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Stop Trinis from joining ‘Jihad?’ Raffique Shah says charter a plane for them!

I cannot understand the national outrage over the video posted on the Internet that shows several Trinidadian Islamic “jihadists” somewhere in Syria, dressed in combat gear, firing rifles on what appears to be a range, and inviting their Muslim brethren to join them in holy battle in “Hijra”, wherever that paradise or hellhole may be.

Photo: The ISIS army waves its flags. (Copyright IBTimes)
Photo: The ISIS army waves its flags.
(Copyright IBTimes)

I’m serious when I say we should not only be happy that those men (and their many wives and children) are thousands of miles away from our country, but we should encourage others who believe in the nonsense they do to answer their call to arms.

If I had the power to so do, I would invite ISIS to send an “ambassador plenty-potentially” here to issue whatever visas they need to facilitate their journey into the netherworld. I would sponsor one-way tickets for all jihadists and their families, wish them speedy deaths, and let them know they will not return to this cussed land of their birth if they survive.

For those who think I am mad, let me paint an alternative scenario: would you prefer that these misfits remain in Trinidad, acquire weapons (no big deal) and go around shooting protective services’ officers, people of other faiths, or even their Muslim brethren they see as being infidels?

We have more murderers than we can cope with, so why not export as many as we can to countries or zones that welcome such “talent”?

I would even run some CAL charter flights to help speed up the process.

Photo: A Caribbean Airlines plane prepares to land. (Copyright Lyndon Thorley/Planespotters.net)
Photo: A Caribbean Airlines plane prepares to land.
(Copyright Lyndon Thorley/Planespotters.net)

Imagine one fool saying that the reason he fled Trinidad was because he was not free to practice his religion. I was stunned, listening to him.

If anything, we have too much religious freedom here, and now we add freeness to the trough.

I repeat a statement of fact that many people may find unpalatable: on a per capita basis, or per square kilometre, however you want to measure it, Trinidad and Tobago has the highest density of persons who claim to be clerics in a thousand faiths or more.

More than any other country on earth, we have a surfeit of bishops, high priests, deacons, ministers, brahmins, pundits, gurus, imams, muftis, hajis, mullahs—and now jihadists.

Any quack can open a “church”, declare a “religion”, elevate himself or herself to ranks hitherto unheard of, and before you know it they are recognised by government, seek subventions from the State, and clamour for public holidays.

Now, add freeness to the boundless freedoms that religions enjoy.

Photo: Hindus light delays for Divali. (Copyright Piyush's Space/Flickr)
Photo: Hindus light delays for Divali.
(Copyright Piyush’s Space/Flickr)

Successive governments have been complicit in this scam. Religious organisations demand and receive State funding for festivals, something that should never happen in a secular State—which is what we are according to the Constitution.

Last week, Government granted millions to Hindu organisations for Divali. Sat Maharaj and the Maha Sabha got the lion’s share ($2 million). In doling out our dwindling dollars, the line minister reminded Christian groups of the deadline for submitting requests—or demands?—for funding of Christmas festivities. And a few months ago, Muslim organisations and mosques received generous grants for Eid from the previous regime.

I don’t know of any other secular State in the world that allows the religious freedoms we permit and the freeness we encourage.

Gone are the days when the faithful of whatever persuasion, and communities of varying faiths, contributed towards communal celebrations of each others’ festivities. Such collaborations fostered self-reliance and tolerance, and made communities across the country close-knit, hence better and safer.

Today, everyone is content with feeding at the public trough—politicians, priests, parents and children.

Photo: Former PP Minister and Arima MP Pastor Rodger Samuel (right) greets ex-Sport Minister Brent Sancho.
Photo: Former PP Minister and Arima MP Pastor Rodger Samuel (right) greets ex-Sport Minister Brent Sancho.

But back to the jihadist fools who could not practise Islam here the way they wanted, hence their migration to “Hijra.”

