Media tracks Isis fighters from T&T

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Reporters from the New York Times and Al Jazeera are speaking to members of T&T’s Muslim community following last week’s news that 130 nationals are involved in terrorist activities in countries abroad.
The updated figure was given last Tuesday by National Security Minister Edmund Dillon following MSNBC commentator Malcolm Nance’s claim that the Islamic State terrorist network “has dozens of members from Brazil or Trinidad or the Bahamas, who have more terrorist members than any of the seven countries” that are the subject of an immigration ban ordered by United States President Donald Trump.
Yesterday, Islamic Front leader Umar Abdullah said New York Times reporter Frances Robles, collaborating with Prior Beharry, a former media/communication official with the former People’s Partnership government, interviewed him on Saturday about T&T nationals joining terrorist groups.
Abdullah said he gave his opinion of T&T, including Muslim ideologies and radical teachings and told the reporter he had moved away from radicalism though others had been influenced.
“I said I almost joined Isis and was distributing information up to 2014- 2015 encouraging people to go (Syria), but I didn’t, as I felt Trinidad and Tobago’s situation needed examples for our Muslims. I said we’re a peace loving group and want the best for Trinidad and Tobago.
“I said there aren’t terrorist groups here, no terrorism funding, but there may be individuals influencing that ideology, though it won’t grow and they’d leave for overseas and won’t return to make problems.”
Abdullah said he spoke about those who had gone to Syria, including Shane Crawford, who was among the first.
“I said most people held for the alleged plot against the former PP prime minister left for Syria and while that may give the impression of nefarious activities, I have the information that (the plot) was concocted.”
Mother of Isis fighter interviewed
Crawford’s mother Joan, said the New York Times team visited her on Saturday.
“She asked what mosque or imam influenced him. I said my son was never a follower and couldn’t be brainwashed. I said if you hold someone for an alleged plot of that nature (against the former prime minister) and they’re not cleared and branded terrorist, they may want to leave a country.
“I showed them many certificates Shane received. He’s brilliant—UWI courses, computers, Servol, police good character certificate. He was building computers since 2003.”
Crawford said she hadn’t heard from Shane since last October.
“Once media had reported Isis was killing Christians and I asked him if that’s true. He said when they go into a village, they give people choices: who wanted to join Islam, stay as Christians and pay a tax, who wanted to leave or who wanted to pick up ammunition.
Crawford said the reporter asked her about her conversion to Islam.
“I said I did it before he left because of my own beliefs,” she said.
“She asked my opinion of President Trump. I said I agreed with him on the homosexual issue.”
Radio announcer Sterling Henderson said freelance reporter Amandla Thomas-Johnson is coming to T&T later this month to do an Al Jazeera documentary, “The Shane Crawford Story”.
Atlantic writer Simon Cottee, who did a recent article on the issue, visited T&T again last week.
Talk to us too
Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young said Government is unofficially aware of the presence of the New York Tines in the country.
“As far as I’m aware, we’ve not yet been contacted. We would be prepared as a Government, through National Security or the Attorney General’s office, to engage in conversations regarding the current issues which are attracting international attention,” he said.

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