GEORGETOWN, Guyana (August 25, 2010) – Emancipation Day in Guyana commemorates the August 1, 1834 end to the chattel slavery of Africans in the South American country. Muslims in Guyana, particularly the Guyana Islamic Trust, Guyana Muslim Mission, and Masjid Muhammad, organized events for the first time this year highlighting the significant role that African Muslims played in the nation’s ending of slavery.
From July 27th through August 1st, Imam Khalid Griggs, Chairman of the ICNA Council for Social Justice, delivered a series of lectures in mosques, community centers, and city hall in Georgetown and surrounding villages on the advent of African Muslims in the Western Hemisphere. The lectures covered topics from the time of trans-Atlantic crossings of Muslim Moors from 9th century Muslim Spain, to the sailing of African Muslims from Mali, West Africa in 1312 through the time of the trans-Atlantic slave trade that brought a third of Muslims as part of its human cargo. The role of Muslim slaves in Emancipation was highlighted by Imam Khalid Griggs on six television interviews in Georgetown and one in the upriver village of Charity.
One of the lectures was delivered in Queenstown, a historic village purchased and founded in 1841 by former slaves who had collectively saved their earnings from seven years of indentured servitude after Emancipation. The President of the Guyana Islamic Trust, Mohammed Haseeb Yusef, expressed an appreciation for the work of ICNA especially its dawah (outreach) and social service operations. The GIT is active in dawah work in Guyana and also provides assistance to individuals and groups in the developing nation.