JO - Muslims welcome PM's openness about religion, but.
Muslims welcome PM's openness about religion, but.
RUTH HOWARD, Observer writerThursday, July 19, 2007
THE Islamic Council of Jamaica (ICJ) on Tuesday expressed appreciation for Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller's openness about her religion, but said it hoped, if re-elected, she would not victimise others because of their beliefs.
"As Muslims, we are taught to respect what other people believe in, so I don't have a problem with the prime minister expressing her religious beliefs," said ICJ president Mustafa Muhammad.
According to Muhammad, religion plays an important part in politics and influences decisions politicians make.
With regards to the prime minister's apparent obsession with numerology, Muhammad said, "she can use it if that is what she believes".
"I am aware that in her religion, it (the number seven) carries some weight," he told the Observer, adding that Muslims "do not believe in numbers".
On Tuesday, the ICJ president said the issue of voting was hardly discussed in his religion. He declined to say whether or not he would be voting this year, or to identify which party he thought would best represent Islamic interests.
"I know at least three Muslims who are very active in politics (in organising and planning)," said Muhammad. "But to take it to the step to be representatives of people, I don't know if they want to go that far."
Despite this, he said that he anticipates the day when Jamaica will have a Muslim prime minister.
"And if it is possible for me to do whatever I can do to ensure that the incoming prime minister becomes Muslim, I'd do that," he said, adding that if Muslims want to become representatives of the people, the ICJ would only ensure that they remember their Muslim principles and act in the people's best interest.