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Book source: De Islam,

Met dank aan Albert Buys Helman in Cultureel Mozaiek van Suriname, De Walburg Pers, Zutphen, 1978. ISBN 906011.073.0

Subject: [History, Heritage] Islam

Met dank aan Albert Buys Helman in an article 'De Islam' writes the following: The first moslems in Suriname were 'Hindostanen' (Hindus from British India) especially from the Punjab. These moslems constituted 17.5% of the total number of immigrants from British India. In the 1970's the number of Moslems was estimated around 17000. At first they believed and followed the 'sharia' (religious law) which represents the Hanafit orthodox Moslem religious thought. Their mosques were oriented towards the east (India). They became later influenced by a reform movement which started in Lahore. In 1880, M.G. Ahmad founded a reformist Islamic movement who believed that Christ did not die on the cross and that Jesus travelled to Kashmir and Afghanistan to preach. They believed in tolerance and Ahmad proclaimed himself the 'Mahdi'. This movement gained popularity in Suriname. The arrival of the Moslem Javanese contract workers did not bring much change at first. The Javanese believed in pre-islamic customs and traditions and their version of Islam was according to the 'Sjafiitis'. Their mosque was oriented to the west in the direction of Mecca. This caused eventually a dispute with the 'Hindostanen' Moslems who were oriented towards India.. The 'Hindostanen' Moslems were able to establish themselves in a stronger position as they built more brick/concrete mosques, schools and had charitable institutions. Moslems in Suriname rarely travel to Mecca. In the last twenty years efforts have been made by the 'Hindostanen' to become more tolerant and to unify all moslems in Suriname. All agreed that there were disagreements such as the orientation of the mosques. The 'Hindostanen' are more Urdu language oriented rather than Arabic. Thus knowledge of the Koran in Arbic is rather slim or non existent among the comon people. In general Moslems in Suriname don't feel strong ties to other Moslems in other parts of the world. Islam is for them more a personal experience of the Koran and it is adjusted to life in Suriname. -------

Met dank aan Albert Buys

Met dank aan Albert Buys

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