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A 11-minute, 20-second video, titled Those who Believe and Made the Hijra, which featured Trinidadian parents and their young children training to become ISIS fighters. In the video posted by the Ar-Raqqah Province of the Islamic State (IS), the fighters said they left T&T to fight for Islam as practising their faith in T&T was “limited.”  Calls are being made for the Government to liaise with all Muslim organisations to stop the recruitment of terrorist fighters by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Founder and chairman of the Caribbean Hajj, Zabar Mohammed Baksh, said the video was not an accurate representation of Islam in T&T. “They have to be mad. We are the best place in the world to practise Islam,” Baksh said, adding he hoped the terrorist fighters never returned to T&T.

He added: “I have travelled all over the world and we are not restrictive when it comes to the practice of Islam. I was a founding member of the IRO and that is a blessing in this country. “Islam is one of the most tolerant religions of the world. We always fear Allah. Every life on this earth must be protected and cherished.” 

Asked why locals were being enticed to go to fight for ISIS, Baksh said: “Ask them that. I don’t know what prompts them.” He added that the Government must deal with the situation by holding talks with Muslim groups. 

Meanwhile, president of the Trinidad Muslim League, Dr Nasser Mustapha, said he did not recognise any of the fighters. He said it was not true that Islam was being restricted in T&T. “Over the years we have enjoyed religious freedom and freedom to worship. We have established schools and we teach children from other religions. We have more rights and freedoms than many of the Muslim countries where people cannot speak out,” he said.

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Two hundred and forty Trinidadians who journeyed to Mecca for Hajj have survived yesterday’s stampede which killed more than 700 people and injured 800 others in Saudi Arabia.

T&T Guardian’s sales executive Acklima Mohammed and her husband Mobarak Mohammed who are in Mecca had just performed the Jamaarat ritual known as "stoning the devil" in the tent city of Mina and had moved to the third floor of the building, when the stampede occurred.

Video footage provided by Mohammed showed bodies piled upon bodies. Few were moving. Ambulances rushed to the scene while Muslims gawked at the pile-up of still bodies. While international media reports said the cause of the stampede was still being investigated, Mohammed said she believed the chaos occurred when a group of Muslim faithfuls tried to stone the Jamaarat at an unscheduled time.

“There are pilgrims who come here on a low budget for Hajj and they camp out on the streets or anywhere where they can get shelter. They do not have the Saudi government’s schedule for pelting the Jamaarat. These pilgrims use the local transport. In this case they used the train. This train system is sort of new. When they got out they rushed to the first floor to pelt the Jamaarat. It was madness,” she said.

Mohammed added that the building that has the Jamaraat now has four or five levels. 

“It is huge. It has huge air-conditional blowers and many escalators. The Saudi government spent a lot of money to make it safe,” Mohammed said.

She added that leaders of the various Muslim groups did a count of the 240 Trinidadians who attended the festival and everyone was accounted for.

Asked to describe the scene of the stampede, Mohammed said, “What I saw was the helicopter hovering downwards and the ambulances. At first I thought nothing of it. We were on the third floor. It was not crowded as expected. The Saudi government had a new system in place. There was a schedule for all group leaders and you had to be there to pelt the Jamaraat at a certain time.”

She added, “ There are four to five different entrances to enter the building. There was no way that groups will crush into each other.”

Maulana Sheraz Ali, Imam of the Nur-E-Islam Mosque in El Socorro said most of the groups who had organised local pilgrims for Hajj had so far reported that no T&T nationals were hurt or killed in the stampede.

He said most pilgrims would have undergone some type of Hajj training in their respective country before the journey.

“But often this is only centered on how to perform the rituals and not how to deal with a mass of more than a million people moving at the same time. With so many people in one place trying to move around, stampedes can happen easily, sometimes set off by a loud noise that people might mistake for an explosion,” Ali said.

He added that although there was usually security in the form of hundreds of officers and guards, with so many different people speaking different languages, sometimes instructions could be misunderstood and cause confusion or even result in hundreds of people to start moving in another direction.

Contacted yesterday, President of the Trinidad Muslim League Dr Nasser Mustapha said the stampede was unfortunate.

Founder and chairman of Caribbean Hajj Limited Zabar Mohammed Baksh also expressed relief at all the local Muslims were safe. He said yesterday’s stampede occurred because a group of “harden” [undisciplined-editor] pilgrims had blocked the pathway where the Satan is stoned.

