(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) – Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has told the Muslim community to reject any talk pertaining to the Government attempting to impose anti-Muslim policies or laws against Muslims in T&T.
Rowley made the comment while addressing the annual Eid-ul-Fitr dinner hosted by the Anjuman Sunnat ul Jamaat Association (ASJA), T&T’s largest Islamic organisation, at the Centre Pointe Mall, Chaguanas, on Saturday.
“If any person is seeking to tell you or to advance their understanding of any difficulties that we may have, or any misunderstanding, or any challenge that this country has, I ask you today to reject all conversations, all misinformation, about anti-Muslim policies in T&T,” Rowley told the gathering.
“If you do nothing else in defence of T&T reject that, because that is not a fact, it might suit one or two persons to carry that conversation.”
In an obvious reference to conversations from some quarters that the Government was discriminating against the Muslim community via the action of the T&T Police Service during raids connected to the Carnival terror plot in February and intended anti-terrorism legislation, Rowley assured those gathered that this was far from reality.
“Whatever might be interpreted as being anti-Muslim, there is nothing that could create the reality of a hostility or of a misdirection than a conversation based on misinformation, a conversation that is a self-fulfilling prophecy,” the PM said.
“Brothers and sisters, this country is a beautiful place, it is only in this country that we can be free as we are now. We know of no other country in the world where we the people gathered here in this room who live on these islands could be freer than we are than in this island.
“Don’t take that for granted. Other people have taken their circumstances for granted and countries that have lost their way and ended up in great difficulty have done so one step at a time, sometimes one person at a time and it starts sometimes with two conversations, one that is right and one that could have been better.”
Rowley said his relationship with the Muslim community goes back decades.
Sharing some of those moments, he said when he challenged for the leadership of the People’s National Movement he had chosen Kamalludin Mohammed to be on his slate. He said when he became leader of the PNM in 2010 he also appointed a Muslim woman to head the San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation after the PNM only got control of four regional bodies.
He said, “I tell you this today, that you will understand if as we confront our difficulties today, whatever those difficulties, whatever difference of opinion we may have… The Irish faced their difficulties and I am happy to say today Christians stopped killing Christians in Ireland. Lebanon is at peace, but there are many areas around the world where people are still killing their brothers and sisters. T&T, comparatively, is a land of peace and brotherly love.”
In bringing Eid greetings, the Prime Minister said, “ Your country is your best offering from Allah, accept it with both hands and be a spokesperson in its defence.”