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Imams: Is this for peace or for show?

News day / Between 11am and 1pm yesterday, Abdullah and a small group of Muslims, including Abdul “Krysis” Wakeel from the Masjid of Peace (formerly known as Unruly ISIS), raised a banner which read “Trinidad and Tobago.

We are sorry! Be better, not bitter” outside the Gold Finger parlour on Southern Main Road. From there, the group distributed water, juice, flowers and snacks to people walking and driving through the community.

Speaking with reporters, Abdullah said “It is an initiative to show how much we are prepared to work towards bringing back Enterprise to what it once used to be.” Asked what guarantees they could give that the initiative would foster change in community which saw a sudden spike in murders last month, Abdullah said “We cannot offer any guarantees. But what we could do is use the tools available to us to bring some sense of peace and normalcy back.” But Imams Morland Lynch and Talib Searles, who lead mosques in the community, are not convinced of the purity of the intentions of Abdullah and Wakeel.

Although listed on the media invitation as being expected to be present, neither Lynch nor Searles attended.

“I do not want to be part of any of that,” Lynch told Newsday.

“They can’t just come out and say peace, peace and give out water and flowers to members of the public.

The members of the public have nothing to do with the people who were killed in the community. Giving out water is not peace, it is a mockery. They are trying to mamaguy the people.” Lynch said Quranic law prescribes three ways to bring justice for a murdered person.

“You have to pay blood money (an amount to be paid to the deceased’s relatives), exile the killer, or take back the person’s life.” They have done neither of these, said Lynch. “If they want to show they are serious, let them bring out guns. Rest some guns on the side of the road and call the police to take them .” Searles shared Lynch’s sentiments.

He said he could not support an initiative that was not aligned with Islamic teaching.

“What does that have to do with the persons who have lost their loved ones? If Umar Abdullah dress like a Muslim, claim to represent Muslims but says nothing as it relates to what the Quran or the Prophet Muhammad spoke to, then what exactly is he representing? And if he is not representing Islam, then we have to be very careful as to what he is representing.” Residents gathered declined speaking with the media. One resident, however, also questioned the intentions of Abdullah and Wakeel saying “All of a sudden they turn celebrities.” Also listed to have been in attendance were Chaguanas Mayor Gopaul Boodhan, Councillor for the area Lisa Holder, Citizen Security Programme representative Mtima Solwazi, Central Division Snr Supt Kenny McIntyre, ACP Surajdeen Persad, Black Agenda Project leader David Muhammad, and Imam Yasin Abu Bakr. Only Muhammad was present to show his support

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