Think about it: if there are another thousand families like theirs who are uncomfortable in the land of freedoms and freeness, would we not be better off facilitating their migration?

Look at it this way: besides the money we dole out in the name of God (for religious purposes, or so they say) and Mammon (millions paid for nudity and revelry at Carnival), why not a few million more to get rid of elements who, if they remain here, are sure to get involved in heinous crimes?

Beheadings and the dismembering of victims of crime, which is a culturally unacceptable way of murdering people (shoot the man, nah!), and which is rearing its ugly head here (pardon the pun), is routine in Saudi Arabia, the headquarters of Islam.

We may well find opening a desk to facilitate flights to “Hijra” will bring us more benefits than wasting money trying to find out who wants to join ISIS, and preventing them from so doing.

Think about it, General Dillon.

About Raffique Shah

Raffique Shah
Raffique Shah is a columnist for over three decades, founder of the T&T International Marathon, co-founder of the ULF with Basdeo Panday and George Weekes, a former sugar cane farmers union leader and an ex-Siparia MP. He trained at the UK’s Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was arrested, court-martialled, sentenced and eventually freed on appeal after leading 300 troops in a mutiny at Teteron Barracks during the Black Power revolution of 1970.

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  1. Just make sure it’s one way. Never can resented Trinidad. Family included inch allah.

  2. Feel sorry for the poor children. Talking about how when they grow up they want to be jihadists or fighters. Poor lil ones don’t realize they will never get to grow up.

  3. And while they at it, send the imams with them let them preach over there!

  4. Colin, most times terrorist organisations use ‘Charities’ as fronts so it is unlikely to be a). Check muslim charities or arab charities.

    • I am asking what this “most times” means. And is it happening HERE? Which KINDS of charities are involved? Repeating “most times” and Saudi Arabia dumping money into the hands of organisations and it’s happening in Canada, and that’s what we get with foreign funding of NGOs WITHOUT DATA is reckless, and damaging the ability of domestic NGOs to do work daily.

      It’s nice to chat on social media, but the beliefs being advanced, which no one has proven is a CASE or RISK in T&T is f&king up NGOs here.

      Suggesting we should disallow foreign funding of NGOs is even more irresponsible and threatens to put the local NGO sector out of business, since we do not have domestic philanthropy to support it, certainly not work around sexuality or anything challenging.

      What is ACTUALLY happening: let’s talk about THAT. And does anything warrant making it next to impossible for T&T NGOs to bank—which means making it impossible to get grants and carry out our mission.

      This is not a matter of chat for some of us. We face it when we walk into the bank to try to do ordinary, daily things.

    • Unfortunately the banks are erring on the side of caution because of the problems they could have doing business internationally. They are generally overdoing the requirements IMO but hopefully they will settle down. Not that that helps you at the moment.

    • But Judy-ann, they erring on the side of caution with the drug lords? With the big customers? And their caution is about the people in the nation they doing business in? My little group two red cents look like is any terrorist financing? How come Paypal and Western Union don’t have the same concerns?

    • The latter two will have compliance officers who will be responsible for looking at their transactions. There are protocols in place for all customers depending on their size. Who knows who they report and what is done when the reports are submitted?

    • Fine. Report me. Surveille me invisibly. Just let me bank.

  5. Are there more than 25 Trinis in ISiS???

  6. What I meant by “faith organisations”, Kyon, was churches, mosques, temples, ASJA, the Maha Sabha, the archdiocese, established religious bodies, most of which of any age in T&T are not incorporated as non-profit companies to my knowledge. I’m asking who is building the mosques: it is a) established religious bodies? is it b) newer nonprofit companies that are clearly identifiable as having religious purposes and can be profiled? or is it c) NGOs with other missions? ‘Cause i know c) are the ones getting harassed at the bank.

