President David Granger: I’m happy to be here this evening to participate in the Iftar ritual of breaking the fast at sunset; fast approaching, during this holy month of Ramadan. Iftar marks the end of the daily fast, but this is not the end of Ramadan, it is merely a continuation of the struggle for spiritual purity and growth.

Iftar, as you can see today, brings together friends and families and it promotes harmony among peoples. Iftar, when shared with other persons of other faiths, represents the importance which Islam attaches to the acceptance of differences and to the promotion of religious tolerance.

The holy month of Ramadan deepens our sensitivity towards others; it helps us to appreciate our differences; it helps us to recognise that we have built in Guyana a harmonious society, a society that reaches across religious and cultural differences. Ramadan helps us to bear sacrifice and throughout the day when devout Muslims fast; the very act of fasting, of deprivation of food and drink helps to build spirituality, it helps to concentrate your attention and intensify your service to God.

The sacrifices suffered during this month help Muslims to become more sensitive to the needs of others. The spiritual awareness encourages Muslims to cast aside devices of prejudice and intolerance and to promote the virtues of fellowship and friendship. Service to God strengthens relations with others through acts of compassion and sympathy.

My brothers and sisters, Guyana is a multi-cultural country and we can be proud of our religious tolerance and our social cohesion. Guyanese must do what we are doing here this evening; we have come together to eat dates and to break bread; to acknowledge one another’s differences and to share our common humanity.

I, therefore, wish on behalf of the Government of Guyana and on my own behalf to extend best wishes to the entire Islamic community as it continues to observe the holy month of Ramadan. I trust that everyone’s supplications to God will be answered and that their sacrifices will be rewarded during this holy month.

I pray that this Iftar ritual will strengthen the bonds of human solidarity.

Ramadan Mubarak!

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