Institutional development of Christianity, Hinduism and Islam in Suriname and Trinidad
an exploration in religious practices and festivities from 1900-2010
Keywords:Institutional development, Suriname, Trinidad, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam
This article examines the institutional development of Christianity, Hinduism and Islam in Suriname and Trinidad. Unlike conventional theories that associate cultural diversity with threats for social stability, a development concept is used that perceives cultural diversity as an enriching asset for societies. The concept of development is based on three dimensions: participation, sustainability and concerted diversity. The study explores Suriname and Trinidad in the social sphere of religious practices and festivities from 1900 to 1945 and from 1946 to 2010. Suriname and Trinidad are compared, because they have similar major religions (Christianity, Hinduism and Islam), and both faced colonial assimilation policies. The study indicates that - unlike Suriname - in Trinidad the institutional development of Hinduism and Islam, compared to Christianity was less encouraged by government policies and by relations among Hindu and Muslim organizations during the whole period under study. The article illustrates the differences in the institutional development of Christianity, Hinduism and Islam between Suriname and Trinidad by analyzing the celebration of religious festivities and legal products, such as subsidies to religious organizations and legalization of religious marriages.