Georgetown, GINA, May 21, 2010: President Bharrat Jagdeo believes that there should be a global battle for a greater understanding of faith as it is a necessary ingredient for the promotion of religious tolerance at CIOG’s feature lecture series.
The President made these remarks while at the Muslim Youth Organisation (MYO) Complex on Woolford Avenue where Muslims gathered for a presentation by prominent American Muslim speaker Dr. Zahid H. Bukhari.
Dr. Bukhari’s two-day engagement in Guyana was made possible through the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana (CIOG) in collaboration with the United States Embassy in Georgetown. Since his arrival in Guyana he met various sectors and members of the Muslim community and engaged in a lecture this evening entitled, “Tolerance in Diverse Society”, which provided enlightening views on how members of the Muslim community are coping in the US, particularly since the post 9/11 era.
In his remarks President Jagdeo reiterated government’s policy on religion that has given Guyana the reputation as a tolerant country. “Tolerance can only come out of a better understanding so it pains us very much when very ignorant views of Islam are carried in the mainstream media and often are supported by statements from some governments around the world,” President Jagdeo said. The President said Guyana’s experience with tolerance stems from the multi-ethnic nature of the population and the different customs and values which constitute the Guyanese culture. “We live peacefully together, we just don’t co-exist, we live happily with true understanding of each other,” President Jagdeo said.
Islam is known to be a very peaceful religion and Muslims since the beginning of Islam have demonstrated progress, tolerance and an overwhelming sense of charity. Reference was made to the CIOG’s orphan programme which President Jagdeo said is a model which the government is seeking to emulate because of the excellent way in which it is administered.
Dr. Bukhari holds a Masters in Economics from the University of Karachi and a PHD in political science from the University of Connecticut. His research interests are focused on religion and politics in the USA. The CIOG is hoping to use this lecture as a stepping stone to similar and greater undertakings under the Strategic Speakers Initiative Programme (SSIP). The SSIP is the brainchild of US President Barack Obama that sponsors speakers of certain academic scholarships to visit various parts of the world to speak on different topics. Dr. Bukhari who has published several papers on Islam and development, Muslim public opinion and other related topics is being sponsored by the US Department of State as part of the SSIP.