For all the air-conditioned, carpeted comfort of the Parliament, certain residue of Tropical Storm Bret found its way into the Chamber yesterday.
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UNC youth arm tells Al Rawi: Don’t misuse heritage for political gain
The UNC’s youth arm has accused PNM senator Faris Al Rawi of misusing his heritage for political gain when he made statements on his Muslim heritage last week. This followed an argument with Attorney General Anand Ramlogan in the Senate. Ramlogan had noted Al Rawi had said in a newspaper that he was descended from the prophet Muhammed. Al Rawi subsequently held a press conference on Thursday to reinforce his bona fides.
Noting the current holy month of Ramadan, UNC youth arm chairman, Nicholas Morris, yesterday urged Al Rawi to refrain from further exploitation of his heritage where it refers to the sensitive nature of religion and religious icons. “In Islam, an individual’s worth is judged solely on the strength of their piety and in the purity of their thoughts and actions, none of which Mr Al-Rawi exhibited when he sought to misuse his ‘heritage’ for the singular purpose of political gain.”
“It is exceedingly unethical and utterly disrespectful for a public figure to advertise an ancestral bond with the Holy Prophet (PBUH) yet openly participate in thoroughly un-Islamic behaviour,” Saying Al Rawi’s boast was meant to increase his prominence and appeal to a wider cross-section of society—the Muslim and Arab demographic, Morris added: “This is cheap political strategy as the focus of this particular claim was made in a woefully inappropriate manner and one which completely disrespects the religion of Islam.”
On Al Rawi’s claims, Morris added, “The UNC’s Muslim Youth have researched this matter extensively and concluded the name ‘Al-Rawi’ does not seem to be appear on any official or confirmed list of ‘Sayeds’ in Iraq.” “The current civil unrest and deadly violence in Iran and Iraq stem from exacerbated tensions between Shi’ites and Sunnis based on such differences in belief. “
Morris said Al-Rawi proudly refers to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) yet completely omits the honorific addendum of sending peace and blessings, as is required by all Muslims. Of course, non-Muslims. He noted that this obviously exempt from such tradition, “but if Mr Al-Rawi is not a Muslim, then by virtue of his proclaimed heritage he should have at least shown a more respect to the multitude of us who are,” Morris added.
At the news conference last week Thursday Al Rawi took issue with Ramlogan commented on a Newsday story, published in 2010, in which Al-Rawi said he was a descendent of the Prophet Muhammed. Al-Rawi’s father is Husam Al-Rawi, an Iraqi architect and academic. Al-Rawi was born in Trinidad and his mother is former government minister Diane Seukeran. In the 2010 story he was quoted as saying: “We are descended from the Prophet Muhammed, my 43rd grandfather directly.”
At the briefing Al-Raw also presented a certified family tree, which he said was evidence to confirm his claim and said he was thankful to his father “for giving me the proof.