A multitude of Muslim organizations in Trinidad & Tobago, representing the various communities have issued press statements on the denial of basic human rights to Palestinians and the disproportionate violence against them. Pleas were made to God, the TT Government, the USA’s President and The United Nations for a peaceful resolution of the dehumanization and marginalisation of Palestinians. Historically TT Government has been silent on the Palestine question except to stand behind the wall of diplomacy to appease liberals:
- “Trinidad and Tobago’s policy has always been to support the two states policy which means steadfast recognition of the State of Israel with secure territorial borders as well as the establishment of a Palestinian State. “It is in this context that any and all negotiations relating to the future of Jerusalem arise.”
TT Foreign Affairs Minister Dennis Moses gave this explanation in December 2017, when asked about T&T’s abstention from the vote in the United Nations General Assembly resolution on the status of Jerusalem. TT is on record for acquiring technology from Israel to assist in National Security.
Evangelism has a huge following in TT. Evangelicals support Israel to hasten the apocalypse, while Israelis (who obviously don’t believe in Christian eschatology) are happy to humour the Evangelical community and milk that support for tourist dollars and political power. How much of this influence PNM’s capacity to speak up in times of such blatant human rights abuse of the Palestinian civilian population and Israel ongoing colonization of Palestine?
The PNM Senator Imam Sheraz Ali (appointed in April 2021 to replace late Franklin Khan) has been silent on the issue and the appearance is he is falling in line. His appointment seems clear to influence the Muslim vote bank in the San Juan / Barataria constituency while remaining impotent to influence any change in government policy. Similar to his many Muslim predecessors within the PNM. The Prime Minister of TT has been deaf to the pleas of the Muslim Communities of TT, not even a word of compassion or empathy to acknowledge the psychic pain a significant portion of TT citizens feels for the suffering of other human beings being oppressed in their homeland. Public diplomacy demands no less, silence is complicity.
Majlis of Trinidad &Tobago (Council of Scholars of TT)
This organization comprises the most senior scholars of Islam in TT, amongst them are Maulana Dr. Waffie Mohammed, Sheikh Munaf Mohammed, Mufti Asrar ul Haque, Maulana Kavir Mohammed, Maulana Azhar Ali, Maulana Siddiq Ahmad Nasir, Dr. Musa Mohamed, Maulana Atif Majeed, Maulana Junaid Ahmad
Anjuman Sunnatul Jamaat Association (ASJA)
ASJA remains the organization with the largest footprint on the ground in TT. Most of the Mosques, Muslim primary schools and colleges are under its legal governance. ASJA’s President Haji Yacoob Ali and Secretary Rahimool Hosein issued two press releases.
Trinidad Muslim League (TML)
The TML founded in 1947, is the 3rd oldest Muslim body in TT. TML addressed the Prime Minister of TT with a direct appeal “Honourable Prime Minister we ask you, … to express the government’s disapproval of the current situation in Palestine. An immediate cessation of the bombing of the people of Palestine and the rocket fire from Gaza.”
Muslim Round Table Group (MRTG)
In a press release Hafeez Khan, Co-ordinator, lists the following as MRTG Organisations: Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah Institute (ASWJI), Balmain Masjid/Balmain Mosque Board, Foundation for the Institution of Services, Caring and Learning (FISCAL), Foundation of Islamic Relief, support and Training (FIRST), Islamic Da’wah Movement (IDM), Islamic Ladies Social and Cultural Association (ILSCA), Islamic Resources Society (IRS), Madinah House (Madinah House), National Muslim Women Organization (NMWOTT), San Fernando Jama Masjid, Takaaful T&T Friendly Society, The Ahmadiya Muslim Community of Trinidad and Tobago, Tobago-Masjid al Tawbah, Trinidad Muslim League Inc. (TML Inc.) and Takveeatul Islamic Association (TIA).
IDM is the successor of the Islamic Trust or the “Trust” which played a leading in the 1970s and early 1980s in the revival of Islamic education and training in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean region. This revival was characterized by: the establishment of a library and bookstore, the publication of the monthly magazine, the Muslim Standard the sale of Islamic literature, the teaching of Arabic and the recitation of the Qur’an, Islamic study circles, classes, courses and youth camps, etc.
The Jamaat al Muslimeen was founded in 1982 by Yasin Abu Bakr, a former policeman and convert to Islam, and established a compound at No. 1 Mucurapo Road in Port of Spain, on land owned by the Port of Spain City Corporation. The Jamaat al Muslimeen failed in its attempt to overthrow the government of Trinidad and Tobago, on Friday, 27 July 1990.
Newsday reported that JaM at a media event indicated that a country as small as Trinidad and Tobago need not wait for the US and the UK to make the first move before severing ties with Israel, says Jamaat-al-Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr. Bakr said it is compelling that the Prime Minister, as the country’s leader and chair of Caricom, has not addressed the issue, as St Vincent and the Grenadines did a week ago. St Vincent condemned the “military aggression of the State of Israel against the State of Palestine.”
Article updated on May 30th, 2021 to include TML’s statement.