  7. LOL
    we need to develop an export industry…Trinis seem to be very good at killing people. hey. worth a shot (pun intended)

  8. I agree. Provide them with a one-way flight to Syria, we could even give them a meal of pork roti.

  9. the sympathizers of ISIS are the least of our worries…they want to leave to fulfil what is their muslim duty….our real problem is infighting in the muslim community between diff sects and the criminal activities of other muslim groups who may feel disenfranchised or repulsed by our society

  10. and my problem isnt the building of mosques or churches…y prob is the source of funding and the requirements for such ….and the beneficiaries of such

  11. faith org are NGOs u know that right

  12. Oh, God, Kyon, don’t fuel that concept without facts. NGOs are already unable to open a bloody bank account in their own country because our banks who think they’re still in the colonial era are more zealous than the state in enforcing money laundering rules. Joining an NGO board now is like filing with the Integrity Commission. I’ve lost three board members.

    Are NGOs building mosques? I’m not promoting Islamophobia, but maybe it’s faith organisations banks need to harass; not NGOs?

  13. I don’t take the words literally but I feel the level of frustration and understand the tone of the message. My concern for any situation is not that we do not see the immediate problem and its effect but it is the lack of foresight that traps us in these types of deprecating conundrums. So now we have twice the investment to consider 1. Fix what’s broken and simultaneously
    2. Engage learned and practical foresight. ..ie. cause and effect.

    Remember that not everything can be fixed with money. Now it would behoove any country that wants to save its youth from radicalism and/or criminal affinity, to seek out the root cause and invest all of its resources ($, talent, time, community network etc), to not only address the present predicament but patiently groom and redirect its future – the youth.

    • I would think this country doesn’t need ISIS and the Syria conflict to want its people happy.
      Of course we should always try. But for our own reasons. Not for the benefit of the US, Syria or anyone else.

    • Of course. A country’s opinion of itself launches its future. Trinidad has to begin the process to fix Trinidad for its own reasons and do so as a nation. However, the battle that anyone fights may have origins in people and systems that are foriegn to them. So then introspection with global awareness would be a good place to start. The US and Syria should not dictate our actions but the media images of the way life “supposedly is,” definitely has rocketed our problems into uncharted territories.

  14. Love this article……Where can I donate to this noble cause Raffique 🙂 🙂 🙂

  15. i couldnt believe my eyes when i read a certain popular muslim persona saying that Hosay celebrants were not muslims and would be taught a lesson and then i see muslims threatening fellow muslims an act for which bakr was arrested for sedition

  16. for years Saudi arabia has been dumping money into the hands of organisations here and we turn a blind eye …while businesses and mosques suddenly spring up

  17. thats what we get when we allow foreign funding of NGOs

  18. What we need to find out is where in TT they got involved with ISIS and who was the imam responsible. He probably runs a mosque that puts out the ISIS rhetoric. I had heard there was one in Central that had terrorist leanings.

  19. People don’t start off in international crime. They graduate to that.

  20. We should use resources to keep people away from a criminal lifestyle. Whether that be domestic or international crime.

  21. So let’s fast forward now, what happens when the radicals ready to come back home? Any system to pin point who the radicals are?

  22. Just to reiterate, Raffique Shah said he does not expect T&T to create policy by which the Government actively helps citizens to join ISIS. That is not practical and he was being a tad playful there.
    But he very much stands by the main thrust of the article in which we should not use resources to keep these sort of people in this country as a matter of priority.

  23. Ummmm. I think the tone of the article is who want to go let them go and say good riddance. I doubt he actively advocating for the state to assist them.

  24. I’m uncomfortable with the idea that this is so readily accepted by others as well.
    Be it satire (which i hope it is) would be hilarious, however, if this is to be taken as a serious article, i would find it overly disturbing.
    You want us, to willingly send troops to an internationally recognized terrorist organization on government money to fight a war thats already displaced millions of people and killed probably around the same amount through different countries in the middle eastern region,to kill MORE people and you’re all ok with this ?
    that’s the kinda stupid policy that has Most of American criminals landing smack dad in Trinidad with a clean slate, $50 US and a fresh start.
    Am i taking crazy pills to realize how stupid of an idea this sounds ?

