Wed | Feb 21, 2018

US charge d'affaires commends Jamaica for religious diversity

Published:Sunday | January 21, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Back row (from left): Dr Martin Schade, general secretary, Jamaica Council for Interfaith Fellowship; Sheikh Musa Tijani, director and head of education, Islamic Council of Jamaica; Eric Khant, chargé d’affaires, US Embassy; Rev Fr Sean C. Major-Campbell, rector, Christ Church, Vineyard Town; Bishop Alvin Bailey, senior pastor, Portmore Holiness Church; Maura Barry-Boyle, acting deputy chief of mission, US Embassy. Front row (from left): Rev Eric Nathan, president, Seventh-Day Adventist, East Jamaica; Rev Dr Margaret Fowler, minister, United Church in Jamaica and The Cayman Islands; Stephen Henriques, director, United Congregation of Israelites; and Stacey Mitchell, National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahai’s of Jamaica.

United States Embassy's Charge d'Affaires Eric Khant has applauded Jamaica's religious leaders for their dedication and support in helping to create a pluralistic religious environment for Jamaicans.

Khant hosted an interfaith dialogue for approximately 10 prominent Jamaican religious leaders at the chief of mission's residence last Tuesday.

During the dialogue, the topic of religious pluralism, tolerance, and religion's role in addressing social issues were discussed.

The participants included the Rev Gary Harriott, general secretary, Jamaica Council of Churches; R. Sheikh Musa Tijani, director and head of education for the Islamic Council of Jamaica; Stacey Mitchell, chairman, National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahai's of Jamaica; and Stephen Henriques, director, United Congregation of Israelites.

During the dialogue, Khant said: "America stands together with Jamaica and our other international partners in defence of religious freedom so that people may freely practise, or refrain from practising, a faith, beliefs, or religion free from persecution or fear."

 

REDUCING DISCRIMINATION

 

He added: "Fostering respect for religious pluralism and diversity of belief is key to reducing discrimination and persecution and will help to ensure all individuals equally enjoy their rights."

Invitees to the dialogue a represented several denominations of Christianity, Rastafarianism, Islam, and Hinduism.

Since 1993, the United States has proclaimed January 16 'Religious Freedom Day' to underscore its commitment to uphold and protect religious freedom and diversity, promote accountability for religious-based violence, and support global efforts to legally protect religious minorities and practices.