- News Archive
BARBADOS BOOK PUBLISHED: BENGAL TO BARBADOS
- Published 05/12/2013
The answer in most cases would be, not too many. It would appear that most associate East Indians in Barbados with the business or itinerant traders. One leader in the Muslim and East Indian community is on a mission however, to further educate Barbadians, and by extension the world, about the relationship with exists between the communities.
Barbados' Sabir Nakhuda .
In an interview (with Barbados TODAY) from the balcony of his Husbands Gardens, St. James home, overlooking the beautiful west coast, he stressed that his book was needed. He explained it was well known that the majority of East Indians entering the region went to countries like Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana as indentured labourers but those who came to Barbados did so on their own.
Nevertheless, during research at the Public Library and the Barbados Archives to dig deeper, there was hardly anything on East Indians apart from an interview here or there. Dissatisfied and wanting additional information, the former newspaper columnist and marketing manager took his tape recorder, notebook, and a lot of enthusiasm and started the journey through oral culture to find out more.
He said: “My main purpose was to create a better understanding between the two communities, East Indians and the local Barbadian, because sometimes we don’t make a special effort to learn about people who are living among us. So I want to have some type of historical document to create awareness between both communities, to build bridges. We have been building bridges but this book would help with that…”
The book chronicles the 100-year history of East Indians in Barbados, beginning with Bashart Ali Dewan, who was believed to be the first Indian to arrive in Barbados in 1910. Later Hafez Suleiman Kasooji, Moosa Patel and Ebrahim Bulbulia, the first Gujrati Indians arrived and in 1932 Jivatram Thani from Sindhi (now Pakistan) came to the island.
It gave a detailed overview on the hospitality met to the first immigrant by Barbadians and how each other was able to co-exist and assist one another. One of the main example was through business. At that time of their arrival in the early 20th century, local Barbadians were unable to get credit from the established†stores†in Broad Street.
Seeing a niche market, they came and provided that service and merchandised on a credit basis. Nakhuda, who came to the island more than half century ago, said they established that relationship where both benefited and it continues even up to today. Nowadays there is no party without somosas and rotis are second nature. “We want to educate not only Barbadians but the people of the world to show how we as East Indians and Barbadians live. I think there is a lot to be learned from us,” he added.
“We have problems within the world to do with race and colour, even religion especially, but if they could only know how we as Barbadians live we — hardly have any differences. If I have to tell you where you come from in two words I would tell you, but that is it and we back to normal again.
“We don’t have that animosity; we live as one people, Barbadians. Of course I would have my own concerns or preferences and you would have your own but difference is good because that just shows that people although we have our own cultural differences at the end of it I will still be eating flying fish and cou cou and I could still invite you home by me to eat dhali biryani rice, so we become richer.”.
In the foreword of the book, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart thanked†and congratulated Nakhuda for documenting†the “impressive contribution” over the last 100 years the East Indian society made.
He wrote: “The Indian community has contributed much therefore to the economic and social development of this country. They have felt safe here in Barbados and have helped to keep Barbados a safe place in which to live and do business. A study of this story will contribute greatly to a deeper understanding of a community that has, by its presence, both diversified and enriched our culture.”
As he thanked all the individuals who helped with the compilation of the book, Nakhuda said he was hoping the Minister of Education would take a look at it† to see whether it was worth distributing into secondary schools, since “such documentation augurs well for the entire community”.
“I have dedicated this book to the future generations of Barbados, irrespective of colour or race. This book has to do with educating Barbadians of the connection between the two and have a better understanding of East Indian culture.
“It has already started but this is an added impetus, there is a need to have a particular understanding about a people so there won’t be any misunderstanding.†”You would get one or two in the local community that would make a negative comment, ‘Go back to where you come from’ but 80 to 90 per cent of all the East Indians are born here — their navel string is buried here, so go where? Go from St. Lucy to St. Michael?
“But now they are understanding there is no difference; it is just a matter of colour or hair. We hope that
both communities can touch each other.”
