THE SURINAME ISLAMIC ASSOCIATION

(Surinaamse Islamitische Vereniging in Dutch)

 

Since the year 1843 employees migrated from neighboring countries to Suriname. However, with the abolition of slavery in 1863 the demand for laborers rose and the need to attract immigrants from British India became imminent. On the Lalla-Rookh, which first arrived in Suriname, there were more than 400 British-Indian immigrants among whom there were also about 80 Muslims. Although they were employed in different districts after arriving, these believers pursued their mutual contact more intensively.

 

Thus, small mosques were built and joint sport activities were organized regularly. However, it took until 1929 before the need arose to all Muslims in Suriname to organize under a parent organization. The Surinamese Islamic Association (SIV) was established on Sunday, November 17, 1929 by approximately 600 believers from all over Suriname in theater Thalia. Shortly after, the construction of a wooden mosque was started and was inaugurated in August 1932 at the Keizerstraat in Paramaribo.

 

The initiative was then taken in order to spread Islam among the people of Suriname. It was necessary to gain knowledge and a Sunni organization in Lahore had been approached for this purpose. Since that organization did not operate internationally, they referred the SIV to the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at Islam. The contact resulted in the S.I.V. adapting the philosophy and principles of the reformer of the 14th century and Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as the basis for our organization. That is, we believe in the Unity of Allah and that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has undoubtedly been the last messenger of Allah.

 

In 1970 the members felt the need to build a new representative mosque to replace the already 50 years old wooden mosque on the Keizerstraat (Paramaribo). After the necessary preparations (from 1970 to 1973), the construction of the Main Mosque was finally started. The official inauguration took place on 27 July 1984.

 

In full accordance with Islamic tradition the design consists of a large central dome and 4 minarets. The structure is approximately 29 m high, the largest diameter of the central dome is 10 m. Nobody can deny that this building has become a monumental point of identification for Paramaribo. The foundation consists of a large number of piled wooden posts, which viewed from the outside, cannot be seen. The total capacity of space of the mosque including the balconies and the ground floor is spacious enough for prayers on feast days (Eid ul Fitre and Eid ul Adha).

 

The SIV children's home at the Grote Combe weg is founded with regular donations from home and abroad. These donations consist of financial fund and consumables.

 

Our deceased brothers and sisters are now mostly buried in the cemetery at the Doekhieweg. We also have a cemetery at Welgedacht B. For relatives it's a pleasure to have experienced that these places are well maintained. In the nineties, the area between the mosque and the synagogue was purchased. This resulted in that our brethren of Jewish origin became our immediate neighbors. Our unique and peaceful relations with our eastern neighbors, which is reflected in the peaceful juxtaposition of a mosque and a synagogue, are nowadays a perfect example for the whole world.

 

The Surinamese Islamic Association is governed by a Board, which according to its constitution is elected for three years by and from among the members. The Board is supported by a number of committees and councils which are all described in the constitution. In addition, the association has branches in the districts. Besides the departments, the association also has sister organizations. These are independent organizations that share our belief (Akieda) and have close relations with the Suriname Islamic Association. Many members of these organizations are also members of the Association.

 

The international parent organization of the Ahmadiyya movement is residing in Lahore Pakistan. It is led by an Emir who is assisted by a board consisting of representatives of many Jamaats in Pakistan. The current Emir is the well known Professor. Dr. Kareem Abdul Saeed, also known as Pasha. The contact with Lahore is excellent.

 

There are sister organizations in the United States of America, Guyana, Trinidad, South Africa, India, Fiji, the Philippines and of course in Europe including the Netherlands, Germany and England. The contact with the Netherlands is extremely good, given that the members are generally people of Surinamese descent.

© 2013 sivsr.org. Alle rechten voorbehouden.