One of the country’s most outspoken politicians has suggested that the terror being spread by the militant group ISIS in the Middle East is fueling anti-Muslim sentiments in Barbados.
However, Minister of Industry Donville Inniss has warned Barbadians against letting “the bad behaviour and wickedness of less than one per cent of the Muslim community in the world” determine what happens in this country.
The statement by the minister was in response to concerns in some sections of the public about a 37-plot housing development located at Clermont, St James, just opposite Queen’s College.
The project, to be constructed on more than five acres of land, would include a mosque and community centre.
However, residents have questioned reports that only Muslims would be allowed to reside there.
At a constituency branch meeting last evening, Inniss, the member of parliament for the area, dismissed as ‘a lie’ reports that the Freundel Stuart administration was facilitating a Muslim-only community.
He insisted that the owners of the private development had a right to sell plots to whoever they wished.
“The people who have purchased the land at Clermont are Muslims, yes. But they’re Muslims who have been living in St James South from time immemorial. They live in Wanstead, they live in Husbands Heights now, they live at Clermont, they live in Crystal Heights. And let me say this, they are Barbadians. They have the same right as you or I to own a piece of the rock.
“We don’t complain when White foreigners come here and own a piece of the rock, but we want to make a big hullabaloo when people who may be straight haired and may pray five times a day want to own a piece of the rock. They’re Barbadians, they’re entitled to it.
“My position is very simple. I have no objection to the development that’s going on in Clermont. If all of them are Muslims or all of them are Christians, or all of them are Catholics or all or them are atheists, that is their fundamental right.
“Religion has nothing to do with me. Barbados has always been a very tolerant society and I think we should always remain that way. The Muslims are not going to take over Barbados and I’m not getting caught up in scare tactics,” the MP said.
The St James South representative noted that some residents in adjoining communities had expressed concerns about the construction of the mosque and the noise that could be generated during the notification of the Call to Prayer.
Inniss said: “I’ve been given the assurance that this is not an issue because in today’s world with technology they will have facilities in each house that would alert them when its midday or when it is time for prayer . . .
“As far as I am concerned, if you’re not keeping noise to disturb your neighbours then you’re within the law. Mind you, we don’t complain when the church bell rings on Sunday morning at 6 o’clock or at whatever the time. I’m saying the Anglicans have a right to do it or the Catholics or whoever.”
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