Trinidad Muslim Cleric Hate
Trinidad Muslim leader charged over
incitement to violence
Category: caribbean Dated: 11/11/2005
The leader of Trinidad's Jamaat al Musilmeen appeared in Magistrates court after being charged with incitement to violence following comments made during a sermon held during the Muslim celebration of Eid.
The leader of Trinidad and Tobago’s biggest Muslim group was
charged with inciting violence on Wednesday.
Imam Yasin Abu Bakr, who appeared in Port of Spain Magistrates court yesterday (Thursday), was charged with incitement, sedition and extortion, following comments he made last week Friday during an Eid sermon at his mosque.
The leader of group, the Jamaat al Musilmeen, allegedly said there will be “war” and “bloodshed” if rich Muslims did not contribute zakaat, wrote the Trinidad and Tobago Express.
Zakaat, is a compulsory contribution which is usually made twice a year, after the Muslim fasting period of Ramadan and also Hajj (pilgrimage). Zakaat is then given to poorer people who are unable to afford food or drink.
It was only three weeks ago that Bakr and four other followers were released by police after being questioned for 36 hours over a bombing in Port of Spain; the fourth to hit Trinidad’s capital in as many months.
As a result of the alleged comments, Bakr, who has been held at the Criminal Investigation Department, in the capital, was taken into custody early Monday morning and was held without being charged until late Wednesday evening.
Investigators are allowed to hold a suspect for up to 48 hours for questioning.
The Imam and members of his group have indicated that they are being used by certain political groups. Lorris Ballack, Amir of the Muslimeen said in a statement:
“Jamaat views the repetitious and unreasonable detention of its leader Imam Yasin Abu Bakr as nothing less than an abuse of authority and unbridled State harassment.”
Bakr, a former policeman, was involved in a murder trial earlier this year, vehemently denied any involvement in the bombing at a nightclub four weeks ago, which left 14 people injured.
Leader feels there was a political agenda behind implication of Port of Spain bombings.....
Threatening to take legal
action against the police for having no evidence to prove his involvement in the
October bombings, Imam Bakr said Jamaat al Musilmeen was being used as a
scapegoat “to satisfy pressure from the people, including the Government.
“They were under pressure to act and hold somebody," he added.
Trinidadian investigators were made to release UK suspect, Umar Mohammed on 13th October, after failing to charge the 26-year old after three days of interrogation.
Mohammed, who was questioned by FBI and Scotland Yard, was suspected of having possible links to the 7/7 London bombings.
The Jamaat al Musilmeen, who shocked the island and the international community in 1990 when it launched a coup d’etat, has said it knows the identification of one bomber and is searching for others involved, using their own intelligence.
During the coup, over a hundred members bombed a police headquarters and stormed the parliament building taking control of radio and TV broadcasters and holding members of parliament hostage.
Twenty-four people were killed during the failed coup, which lasted a week. Bakr and 114 Muslimeen members were charged with murder, treason and other offences although they were never tried as they received a Presidential pardon.
by Stephen Cummings
Caribbean Net News Trinidad Correspondent
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad:
Trinidad's Muslim leader, 64-year-old Imam Yasin Abu Bakr, has been committed to
stand trial for terrorism.
The Imam's lawyers on Thursday failed to convince Port of Spain Magistrate, Sherman McNicolls, that Barkr should not face a grand jury.
The Muslim leader who lived at La Puerta Avenue, Diego Martin west Port of Spain is the first person in the country's history to be charged under its anti-terrorism law.
It is alleged that at his Mucurapo Mosque during an Eid-ul-Fitr sermon on November 4 last year, Bakr threatened to use violence against the Muslim community in Trinidad, saying there will be a war a if rich Muslims did not pay zakaat (a religious tax), which is required by all Muslims and said to be one of the five pillars of Islam – a tax collected to help the poor.
The radical leader was arrested shortly after by the Trinidad police. He has since been held for using seditious language with intent to use terror, inciting larceny among his membership and had been deemed a definite threat to the country's peace and national security.
The Imam is also to face other charges. Conspiracy to murder two expelled members of his Jamaat, Salim Rasheed and Zaki Aubaidah, for which he has secured a re-trial date (to be announced). He also faces charges for illegal possession of a firearm, ammunition and grenade found at his St. James Murcarop road compound following a raid last year by a special combined unit of army and police officers.
Barkr was also the leader of a failed coup attempt in 1990 in Trinidad. He, together 113 others of his organization, stormed the country's Parliament and held the then Prime Minister, Arthur NR Robinson and other government ministers hostage at gun point for several days. Robinson was also shot and wounded. At least one government minister died during the insurrection.
The drama ended days after when an amnesty was signed absolving all 114 insurrectionists from any prosecution.
Imam Yasin Abu Bakr goes on trial at the next sitting of the Assizes in a Port of Spain High Court. If convicted he could face a life sentence.
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