Filed under: December Volume 1 - 2008, Latino/Caribe | Tags: Ramadan, Trinidad
Interfaith in the Caribbean
By Umm Suleiman
Islamic Post Staff Writer
Many non Muslims in Trinidad and Tobago abstained from eating for part of the day, or drank water only or ate fruits for some days in honor of the holy month of Ramadan.
Numerous family members and peers in the work place skipped meals in an effort to show solidarity with Muslims.
Although Ramadan is the Islamic month of fasting, many Christians and God fearing people also attempt fasting during this time, but admit that the fast of the Muslim requires more self sacrifice than perhaps they can manage.
While it is only Allah, the Most High, who helps the Muslims to fast through some of these hot days on the two islands, where Muslims tally about 11% of the population, people of the Old and New Testaments used to fast in the same manner as the Muslims, from before sunrise to after sunset, in accordance with Divine command.
The population of the Caribbean island is predominantly Christian, and support for Muslims continued through to the celebration of Eid ul Fitr.
Eid is a public holiday and a national celebration in Trinidad and Tobago, and was declared for October 1st this year by President George Maxwell Richardson. As is customary the President was advised by representatives of the Muslim community based on the estimated date for citing the new moon.
Muslims have traditionally invited non Muslim family and friends to their homes to partake in sharing a meal on Eid day. As a result, Eid festivities have become part of the general culture. Non Muslims expect and look forward to being invited to eat roti and curried dishes and to drink sawien, a drink made from vermicelli, milk, raisins and spices.
Well wishers also give Eid cards and gifts to their Muslim brothers and sisters. It is not uncommon to have a relative request from the recipient a translation of the Arabic on a decorative plaque which they purchased as a gift. A person may receive their most expensive Eid gift from a non Muslim.
This year there were banners proclaiming the celebration of Eid in several public places. While an Eid banner is expected to be displayed on mosques, it was truly a wonderful sight to behold a large, fluttering sign displaying best wishes on the National Library.
Our Christian and non Muslim brothers and sisters who “fasted” this Ramadan and took the time to congratulate, and even celebrate, on the occasion of Eid ul Fitr 2008, brought an abundance of joy to the festivities of the fast-breaking this year.
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