Jews, Muslims, Christians and Rastafarians on Monday morning marched through the streets of Bridgetown and dozens of students today called for an end to violence as they promoted unity.
The four faiths, which support universal peace, have not only found common ground with each other but also with the 16th United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal of Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
Accompanied by a tuck band and led by a contingent from the Barbados Cadet Corps, the large caravan of peacemakers started their journey at the Mosque on Sobers’ Lane, where they were treated to a brief Muslim service. They then marched to the nearby Synagogue Lane and St Michael’s Row to continue the tradition in Jewish and Christian settings. Marchers carried numerous placards, bearing messages of peace both locally and internationally.
The initiative marks the first day of a three-day Abrahamic Faith Conference.
At the Queens Park Steel Shed, where the celebration concluded, Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Cynthia Forde indicated the march was extremely timely in light of the current increase in violence.
“This is very important because every day when we wake up, we hear news of another violent incident, whether it is very far away in some other part of the world or right here in Barbados, in our backyard or on our front door steps.
“What we do know is that all of this news makes us angry and brings water to our eyes and that is what is happening in our little Barbados. But there is hope,” assured the Minister.
“This march today and this call for peace in Barbados will leave an indelible mark on the hearts of our children, that we stand for peace. Today, we are proud people to be able to come together and set an example for the rest of the world that we are one.”
Minister Forde encouraged religious leaders to take a greater role in nurturing the country’s youth, particularly those who have been left fatherless and motherless as a result of violence.
“Despite our faiths, professions or whatever we believe in, we must nurture these children and not leave them out there to be sacrificed by some other elements looking to prey on God’s little children,” she said.
The Abrahamic Faiths Conference, entitled Peace in a World of Conflict is being held from June 17 to 19 and is a joint partnership between the Codrington College and The Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs.