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Where is Barbados?
Barbados is a sovereign island country in the Lesser Antilles. It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 kilometres (62 mi) east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea; therein, it is about 168 kilometres (104 mi) east of the islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and 400 kilometres (250 mi) north-east of Trinidad and Tobago. Barbados is outside of the principal Atlantic hurricane belt.
* How it all started? Different Backgrounds etc (history)
In 1966, Barbados became independent. Barbados is one of the Caribbean’s leading tourist destinations and is one of the most developed islands in the region. Barbados estimates a Muslim population of over 4000, most of whom are immigrants or descendants of immigrants from the Indian state of Gujarat. A few immigrants from Guyana, Trinidad, South Asia, and the Middle East, as well as about 200 native-born persons, constitute the rest of the growing Muslim community, representing 1.50 percent of the population. Close to 90 percent of all Barbadians (also known colloquially as Bajan) are of African descent (Afro-Bajans), mostly descendants of the slave labourers on the sugar plantations. The remainder of the population includes groups of Europeans (Euro-Bajans), Asians, Bajan Hindus and Muslims, and an influential Middle Eastern (Arab-Bajans) group mainly of Syrian and Lebanese descent. Lebanese and Syrians form the Arab community on the island, and the Muslim minority among them make up a small percentage of the Muslim population. The majority of the Lebanese and Syrians arrived in Barbados through trade opportunities. Jewish people arrived in Barbados just after the first settlers in 1627. Bridgetown is the home of Nidhe Israel Synagogue, the oldest Jewish synagogue in the Americas, dating from 1654, though the current structure was erected in 1833 replacing one ruined by the hurricane of 1831. Tombstones in the neighbouring cemetery date from the 1630s. Now under the care of the Barbados National Trust, the site was deserted in 1929 but was subsequently saved and restored by the Jewish community beginning in 1986.The Muslim-Indian Barbadian community is largely of Gujarati ancestry. Many small businesses in Barbados are run and operated by Muslim-Indian Bajans.
Research has shown that the first known Muslim to arrive in Barbados was over ninety years ago when in 1913 Abdul Rohul Amin, a silk merchant from West Bengal came to Barbados. Soon after, some more Bengalis arrived and they shared a house in Wellington Street, in the City. Some of them also lived in Milk Market and Tudor Street (upstairs Bata Shoe Shop) in Bridgetown. Most of these Bengalis married local Barbadian women and started families in Bridgetown. Today many well-known Barbadians are the grandchildren of these unions.
These Muslims started the itinerant trading process, which continues up to this day. In the early stages most of the trading was with poor Barbadians living in the country areas who found it difficult to get to Bridgetown to do their shopping. The traders would take the bus to get their wares to the people in the country. If there were no buses available they would walk long distances just to accommodate the customers. Over the years, these traders built up a relationship with Barbadians, which still remains of mutual benefit.
Following the Bengalis, Muslims from villages in Gujarat, West India arrived. It is reported that the first of the Gujarati Muslims came in 1929. These Muslims had set out for Brazil to cut timber but ended up in Guyana and stayed there for a while. In Guyana they learnt that there was money in coal trading with Barbados. They visited Bridgetown a couple of times by boat and then decided to make Barbados their home.