Bengal To Barbados will be available at all books shops or obtained by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org for copies.
Caribbean Delegate attends Interfaith Conference in Doha, Qatar
- Published 05/12/2013
With these words the Declaration of the tenth Doha Conference for Inter-faith Dialogue began, bringing to conclusion three days of consultations between participants on several topics under the theme “Best Practices in Interfaith Dialogue”.
The Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue (DICID), headed by Professor Ibrahim Al-Naimi was established as a result of a recommendation of the Fifth Doha Interfaith Conference in May 2007 in Doha. The center was opened officially in May 2008. The main role of the centre is to spread the culture of dialogue, the peaceful coexistence of humanity and the acceptance of others. While its mission is striving for constructive dialogue between followers of different faiths towards better understanding and harnessing of distinct religious principles and teachings to the benefit of all humanity, on the basis of mutual respect and acknowledgement of differences and through cooperation with related individuals and organizations.
Barbados Suleiman Bulbulia with Yahya Suqillo of Ecuador at Conference.
The first Muslim delegate from the Caribbean to attend the conference, Suleiman Bulbulia of Barbados, highlighted that the event was certainly an eye opener to the several activities happening across the globe in inter-faith dialogue and action. He was extremely pleased to be there and to interact with Muslims, Jews and Christians all working together for the betterment of humanity. Several Christian and Jewish representatives attended from Latin America along with Sh. Imam Yahya Suqillo of Quito, Ecuador.
The Conference addressed four main themes, Academic, Justice, Conflict Resolution and Peace and Media Culture. In the Declaration of the Conference several important points under each of these themes were proposed.
- In the academic sessions, it was suggested that the search for common ground comes alongside the acknowledgement of difference and that the development of dialogical skills is not the same as development of debating skills. Teachers and families both have a crucial role in raising the youth with this interfaith spirit. Universities and general education authorities are encouraged to include interfaith education in their curricula.
- The speakers in the sessions on Justice presented new and important initiatives geared towards establishing social, environmental, economic and medical justice on different levels ranging from initiatives based in one part of a city to prospective global partnerships with the United Nations for protection - among other rights - of rights of religious minorities and their sacred symbols.
- All reports called for interfaith communities to continue cooperating constructively to find common ground in the creation of just societies through capacity building of religious and civic leaders for inspiring responsible male and female leadership. This can lead not only towards resolving conflicts in their own communities, but also towards rising above narrow tribal interests and contributing to resolving conflicts of other communities as well.
- With the penetration of media into our everyday lives, especially over the past decade, the power of harnessing personal stories in the public sphere has become increasingly important for promoting symbiotic coexistence in modern societies. One should recognize the usefulness of some technological tools when they are integrated into school teaching for raising interfaith sensibility and presenting a fair, truthful and attractive image of religions.
One of the highlights of the Conference was the address by Mr. Rashad Hussein, President Obama's special envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the invitation from OIC to organize a follow-up meeting on UN Human Rights resolution 16/18. DICID said it hoped to host this meeting in the near future on the theme of "The protection of religious communities and their sacred symbols".
The Declaration ended: “We urge the world community to denounce strongly any form of violence and persecution against religious scholars and leaders. The conference notes with great concern the ongoing violence against civilians and places of worship in Syria especially the abduction of Metropolitan Boulos Yazigi and Metropolitan Yohanna Ibrahim both of whom had intended to take part in this conference and who have made such important contributions to interfaith dialogue in the region and beyond.”
BAJAN CATHOLICS AND MUSLIMS BREAK BREAD TOGETHER
- Published 04/11/2013
Members of the Muslim community, including Imams and representatives of the other mosques were present to meet the Bishop who was accompanied by a Bishop Anthony H. Dickson (r'td), Bishop Emeritus of Bridgetown. The visit was historic as it marked the first time an official visit was taking place by a Catholic Bishop to the mosque in Bridgetown. Bishop Gordon who is Trinidadian remarked that it was his first time in a mosque in Barbados but was familiar with Islam and Muslims from his living in Trinidad.
