Ulema uddin

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Roti - Caribbean Food

Roti Everyone loves roti! It is the fast food of the Caribbean, and you can find Roti restaurants the world over.


People always think of jerk chicken when it comes to West Indian food, but Roti is one of the most popular foods in the Caribbean. Roti was brought to the islands by the East Indian contract labourers, as early as 1840. Although Roti is East Indian in origin, it has been localised as a Caribbean dish.
  Roti - Caribbean food
Roti is hugely popular in Trinidad, where just under half of the population consider themselves to be of East Indian background. Today Caribbean/East Indian dishes are quite different from traditional East Indian.

For those who don’t know, a Roti is a flour pancake or wrap, similar to, but lighter than a tortilla, and filled with various foods, including curried chicken, goat, shrimp, channa (chick-peas). West Indian roti are mainly made from wheat flour, salt, and water. Jerk and Creole sauces are alternatives to curry. The word 'roti' in the West Indies also refers to a dish of stewed or curried ingredients wrapped in a 'roti skin'. In Trinidad and Tobago various rotis are served. Popular variations include chicken, conch, beef and vegetable. There are different types of Roti including Dhalpouri, Dosti, Bus-up-shut (Paratha ) and Sada roti.

Sada Roti: is similar to naan and cooked on a tava. This type is very popular in Trinidad as a breakfast option.

Paratha Roti: Roti made with butter, usually ghee, also cooked on a tava. Oil is rubbed on both sides, then it is fried, giving a crisp outside. When it almost finished cooking, the chef will to mash the roti while it is on the tava, causing it to crumble. It is also called 'Buss-Up-Shut' in Trinidad because it resembles a 'burst up shirt'.

Dosti Roti: A roti where two layers are rolled out together and cooked on the tava. It is also rubbed with oil while cooking. It is called dosti roti because the word dosti means friendship in Hindi. This type of roti is eaten in Guyana with a special halva to celebrate the birth of a child.

Dhalpuri: Popular in Trinidad, this roti has a stuffing of ground yellow split peas, cumin (geera), garlic, and pepper. The split peas are boiled and ground. The cumin is toasted until black and also ground. The stuffing is pushed into the roti dough, and sealed, then rolled flat.

Bake: Bakes are similar to roti, and popular in St Lucia. Shark and bake, also a popular Trinidadian snack. Dough is rolled out and cut into shapes or rolled into small rounds. These can be baked in an oven, but they are usually fried in oil. They are sometimes called frybake. Bake are usually paired with a fryup for breakfast or dinner, or with stewed saltfish.

Roti is a great dish for any occasion, as well as being quick and healthy.

President Noor Hassanali

Former President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Noor Hassanali was born on 13th August 1918, the sixth in a Muslim family of seven.

He acquired his secondary school education at Naparima College, and upon receiving his Higher School Certificate, he taught at his alma mater from 1938 to 1943. Between 1943 and 1947 he attended the University of Toronto, where he was a member of the Canadian Officers Training Corps in Army Service.

He was called to the English Bar as a member of Gray's Inns of Court in June 1948, and was admitted to practice in Trinidad and Tobago in August 1948. He then entered into private practice as a barrister-at-law. In 1953 he was appointed as a magistrate (West Districts) in Victoria, Tobago, St. Patrick, Caroni and St. George, and in 1960 he was made senior magistrate. In addition, in 1960, he was made Senior Crown Counsel in the Attornery General's Chambers. In 1965 he was appointed Assistant Solicitor General, while in 1966, he was made a judge in the High Court of Trinidad and Tobago. In 1978, he was appointed Justice of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Trinidad and Tobago - a post he held until he retired.

Mr. Hassanali was also the Master of the Moots at the Hugh Wooding Law School from 1985 to 1987. He served on a number of statutory boards, including the Judicial and Legal Service Commission 1985-1987, and the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Commissions Board 1985-1987. Justice Hassanali was elected President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on 19th March 1987, and as such became the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. He served two terms.

