Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 8th 2014 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 07TH OCTOBER, 2014
Illinois-based teenager Mohammed
Hamzah Khan, whom US authorities
nabbed last Saturday allegedly seeking to
join Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis)
militants, was born in T&T, Government
National Security Minister Gary Griffith
confirmed the situation after Khan, 19, was
arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigations
(FBI) counter-terrorism agents at the O Hare
International Airport, Chicago.
Griffith also announced moves towards
formation of a local counter-terrorism unit
to deal with the situation locally, as he con-
firmed that several T&T nationals have
"been lured" away from T&T to fight with
the Middle East militants over the last three
Khan is accused of attempting to provide
aid to Isis, the US Attorney s Office for the
Northern District of Illinois confirmed.
Isis, also called Isil, is moving on the
Syrian town of Kobane, a battle also involv-
ing a 55-nation international coalition,
including US and UK forces.
US authorities stated that Khan, of Bol-
ingbrook, was attempting to join Isis. It
was noted he was attempting to provide
material support to a foreign terrorist organ-
isation and that carried a maximum penalty
of 15 years in prison and a (US) $250,000
The US Justice Department reports were
that Khan had been about to board a flight
to Turkey, via Vienna, with Syria as his
ultimate destination. Turkey is described
as a common point for foreign fighters
seeking to link with Isis.
Khan intended to work for Isis either in
combat or aid assistance.
Khan, who had attended an Islamic acad-
emy in his neighbourhood, was said to have
had notebooks with drawings of the Isis
One had stated: "We are the Lions of
War." He also indicated he wanted to go to
the Syrian border and had written a three-
page letter expressing disgust with western
society, paying US taxes and bringing up
his children in the US. He left information
for his family, inviting them to join him in
the "Islamic state".
US news reports showed a picture of a
couple said to be Khan s parents.
US senate candidate Mike MacFadden
on Monday urged that Khan s passport be
revoked. (See page A6)
GET IT RIGHT
We've been asked to clarify that the views
expressed by Mr Abrahim Ali, past president of
the San Juan Business Association, in the story
Fast $$ for Chinese nationals in the October 5
edition of the Sunday Guardian, were not the
views of the association, but represented Mr Ali's
personal views. The current president of the
association is Mr Vivek Charran.
Trini's plan to link up with Isis foiled...
Teen faces 15 years in jail
The parents of Trinidadian-born Mohammed Hamzah Khan leave the Dirksen federal
building, Chicago, on Monday. PHOTO COURTESY THE DAILY MAIL.
Yesterday, members of a certain San Juan district
confirmed that several members have gone missing
from their masjid in recent times and that there were
others currently contemplating going to the Middle
East as well due to the US$1,000-a-month stipend
being offered by Isis to Muslims who join their jihad
against the West.
One member described it as "frightening" but
admitted it was better to confront the situation and
"know it is out there and deal with it."
Local Islamic scholars, including Imam Haseeb Aziz,
of the Bamboo Settlement mosque, broadened calls
to the T&T Muslim community against Isis, voicing
concerns on several aspects of the situation and
adding that the pall cast globally by Isis' activities on
followers of Islam could affect them.
Aziz said: "What these people (Isil) are doing is
incorrect. They have taken capital punishment, such
as beheading to a level of indignity that is not done.
"It is absolutely unislamic to parade the head of a
person in a street and make fun as some videos
purport. What may have started out as a worthy
effort to assist the people of Syria has mushroomed
into chaos and mayhem and no one knows what the
fighting is for now."
He added: "I'm very very angry as a Muslim when
people cut people's heads off like that. I warned my
congregation a month ago condemning this, seeking
to protect our youths.
"This will be a long battle and I have no doubt there
will be collateral damage and some elements in T&T
who hear criticism of the situation may not like the
exposure but as long as you speak the truth and
stand for what is right, God is in charge."
He said one deterrent may be for the authorities to
issue pictures and publicise information on those who
have gone to join terrorist groups overseas.
"It may make them think twice about pursuing it
and will warn true Muslims to be alert to people
trying to lure them away.
"I am also concerned that if those T&T youths who
have gone don't return, their families' resolve may be
strengthened in terms of martyrdom but we have to
speak out and educate people about this to ensure
our youths are not led astray.
"Anyone at my mosque who shows inclination of
support for Isil would be told to leave," he said.
On concerns some might abuse the current Hajj
pilgrimages to try to join foreign forces, Aziz said
group leaders held the responsibility to report any
missing member immediately. Detailing the
pilgrimage area, he said it would not be easy to
escape security zones.
Mufti Wseem Khan, principal of the Dar-Ul-Uloom
School in central Trinidad, said none of his members
had gone overseas to fight.
"We don't propagate this at all. We have been
against it from the beginning and many scholars in
the Middle East are also opposed to what's
happening," he said.
Attorney Nafeesa Mohammed has also expressed
concern the current terrorism situation may stymie
efforts to secure the release of five T&T nationals
detained in Venezuela since March. Another hearing
on the issue is due this month.
LOCAL MASJID MEMBERS GONE
Yesterday, Griffith credited speedy
confirmation of Khan's birthplace to
tighter relations with international allies,
which T&T has obtained as a result of
Government's co-sponsoring of the
United Nations resolution on terrorism.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
agreed on co-sponsorship last week
during a UN meeting.
"Contrary to what the Opposition
Leader believes, not signing this
resolution would not isolate T&T from
terrorist activity. This is a global plague
and the only way to fight it is to stand
resolute with partners," Griffith said.
While Khan was born in T&T, Griffith
said further information was being
sought on his life here. He said
Government was also liaising with US
authorities on the issue.
Government's information is that Isis
has a 10,000-strong force of foreign
fighters globally, he said.
"There are known as Foreign Terrorist
Fighters (FTS) and there are several
persons of T&T affiliation," he confirmed.
While he could not confirm the status
of two men pictured on yesterday's T&T
Guardian said to be T&T nationals already
with Isil, he said there was information
about other nationals who have gone to
"As a result we have been monitoring
people of interest, as well as persons
who are sympathisers and who may be
aiding and abetting those who are going
"There are several different groups we
are looking at and we are looking at the
formation of a counter-terrorism unit to
deal especially with these matters," he
Griffith also noted the formation of the
Special Operations Group recently and
the acquisition of armoured vehicles
which, he said, were geared to dealing
with issues stemming from terrorist
activities. He added: "Unlike others who
want to pretend issues don't exist, Isil is
one of the most financially powerful
terrorist groups in the world and has far-
reaching effects. Because of this, youths
are indeed being lured to become
involved with them.
Since they have 10,000 FTFs
worldwide, if such persons try to return
home, they become virtual parasites and
can further activity in their homeland."
He said the monitoring had to
encompass the financing of militant
support, other assistance being rendered
to T&T nationals in getting to Syria---and
to come back--- their accommodation and
people locally or abroad who may be part
of "sleeper cells" which were dormant
GRIFFITH: LOCAL GROUPS UNDER WATCH
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