In the heart of Paramaribo, in Keizerstraat, there is a sight that is both simple and extraordinary: a mosque right next door to a synagogue.
The original Neve Shalom Synagogue building was constructed in 1719 by Ashkenazi Jews. The synagogue was rebuilt and enlarged to its current size between 1835 to 1837. The Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha’at Islam Mosque was completed in 1984. Racial and religious harmony are striking features of Suriname. Like many Caribbean nations, the Surinamese population is largely of African origin, descendants of contract workers from India (in Suriname they are referred to as Hindustani) brought in after the abolition of slavery, and here there are also sizeable elements of Chinese and Indonesian people, plus a few Caucasians, mainly of Dutch descent. A Jewish community has been here since the 17th century.