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Eid-ul-Fitr Message from the Office of the President
Posted: Friday, September 10, 2010


Message from His Excellency Senator Timothy Hamel-Smith, Ag. President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, on the Occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, Friday 10th September, 2010

Citizens of Trinidad and Tobago

On the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr 2010, I send greetings, on behalf of my family and on my own behalf, to all citizens and especially to those of the Muslim faith.

The season of Ramadan has special meaning to Muslims, all over the world, and, in Trinidad and Tobago, the culmination of this period in a national holiday has served as a focal point, not only for Muslims but for many non-Muslims as well. This is a feature of our multicultural society, which we ought not to take for granted, given the other reality that has prevailed in several other countries.

Our celebration, this year, is taking place amidst circumstances which have touched us, as they have others elsewhere in the world, in such a way as to provide opportunity to keep us mindful of the situation of the less fortunate among us. The world economy has remained, by and large, in a state of stasis, with consequent increase in the number of the working poor and penury for many.

Zakhaat is a means whereby the Muslim community demonstrates its understanding of the need to be one's brother's keeper, and this has brought relief to families in need. Material circumstances have changed, for many of us, but the discipline of sharing, as a tenet of the faith, can help to consolidate community. It is a practice worthy of consideration by all of us who are in a position to meet a need for sustenance, where it arises and of which we are aware.

Fasting, another requirement during this period, speaks to the human ability to exercise restraint. Again, it is a feature of the period that bears emulation, where there is a choice and the message goes beyond abstinence from food, even to relationships among ourselves. More importantly, it inculcates the virtue of postponing pleasure, a virtue which our society would do well to emulate.

But it is not only the external manifestations of the season that should be of significance. Indeed, by themselves, they would hardly be meaningful if they do not go beyond a prescribed season. Together with the call to deeper contemplation during Ramadan, these actions provide a formula for better living throughout the year.

It is fortuitous that we have this example of the Muslim community, in our midst, with a high point at Eid-ul-Fitr. The call to sacrifice is never an easy one, but when we consider the other sacrifices that we are often called upon to make, we may do well, as a people, to embrace the ideas, if not the actions, inherent in Eid and the period leading up to it.

In closing, I wish you all a happy day, not just respite from work, but time for reflection on what Eid-ul-Fitr can signify for all of us.

Eid Mubarak! May God bless our nation!

Timothy Hamel-Smith

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