Community Development Minister Nizam Baksh disagrees with his Muslim brothers that the Government is discriminating against Muslims. He said if this was the case, he would not have held such high office. Baksh was speaking with the media, after reports by the Islamic Guild of the Caribbean and South America and the T&T Muslim Association that the Government was displaying bias towards the Muslim people in light of the firing of talk show host Fazeer Mohammed.
He said: "This is not true...If that was so I would have been out of the firing line long time, but instead I am on the front line." He said whenever anybody was dismissed, it was not a pleasant thing and so tensions would run high. Asked to comment about his feelings regarding the dismissal, Baksh said: "I don't know the facts behind Fazeer Mohammed's dismissal, so I would not wish to comment. "So far, I am not privy to the information regarding his dismissal, so I would reserve my comment on that until I have the facts," he added. Regarding the protest by some in the Muslim community, Baksh said: "It is a democratic country and they are free to do so if they choose.
"Some persons may go to extremes...I think it is within their democratic right to share their feeling and make comments that are strong if that is their desire," he added. Asked whether Islamic philosophy did not support women in leadership positions, Baksh said he usually took the middle ground on religious issues instead of taking an extremist position.
"If I look around the world, I will see Islamic countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh where there are women as prime ministers, so I cannot hold such an extremist view," he said.
"In religion, I take a course," he said.