While the Waajihatul Islaamiyyah (The Islamic Front) wants police protection at all local mosques, the Anjuman Sunnat ul Jamaat (ASJA) says this is not necessary.
Speaking at a press conference at the Macoon Street Masjid in San Fernando yesterday, Imam Raffaic Mohammed condemned yesterday’s mass shootings of Muslims at Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, which left 49 dead and many others wounded.
“The entire Muslim community and the ASJA family extends our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the families of all those who lost their loved ones in this violent satanic act,” Mohammed said.
Saying Muslims in T&T lived peacefully and in harmony with other religions and races, Mohammed said they had no fear of similar attacks in T&T.
ASJA general secretary Rahimool Hosein also agreed there was no need to set up additional security at mosques.
“We are a cosmopolitan nation and we live with everyone in harmony. There is no need to set up security.
“Our government has proper security,” he added.
Commenting on a decision by US President Donald Trump to place police in every mosque in the United States, Hosein said, “He is doing that not to protect people who go there but to know what the Muslims are doing. We won’t be comfortable having a police officer looking over (us). The T&T Police Service is doing a good job and so far we have the confidence that we will be protected.”
However, he said this did not insulate T&T Muslims from attacks, noting that New Zealand was a non-violent country yet the mass shooting occurred.
Spiritual guide of ASJA Mohammed Asrarul Haque said while people in T&T lived in harmony and tolerance, one never knew what might occur in the future.
“All religious leaders should meet and address the nation because we don’t know what youths have in their minds and this might help in the future to protect our lives,” Haque said.
But Waajihatul Islaamiyyah head Umar Abdullah has called on Police Commissioner Gary Griffith to consider placing officers at mosques, noting Muslims must be safe in their places of worship. He said Griffith should not rule out the possibility of “copycats” carrying out similar attacks locally, adding the already out of control “war” between the so-called “Rasta City and Muslim City” made such attacks possible.
“Waajihatul Islaamiyyah is requesting that Griffith dispatch at least two police officers in marked police vehicles; today, Friday (yesterday), at Masjids across the country for the Jumuah Prayers, especially the Masjids that are heavily populated in order to give a sense of security and protection,” Abdullah said.
Calling on Muslims to remain vigilant and alert at all times, Abdullah said Islamophobia was real.
He also cautioned against the sharing of the video depicting the horrific New Zealand terrorist attack.
“It was videotaped with a background theme song with an intended purpose. Waajihatul Islaamiyyah (The Islamic Front) is asking everyone to desist from sharing this video as it signals the threat of right-wing violent extremism.
“Do not play into the hands of these murderous individuals by circulating their propaganda. It will only serve to empower the Islamophobic sentiments already ablaze in the Western World,” he said.