Message from His Excellency Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, O.R.T.T., SC, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on the Occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr 2015

The Muslim community in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the world are today giving special thanks to Allah for having given them the will, the sustenance and the endurance to observe fast and dutifully pray during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Some of our Muslim brothers and sisters may even feel a deep sense of nostalgia and sadness that the special observances, benefits and personal introspection triggered by this Holy Month of Ramadan, have come to an end. We must not feel this way. The utility of prayer and personal introspection continues unabated.

Prayers remain the unbreakable telephone line to God and we as a nation and as individuals must not deny the beneficence of a loving God or indulge in irreverence by trivialising the worth and power of prayer. One important feature of Ramadan is the celebration of the power of prayer and fasting, the solace it brings and the comfort it shrouds us with. Ramadan teaches us the virtue of tolerance and mutual respect. It hastens in us the need to collectively and individually establish a more equitable, just and caring society. Islam teaches us that we are all one in the eyes of Allah; that our neighbour is our friend and brother and that we must always adhere to a philosophy of humanity. Islam speaks to the need in all of us for pure intentions and wise actions.

Islam is not terrorism and this world of ours must recognise that the true message of Islam is   one rooted in love, tolerance, compassion and brotherhood for all.  I cannot help but repeat that telling admonition of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy, which is a road map for good, decent and honest living, “He who abstains from food and drink during the period of fasting, but does not restrain himself from uttering a falsehood, starves himself to no purpose”. The Holy Month of Ramadan, therefore, speaks to the responsibility of us all in Trinidad and Tobago to engage the truth at all times, to live by it and that the truth must never be a matter of convenience.

In passing, it is significant that today is also recognised as Nelson Mandela International Day, honouring Nelson Mandela, the architect of sustainable peace and harmony in a new South Africa. His simple philosophy was one grounded in the bedrock of Islamic philosophy, not dissimilar to other religions- one of forgiveness, mercy, truth and reconciliation.

My fervent desire is that both the Holy Month of Ramadan and Eid-el-Fitr serve to remind the national community that aggression, anti-social conduct and indiscipline have no place in  the tapestry of our Republic as we embrace and respect each other’s differences, be they in religion, race, political preferences or culture. The celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr therefore reminds us that the personal search for peace, calm and harmony in our lives begins and ends with Allah.

My family and I send our heartfelt greetings specifically to all our Muslin Brothers and Sisters and the nation as a whole. Eid Mubarak!