President David Granger Thursday- Youman Nabi- urged religious unity and vigilance against extremism surfacing in Guyana, even as a top local Muslim Cleric distanced the community here from terrorist groups like ISIS and Boko-Haram.
Addressing a special event in honour of the birth anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad organised by the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana (CIOG), he said there was nothing Godly, religious or humane about the killing of more than 10,000 persons in the last six years by Boko-Haram in Nigeria.
The Guyanese leader urged Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Jews to ensure that religious perversions such as that do find emerge here. “There is no place for that kind of extremism in Guyana and I’d like to feel that as we move towards our 50th anniversary of Independence, the entire Islamic community together with the Hindu community and the Christian community could work for greater national unity and also greater vigilance to ensure that that kind of extremism does not find a place among Guyanese,” he said.
He said killings by Boko-Haram represented “one of the greatest tragedies of all times.” He expressed confidence that the Muslim community in Guyana would be vigilant against terrorism under the guise of religion. “We have never had the sort of religious violence that we see in other countries and as far as I am concerned and I am sure as far as the CIOG and the Islamic community are concerned, these perverse doctrines do not find a place in our country but we must look, we mustn’t take things for granted,” he said.
The President also used the opportunity to pledge GYD$1 million to help support the CIOG’s three educational institutions. He reiterated that getting a sound education is one of his administration’s top priorities and that food, transportation and clothing would be provided to those who are willing to get a “proper” education.
Prior to the President’s remarks, the Director of the CIOG Shaikh Moenul Hack urged the gathering to be careful with those using religion to pursue their own selfish interest, ambitions and agenda. He said Guyanese have a responsibility to protect their achievements of peaceful coexistence, religious and racial tolerance. Hack distanced the local Muslim community from terrorist groups. “ISIS,ISIL, Boko-Haram, al-Qaeda have nothing to do with Islam and the Muslims, have nothing to do with Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him.
We the Muslims have suffered more than non-Muslims at the hands of these people. We have lost more Muslim lives at the hands of these people who claim to be following Islam but are far from the teachings of Islam,” he said.
Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States embassy in Guyana, Bryan Hunt said both Islam and Christianity have similarities of light, faith, love, compassion and good over evil.
The attendees included Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Kurshid Sattaur; Guyana’s Ambassador-designate to Cuba, Halim Majeed, Director of Public Prosecutions, Shalimar Hack and former Minister of Tourism and Housing, Irfan Ali.