National Day of Fasting, Prayers provides platform for inter-religious worship – Religious Leaders

Religious leaders representing the three main faiths in Guyana have commended President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali’s call for religious bodies to fellowship together under the ‘One Guyana’ banner, following his announcement that Friday, April 8 is designated the National Day of Fasting and Prayers.

Speaking during a programme on Tuesday, Director of Education at the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana (CIOG), Sheikh Moen- ul-Hack said the event will provide a platform for spirit filled inter-religious worship.

Also present on the programme were President of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha and Minister of Human Services, Dr. Vindhya Persaud and Bishop Patrick Findlay.

Hack said the Islamic community is pleased to be associated with the initiative which aims to promote togetherness, and will be held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC), beginning at 15:30 hrs.

“We are in full support of this ‘One Guyana’ project, and this activity on Friday afternoon. Most of us are aware of the three major faiths of our country; Christianity, Hinduism and Islam,” he pointed out.

The CIOG education director believes that the activity will highlight more of the similarities among the three faiths, rather than the few differences.

“We have more in common than our few differences. We Muslims are fasting Ramadan; the Christians are [observing] lent and the Hindus, Navratri. There is a common theme right across fasting in the three faiths, and that is spiritual upliftment,” Hack added.

He said the day is also set aside for the believers to focus and get closer to the creator.

Dr. Persaud while highlighting the significance of the period, noted the power that exists when all three faiths can connect through prayer.

“The period of Navratri, Ramadan and Lent, lend to that environment being a very prayerful one. So, linking us together, uniting us together under the umbrella of prayer is a good concept where we can come together and really petition that one supreme being, God.”

Recognising that people are bound by prayer allows for the uniting of thoughts, hearts and minds, Dr. Persaud asserted.

She also pointed to the unique and outstanding feature of the Guyanese society.

“I think we are also celebrating the mutual respect that I am always fond of elevating at the national level when I speak of my country because we are among the rare in the world, where everyone is not only respectful to each other’s faith and how we observe each other’s religious performances or observances, but more importantly there is this level of belonging to this wider construct of Guyana that would respect, acknowledge and recognise the togetherness that exists.”

Meanwhile, Bishop Findlay said since his assumption to office, President Ali has been consistently calling for Guyanese to unite as one people. He described the National Day of Fasting and Prayers as phenomenal and historic.

“I believe we are on the right trajectory and as we continue, the three religious factions that are here this evening, we can make this happen. Guyana is poised to prosper and we need God’s intervention and his direction and I want to really thank His Excellency and the government I’ve seen everybody come on board to make this happen and I believe it’s going to be a resounding success not only physically but in the realm of the creator.”

President Ali sees the occasion as an opportunity for persons to join with each other to promote the spirit of togetherness.

“I would like all of us to fast together, pray together, and stay together as ‘One Guyana’,” Dr. Ali said. 

Similar activities are expected to be held in other parts of the country.

“The ‘One Guyana’ vision springs from our rich multicultural heritage and the need to ensure that our diversity remains a source of strength and not an instrument of division and disaffection,” the Head of State underscored.