(Trinidad Guardian) The Imam of the Masjid-ul-Muttaqeen yesterday sent a strong message to those responsible for hiding high-powered guns and ammunition on the mosque’s Munroe Road, Cunupia property, saying stay away from his mosque.
“Take it elsewhere…don’t bring it to the mosque,” Maulana Saeed Ali said as he again distanced his mosque from the find and effectively banned the perpetrators from returning.
Speaking with the T&T Guardian, Ali said they did not want to reach a point where they would have to lock their doors to people.
Instead, he said, he would prefer to send out a stern warning to the people responsible for hiding the weapons on the compound to never return.
“Everybody is willing to attend prayer here at this mosque but whoever wants to be involved with this kind of illegal act do not make us part of that.
“This is a place to pray and worship, let it remain like that…don’t bring it to the mosque. We have a 24/7 hour policy here and we do not want to be forced to lock our doors,” Ali said.
The T&T Guardian was told by a worshipper at the mosque, who wished not to be identified, said the persons who hid the weapons in the ceiling in the women’s section seemed to have good knowledge of the compound.
The ladies section of the mosque, the worshipper added, was a place where there was not much “woman traffic.”
“So whoever is responsible for hiding the weapons there would have known this because there aren’t much women coming here on a daily basis, especially at nights,” the worshipper said.
On Thursday at about 8.30 am, workers conducting maintenance works found several garbage bags stashed away in the ceiling of the toilet in the ladies section of the mosque.
In the bags were an AK-47 assault rifle, two Beretta pistols, two pump action shotguns, a quantity of assorted ammunition, a ski mask and a firearm holster.
Along with the guns, were 23 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 15 rounds of 9mm ammunition, 16 rounds of .40mm ammunition and 15 12-gauge cartridges.
Yesterday afternoon, a team of five investigating officers returned to the mosque where they conducted interviews with the Imam and recorded several statements from staff and workers.
No arrest was made in connection with the finds and investigations are continuing.
The mosque shares the compound with the Guiding Stars Academy Primary and Pre-School, but when the find was made on Thursday pupils and staff were not affected. The school is housed in the southern building on the compound, next to the mosque.
However, in an immediate attempt to calm concerned parents, the principal sent out a message assuring that the safety of the children was of utmost importance.
“Please be reassured that we always do our utmost to ensure the safety of our kids, to the extent of restricting unknown persons and even parents from using the facilities upstairs where our Std 1-3 classes are held,” the message read.
It ended by saying: “Jazaakumallahu khairaa for your continued support and understanding. Remember us in your du’aas on this blessed night of Ramadhaan.”