Islamic Trust deplores groups stirring up racial tension --
urges support for Kosovars

Guyana Chronicle
April 16, 1999

THE Guyana Islamic Trust (GIT) has strongly condemned groups it says are geared to create racial tension in the country, and has urged citizens to remember that Guyana is for Guyanese.

The GIT adopted this position at its annual General Meeting of the organisation's General Assembly on April 11.

"All Guyanese, particularly the Muslim community, must resist all attempts to lure them into involvement with these groups. They must also necessarily reject as evil and `un-Islamic', all efforts that seek to divide people on the basis of race and ethnicity," a press release from the organisation said yesterday.

"The General Assembly noted with deep consternation the emergence of a dangerous trend towards forming organisations and promoting policies that are premised on sectarianism and race. These would certainly accentuate our differences, create division and set otherwise peaceful neighbours of various races at each other's throats."

"The General Assembly believes that if this trend is not checked, it can lead to such unfortunate consequences as ethnic cleansing and race wars. We cannot be indifferent to what is happening in other parts of the world."

The GIT stressed that the country belongs to all Guyanese and "no one race should be blamed for the suffering of another."

The Muslim organisation urged that citizens should strive to solve their problems together and to create a society in which all Guyanese can live in "harmony, peace and unity."

The General Assembly has distanced itself from the groups and policies which it says are promoting racial division and has called on GIT membership country-wide to follow suit.

"Everyone should be given equal opportunity to realise their dreams regardless of rank, colour or creed. This vision, which is cherished by the vast majority of our people cannot be sabotaged by an unscrupulous few who only seek to exploit our fragile racial configuration for their own selfish ambitions and gains," the GIT added in its strongly-worded statement.

The General Assembly also added that it has approved measures to "safeguard the GIT from any form of racism".

The GIT said it plans to make its presentation to the Constitution Reform Commission later this week and has finalised its proposals on the question of "race relations, powers of Government and other mechanisms to foster a united, inclusive and racially-integrated Guyana."

The GIT General Assembly has also condemned the ongoing Serb "aggressions" in Kosovo and has expressed solidarity with the ethnic Albanians.

The General Assembly has called on all Guyanese to support the struggle of the ethnic Albanians for "survival and liberation."

The organisation says it has set up a special Kosovo Task Committee to "promote awareness of the plight of the Kosovars and to generate support for their cause."

The Task Committee can be contacted at 29 Lombard Street, Georgetown, telephone numbers 02-55934 or 020-4569, fax 02-73283 or email or