Barbados PM: Our Region Can Teach The Rest How To Live Together And Respect One Another

PM Mia Amor Mottley receiving a copy of Muslims of CARICOM from author Sabir NakhudaPM Mia Amor Mottley receiving a copy of Muslims of CARICOM from author Sabir Nakhuda

January 8th, 2020: The book ‘Muslims of CARICOM (Caribbean Community) by Sabir Nakhuda of Barbados was successfully launched at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados.

In attendance were around 150 persons of varying backgrounds and disciplines. Over 2000 across the globe followed via Facebook live-streams. The Prime Minister of Barbados and current Chairman of CARICOM, Ms. Mia Mottley, the Chief Justice of Barbados, four Government Ministers, Barbados Ambassador to CARICOM and Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick were also present.

Mr. Nakhuda’s first book Bengal to Barbados was published in 2013 which has sold over 1,000 copies to date

The Prime Minister in her presentation applauded Sabir for his invaluable contribution through his research to improve the understanding of Muslims and Islam in this region.

Barbados CARICOM Ambassador and Dr. Abdullah both confirmed in their respective addresses the long history of Islam in this region and the presence of Muslims for several centuries.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley was emphatic that the Caribbean has a story to tell and an experience to share, which the world needs to hear.

Ms. Mottley expressed the view that the sharing of this story particularly necessary given global socio-political context.

PM Mottley said the Caribbean society had a responsibility to tell the story of “the pathways by which persons came here”.

Video of the launch event, PM’s speech starts around 31 minutes mark

“We recognize that the pathways by which all of us got here are different and we have a duty to tell those stories, first to our own and secondly, to the rest of the world as an inspiration that in spite of where we come from we have known what it is to rise above our circumstances and celebrate life and respect the dignity of each other”, she added.

“We have a story to tell to the world that the world needs to hear,” PM Mottley said, further the PM added, “We have understood as a migrant community that we needed to be able to define for ourselves, first a path of survival and then a path of prospering within a land that was not initially ours, and in circumstances where those who controlled our movements had no desire for us to do more than eke out a basic existence,”.

Expressing satisfaction with the way the region welcomed people of different faiths, PM Mottley said she was aware that other regions were familiar with what it was “to have people vilified and marginalized and discriminated against”.

Ms. Mottley said: “The capacity to carry bitterness in your heart is there within every human being.

“But rather than opt for bitterness, this Caribbean region has shown that it is possible to define a space for all of us that allows each of us to be able to appeal to the better aspects of our nature and to create a space where respect for the dignity of each human being is the platform from which our societies as modern civilizations ought to be built.”

The Prime Minister acknowledged that the stability among different religious sects here could be threatened by “global events”, which included the “inability of persons of different faiths and different civilizations to be able to live together and respect one another on landmasses far larger than anything we have access to”.

While not singling out any nation, Mottley said the Caribbean should call for an end to the “isms and schisms” they are “fighting with against religion” to discriminate and subjugate others.

tressed that this region values respect and tolerance.  “A society is as great as it is prepared to accept all among the society, and to ensure that there is not only an absence of discrimination but a celebration of the diversity of the society,” she emphasized. 

Prime Minister Mottley congratulated Mr. Nakhuda and thanked him for the discipline he showcased in researching and writing the book.  She said he was again leading the way in the regional integration movement.

Book launches are being planned for other CARICOM countries.  Currently stock of the book is available in Barbados Book Stores.  Check back here for details as it becomes available in other regional stores and online.