Religious leaders should be building bridges and not barriers 

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Dear Editor

In a shrinking world, where diversity of culture and faith is more prolific in communities than ever, and where new democracies are rapidly emerging around the world, bridge building fosters understanding and creates civic cooperation and shared work for the common good.

With this in mind Mr. Editor, kindly permit me a space in your newspaper to address a letter under the caption “Masjids as COVID-19 vaccine centres” published in the Guyana Times on April 7, 2021 authored by Swami Aksharananda.

The Swami highlighted some points of concern which all and sundry are free to share in a democracy, something which many Guyanese fought to maintain. However, when someone only zeros in on the negatives instead of the positives it says something about their perception and perspective of reality.

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As an Imam of Meten-Meer-Zorg I have donated and volunteered my time, energy and finances to make the communities of Region Three a better place and will support all good things that also includes the use of any space that is freely given to assist all of humanity and not any specific religion in receiving the COVID-19 vaccines, hampers, the distribution of Old Age Pension books, and everything that is beneficial in making the lives of all human beings better.

The Masjid as all other holy places of worship is there to help the poor, needy and downtrodden and these buildings can also be used for all other activities that are positive. If Swami Aksharananda feels left out all he simply has to do is apply to the Ministry of Health and other authorities and let them know the school and facility under his care is open for use if needed. If he believes someone will come and beg he is surely mistaken.

However, playing politics and looking for attention is not something religious leaders should embrace, instead they should focus on helping to develop society so the next generation can have a greater foundation to develop their lives to become positive and fruitful members of society.

Secondly, on the issue of Masjids being used to provide food hampers by the PPP during the early days of the pandemic. I would like to clarify that this was supported by the private sector and not any political party as is being insinuated.

Yours sincerely

Imam Metem-Meer-Zorg East Masjid

Halim Khan



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