“The entire crowd had to go to one point instead of three. Some of the pilgrims don’t listen to the authorities. They don’t understand the seriousness of the issue,” Baksh said. Saying the Saudi government should not be blamed, Baksh said the leaders of world Muslim groups should be encouraged to train all pilgrims and give them certification before they are allowed to attend Hajj.

“If they don’t have the certificate, they should not come. The Saudis have tried their best to keep things safe. They have deployed hundreds of thousands of troops and they have people helping the pilgrims. The new facility has prevented a lot of chaos. I was surprised that this happened but maybe this is how God wrote their ticket. They will go to heaven and this is how things have to be,” Baksh said.

He added that two groups of Trinis will return from Hajj on Sunday while two more groups will return in two weeks time.
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Western historians and commentators generally trace the beginnings of globalization to the second half of the 20th century. However, globalization is neither a very recent nor an absolutely unique phenomenon. The distinguished economist and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen argues that globalization’s history spans several centuries and that the active agents of globalization have sometimes been located quite far from the West. He points out that around 1000 AD, some of the most important technological inventions and innovations such as the clock, magnetic compass, paper, printing, gunpowder and the wheelbarrow were invented by the Chinese and subsequently spread across the world, including Europe.

Three points about the genesis and antecedents of globalization are note-worthy. First, one needs to look at globalization not as an isolated phenomenon that emerged in the West in recent times, but as the outcome of historical, social and cultural processes that took place in many non-Western contexts and that preceded contemporary globalization by many centuries. In other words, we should look at globalization from the perspective of social and cultural history and as the product of a process of cumulative progress and development. Second, a distinction needs to be drawn between contemporary globalization and proto-globalization or incipient globalization. Third, the current discourse on globalization, which is manifestly Eurocentric or West-centric, needs to be deconstructed and decentred.

Some historians, like A. G. Hopkins and Christopher Bayly, have used the term proto-globalization to describe the phase of increasing trade links and cultural exchanges that characterized the period from 1600 to 1800, which preceded modern globalization. It may be pointed out that the span of proto-globalization or incipient globalization needs to be extended beyond the 17th century. Proto-globalization or incipient globalization should not be looked upon as merely an earlier phase of globalization, but as an important precursor or forerunner of globalization which significantly impacted processes and linkages that have become a hallmark of contemporary globalization.

What is it like to be a Muslim in Cuba?

There are just 4,000 people in Cuba's small, but growing Muslim community.

But how easy is it to follow the Islamic way of life in a country with no halal butchers, where alcohol and pork are popular and - crucially - with no Mosque?

The Islamic Council of Jamaica

Propagating the true message of Islam

ISLAM IS one of the world's largest religions, with much of its converts living in the Eastern Hemisphere. Islam is also strong in some Western hemispheric countries.

And right here in Jamaica, regarded a Christian country, Islam has taken root. There are 12 places of worship, including the masjid (mosque) at the Islamic Council of Jamaica (ICOJ) headquarters, located at 24 Camp Road, Kingston 4.

This lecture, A Young Soldier of lslam: Haji Ruknudeen Sahib, examines the contributions made by this indentured immigrant who came to these shores some 120 years ago and spent 75 years in service to the Muslim community. A humble man, dedicated to the cause of lslam he joins the legions of other men such as Syed Abdul Aziz, Yacoob Ali Meer Hassan, Beekham Syne, Zahoor Khan, lshmile Khan, Hafiz Naziruddeen, Baboo Meah, Abdul Ghany (Gany), Yacoob Khan, Subrate Meah, Mohammed Ibrahim, John Mohammed, etc. who made sterling contributions to the consolidation and propagation of lslam in Trinidad and whose stories also need to be written and understood by my generation and younger generations. Like many of my generation, had it not been for the legacy I grew-up surrounded by, the trials, the tribulations and the triumphs of the Muslim community would have been largely ignored, for I benefited from the struggles of our fore parents and did not need to interrogate what existed. It is also a struggle that takes on new twists and turns in my generation and those after me.  How to be Muslim in a globalized world with its distinct myriad images of individuality and modernization, with attendant norms and values that runs counter to the very principles of Islam; submission to the will of Allah, humility, goodwill, community, cooperation and service? This challenge is made even more acute as we also live in an lslamophobic (as defined by Runnymede Trust, 1997) world. The struggle to constantly adapt, to live a life in service of lslam in a new world by Ruknudeen provides lessons for all of us even fifty years after his death.

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