Guyana Table of Contents
Like the Hindus, Guyana's Muslims are organized into orthodox and reform movements. The Sunnatival Jamaat is the orthodox Sunni (see Glossary) Islamic movement. The largest Islamic organization in the country is the Guyana United Sadr Islamic Anjuman. The reform movement, the Ahmadiyah, was founded in India in the late nineteenth century; its first missionary to Guyana arrived in 1908. The reform movement has had considerable success, even including some Afro-Guyanese among its converts. The rites of orthodox and reform Islam are similar, but the reform movement allows the Quran to be read in English and women to enter a designated section of the mosque. In contrast to the situation found on the Indian subcontinent, Muslims and Hindus experience little friction in Guyana. These two religious communities have a tacit agreement not to proselytize each other's members. In smaller villages, Christians and Muslims come together to participate in each other's ceremonies.
Until the 1970s, Hindu and Muslim holidays were not officially recognized. A number of non-Christian religious days are now public holidays. Hindu holidays include Holi, the spring festival, and Divali, the festival of lights. Muslim holidays include Id al Fitr, the end of Ramadan, the sacred month of fasting; Id al Adha, the feast of sacrifice; and Yaum an Nabi, the birthday of Muhammad. The dates for these holidays vary. An East Indian heritage day is celebrated and on May 5, an Amerindian festival is held on Republic Day, in February.
Data as of January 1992