Estrada yesterday described the controversial issue of child marriage as a social one and not a religious issue, saying he would not get into any “back and forth” discourse with secretary general of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha Satnarayan ‘Sat’ Maharaj.
The US Ambassador spoke briefly with reporters following a courtesy call he made yesterday on San Fernando Mayor Kazim Hosein at the newly refurbished San Fernando City Council chambers on Harris Promenade.
While delivering the feature address at Indian Arrival Day celebrations at Parvati Girls’ Hindu College, Debe on May 30, Maharaj threw a jab at the US Ambassador, who is of Trinbago heritage, for his (Estrate) comment: “Let the child be a child.” Maharaj had retorted: “Mr Ambassador, cure your own evil before you come to tell us how to cure our evil!” Asked about Maharaj’s statements yesterday, the US Ambassador said, “I am not going to respond to that”, adding, “that is something for your country to sort out.” “I just look at it (child marriage) as a human rights issue, it is not as I see it...it is not a religious issue and it should not be made a religious issue, it is a social and cultural issue. I have the utmost respect for leaders of all faiths and I will not get into any back and forth with Mr Maharaj,” he said.
Estrada also described the death of boxing legend, Muhammed Ali as one of his personal heroes who had left an indelible mark on the world.
“He made such a positive mark on the world and I admired him as a lot of Americans and people around the world did because of his principles, when he stood up at a time in our history and said he was not going to go to war because it is against his religion,” he said, adding, “he alienated some but they all eventually came together to recognise what a great person he was, his death was a great loss for all of us, he was one of my heroes.”