T&T Minister denies Muslims being unfairly targeted in carnival probe

(Trinidad Guardian) National Security Minister Edmund Dillon, who represented the Government alongside Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi in a meeting with Muslim leaders yesterday, says the meeting was to foster cooperation and collaboration between the protective services and the Islamic community.

“It was really called to assure the Muslim community that the investigations and subsequent arrests of citizens of T&T was not targeting, in anyway, the Islamic community. In fact, it was based on criminal investigations,” Dillon said.

The meeting was called as tension in the Muslim community rose in the wake of the arrest of 13 suspects, all Muslim, in connection with a plot to disrupt the just concluded Carnival activities last week.

Imam Shiraz Ali, right, of the Nur-E-Islam Masjid, El Socorro Road, San Juan, addresses members of the media as Minister of National Security Edmund Dillon looks on, following a meeting at the Ministry of National Security on Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.

Imam Shiraz Ali, of the Nur-E-Islam mosque in San Juan, whose members were among the detainees, said he was pleased with the discussions.

“Of course we know that the investigation is still ongoing so it is not going to be easy for them to give us everything we may want to hear. We do feel they are doing what they are supposed to be doing,” Ali said.

He also said that Al-Rawi had given them the assurance that the police were obeying due process laws in their investigation of the detainees. Ali, who is associated with the Darul Uloom Islamic School in Cunupia, called on citizens not to be prejudiced against Muslims based on the terror threat allegations.

“We don’t think that there are feelings of Islamophobia by members of the protective services, but we are hoping that the public is not feeling that Muslims, who they have been living with in peace for many decades, have suddenly become terrorists or criminals,” he said.

He added: “We hope that this is the message that could be carried forward so we can continue to live in peace and harmony.”




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