Trinidad contractor was chased then gunned down in mosque

Han­iff Mo­hammed

(Trinidad Guardian) The An­ju­man Sun­nat-ul-Ja­maat As­so­ci­a­tion (AS­JA) be­lieves the mur­der of Han­iff Mo­hammed on Fri­day at the Junon Street Mosque, Cal­i­for­nia is an iso­lat­ed in­ci­dent and is not rep­re­sen­ta­tive of a larg­er threat to the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty.

In a re­lease, AS­JA’s Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer, Imam Raf­fa­ic Mo­hammed quot­ed from the Qur’an as he ex­tend­ed con­do­lences to Mo­hammed’s fam­i­ly and urged them to re­main stead­fast in their faith.

Mo­hammed, 56, a con­trac­tor and busi­ness­man, was chased and gunned down in­side the mosque as he sought refuge from his at­tack­ers.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors were up to yes­ter­day try­ing to as­cer­tain a mo­tive for the death of the fa­ther of nine who lived at Cou­va.

Imam Raf­fa­ic said, “This un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent is be­ing viewed as an iso­lat­ed one and not an at­tack in any way on the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty.”

Con­firm­ing mem­bers had been trau­ma­tised fol­low­ing the killing which oc­curred around 1.30 pm im­me­di­ate­ly af­ter Fri­day Ju­mu’ah, the Imam said Salah and Taraweeh had been con­duct­ed at the mosque hours af­ter the in­ci­dent.

Salah—al­so called salat and na­maz—is one of the Five Pil­lars in the faith of Is­lam and an oblig­a­tory re­li­gious du­ty for every Mus­lim.

It is a phys­i­cal, men­tal, and spir­i­tu­al act of wor­ship that is ob­served five times every day at pre­scribed times.

Taraweeh refers to ex­tra prayers per­formed by Sun­ni Mus­lims at night, af­ter Isha prayer dur­ing the holy month of Ra­mad­han.

Lo­cal Mus­lims are cur­rent­ly ob­serv­ing the hold month of Ra­madan.

Imam Raf­fa­ic said dai­ly If­tars—the evening meal with which Mus­lims end their dai­ly Ra­madan fast at sun­set—were set to re­sume to­day, “Al­beit un­der these try­ing cir­cum­stances.”

Pres­i­dent of the Is­lam­ic Mis­sion­ar­ies Guild and PRO, Con­cerned Mus­lims of T&T—Imi­ti­az Mo­hammed de­scribed the bru­tal mur­der as one which sent shock­waves through the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty.

Speak­ing at Mosque Street, Ca­roni yes­ter­day, Mo­hammed (I) said fol­low­ing dis­cus­sions with the heads of oth­er masjids, con­cerns had arisen that crime was now be­yond the reach of the au­thor­i­ties and more was need­ed to get it un­der con­trol.

He said, “Hav­ing looked at what took place, we are con­cerned that the crime sit­u­a­tion in this coun­try is now be­yond con­trol. The po­lice are try­ing their best but to no avail.”

Claim­ing that cit­i­zens in T&T were now un­der siege by the crim­i­nals, he said, “We would like to see some kind of ac­tion in a pos­i­tive way that can re­al­ly stem this amount of mur­ders that is tak­ing place dai­ly.”

Asked if Mus­lim lead­ers would now move to im­ple­ment their own se­cu­ri­ty mea­sures as pub­lic con­fi­dence in the TTPS con­tin­ued to de­cline, Mo­hammed (I) re­ferred to the meet­ing in March with Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley to dis­cuss is­sues af­fect­ing them.

He said, “The PM’s re­sponse wasn’t re­al­ly one which put any kind of con­fi­dence or com­fort in­to the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty. This has hap­pened now and again, it has trau­ma­tised a whole com­mu­ni­ty.”

How­ev­er, he ac­knowl­edged it was time for Mus­lim lead­ers in T&T, “To come to­geth­er and put some kind of se­cu­ri­ty mea­sures in place as far as the mosques are con­cerned be­cause I do not think we can re­al­ly re­ly on the TTPS to pro­tect the peo­ple and mosques twen­ty-four sev­en.”

Mo­hammed (I) said there were var­i­ous times peo­ple went to pray.

Fol­low­ing Fri­day’s killing, some mem­bers of the Junon Street Mosque stayed away yes­ter­day, and Mo­hammed (I) is de­mand­ing in­ter­im mea­sures be in­tro­duced, at least dur­ing the month of Ra­madan to en­sure the safe­ty of all Mus­lims as they pray.

Of­fer­ing some ad­vice to the Gov­ern­ment, he said, “I think it is time they re­con­sid­er com­mu­ni­ty polic­ing be­cause I be­lieve they can help in cas­es like this.”

Mo­hammed (I) said the crim­i­nal el­e­ment had clear­ly demon­strat­ed its’ lack of re­spect for the law en­force­ment com­mu­ni­ty and even places of wor­ship.

Sec­re­tary, Masjid-ul-Mut­taqeen, Cunu­pia, Shi­raz Ali de­scribed it as an un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent.

He said, “When we look at the in­ter­na­tion­al pow­ers of the world, there is ab­solute­ly no re­spect for places of wor­ship.”

Re­fer­ring to re­cent in­ci­dents in In­dia, Sri Lan­ka, Chi­na, and New Zealand, Ali said re­spect for hu­man life con­tin­ued to be di­min­ished dai­ly.

He said, “Hu­man be­ings are most vul­ner­a­ble when they go to their re­spec­tive place of wor­ship. They are ba­si­cal­ly arms down…no­body is think­ing about fight­ing so you will catch a per­son in a con­di­tion where he is not ex­pect­ing a fight be­cause he is in com­mu­nion with his Lord…but his­to­ry shows it is how it is.”

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