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Muslim Communities Honored President Lula de Silva

Muslim Communities Honored President Lula de Silva



Amid feelings of joy and jubilation, more than a thousand people from Arab origins and Muslim communities in the city of "SaoPaulo" Brazil gathered to honor the President of the former Brazil, LuizInacio Lula da Silva. The celebration which organized by the Union of Islamic institutions in Brazil was attended by the mayor of the city of Sao Paulo "Gilberto Kassab ", in addition to the ambassadors of Arab countries and members of the diplomatic corps. The celebration came in recognition of the former president efforts during his tenure to improve the people of Brazil, making the state occupies the eighth strongest economy in the world and is expected to move to the fifth place in the coming years.

In his speech, Dr. Mohamed Hussein El-Zoghbi emphasized the importance of honoring the President "Lula", and he shed some light about Union of Islamic institutions which was established in 1979. He also revealed that the Union adopts many projects to introduce Islam and its culture and values in Brazil.  Dr El-Zugbi confirmed that, the objective of Union of Islamic Institutions is to spread the values,  ethics and peaceful coexistence in Brazil.  

President Lula de Silva Speech

The ceremony was addressed by President Lula de Silva who thanked the organizers and Dr. Mohammed Al Zoghbi Executive Director of the Union and said “I feel very happy and joyful to be among you today”. He went on to say that “Arabs and Muslim are not considered strangers in Brazil.  Muslims who came to Brazil as slaves had laid the foundation of the countr. Arabs and Muslims who are estimated have contributed significantly in all areas of life in this country” added Lula da Silva 

Determination and Confidence

In his Speech Lula de Silva believe that determination and confidence in people of Brazil was the way to economic revival and prosperity. He said: “when I came to power I was looking for new markets for Brazil exports, and not to rely on the European and the U.S markets only.” And about his experience with Arab world, Mr. Lula de Silva said: “when I set up an exhibition in Dubai for the Brazilian products with a cost of 500 thousand dollars, I faced a storm of criticism by the press and opponents of this venture, but after eight years it proved I had taken a right decision and now the volume of trade amount to 18 $. 

Importance of Communication

The second point de Silva emphasized was the importance of communication between people and nations. He cited the experience again of calling for a conference to bring delegates from the Middle East and the Latin America. “I was confronted again with a lot of criticism which considered the move as directed against the Zionist entity; however I insisted it should go ahead. The second meeting was held in Qatar in 2006 which was a great success in increasing the cooperation between the Arab World and the Latin American countries.” Added Lula de Silva.

Peaceful Coexistence

In his speech also Lula de Silva talked about the peaceful coexistence of different ethnicities and religions in Brazil to the extent that nobody can say Brazil is a Muslim or a Christian country. “Everybody works in the best interest of the nation and nobody feel rejected and the Arab community is treated fairly well here” said de Silva. 

Sympathy with Muslims

Finally, Mr. Lula de Silva talked about the suffering experienced by millions of Muslim as the result of the so-called war on ”terror "and said that the Palestinian people are the real victims of terrorism. He also touched on the Libyan revolution and said that he supported the decision of his country to vote against the decision to bomb Libya, and added that he wanted    the Secretary-General of the United Nations to resort to negotiations to solve the   crisis inside the country.   

Muslim Presence in Brazil

Islam in Brazil was first practiced by African slaves. The early Brazilian Muslims led the largest slave revolt in Brazil, which then had the largest slave population of the world. The next significant migration of Muslims was by Arabs from Syria and Lebanon. The number of Muslims in Brazil according to the 2000 Brazilian census was 27,239 or 0.00016% of the total population. According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life's 2009 report, the number had grown to 191,000, or 0.096% of the total population. There are about 80 Islamic institutions besides various Arab institutions.

         Secretary General of Supreme Counsel of Imams and Islamic Affairs - Brazil

Source :

By Khaled Taq el Din*2011-03-23 12:23:05 _ San Paulo