Mr. Hassanali was the recipient of several honours: Bronze "T" Athletic Award of the University of Toronto, 1947; Certificate of Honour from San Fernando Borough Council for contribution to football at Skinner Park; Honorary Bencher, Gray's Inn, Inns of Court; Council of Legal Education, London; Hon. Causa LL.D. University of the West Indies, 1989; Member, Chancellor's Council, Victoria College, University of Toronto, 1989-1991; Hon. Causa LL.D. University of Toronto, 1990; Trinity Cross (T.C.)

AMERICA IS MY LAND TOO: A patriotic Muslim American is not ’silent anymore. Creeping Sharia in the USA? More like Sleeping sharia in America.

500 American town have Muslim names. Reds have Green Roots. Cherokee Muslims. Mali Muslims visit American. Chinese Muslims. Muslims have been here in America from the begining. They came with Columbus, they came before Columbus and they came after Columbus.  Muslim influences are present all over America. California (Caliph Haronia), Alhambra, T Allah Hasee (Tallahassee), Alah Bumya (Alabama), Islamorada, Florida and other names are proof of Muslim influences in America. More than 500 towns are of Muslim origin.Muslims in America before Columbus

A mosque is as American as apple pie. Muslims have been part of America before Columbus. The last Muslim stronghold in Spain, Granada, fell just before the Spanish Inquisition was established in 1492. Non-Christians were forced to either convert to Catholicism to save themselves from the tyranny of the Inquisition or were exiled from the country. Documents exist which prove the existence of immigrant Muslims in Spanish America before 1550.

In 1539 an edict from Spanish King Charles V was put into practice which forbade the immigration of Muslims to settlements in the West. This edict was later expanded to expel all Muslims from overseas Spanish colonies in 1543. The existence of Muslims in overseas islands and regions was known along with the fact that the Spanish king issued such an edict. Again, in many Islamic sources, it is noted that Muslims living in Spain and North Africa made overseas voyages during the Andalusia period. Scientific research on this subject will bring out many documents into the daylight, documents which have escaped the notice of both Muslims in America and those throughout the world, which will perhaps serve, in the future if not immediately, as a starting point for a re-evaluation of the history of America. Recreating a New America as envisioned by our Founding Fathers:-A patriotic American Muslim speaks out

Haji Ruknuddeen Sahib was bom in 1865 in Punjab, India to his parents Elahee and Ameena.  He went through spiritual initiation and training as a discplined member of the Chistie Tariqa (Spiritual Order).  He was educated in Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, and Farsi languages as well as he acquired a deep knowledge of Theology.  Due to this education and training and being one of the few men of learning amongst the indentured labourers, Haji Ruknuddeen emerged to lead the Muslims of Trinidad for over fifty years. 

He arrived in Trinidad in November 1897 on board the ‘S.S MOY' and was first assigned to the La Plaisance Estate in La Romain. It soon became evident to those who brought him that he was indeed a Muslim missionary as his Sufi upbringing propelled him to start Maktabs where classes were organized to read and write Arabic and Urdu. It was only because of economic factors that he was not repatriated.

He later married the daughter of Imam Imdad Hosein of Victoria Village and moved to Tunapuna be resided until his death. At his home in Tunapuna Ruknuddeen Meah set up classes teaching Arabic and religious education and a book shop to meet the local demands for Islamic literature. He then commenced to set up Maktabs across the country and targeted the youths, while doing so at his own expense.

In 1924 he performed Hajj and in 1928 he succeeded Sayad Abdul Aziz as Kazi (Judge). In 1932 following a meeting of Muslims at Chaguanas Haji Ruknuddeen founded the ASJA which became an incorporated body in 1935 with Syed Mohammed Hosein as First President General. In 1947 he was elected Sheik ul Islam because of his vast knowledge of Islam and his fluency of Arabic and Urdu as well as Hindi which enabled him together with his Sufi background to advise the Muslim community on Islamic matters as well as to other communities and groups who frequented his home seeking his assistance, counseling and solutions to problems.

