Islamic protests worry TT muslims
By Richardson Dhalai Sunday, September 16 2012
At least two of the nation’s leading Muslim leaders yesterday expressed regret over the violent protest demonstrations which are currently rocking the Middle East, Africa and Asia over a film allegedly denigrating Prophet Muhammed, the founder of Islam.
The protest action, which gained momentum over the past week, resulted in the deaths of several persons, including four United States citizens, among them the US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, who was killed when the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was stormed by militants.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Anjuman Sunnat-ul-Jamaat Association Inc (ASJA) president, Haji Yacoob Ali, said the organisation was not in favour of any type of violent protest action in a democratic society.
“We regret violence of any form or fashion,” he said, although he noted that in a democracy, persons could engage in protest action but it must be of a peaceful nature.
“There is no reason to resort to violence and if the governments in the Middle East are reaching out to practice democratic principles, then both the government and the people should practice peaceful demonstrations.”
He said the association extended its condolences and sympathies to the families of those persons who were killed in the violence and expressed optimism the situation could be diffused through dialogue between the parties involved in the action.
Ali, however, declined to comment on the film which reportedly set out the violence, saying he had not personally seen the movie.
Also contacted yesterday, noted Islamic scholar, Maulana Siddiq Nisir, also declined comment on the film, saying he too had not seen it and adding it was “difficult” to accurately pronounce on an issue without having first studied the matter.
However, he too expressed horror at the level of violence, saying “two wrongs do not make a right”. He said there were other methods which could have been used to convey the protestors’ message to the makers of the film.
“Two wrongs don’t make a right and an act of violence is another wrong that doesn’t make a right,” Nisir told Sunday Newsday.
Asked whether he thought this type of violence could occur in Trinidad, he said this was not a probability, as local protests tended to be of a peaceful nature. “No, we in Trinidad, we don’t have violent protests. We protest peacefully, write letters or have placard demonstrations, but we don’t have any kind of violence,” he said.
Meanwhile, president of the Inter-Religious Organisation, (IRO), brother Harry Persad Maharaj, said his organisation will issue a statement on the issue sometime this week after discussions are held with member bodies within the organisation.