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July/August 2015

5

It was placed at eye level for the kids

so they could understand that a mother

could not look after everyone. They

understood it was really about them.

SUR I NAME I S L AM I C

A S SOC I AT I ON

fter the abolition of

slavery, the first

contract workers

were Chinese

from Java.

Then came workers from

India. They were Hindu,

Christian and Muslim.

Then came the Javanese

from Java, who were

Muslim. We here are

descendants of the first

Indians. They came

before the separation

[of India and Pakistan]

in 1947.

Our mosque is next to the synagogue.

I visited the previous rabbi. They have

a fascinating building. He came to visit

us as well. We have a good relationship.

They allow us to share their parking lot

when we have an event, and they do the

same here when they have something to

celebrate. Not long ago we had a univer-

sal convention, and we invited them to

come and speak.

The theme was “My Perception

of Islam, the Religion of Peace.” The

rabbi said that in the eight years he has

been here, neither of us had thrown

stones at each other. He also examined

the archives and couldn’t find one neg-

ative comment about our relationship.

AUTHOR , H I S TOR I AN

AND DAUGHT E R OF J OHAN

F E RR I E R , THE F I R S T

P R E S I DENT OF SUR I NAME

uriname is a real multi-

cultural country in the strictest

sense. You must accept and

respect each other. If some groups are

just “tolerated,” you are not multicul-

tural because you think you are better.

That’s my definition.

I was invited to give a series of lectures

last year at the University of Berkeley in

California, and one was about Elizabeth

Samson. She was a 100-percent black

woman who was one of the richest people

in 18th-century Suriname, the time of

slavery. She wanted to marry a white man

in 1764, but it was forbidden by law. She

wrote a letter to the owners of Suriname,

the city of Amsterdam and the West India

Company. There was, however, one rea-

son why the marriage should go ahead:

This woman was rich, and if she should