Over the past 48 hours, Muslims across the globe have been celebrating the annual festival of Eid-al-Fitr, a joyous occasion that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan — a period characterised by fasting and personal sacrifice.
It is my pleasure today to join you, members of the Muslim faith in Barbados, in your celebrations, recognising that one of the strengths of our post-Independence existence has been the very successful promotion of a diverse and inclusive society.
The rich contribution of the Muslim community to Barbados’ social and economic life cannot be denied, and the absence of distrust, tension, and even violence that have become the norm in other jurisdictions are unknown here.
We are who we are because of our respect for our differences — and our willingness to embrace our similarities. If we ever doubted it, the challenges of the last two years have made it crystal clear that disease and illness are not retarded by religious beliefs, ethnic background, or personal tastes.
And in a similar vein, we were able to emerge from the worst moments of the COVID-19 pandemic with minimal bruising because we allowed neither religion nor colour to stop us from working together to subdue a common enemy. We fought side by side; now we celebrate with you.
On behalf of the Government of Barbados, I say: Long may the spirit that embodies Eid be found in every Muslim, and long may the religious respect and tolerance of Barbados stand as a model for nations the world over.
Blessed Eid-al-Fitr to you all!