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Deeper Roots: Muslims in the Americas and the Caribbean before Columbus to the Present

Port-of-Spain: The National Library (NALIS) was the venue of the launch of "Deeper Roots: Muslims in the Americas and the Caribbean before Columbus to the Present" (revised edition) by its author Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick.

Introducing the book Dr. Quick says "For most of the literate world today, the first contact that the Caribbean had with the outside world was on October 12 1492 CE when Christopher Columbus landed on the island of San Salvador. Today, very little mention is made of the presence of Muslims in the Caribbean until the 19th century with the coming of indentured labourers from India and then in the 20th century, with the arrival of traders from the Middle East.  The history of Islam and Muslim people in this region extends back over one thousand years, predating Columbus' contact by six centuries.  In this new edition of "Deeper Roots",  I've added a section on Islam and the African in America.  This short reflection will also help broaden the horizons of this neglected aspect of world history."

The Black Caucus Movement hosted Dr. Quick in a two hour radio interview which generating calls from enthused listeners.  Dr. Quick also unveiled a plaque at Bath Street in Belmont, Port of Spain, in commemoration of Jonas (Yunus) Muhammad Bath – a freed slave who set up a Muslim community in that area.

Dr. Quick holds a Masters Degree and a Doctorate in African History from the University of Toronto in Canada.  His thesis was an analysis of the early life of Sheikh ‘Uthman Dan Fodio, a great West African Scholar, Mujahid, and social activist.  He was born in the United States of America and accepted Islam in Canada in 1970. He pursued his study of Islam at the Islamic University of Madinah in Saudi Arabia where he graduated and received an Ijaza from the College of Da’wah and Islamic Sciences in 1979, one of the first two students to do so from the West.


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ACCUSED MURDERERS TO REAPPEAR IN COURT

Port-of-Spain: Eleven persons appeared in the Port-of-Spain Magistrate's Court this afternoon charged with assassinating former Independent Senator Dana Seetahal, SC, in May, last year. 

Reputed gang leader Rajaee Ali and 10 others appeared before Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar in the Eight Magistrate Court around 1 pm for the charges to be formally read to them. 

The accused men, who all dressed in Muslim garb, occupied the entire prisoner enclosure of the courtroom and stood silently as the charge was being read. 

In addition to the murder charge, Ali was also slapped with a charge for being a gang leader, while his co-accused were charged with being members of a gang between March last year and earlier this month.  Deon Peters, David Ector and one of Ali's wives Stacy Griffith were not charged with the murder but were slapped with charges for being members of Ali's gang. Griffith was also slapped with an additional charge for facilitating gang activity. They were not called upon to plead to any of the charges which was laid indictably.

All 14 accused person were denied bail and remand into custody as bail is not allowed at all for persons charged with capital offenses and is also denied for 120 days for persons charged under the Anti-Gang legislation. 

During the hearing lawyer for the group, Criston J Williams raised several issues with the police investigation which led to his client being charged. Williams claimed that several newspapers and television stations had reported on evidence in the case which may affect his client's ability to get a fair trial. Williams also questioned why his clients were charged hours after he issued investigators with a pre-action protocol letter questioning their continued detention without being charged, last Friday. 

In response, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard who assured Williams that he would advise the media on proper and responsible reporting on the case. Gaspard refused to answer Williams' complaint on the charging of the suspects. 

As anticipated security for the hearing was stringent as police blocked several roads between the St Vincent Street courthouse and Independence Square. Heavily armed police officers were stationed at all exits and entrances at the court as well as at every street corner surrounding the building.

Only a handful of the accused relatives were allowed in the court for the hearing including the Carapo mosque's leader Hassan Ali, who is the father of Ali and his two brothers Hamid and Ishmael, who are also charged with Seetahal's murder. Jamaat leader Yasin Abu Bakr was also present in court and waved to the accused men as they were being led out of the court.

Bakr and Hassan Ali were initially detained for questioning in relation to Seetahal's murder last Monday, but were released without charge after spending close to three days in police custody. 
The accused persons will reappear in court on August 24. 

Persons accused of Dana Seetahal's murder:

1. Rajaee Ali, 29, of Rose Drive, Carapo 

2. Devaughn Cummings, 29, of Poui Lane, Malabar, Arima and Chandee Lane (off Mausica Road) D’Abadie 

3. Ishmael Ali, 30, of Pinewood Drive, Carapo, Arima (brother of Rajaee Ali) 

4. Ricardo Stewart, 30, of Rose Drive, Carapo, Arima 

5. Earl Richards, 48, of Water Hole, Cocorite 

6. Stephan Cummings, 33, of Rose Drive, Evergreen, Carapo, Arima 

7. Gareth Wiseman, 33, of Caledonia Road, Lange Park, Chaguanas 

8. Hamid Ali, 34, of Melodians Crescent, Malabar, Arima, (brother of Rajaee Ali) 

9. Kevin Parkinson, 28, of Water Hole, Cocorite 

10. Leston Gonzales, 28, of Malabar, Arima 

11. Roget Boucher, 29, of Rose Drive, Carapo, Arima 

According to reports, shortly before midnight on May 3 last year, Seetahal left the Ma Pau casino car park on French Street, Port-of-Spain, before driving onto Wrightson Road and later turning north onto Hamilton Holder Street, Woodbrook. 