The Jumma mosque is the oldest and largest mosque on the island having opened its doors in January 1951. In addition to the performance of five times daily prayers and Juma, the mosque also host a daily religious school from Monday to Friday with a student enrollment of over 100. The Catholic Bishops were able to witness first hand the teaching of the Holy Quran and Religious Studies to these students ranging in ages from 4 years to 15 years. Several students eagerly recited verses from the Holy Quran for the guests.
The Bishops were also treated to some light refreshments and discussions were held on a wide variety of topics. Bishop Gordon indicated that the new Pope, Pope Francis regarded Muslims as friends. At the conclusion of their visit a gift of books on various Islamic topics including a translation of the Holy Quran in English were given to the Bishops.
The Catholic community is not the largest Christian denomination on the island but several prominent and older churches are Catholic. Their history on the island is one in which in the beginning Catholics were not allowed to practice their faith as the ruling class was predominantly Anglican. History records that the early Catholics practiced their faith in secret sometimes in caves in the countryside.
Story by Suleiman Bulbulia
TRINIDAD MUSLIMS ENJOY ANNUAL SPORTS DAY
- Published 04/6/2013
Story by Ansari Baksh
BAJAN PARTICIPANT AT DUBAI QUR'AN RECITATION COMPETITION
- Published 04/1/2013
Barbados has participated every year in the Competition since 2003 and this year Hafiz Ayub Bhoola represents Barbados. He was chosen ahead of two other memorizers of the Holy Qur'an at the first local Holy Qur'an Competition held in Barbados after last Ramadan.
The 16th session of the Dubai International Holy Qur'an Award will start today. And according to a story carried in the Khaleej Times “91 out of 160 countries and communities contacted worldwide for participation in the award have agreed to send their nominees. While Head of Competitions Unit of the Award Ahmed Sager Al Suwaidi stated “The number of participants has come down to 88 memorizers after three countries apologized that their contestants are not yet ready for the competition…While 70 contestants have already reached Dubai, the remaining 18 competitors are expected to arrive today,” he added, noting that the 15th session of the award saw 78 participants. Two countries are participating in the award for the first time. These are Grenada and Suriname. Italy which first competed in the contest in 1999 is again participating this year. The youngest contestant will be a nine-year-old from Kazakhstan. There will also one participant with visual impairment from Iraq”
The Khaleej Times further reported: “Initial qualifying tests give memorizers a chance to go on a ‘rehearsal’ before sitting for final tests in front of the audience. They further help the organizing committee disqualify below-par contestants and set the daily schedule in a distinguished way to include excellent, good and medium competitors. Participants are also distributed in view of the countries.
Ibrahim Bu Melha, Chairman of the Dubai International Holy Qur'an Award, said big prizes await top winners: the first will be awarded Dh250,000, the second Dh200,000, while the third will be gifted Dh150,000. “Those who come fourth to the tenth positions are to be granted Dh65,000 to Dh35,000, with Dh5,000 less for each than the winner of the above position. The rest of the participants will get Dh30,000 each.”
The 11-category award, aimed to serve the Holy Qur'an and promote the general standard of the Qur'anic performance, is held every year under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Watch Hafiz Ayub recitation below:
FILM DOC ON HOSAY IN CEDROS LAUNCHED
- Published 03/20/2013
Hosay in Trinidad is unique. Shiite Muslims emphasise it as a solemn observance, however, the many dimensions of Hosay are documented in the film with little emphasis on solemnity and more on culture and building the bridges between different faiths in the Cedros community. The story behind the ten days in which Muharram is observed is quite touching. Through a collage of images, revealing interviews and narration, this film goes deep into the history of Hosay in Cedros.
Dr Satnarine Balkransingh explained the historical background of the annual ritual. He noted that it plays a significant role in shaping the form and format of its present day observances. Balkransingh was documented in the film explaining, "Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar and is usually marked by fasting and prayer. In 679 AD, on the 10th day of the month of Muharram (known as Ahsura), Hussein, his family and companions were ambushed on the way to Kufa because he would not pledge allegiance to Yazid, the second son of Umayyad Caliph.