  25. Leave them right there focus on who on the main land.. If these trinis that stupid to fight a war that has nothing to do with them leave them there sooner or later the US Russia or China will take them out…need to built t and t not have theses wanna bees to crate a bad name

  26. As a matter of priority, I say we focus on stopping our young men and women from joining local gangs first. When, we have made headway, we can work on stopping our youths from joining foreign gangs.
    If the US or anyone else wants us to shift those priorities, they can make us a donation.
    Those big nations fight wars for gain. So what is in it for us?

  27. Let them go. Why not? Don’t stand in their way, but ensure that they are in good standing with the forces they are joining so that they can take their families also away from the den of evil that is the western countries like ours. And facilitate their desire to be rid of us by allowing them to not return, lest we sully their desire to live in harmony with what they wish. Many thanks.

  28. Well part of keeping them out is knowing who they are. ?

  29. Track them for what Ravi Maharaj. I want them gone and good riddance

  30. Wanna track them, get the new chip in passport rolling. Europe , Canada and the States has it already

  31. Laws should be amended to make it an offence to join a terrorist group.

  32. Treason. Only one penalty for that

  33. ..all of this is talk about ‘not free to practice Islam in TNT..’…that is lie…

  34. Do we respond similarly when Kevin Baldeosingh or BC Pires write stuff like this?

  35. Disagree. Efforts have to be made to stop ISIS not to feed it.
    Can’t be content to send Trinis to join ISIS and think ISIS will forever remain somebody else’s problem.

    • Isn’t the political game that we allow Trinis to go freely. Then the US pays us a visit to discuss the problem and we end up with a US$6 billion financial aid grant like Pakistan to deal with the problem?
      That’s the circle of political life I think.

    • I really don’t think the US would treat with us in the same way they treat with Pakistan nah…

    • The likes of England and the US are always happy to empty their degenerates in the developing world on flimsy reasons. What do we owe them exactly?
      They don’t help for free. I don’t see why we should when we know it is largely beyond our capabilities.
      The forbidden fruit is always most desirable anyway. Don’t stand in their way and let’s see what happens.

    • Their “degenerates” being illegal residents who commit crimes? I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.
      I don’t understand how preventing our citizens from becoming so disenchanted with our society that they join ISIS is us helping the US and England for free.

    • Why are Isis’s weapons stamped made in USA? they robbed Iraq soldiers? yeah right,,,,,America has no control over the ARA who are supplying ISIS with weapons,,,stop the weapons and end the war,if ISIS is so evil why is America so concerned when Russia bombs them? open your eyes and minds people,,,,,..

    • If y’all were saying that we shouldn’t join the US in fighting ISIS, I’d be inclined to agree. But to be so nonchalant about people joining ISIS…

    • Of course, the US and the like might say we are providing labour for terrorists groups. But then that is how nations get big financial aid grants.
      Maybe we can get a couple billion like Pakistan to cut off supply. 🙂

  36. I agree, take away their citizenship and send them there

  37. I agree 100% revoke their citizenship and send them on their way

  38. I totally agree, man, woman, child, we charter the plane, u leave freely…..no subterfuge, no difficulty…..u just not allowed to come back…..ever

  39. One way trip. You can’t/won’t fight for you own country but running to fight for other people? DON’T COME BACK!

  40. …our borders should be on heightened alert should they try to return!

  41. I agree wholeheartedly with Mr Shah.

    Charter any amount of airplanes necessary and facilitate these jihadists and their families to flee this ” den of iniquity ” .

    Who knows there may be other people out there who also see this “western decadent lifestyle” not suitable, so start a Department of Emigration to facilitate their desire to leave these western shores for places that are more to their liking. Hide from them the reports that are saying that all of the people who are fleeing Syria and Myanmar and certain parts of Africa and the many people who try to get out of the Phillipines and other such countries all seem to want to get to western countries and not Saudi Arabia and the like.

    Many thanks