Together with Hafiz Nasiruddin Sahib and Haji Aziz Mohammed (interpreter) the Qazi laid the foundation for the development of the Muslim Community of Tunapuna which to this day continues to be served by those who have benefited from his vast knowledge of Islam. Throughout his life he traveled throughout the country and was respected and admired by all sectors of the community. One of his last public acts was to lay the foundation stone for the rebuilding of the Tunapuna Masjid in March of 1960 and to formally open the Masjid on completion.

Corner Stone at Tunapuna Masjid

He died at the age of 98 and such was the respect shown to him that Parliament passed a note of condolence to his family saying: "He was something unique, he left a memory of service to all." His grandson, Bro Abraham Mohammed of New York continues year after year to commemorate his grand father's passing in his hometown Tunapuna.

Throughout his life in Trinidad, Haji Ruknuddeen was highly respected and in death he was honoured with a funeral cortege numbering in the thousands when his funeral service was conducted at his home on Youmul Juma'ah (Friday) 12th July 1963.
May Allah bless his soul

These Regulations may be cited as the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Regulations.

Religious diversity in the Indian-Trinidadian community

Religion has always been central to Indian life. As D.N Vidyarthi put it (from '130 Years - Challenge and Transition'):"Whatever else our ancestors might have left behind them as they embarked on their great adventure, they did not neglect to transplant their religious customs and traditions. The crucible of immigration, however, was happily responsible for the removal of much that elsewhere made for the unnatural stratification of community life."

The impact of transportation to the other side of the world and the conditions of estate life shared in common made for a situation where in the 1930s, just fifteen years short of the 100th anniversary of the commencement of Indian indentureship, L.F. Seukaran, politician and later elder statesman, could remark: "Here, fortunately for us, Hindu, Muslim and Christian Indians enjoy unfettered social intercourse. There is much tolerance of one anther's religious viewpoint and practices, and even among the various religious groupings, sectarian differences do not seem to cut deeply into social relationships."

In the early days of indentureship, Hindus predominated in the ratio of nine to one. 100 years later, after the Second World War, that ratio had changed to roughly seven to three. With Hindus at 67%, Christians at about 16% and Muslims at 15%. In 1931, the Indian population stood at 138,667, made up as follows:


By the turn of the century, the main Hindu groupings were the Sanatan Dharma, the Arya Samaj, the Kabir Panth and the Sewnarines. The Sanatan Dharma Association was established in 1881 and received legal recognition by an act of legislative in 1932. It president at the time of its incorporation was the Honourable Sarran Teelucksingh, trade unionist and elected member of the Legislative Council.

From the earliest times of Indian immigration to Trinidad, Muslims arrived. For many years, their only contact with their Mohammedan brothers and sisters in India was through the steady stream of immigrants. There were progressive minds amongst the first to come, for within a short time, efforts were made to erect mosques to which were attached 'maktabs', schools for the teaching of Urdu and Arabic, where children could learn about Islam.

Later, the Muslims in the various districts formed themselves into 'Jamaats', and by a gradual process leaders arose from their midst. One of the most outstanding of these was Syad Abdul Aziz. Educated and progressive in outlook, he was responsible for the formation of the Islamic Guardian Association, which during its career did very useful service among Muslims. Other remarkable leaders were Hadji Rukmudeen Meah, Abdul Ghany and Gokool Meah. Christian Indians by the 1930s represented about 16% of the total Indian population The 1931 figures are as follows:
Presbyterian (Canadian Mission)
Roman Catholic
Church of England
Seventh Day Adventists
Under indentureship, Indians were influenced by Christianity. The estate owners were Christians, and so were the foremen, both black and white. The acceptance of the Christian faith was often accompanied by opportunities which inevitably led to education and improved social and economic status. Lionel Seukaran writes:

"But the faith of their fathers was so well ingrained in them, that it was with the greatest difficulty that conversions could be made. When our people came, they found two well-established Christian denominations, the Roman Catholics, here since Spanish times, and the Anglicans since the conquest of the island in 1797. There were some Presbyterians from Scotland and the U.S.A. It would seem, however, none of these considered seriously the possibility of converting Indians in large numbers to their faith."
(Source: Indian Centenary Review 1945 by M.J. Kirpalani, M.G. Sinanan, S.M. Fameshwar, L.F. Seukaran)

