Easter, Ramadan and Christian principles
March 22, 2024
Easter, Ramadan and Christian principles

We are this week, signalling the end of the Lenten season. It ushers in the glorious Easter festival which marks the triumph over death as demonstrated by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ who gave a New Commandment- to love one another. Before that however, there is the solemnity of Holy Week and Good Friday making for one of the two most important festivals on the Christian calendar.

This year the Christian Easter season coincides with another very important global religious festival. Muslims the world over are observing the holy month of Ramadan, one of the most significant in their calendar. In observance of this month, Muslims fast daily from sunrise to sunset, indicating their firm commitment to their religious beliefs.

In 2024 however, there is a serious practical challenge to such fasting. It occurs in what Christians call the Holy Land, the birthplace and home of Jesus Christ, Palestine. There, the government of Israel has, since last October following an invasion and attack in which hundreds of civilians were killed, launched a military attack on both Gaza in the west of the area and the West Bank in the East, including Jerusalem. The destruction and killing of tens of thousands of civilians is so grave as to be considered nothing short of genocide by most nations. Even in the Holy city of Jerusalem, restrictions have been placed on the access to holy sites affecting Muslims and Christians alike.

The worst development though is that such is not only the mass deaths from the bombings and shooting, but now the restrictions placed on access to humanitarian aid have led to growing numbers of deaths from hunger, malnutrition and starvation. It raises the important question of how are Muslims expected to fast in such circumstances in which they are denied basic food by the Zionist aggression?

As we move into our own devotions for Holy Week, we cannot ignore these dreadful developments.

We have pointed to the situation in the Middle East, but right in our own region, we are witnessing similar gross violations of human rights. The context may be different but the Haitian people, especially women and children, are suffering in like fashion.

As in Palestine, the ravages by gunmen and the complete breakdown in law and order, have had a similar effect on the Haitian people. Trapped in their own country with deaf ears to their cries by the international community, they too are plagued by malnutrition, hunger, starvation and death. In addition, these are our own Caribbean brothers and sisters, of common ancestral heritage. Don’t they deserve our solidarity, our prayers and demands that urgent solutions be found to end their cruel crucifixion and bring resurrection to a life which all human beings deserve?

As we go to our churches, or pray at home this, and next weekend, let us especially remember the people of Palestine and our own Haiti, and the injunction to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.