"Shia Muslims, grieving at the circumstances of the slaughter of Hussein and his family, mourn their deaths for ten days annually during the month of Muharram. On the 10th day, Imam Hussein's slaughter and final martyrdom is commemorated in a dramatic procession on the streets."
The film opens with the sound of a beautiful Azan (Muslim call to prayer), followed by footage of Muslims performing salah (formal worship)—the second of the five pillars of Islam. This was followed by footage of Catholic devotees observing advent, the first coming of Christ, and the preparation of his second coming, followed by Hindus practising surya narine puja.
The film goes a long way in documenting all the aspects of the festival. Rodriguez said his aim was to catalogue as many vibrant aspects of the festival as possible. The project was endorsed by the Ministry of Arts and Mulitculturalism. "The Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalsim is trying to document as many as our cultural customs as possible. This is where I got the drive to document the Cedros Hosay. Most people are familiar with St James Hosay but hardly anybody knows what happens in Cedros. Cedros is peculiar.
BAJANS cut across the faith and race divide to bring relief to fellow citizens
- Published 03/16/2013
Patel watched as Hindus and Muslims cast aside their long held differences to help those in need – roads cleared; food and drinking water distributed; shelters erected for the homeless; the injured were cared for and the dead buried according to their religion. Patel returned to Barbados with memories of the community’s response to the monsoon’s devastation with an idea that would soon become a reality.
He approach Mohamed Ali Kothdiwala with his idea and the Department of Emergency Management, then called CERO with a concept of volunteer response at the community level. Patel said that at first, the response was lukewarm but he persevered and shared the concept with friends Denis Lashley, Jefferson Bovell, Yousuf Bulbulia, Yousuf Dokrat, Mohammed Bhana and Sheldon Walker.
SAUDIS CONTINUE DESTRUCTION OF PROPHETIC HERITAGE FOR PROFIT
- Published 03/15/2013
Photographs obtained by the UK's The Independent reveal how workers with drills and mechanical diggers have started demolishing some Ottoman and Abbasid sections on the eastern side of the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca.
The building, which is also known as the Grand Mosque, is the holiest site in Islam because it contains the Kaaba – the point to which all Muslims face when praying. The columns are the last remaining sections of the mosque which date back more than a few hundred years and form the inner perimeter on the outskirts of the white marble floor surrounding the Kaaba.
Trinidad's Tajmool Hosein has died.
- Published 03/15/2013
Originally from Williamsville near Princes Town, Hosein qualified as a barrister in 1946 and became an expert in constitutional law.
In 1961, he joined the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and stood as a candidate for Chaguanas in the elections that year. He won the seat and served as Member of Parliament for Chaguanas between 1961 to 1966.
Hosein was awarded Silk in 1964 and the Trinity Cross in 1982. He declined the offer to become Chief Justice, and President of the Caribbean Court of Justice, according to those close to him.
He is the only one alive who attended the Independence conference in England in May 1962 that ushered in our Independence on August 31, 1962, after Jamaica pulled out of the West Indies Federation and became independent in 1962.
TRINIDAD MINISTER ADDRESSES MUSLIM FUNDRAISING EVENT FOR HAITI
- Published 02/27/2013
Minister of Public Utilities Nizam Baksh delivered an address at the Reformation, Education, Arbitration and Development (Read) Foundation Dinner held at the Highway Mosque, Charlieville, on Saturday. The event was organised to secure funding for a variety of life improvement projects that the foundation runs in Miragoâne, Haiti.
Speaking to the attendees, who included Fazeer Mohammed, chairman of Read, and Shazaad Mohammed, director, Baksh praised the non-governmental organisation for the way it had managed to merge care for Haitians with its efforts, particularly in the aftermath of the tragic earthquake which struck Haiti in 2010. Baksh commended the foundation for providing a sterling example of Muslims working within the West Indian community to affect change.