Police said as she approached the Woodbrook Youth Facility around 12.05 am, she was blocked by two vehicles, whose occupants came out and shot her. 

Seetahal was shot five times, twice in the right side of her head, twice in the right forearm and once in the chest. Her killers were so close to her that gunpowder residue was found on her clothing. 

Omar Seetahal, brother of the slain Senior Council, said all his sister ever wanted was justice for all. 

“We are honestly hoping for justice – true justice. I want a true, fair and impartial criminal justice system. Dana was a person who wanted justice not merely convictions, she wanted true justice. I felt her presence in the courtroom today, she has always been an officer of the law,” Seetahal said

He said his family are happy that there is progress in the case.  

“I am happy to see that a step has been taken. The first step, we know that it is a journey but we are looking forward to a successful conclusion. We are looking forward for justice for Dana. We really hope our law enforcement agencies continue to do their part in making sure that true justice is served,” Seetahal said.

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Coffee A Shared Legacy of Muslim Culture

 

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.


Introduction
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.


Causes Of Extremism

Occupation with Side Issues:

Intellectual shallowness and lack of religious insight result in an intense interest in marginal issues like giving excessive importance to the growing of beard, the wearing of cloths below the ankle, so on and so forth. What is more dangerous is attempting to impose these on others. Sometimes what is fard (obligatory) is superseded by what is recommended, and this is against the spirit of Islam.

Excessive Extension of Prohibitions:

An extremist, due to lack of knowledge, may be seen to force others to drink while sitting. Since the hadeeth, which permits drinking water while standing, are more authentic as cited by Bukhari. It is mainly due to lack of thorough knowledge of Islamic Jurisprudence and of Shariah.

Emphasis on Allegorical Texts:


Ignoring the Qur’anic verses which are straightforward and clear and giving more stress on the allegorical ones is another cause of extremism. (ref. Qur’an, 3:7)

Lack of Respect for Specialization:

One of the causes of extremism is a reluctance to listen to people who hold different views. Extremists have little interest in dialogues, as they never imagine that their views could be tested in the light of others, and be either contradicted or refuted. They may have received SEMI-knowledge. These devout young people ignore the fact that if they want to study Shariah, they must SEEK help of reliable Muslim scholars.

Lack of Insight into History, Reality and the Sunnah of Allah:

Some people continue to seek or demand the impossible and the unavailable, want to change the whole fabric of society by illusory means and imaginary methods. Prophet (SAWS) spent 13 years in Makkah, performed salah and tawaf on the premises of Ka’bah, though it was surrounded at that time by more than 360 idols.

Two Important Sunan:

1. Gradation: Allah created the universe in stages. In dawah, initially, Prophet (SAWS) gradually introduced the basic teachings of Islam.
2. To achieve targeted goals, giving the allowance of due time is important.

Extremists seem to ignore these two important ways.

Islam: A Stranger in Its Homeland:


Perhaps the most alarming and unbearable factor for any ardent and devout Muslim is that in many Muslim countries, perversion, corruption, and falsehood are rampant. Their opinion is that all the rulers of Arab Muslim countries are mere Pieces On A Chessboards and puppets in the hands of the secret powers that rule the world. It is IMPOSSIBLE for Muslims to be indifferent to the tragic mishaps that beset this Ummah (or to watch their brothers in Islam being SLAUGHTERED like animals, and their sisters being abused and raped). This state of affairs also contribute to the generating of extremist views.

Impediments Imposed On Da'wah And Du'at:


This cause of extremism pertains to the freedom to CALL people to Islam. Islam does not want a Muslim to work alone. Islam not only teaches a person to be pious and righteous but also enjoins them to try to reform others. So Muslims regard this vocation of calling people to Islam as a religiously mandated duty.  The gravest sins committed by some of the Muslim Governments are the censorship on the freedom to call people to Islam as a deen and a system of beliefs and a way of life. The intimidation of du’at and of those who call for the application of shariah, the establishment of the Islamic state, the unity of the Ummah, the liberation of the Muslim land, and the support of all Islamic causes leave few options open for Muslim youths other than desperate measures. This pressure generates extremism. Is it logical, therefore, to blame the youth who – despairing of being allowed to call for Islam with wisdom and nice preaching – have resorted to violent means? In Egypt, in 1954 and 1965, devout Muslims were subjected to nightmarish, hair-raising, unbelievable tortures in the military prisons: they were lashed, exposed to flames, their flesh burned with cigarettes; men and women were being hung upside down like slaughtered animals, while the executioners took turn scorching them until their bodies swelled up in heaps of blood and pus. Why? Why are they subjected to this torture? What crime have they committed?

 ... these cause extremism.

(Source: 'Islamic Awakening Between Rejection and Extremism', by Yusuf al Qaradawi, summary by Atiq Ahad) This article does not necessarily reflect the views of CaribbeanMuslims.com. Above author takes full responsibility of it. 

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