TRINIDAD:Muslim leader denies threatening government, police

Yasin Abu Bakr delivering the sermon last Friday. Photo courtesy of Facebook

BROOKLYN, NY- The leader of the Jamaal al Muslimeen group, Yasin Abu Bakr, has denied a declaration of “war” on the Trinidad and Tobago government over injustices against African people even as the police warned that the armed forces are prepared for any “battle” with the man who staged an unsuccessful coup here in 1990.

“I did not or would not give anyone an ultimatum; we are not of the mindset to threaten. We have worked with the government to provide aid to those most in need within the COVID -19 period, so my statements merely reflect the plight of the black man and his need first to survive and then strive,” Bakr said in a statement.

“Any other interpretation is not the intention of the sermon, and those who seek to bring negativity should desist,” he added.

But acting Commissioner of Police Mc Donald Jacob confirmed that the police had a copy of the sermon, which is being reviewed.

He said the authorities are reviewing the video to determine if there is a credible threat or an emotional outburst to grab headlines and attention.

“We have been working with the other stakeholders in law enforcement, and there is in fact a significant and positive synergy existing between the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, the Defence Force, and the other law enforcement agencies.

“Therefore, we just want to let the public know that we have our necessary intelligence in place, and if there is any attempt to disrupt the sort of tranquillity that exists in Trinidad and Tobago at this time, we will be able to deal with it effectively. We have listened to the comments made, our Special Branch and other agencies are dealing with the matter, and we are monitoring everything that is happening,” Jacobs said.

Bakr, who is in 1990, led more than 100 followers in a coup against the then ANR Robinson government, said in his 75-minute sermon last Friday that he was issuing a last to those he said were responsible for oppressing the blacks section of the population.

“I am warning the government of Trinidad and Tobago; I am warning the police, I am warning the Coast Guard, I am warning everybody who is involved in the repression, the oppression of African people. I am warning you today; this is your last warning.”

He said that many African males were being killed by black police officers and that they were also in jails for up to 15 years without a trial.

He said that the deaths associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are mere “the waves, but the sea is coming.

“I tired see African people get killed, murdered by the same African men,” Bakr said, warning also against the killing of Muslims since there would be no place for the perpetrators to run or hide.

“Don’t fix the society. In Trinidad and Tobago, don’t fix-up. Don’t readjust society. Don’t give to the poor what is their just due. Don’t be fair and just, don’t let go of the prisoners you are locking up for 15 years without a trial. Don’t do that, and you would see what would happen.”

“I warn you today. I warned you three times. You have no warning after this. I am warning the Government of Trinidad and Tobago; I am warning the police, the army, Coast Guard. I am warning everybody involved in the repression and oppression of the African people; this is the last day warning. If you do not change or adjust to society, it is coming on you.

“God is going to destroy you. You have no weapons to defend yourself. It is proven already because right now, we have COVID, and you can’t do anything. Don’t feel you can call the army and police; all of them could just fall and die one time because instead of COVID coming in waves, COVID coming in the sea. It is coming one time.”

During the sermon, Bakr told the government and the police “to bring their lawyers like you are accustomed to doing, say to charge him with something. Come with your stupidness this time. This time you will see the sea coming on you.”

In 2005, Bakr was charged under the Sedition Act for allegedly inciting others during an Eid sermon at his Mucurapo Road mosque to demand money by menace and commit a breach of the peace. A retrial is pending, and Bakr has also challenged a criminal complaint against him after refusing to answer a summons to testify before the commission of inquiry into the 1990 attempted coup.

During his sermon, Bakr also aimed at Education Minister Dr. Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, claiming that there have been injustices meted out to schools run by the Jamaat al Muslimeen.

He said his message to the Ministry of Education (MOE) is aimed at bringing solace to parents and children who were sad, having ended up in the “junior sex-secondary” schools even though they performed better than others who ended up in the “prestige” schools following the release of the Secondary Examination Assessment (SEA) results last Thursday.

He blamed the situation also on the Concordat agreement between the State and denominational school boards, which allows the boards to select 20 percent of students based on the SEA exam.

He said the Concordat is biased against the Jamaat, which has produced doctors, lawyers, engineers but is denied funding or entry to students wanting to list its secondary school as a choice.

“How come these schools can take 20 percent of the children whether they fail or pass?”

“Miss Minister, I Yasin Abu Bakr tell you if this school, my school is not included in the Concordat, all the taxes that we pay all these years, give us our taxes back so we could pay our own teachers.

“Since this is how you all are dealing with this injustice, we will show you what injustice is. So, you better include the Jamaat al Muslimeen.”

He insisted that he was not a threat, but a warning, because the denominational schools were getting all of the money he and his members were paying in taxes.

“Miss MOE, remember I say I eh threaten you. I am warning you. Fix it this time. Fix this injustice. Fix it,” he repeatedly said, warning that “the flood” was coming.

“All the children topping the class is Indian. What the a– all you doing black man?” he asked, chastising the Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley, for “giving (the late) Sat Maharaj all the money for the Indian children.”

“War!” he cried. They could say what they want, war is a word in the dictionary, and it is used.”

He said for 46 years, the Jamaat has been struggling, without a cent from the State, and blamed parents for not standing up in defense of their children.

“I am going to lift their spirits today. I am going to release you from the doldrums if you are prepared to stand for what is and right.”

In his statement denying that he was threatening the authorities, Bakr, who is almost 80 years old, said his sermon was “to inform the Muslim community of pertinent issues and impending threats.

“As the leader of the Jamaat Al Muslieem, it is my responsibility to build the people’s resilience to several pertinent issues,” he said, adding “these issues are social issues and the response from the politicians and not from the Police Service would have been more appropriate. The media Again”.


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