‘We live in a country that is culturally, religiously diverse’ – VP Jagdeo

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

– as Guyana’s inaugural National Ramadan Village launched

As Muslims celebrate Ramadan in Guyana and around the world, Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo emphasised that we should recognise and count our blessings that we live in a nation where people of different cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds can coexist and prosper together.

He made the remarks during the launching of Guyana’s inaugural National Ramadan Village at Muslim Youth Organisation of Guyana (MYO) at Woolford Avenue, Georgetown on Monday.

With an open-air concept, the National Ramadan Village provides a unique chance for all Guyanese to enjoy the spiritual ambience of Ramadan. It also serves as a place where families can come together and share the breaking of fast with one another.

The stakeholders of this innovative initiative are the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana (CIOG), the Guyana Islamic Trust (GIT), the Muslim Youth Organisation of Guyana (MYO), and the Government of Guyana.

Jagdeo noted that the government recognises that the economic and social prosperity that is being undertaken in the country has to be buttressed by support for cultural diversity and spirituality.

Since assuming office, President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan has supported cultural groups and religious communities across faith allowing them to not just celebrate their own culture, but also allowing them to share diversity with the rest of the nation.

In Guyana, the vice president emphasised, “we believe that we must allow all of our people to feel comfortable with who they are. But in that comfort, [we] recognise that we are a nation made up of people of different races and different religions. And in that, that we have to live together, work together and understand each other if we’re going to realise the full potential of our people and our children.”

He stated, “We in the People’s Progressive Party have worked at this all of our lives. It is part of our foundational principles. A part of what we have worked for, although we have been mischaracterised and there’s always that struggle, always the struggle to fight off those who will seek to misrepresent what we stand for…”

He lauded the key stakeholders for putting together such an event that not only allows Muslims to observe their faith together but also allowing non-Muslims to experience this wonderful religion, Islam, which has been vilified globally for a long time.

“And I hope that by allowing people to come here and share the great things about this religion and this fear, that there will be a better understanding of this world,” Dr Jagdeo says.

As Ramadan is being observed, he reminded the gathering that although Ramadan is a period of fasting and sacrifice, there is a part of the world, in Gaza, where people are fasting involuntarily.

He went on to say that the reason they are starving is due to the failure of the international community to unite and acknowledge the pain endured by the Palestinian people.

“How could you not want to ensure that there is a ceasefire now in Gaza? The prevarications around this issue have allowed Israel to in a way that defies the entire international community and all peace-loving people to pursue a course of action that has led to the catastrophe that we have now in Palestine…,” the vice president posited.

Jagdeo highlighted that the entire world supports a two-state supports a two-state solution to bringing peace to that region, thereby, allowing Israel to live in peace and security but also the Palestinian people to live in dignity.

Meanwhile, Director of Education and Dawah of CIOG, Sheik Moeenul Hack noted that the National Ramadan Village provides yet another opportunity to build upon Guyana’s multifaceted society rich tradition.

“This initiative will serve to strengthen the family bond which is being challenged in the current time – breaking the fast, eating and praying together in a pleasant environment. This national Ramadan village 2024 offers another opportunity to educate the Guyanese community about Islam and its culture,” Hack noted.

In addition to the prayers, education and introspection that are a part of the Holy Month of Ramadan, the village has several booths displaying different facets of Islam, such as garments, literature, local and international cuisine, sweetmeats, and recreational spaces for families.

The National Ramadan village is an amazing sight to behold, with lit minarets and other significant elements visible in its vast settings. This makes the ambiance extremely appealing to everyone, which makes it possible for the ideals and teachings of Ramadan to spread beyond mosques.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide as a period of fasting, reflection, prayer and community.

The village will be open on all the weekends of the Holy Month.