Mufti Azarhul Haqq

GIFT: Mufti Azarhul Haqq, ASJA spiritual leader, presents a gift to United National Congress political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar during yesterday’s meeting of 25 Muslim organisations at the Islamic Diplomatic Centre in Felicity. —Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK

A group of 25 Muslim organisations in Trinidad and Tobago have banded together to throw their support behind Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar for the August 10 general election.

Imam of the 500-member Crown Trace, Enterprise Al-Ahmad Masjid, Morland Lynch, is also backing the group’s support for Persad-Bissessar.

They have begun to move into marginal constituencies, lobbying mostly Muslim constituents to support the United National Congress (UNC) in the election.

The group was called to a meeting at the Islamic Diplomatic Centre in Felicity yesterday to ask them to encourage members of their jamaats, families and friends to support the UNC.

The event was organised by Muslim lobby group, Ummah T&T Muslim Federation, and Persad-Bissessar was invited to deliver the key address.

Several UNC candidates in marginal seats, including Saddam Hosein in San Juan/Barataria, and Ahloy Hunt in St Joseph, were also present and spoke at the function.

Imam Rasheed Karim, Ummah T&T president, addressing a full hall, said: “Our main objective is to win all those marginal seats.

“We have called all of you here today to ask you to influence your jamaats, families and friends to support Persad-Bissessar. We need to rally together.”

He said the group has already covered several marginals, including Tunapuna, and will be moving into Moruga/Tableland next.

“I am very pleased with your attendance. It clearly indicated to me that each and every one of us who are here have one common interest. And that common interest is to eradicate evil, transgression and oppression from T&T.”

He added: “We have a list here of 25 organisations who have shown full solidarity with Ummah T&T. You have mentioned to me your willingness to work with Mrs Persad-Bissessar.”

Karim said Muslims are still smarting from being branded terrorists by the Government and the side-lining of key party officials.

Attorney and former legal adviser to the Prime Minister, Nafeesa Mohammed, was dismissed in February 2018 after a Facebook post on the arrest of her nephew, Tariq Mohammed, for alleged involvement in a Carnival terror plot.

Her nephew was one of 13 people arrested.

Karim said when Persad-Bissessar was prime minister she readily assisted Muslims whenever they asked for help.

“Without hesitation, she gave us help to rehabilitate kitchens, renovate masjids. She gave us housing grants and paved car parks. We have a long list.

“But when you look at the other side, we are seen as terrorists.”

Imam lynch told the Express, “People in Enterprise are suffering.

“No employment, Enterprise just getting worse and worse every day.”

Noting the national spike in crime, he said: “We need to put back the UNC in power to make a difference, so my jamaat is fully supporting the UNC.”

He said there are three other jamaats in Enterprise and they are working on “reaching them”.

Asaf Ghany of the Muslim Funeral Agency said he worked as a director in the ministry of the people under the former administration.

He said they took 25 to 30 State agencies directly to people in depressed communities.

“All we have now is a minuscule operation in its place. The cry of the nation for the last five years has been no service, no delivery, no jobs.”

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