The Canadian Mission

"It was not until well over two decades after the first immigrants set foot on Trinidad soil that a Canadian clergyman, here on a health trip, conceived the idea that a mission could be established which could devote itself exclusively to the Indian community. The story of the coming of Dr. John Morton and, later, of Dr. Kenneth J. Grant, is well knwon. The Canadian Mission to the Indians of Trinidad was established in 1868, and from the very beginning the pioneer missionaries realised that in order to reach the minds of our people they would have to concentrate on education.

The evangelical work of the Canadian Mission went side by side with the educational work, but at a much slower rate. Dr. Morton opened his Mission at Iere Village, near Princes Town, but he soon realised that San Fernando was a more important centre from which his Mission could spread in all directions. San Fernando became the headquarters, a position which has been maintained up to this day. Princes Town soon became the second centre. Later Couva was made the third centre, and as the Mission spread out all over the south of the island, Dr. Morton decided to go north and he spent the latter part of his life in the Tunapuna field.

From this can be seen that this Mission has spread its arms to embrace almost the whole island and there is no part of rural Trinidad today which escapes its influence."

© Paria Publishing Company Limited 2000

Family history sources for Indian indentured labourers in the colonial era

This Research Guide provides some very brief history and background on the system of indentured labour and sketches the type of records that are held at The National Archives. It also gives a clear picture on how much material relating to individuals can be found for the purpose of tracing back the roots of labourers from India. It is important to understand the nature of this type of emigration and the conditions faced by labourers, as well as the regions from where they were recruited and their religious affiliation. All of these help to piece together and construct family history.

The researcher should note that only the forenames of Indian labourers are recorded in many of the documents. Also note that The National Archives holds Colonial Office records received from the colonies and Foreign Office records relating to a variety of countries colonised by foreign rivals such as Dutch and French Guiana. These records were sent to the Secretary of State in order to make policy on various issues and for discussions in Parliament. Certain documents keep an account of the expenses incurred in the transport of labourers; others focus on improving their living conditions; and some monitor whether the whole system was profitable to empire. Therefore, family history information is likely to be scant.

Muslims in Dominica

Carib Territory Mosque, Sinekou, Carrib Territory, Comm. of Dominica
Dominica, a small island in the Caribbean's Lesser Antilles (south east West Indies, not to be confused with the Dominican Republic) is home to some 70,000 people. It is inhabited primarily by people of West African descent and is home to one of the few remaining 'Carib' (indigenous) communities in the Caribbean. Dominica is a tall, rugged, windward island with a very traditional lifestyle. It is worlds away from the hustle and bustle of say, New York or London, however, they both have something in common: the growth of Islam.
Carib Mosque Interior

On the island's rugged east cost lies 'the Carib Territory', land owned only by people of Carib descent, a settlement between them and the English after years of war. This portion of the island is probably the most rugged of an island with little to no flat land. There are no cities, towns, large libraries and until recently, no internet. Yet, dotted high along the Atlantic coast, are small villages, one after another, the people of a unique look and a very shy and reserved manner. Amazingly, amongst them are Muslims, reverts (converts) to Islam and a small mosque (to the left) overlooking the Atlantic ocean, which was in part erected by one of the first 'Carib' Muslims who is now deceased. We were fortunate enough to meet with some of these remarkable people to hear their stories. I asked one of them (Archibald Fredrick), the caretaker of the mosque, how he came to learn about Islam in such a remote place.

"We were visited for da'wah (invitation/call to Islam) by some of the Muslims in Roseau, we came to learn about Islam through them, we have a few books and sought out the truth, some of the carib people were very receptive to Islam and its teachings. There are a few families who make up the Muslims here."


