KEVON FELMINE ([email protected])
As Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley handed over legal documents for the development of a Muslim cemetery yesterday, former House Speaker Nizam Mohammed said the Muslim community is willing and ready to work with the Government.
Rowley visited the Subratee Trace Masjid in Barrackpore where members of the Anjuman Sunnat-ul-Jamaat Association (ASJA), Trinidad Muslim League (TML), Tackveeyatul Islamic Association (TIA) and the Ahmadiyya Muslim community gathered to witness the handing over of documents for the development of the Douglas Road Barrackpore Muslim Cemetery on eight acres of State land.
Mohammed, a member of the cemetery committee and former chairman of the Police Service Commission, recalled Rowley singling out the Muslim community’s charity work during the COVID-19 fight. He said the Muslim community could help to heal the divisions within the country.
“We can move this country together and the Muslim community, I can say with all confidence, is willing and prepared to join hands with the Government of Trinidad & Tobago. So today, we have been afforded an opportunity to tell the public that we, the Muslim community, we are ready and willing to work with the Government to ensure that the programmes that will benefit our communities and our country at large will succeed with our help,” Mohammed said.
Yesterday’s event followed Sunday’s endorsement of the United National Congress leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and her slate of candidates by organisations of the UmmahTT/Muslim Federation.
UmmahTT chairman Rasheed Karim said they were encouraging members, their families and friends to support the UNC for next month’s general election, as the People’s National Movement (PNM) Government had done little for the community during its tenure. Karim added that the Government had also labelled Muslims as terrorists.
But yesterday, Rowley told the gathering that all the children of Abraham are brothers and sisters, adding both Christianity and Islam are Abrahamic religions. He told the gathering that while they considered it an honour for him to be at their masjid, he was also honoured to be there.
“Your needs are the greatest needs. That is the most important thing for the politicians to address,” Rowley said.
He also triggered members’ emotions as he recalled his friendship with Maulana Mushtaq Ahmed Sulaimani of the San Fernando Jama Masjid, who died in March 2019.
“I know you lost a leader. I lost a friend,” he said.
The land for the cemetery belonged to Caroni (1975) Ltd. According to Rowley, the State will transfer ownership to the Princes Town Regional Corporation, which will allow the Muslim community to use the land through a Memorandum of Understanding. The committee will be responsible for establishing, maintaining and operating the cemetery.
PNM candidate for the Moruga/Tableland constituency Winston “Gypsy” Peters asked members to support him in the election, as he plans to get assistance for the development of the cemetery and represent their other needs.