MEMBERS of the Muslim Roundtable yesterday left a two-hour meeting with Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, National Security Minister Edmund Dillon and acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams feeling that due process was being followed regarding the arrest of 13 people in relation to a terror threat to disrupt Carnival. The meeting took place at the National Security Ministry’s headquarters at Temple Court, Abercromby Street in Port of Spain.
After the meeting, Imam Shiraz Khan of the New Islam Masjid in El Socorro said, “We did get some clarification. Of course we, know that it is an investigation that is still continuing. We don’t think there’s any feelings of Islamophobia from the government authorities or the police authorities.”
He said the group believed the authorities are doing their job and “that they will bring this to a quick end.”
Khan hoped the public will not think that members of the Muslim community, with whom they have co-existed with peacefully for years, “have suddenly become terrorists or criminals and everybody is out to get them.”
While the group remains concerned that the detainees are being treated properly, Khan said Al-Rawi assured them, “due process was taking place.” Imam Kameel Ali of the Tobago Muslim Organisation was comforted that the police treated the masjids which they visited as part of their operation with respect. Ali said the group made no demands for the remaining detainees to be freed.
Al-Rawi said his ministry has been dealing with writs of habeas corpus for the last several days. “Some were adjourned to today and we expect more to come,” Al-Rawi said.
He said his ministry and the National Security Ministry have been speaking with the Muslim Roundtable for the last year-and-a-half on legislative matters related to anti-terrorism laws and related matters. Al-Rawi said they are no strangers to either ministry.
Noting Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on Thursday said the threat was credible, Al-Rawi said, “There is nothing in TT’s history that can speak to Islamic prejudice.” Dillon said the meeting was held to assure the group that, “the investigations and subsequent arrests of certain people were not targeted in any way to the Islamic community.”
Williams said Tariq Mohammed and three other detainees have been released.