Bishop Dr John Holder is urging religions in Barbados to work hand in hand in an effort to ease some of society’s ills and issues.
Holder, who is also Archbishop of the West Indies, made the plea yesterday as he delivered remarks during reception for leaders and representatives of the Christian community of Barbados, hosted by the Barbados Muslim Association at the Jumma Mosque in Kensington New Road in Fontabelle, St Michael.
The Anglican leader said that given the challenges the country was currently facing, there was a need for religions to bond to do what was good, right, helpful and hopeful for the nation.
“There cannot be any stronger bond than love that can knit us together as human beings. In this small community of Barbados, there is very little space to exploit differences for negative purposes.
“I think that Islam and Christianity each stand on some very solid ground, and on which we can build the kind of fellowship and relationship that can make this country of ours better,” he said.
Holder said he believed it was important to have encounters such as yesterday’s reception because one of the most important challenges before the religions of the world was finding common ground on “which we can stand to make this world a better place”.
He highlighted too that at the heart of both Christianity and Islam was the belief God wanted his people to manifest and share his love in the world.
Senator Dr David Durant of Restoration Ministries said he immediately accepted the invitation because he also saw the need for such talks to take place.
In his remarks, Durant emphasized that the Muslim community and churches in Barbados needed to work together because unity was strength, adding that wherever possible there was an opportunity to unite, it should be grasped.
“Whatever issues there are, I think that level of unity will be important as we continue to look forward to making Barbados a better place to live in, to raise our children, to work, to do business and to fulfil the purpose of our lives,” Durant said.
Secretary of the Muslim Association, Suleiman Bulbulia, also stressed that as two of the major Abrahamic faiths in the world, it was imperative Christians and Muslims found a common ground on issues confronting society.
Bulbulia noted that the respective faiths shared much in common in its moral and social teachings –– teachings which he stressed were sadly being eroded in our country today.
“Our community reassures each and every one of you, and the congregations that you lead, that as we uphold the tenets of our faith we do so knowing that our religious beliefs command to respect the dignity of all human beings and acknowledge the fact that we all came from one father and one mother, Adam and Eve, peace be upon them both.”
Bulbulia also indicated that a few months ago, he was heartened to know the support that came from several Christian leaders when a mosque housing project in Clermont was the subject of intense public debate.