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Trinidad Muslims: No need for protection after New Zealand terror attacks

By Radhica De Silva

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ASJA general secretary Rahimool Hosein, second from left, speaks to the media during yesterday’s press conference in response to the New Zealand terrorist attack. Looking on from left is Imam Kazim Ali, ASJA PRO Raffaic Mohammed and ASJA spiritual guide Mohammed Asrarul Haque. * Photo credit: Kristian De Silva

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — While the Waa­ji­hat­ul Is­laamiyyah (The Is­lam­ic Front) wants po­lice pro­tec­tion at all lo­cal mosques, the An­ju­man Sun­nat ul Ja­maat (AS­JA) says this is not nec­es­sary.

Speak­ing at a press con­fer­ence at the Ma­coon Street Masjid in San Fer­nan­do yes­ter­day, Imam Raf­fa­ic Mo­hammed con­demned yes­ter­day’s mass shoot­ings of Mus­lims at Al Noor Mosque and Lin­wood Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, which left 49 dead and many oth­ers wound­ed.

“The en­tire Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty and the AS­JA fam­i­ly ex­tends our heart­felt sym­pa­thies and con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies of all those who lost their loved ones in this vi­o­lent sa­tan­ic act,” Mo­hammed said.

Say­ing Mus­lims in T&T lived peace­ful­ly and in har­mo­ny with oth­er re­li­gions and races, Mo­hammed said they had no fear of sim­i­lar at­tacks in T&T.

AS­JA gen­er­al sec­re­tary Rahi­mool Ho­sein al­so agreed there was no need to set up ad­di­tion­al se­cu­ri­ty at mosques.

“We are a cos­mopoli­tan na­tion and we live with every­one in har­mo­ny. There is no need to set up se­cu­ri­ty.

“Our gov­ern­ment has prop­er se­cu­ri­ty,” he added.

Com­ment­ing on a de­ci­sion by US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to place po­lice in every mosque in the Unit­ed States, Ho­sein said, “He is do­ing that not to pro­tect peo­ple who go there but to know what the Mus­lims are do­ing. We won’t be com­fort­able hav­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer look­ing over (us). The T&T Po­lice Ser­vice is do­ing a good job and so far we have the con­fi­dence that we will be pro­tect­ed.”

How­ev­er, he said this did not in­su­late T&T Mus­lims from at­tacks, not­ing that New Zealand was a non-vi­o­lent coun­try yet the mass shoot­ing oc­curred.

Spir­i­tu­al guide of AS­JA Mo­hammed As­rarul Haque said while peo­ple in T&T lived in har­mo­ny and tol­er­ance, one nev­er knew what might oc­cur in the fu­ture.

“All re­li­gious lead­ers should meet and ad­dress the na­tion be­cause we don’t know what youths have in their minds and this might help in the fu­ture to pro­tect our lives,” Haque said.

But Waa­ji­hat­ul Is­laamiyyah head Umar Ab­dul­lah has called on Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith to con­sid­er plac­ing of­fi­cers at mosques, not­ing Mus­lims must be safe in their places of wor­ship. He said Grif­fith should not rule out the pos­si­bil­i­ty of “copy­cats” car­ry­ing out sim­i­lar at­tacks lo­cal­ly, adding the al­ready out of con­trol “war” be­tween the so-called “Ras­ta City and Mus­lim City” made such at­tacks pos­si­ble.

“Waa­ji­hat­ul Is­laamiyyah is re­quest­ing that Grif­fith dis­patch at least two po­lice of­fi­cers in marked po­lice ve­hi­cles; to­day, Fri­day (yes­ter­day), at Masjids across the coun­try for the Ju­muah Prayers, es­pe­cial­ly the Masjids that are heav­i­ly pop­u­lat­ed in or­der to give a sense of se­cu­ri­ty and pro­tec­tion,” Ab­dul­lah said.

Call­ing on Mus­lims to re­main vig­i­lant and alert at all times, Ab­dul­lah said Is­lam­o­pho­bia was re­al.

He al­so cau­tioned against the shar­ing of the video de­pict­ing the hor­rif­ic New Zealand ter­ror­ist at­tack.

“It was video­taped with a back­ground theme song with an in­tend­ed pur­pose. Waa­ji­hat­ul Is­laamiyyah (The Is­lam­ic Front) is ask­ing every­one to de­sist from shar­ing this video as it sig­nals the threat of right-wing vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism.

“Do not play in­to the hands of these mur­der­ous in­di­vid­u­als by cir­cu­lat­ing their pro­pa­gan­da. It will on­ly serve to em­pow­er the Is­lam­o­pho­bic sen­ti­ments al­ready ablaze in the West­ern World,” he said.

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