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Embarking on a Journey with Barbados Halal Experience

Over a century ago, Barbados welcomed its first known Muslim, Bashart Ali Dewan, a silk merchant from West Bengal, in 1910. His arrival marked the beginning of a community, with more Bengalis joining him and establishing homes in various parts of Bridgetown, such as Wellington Street, Milk Market, and Tudor Street (upstairs Bata Shoe Shop). Following the Bengalis were the Gujaratis from Gujarat in India. These early settlers integrated into the local culture, marrying Barbadian women, and their descendants continue to play prominent roles in Barbadian society. Today, visitors can explore the island’s mosques, providing a unique opportunity to connect with the Islamic community and learn about the rich South Asian history in Barbados.

Bangla Mirror had the privilege to connect with Suleiman Bulbulia, the Co-Founder and Director of Barbados Halal Experience (www.barbadoshalalexperience.com) in an exclusive interview to uncover the essence of the Barbados halal experience and its distinctive offerings.

  1. Tell us about the Muslim community in Barbados

The Muslim community while small in numbers on the island (approximately 3000) are well respected and accepted by the wider Barbadian community. Islamic practices are tolerated and accepted as part and parcel of the Barbadian landscape. There are no Islamic cultural events or festivals that are nationally celebrated, however Ramadan and Eid are increasingly being embraced by Barbadians and in recent years the Prime Minister puts out greetings to the Muslim community on the occasion of Ramadan, Eid and Hajj. Additionally, current research from the mid-Atlantic slave trade of those persons forcibly brought from West Africa to Barbados to slave on the sugar plantations is bringing to light accounts of the presence of Muslims among the enslaved.

2. Can you find accomodation that provides amenities and services tailored to the needs of Muslim travelers?

There are no fully halal hotels on the island. However, increasingly hotels are making accommodation for halal and other religious requirements from guests who request such amenities. As the tourism sector becomes more aware of halal tourism, there is more sensitization to the needs of Muslim guests and visitors.

3. What recreational and leisure activities are available for Muslims in Barbados that align with their religious and cultural values?

Recreational and leisure activities can be tailor-made to suit the Muslim visitor to the island. Beach/sea activities, scenic and Muslim Heritage Tours are available, halal dining experiences are possible, visit to Mosques and places of historical interest. Barbados has la ong history of Muslims and Islam on the island and this history can be explored.

  1. What halal dining options are available on the island, and are there restaurants that specifically cater to Muslim dietary preferences?
    There are a few halal dining options on the island, some offer a full halal menu, others offer halal options on their menu. Additionally, there are several all halal caterers that can provide meals and deliver. There is also the availability of a local brand of halal chicken, Amirs which is available in major supermarkets and used on menus in several eating establishments across the island.
    5. Are there any mosques or Islamic centers in Barbados where Muslims can gather for prayers and community activities?

Yes. There are several mosques and Islamic Centres on the island where Muslims gather and pray. The 2 main mosques in the capital city, Bridgetown, are over 65 years old.

6. What 5 must-see attractions and activities would you recommend when visiting Barbados?

  1. Visit Harrison’s Cave
    2. Have dinner at Oistins town
    3. Do a scenic tour of the island that includes Cherry Tree Hill and the East coast of the island
    4. Muslim Heritage Tour
    5. Snorkle with the turtles in Carlisle Bay

Book the Muslim Heritage Tour here: www.barbadoshalalexperience.com
Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barbadoshalalexperience
Picture Credit: Barbados Halal Experience

For more information on Barbados please see: https://www.visitbarbados.org/