment to the redemptive rigours and benefits of fasting, the Fourth Pillar of Islam. The Five Pillars of Islam, the Testimony of Faith, Prayer, Giving Zakat, Fasting the Month of Ramadan and The Pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca) are the foundation stones of a full, rewarding Muslim life. Praying together and fasting together keep both a family and community united in love, respect and humility and by extension a Nation. During this month of Ramadan, many relationships are formed and bonds strengthened with friends and families through communal prayer and Iftar celebrations at the various Masjids throughout Trinidad and Tobago. That sense of peaceful celebration, togetherness, mercy and forgiveness is much needed in this society of ours and needs to spread throughout Trinidad and Tobago with tsunamic force.

The Muslim religion is one rooted in love, tolerance, mutual respect, compassion and care for one’s fellowmen and women. As a society, we must draw inspiration from the Holy Quran and the Muslim way of life and understand their utility in the establishment of a just and fair society. All are one in the eyes of Allah regardless of one’s status quo, socio-economic status, class or race for the fount of Allah’s benevolence, is grounded in real genuine inclusivity, compassion, kindness and mercy.

The fight for justice and equality is constant throughout the world. We all therefore need sustainable peace to rule this world of ours and certainly justice and equality must be a feature of that peace. There is often no peace without justice and mediation. Informed and wise leadership is the requisite key to fostering genuine peace and harmony in any society. The Imams in the Masjids therefore have a pivotal role in spreading implementable philosophies of peace, harmony, compassion, kindness and selflessness, ensuring that Allah’s benevolence spreads to everyone in this diverse society of ours. We need to build a road map for all our people steeped in understanding, love, tolerance, mercy and forgiveness. There is therefore a need during this Holy time for more listening and less shouting, to bring about a greater understanding, peace and sensitivity to those suffering the afflictions of man’s inhumanity to man.

Ours is a world of seemingly skewed perceptions, for men and women of peace are often seen as men and women of war. The terrorism of the minority also continues to create a warped perception and view of what Islam truly is. The Holy Quran is not a handbook of violence but a repository of peace, harmony and reformative knowledge. Islam has been coloured and tainted by minority groups who are bent on harm and creating destruction of their fellow man. We who know better, must maintain our resolve and ensure that Islam not become a victim of ignorance, paranoia and fanaticism. Islam is a religion of peace. It is beyond doubt that Muslims and the Muslim community have engaged in positive transformational change throughout the world. Certainly, in our country our Muslim brothers and sisters are playing a pivotal role in the holistic economic, social and political development of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago as well as its democratic and social wellbeing and traditions. It is indeed a wonderful, blessed time for all Muslims families and all citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.

On behalf of Her Excellency, my son Christian and daughter Anura, I wish the Muslim community and by extension Trinidad and Tobago Eid Mubarak 2016!