The Anjuman Sunnat ul Jamaat Association Inc of Trinidad and Tobago (ASJA) has written to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, appealing for him to look into the plight of T&T nationals being detained in detention camps in Syria and Iraq.
The two-page letter was signed by ASJA’s General Secretary, Rahimool Hosein, and delivered on Thursday.
While it was making a case for the repatriation of the affected persons, who have been either imprisoned or kept in the camps due to their affiliation with the international terrorist group ISIS, ASJA said it holds no briefs, records, or files on any of the individuals in those countries. It also noted that according to investigations over the years by ASJA, none of the individuals currently in those countries were from or associated with any masjid or jamaat that is part of ASJA.
In the letter, Hosein said, “We refer to our correspondences of 24th January 2020 and March 2nd, 2023, as well as our press conference held on March 6, 2023, regarding the matter of individuals detained in foreign lands due to their involvement with ISIS. We wish to reiterate that the ASJA, our appeal, merely one of a humanitarian nature, is to urge the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to expedite and hasten the processes and procedures to bring some measure of closure, one way or another, to this long-standing matter.”
Hosein said ASJA “is of the firm view that it is only and solely with the resources of the Government, and the relevant ministries and departments of government, that any of these individuals can be vetted and verified as legitimate citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, including children born in refugee camps or on the battlefield.”
He said only the Government could allow the individuals the opportunity to re-enter T&T’s shores and the status of these individuals after re-entry was entirely at the discretion of Government.
“Our appeal at the recent press conference was on humanitarian grounds, and we asked the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to look carefully into ways that can bring some measure of closure to this issue based on the alleged living conditions of where these individuals may be domiciled. ASJA is stating categorically that, based on international reports over the years, individuals such as these who had voluntarily left their respective home countries to voluntarily join that society and ideology created by ISIS, have been exposed to, and/or condoned, and/or interacted with, and/or been involved in a society that is totally apart, alien, and contrary to the laws, culture, social practices, living conditions, and environment of Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.
“Despite our call for expeditious repatriation, ASJA assumes no financial liability in this exercise but can only commit human resources toward the spiritual and religious enlightenment of these individuals away from the misguided path they have chosen, once they have been officially cleared for interaction with the general public by the experts and professionals appointed by the relevant government agency.”