Be thankful for respect, peace
President's Eid message:
AS local Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr in the year of this country's golden jubilee of Independence, citizens should appreciate the gift of civil peace that Trinidad and Tobago enjoys, President George Maxwell Richards said yesterday.
"This year, as we celebrate the significant milestone of the 50th anniversary of our nation's Inde- pendence, I am reminded of how thankful we should be to be citizens of a nation in which religious observances such as Eid-ul-Fitr can be celebrated in an atmosphere of respect and peace as guaranteed by our Constitution and as espoused in the words of our National Anthem, where 'every creed and race find an equal place'," the President said in his Eid message to the nation.
Richards said religious celebrations in Trinidad and Tobago are generally not exclusive, and as such, non-Muslims are able to partake in the traditions of their Muslim friends.
While non-Muslims visit their friends' homes to celebrate, those in need of charity are also able to benefit from the tradition of Eid, with no discrimination being made.
"While world events have impacted us, by and large, we have charted our own course as a nation in the past fifty years, and members of the Muslim community, though small in number, have contributed significantly to the development of Trinidad and Tobago, serving in varied spheres and at all levels, including that of Head of State of our relatively young Republic," Richards said, referring to former president, the late Noor Hassanali.
Richards said the message of self-sacrifice put forward by the tradition of fasting during the month of Ramadan, in the lead-up to Eid, is in itself a lesson, and those who follow the Muslim faith have benefited from these ideals.
"Our nation has been built on the personal sacrifices that many have made and continue to make, so that the national community might benefit," Richards said.