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Students examine religious intolerance
More than 100 students yesterday participated in a simulation programme in the form of a Model United Nations (MUN) to discuss religious intolerance. MUN is a project hosted by the Rotary Club of Central Port-of-Spain each year and takes the format of a miniature UN General Assembly in which students act as diplomats and attempt to solve global issues using thought, compromise and negotiation.
MUNs are simulated annually around the world. Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh was the feature speaker at the club’s 16th annual event held at the Cascadia Hotel, St Ann’s. He said T&T was known for its remarkable diversity and harmony and always stood out as a beacon of hope for multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural nations globally.
He said, “We have had our own battles with religious intolerance, and for a very long time our country’s Hindus, Muslims and Shouter Baptists, especially, were discriminated against because of religious intolerance.
“I know how hard we had to lobby as a people under colonial rule for our independence and freedom to worship, to hold our prayers, to honour our ancestors, to go to our temples and mosques and churches and to pray freely and true to our spirit.” He reminded the student-delegates that “this act of ignorance” was corrected by a United National Congress administration through the Constitution.
He said Shouter Baptists were given their God-given right of freedom to worship, a public holiday, a primary school, early childhood care centre and soon a secondary school. “Our 250,000 children will learn from an example here today that every single human being must be respected and treated with common decency and must be given their opportunity to excel,” Gopeesingh said.
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