Augustine’s Eid message: We have the recipe for peace and harmony

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Chief Secretary Farley Augustine at the Masjid al Tawbah in Lowlands on Monday to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr. – Photo by David Reid

THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine joined Tobago’s ​​Islamic community at the Masjid Al Tawbah in Lowlands, on Monday morning, to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr.

Augustine, wearing a grey thobe with a blue and black chequered design by the arms, was accompanied by his wife for the first real Eid celebration since the covid19 pandemic struck in 2020.

He commended the island’s Muslim community for their contribution to the development of the island.

He focused specifically on love and unity as he recalled last Friday as he was about to observe his Sabbath, he decided to visit the mosque.

He said he was warmly received by a community of brothers and sisters who were breaking their fast at that time.

“I saw, right here in this space, a group of people who have a lot of love for each other and for mankind generally. In that moment, it dawned on me how privilege we are as a country, that I as a Seventh-Day Adventist could just walk up the road and walk into the compound of a mosque of the Islamic faith and be warmly received. As they break their fast, I start my Sabbath celebrations and we break bread and eat together.”

He said in some places in the world, this would not have been possible. He said there are instances where Hindus and Muslims do not sit at the same table, nor do Christians and Muslims get along.

“But here in TT, we have the recipe for peace and harmony and perhaps we need to bottle that and sell that to the world, so that they can understand how humanity ought to operate one with the other.”

He said the public must not take for granted the religious freedom they enjoy.

“We must understand that each other’s religious liberties is tied to our own and so your right to worship the way you see fit, to worship whomever you see fit, is tied to my right to do the same. And that’s an inherent human right that we must cherish and must preserve as a country.”

He added: “We celebrate with each other and that is one of the blessings of being Trinbagonian and let us never, ever take that for granted. Even as we celebrate today, let us take the lessons from the Muslim community – the lessons of giving, of being charitable of reaching out to those who are less fortunate of ensuring that we find time for each other.”