Islamic Centre, Roseau (capital, Comm. of Dominica

To the island's south is Roseau (the capital city, a small town by most country's standards). Perched above a Muslim owned shop in Four Corners, a busy shopping area, is the Islamic Centre. A place were the local Muslim community gathers for the Friday sermon and prayer (jumu'ah) and the daily (five) prayers. We came across an energetic young man wearing a thobe (long white arab garment) and a shammagh (red and white scarf), his name is Daawood (Sheldon) Darroux, a revert to Islam and local Dominican. We asked Mr. Darroux, a high school teacher, what inclined him towards Islam:

"I used to see this place (Islamic Centre) and wonder about what goes on in there, one day I went in and I found a person who enlightened my about Islam (Ilyas Nassief), I learnt about Islamic values and was impressed by the monotheism and brotherhood/sisterhood of Islam"

Darroux walks around Roseau in his Islamic attire and is greeted kindly by the locals, he is one of their native sons but he is also a Muslim. The lack of apprehension towards Muslims from the locals is in part due to the strong efforts of Darroux, Nassief and others to educate Dominicans about Islam. Darroux hosts a weekly radio broadcast and webcast called 'Islam in Focus' where Islam is explained, along with the invitation for locals to call in and ask questions and discuss the reality of Islam. Ilyas Nassief who Daroux referred to as the one who explained Islam to him, is another remarkable story. Nassief has a Muslim sounding name, and this is no mistake. Nassief is of Arab heritage, Christian Arab heritage; he is from amongst the community of Arabs who settled in the Carribean over the last century. Despite their names and heritage, they fit right in with the local culture and vocabulary, many are 2nd and 3rd generation settlers in the region and are as carribean as the next person. Nassief studied many religions whilst studying in Florida and finally settled on the monotheistic message of Islam and has never looked back. He went on to study Islam in the middle east (where he currently resides) and has been a mentor to many of the local Muslims.

al Ansaar Mosque, Picard Beach, Portsmouth, Comm. of Dominica

On the north-west of the island is Portsmouth, the second largest town on the island. Amongst the many fishing villages on Dominica's Caribbean sea coast is al Ansaar Mosque, right on sea level, perhaps not even 200 metres from the sea. It was constructed with the help of Muslim students and their families who attend the local off-shore medical school (Ross University). Approx. 100 students of various backgrounds from America and Canada attend the school and have established a medium size mosque which hosts prayers, lectures and seminars. It is here that we found Ibrahim (Earl) Charles, a founding Muslim on the island. Ibrahim accepted Islam during the late 70's and from the elders amongst the Muslims on the island. A vendor of halal food amidst the local eateries, he has seen many people come and go, and likewise, he has seen Islam grow on the island, without any large organised effort to propagate Islam.

The mosque is the largest on the island
So what is it that is turning everyone from corporate professionals to traditional farmers towards Islam? Why are so many from every type of cultural and social background looking to 'change their way of life' and adopt Islam as their belief?
Allah, the all-Wise mentions in the final revelation: 

O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has at-Taqwaa [Piety]). Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Qur'an, 49:13)


Sod turned for new Queenstown masjid

The Queenstown Jama Masjid Building Committee yesterday turned the sod for the building of its new masjid on its premises on Church Street.

The programme commenced with the invocation of Allah’s blessings and this was shortly followed by a presentation on the project.

Chairman of the Building Committee, Mr. Sattaur Gafoor, said the committee was selected to build a place of worship and as such the initiative was undertaken to construct a new building, as the present one, more than 100 years old, cannot accommodate the congregation.

The foundation of the Masjid has also become weakened.

The new two-storeyed building which is expected to be completed within a year at a cost of US $2M, will be equipped with air conditioning units and a stand-by generator among other items. The top flat will be occupied by women, while the bottom flat will accommodate the male worshippers.

Not only will the masjid provide a place of worship, but the complex will also provide space for sports, recreation and relaxation.

Meanwhile, the chairperson, Mr. Naeem Nasir, in his address, told the gathering that the new structure will be built to offer people a place to get closer to God.

The Queenstown Jama Masjid was the first Muslim place of worship to be built in Guyana back in 1895. It remains the principal masjid in the capital city, and in Guyana.

as reported by Guyana Chronicle on November 10th 2007


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