Trinidad’s Sheikh of Jihad is Out on Bail Again

The notorious insurrectionary sheikh, Yasin Abu Bakr, is out on bail again in Trinidad. According to Tuesday’s edition of Caribbean Net News:

Sheikh Yasin Abu BakrTrinidad’s Muslimeen leader, 64-year-old Imam Yasin Abu Bakr, after spending almost eight months in jail on charges of sedition, has been granted bail in the sum of TT$400,000.

Bail was granted by Port of Spain high court judge, Justice Herbert Volney after lawyers for Bakr argued their client had a critical health condition and therefore could run the risk of dying if he was made to continue to endure prison conditions.

He had been kept at the state’s maximum security prison in Arouca, east Trinidad. Justice Volney agreed that the Muslimeen leader should be released on medical grounds.

Supporters who greeted their leader said they were thankful to Allah for his release. Imam Bakr faces five counts of sedition and incitement arising out of an EID holiday presentation he made in November last year at his St James Mucurapo Mosque.

This week’s release is a reprise of last year’s events. The photo above was taken in March 2005, when the sheikh was released on bail after the government failed to convict him on a charge of conspiracy to murder.

His earlier brush with incarceration has apparently not convinced him to mend his ways:

It is alleged that at his Mucurapo Mosque during an Eid-ul-Fitr sermon on November 4 last year, Bakr threatened to use violence against the Muslim community in Trinidad, saying there will be a war if rich Muslims did not pay zakaat (a religious tax), which is required by all Muslims and said to be one of the five pillars of Islam – a tax collected to help the poor.

Notice that this was an intramural conflict among Muslims in Trinidad, and seems to involve an element of class warfare. Or maybe just a shakedown operation gone wrong…?

Sheikh Abu Bakr has a history of political violence in Trinidad:

Trinidad and TobagoBakr was also the leader of a failed coup attempt in 1990 in Trinidad. He, together 113 others of his organization, stormed the country’s Parliament and held the then Prime Minister, Arthur N.R. Robinson and other government ministers hostage at gun point for several days. Robinson was also shot and wounded. At least one government minister died during the insurrection.

So now Abu Bakr is enjoying the pleasures of liberty again. I hope Trinidad’s domestic counter-terrorism units are keeping a close eye on him.

Hat tip: Uncle Pavian.

8 thoughts on “Trinidad’s Sheikh of Jihad is Out on Bail Again

  1. OT via Israpundit.

    The below story reminds me of the several incidents in LOTR where Mordor Orcs and the Isengard Orcs turn on each other.

    Leading Saudi Sheik Pronounces Fatwa Against Hezbollah
    BY ELI LAKE – Staff Reporter of the Sun
    July 20, 2006

    CAIRO, Egypt — One of Saudi Arabia’s leading Wahhabi sheiks, Abdullah bin Jabreen has issued a strongly worded religious edict, or fatwa, declaring it unlawful to support, join or pray for Hezbollah, the Shiite militias lobbing missiles into northern Israel.

    The day after Hezbollah abducted two Israeli soldiers on July 12, Sheik Hamid al-Ali issued an informal statement titled “The Sharia position on what is going on.” In it, the Kuwaiti based cleric condemned the imperial ambitions of Iran regarding Hezbollah’s cross border raid.

    The surprising move demonstrates that Sunni Muslim fundamentalists in the Middle East are deeply divided over whether Moslems should support Hezbollah, Iran’s Shiite proxies in the war raging in Lebanon.

    While the Gulf’s ascetic Wahhabi sects, who are closer to the ethnic fighting between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq, have opposed Hezbollah in its stand against Israel’s forces, other Sunni fundamentalist groups, such as the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, have pledged their solidarity. On Friday, the brothers will host a rally in support of Hezbollah at Cairo’s most influential mosque, Al-Azhar.

    The profound division between the most violent Muslim enemies of America and Israel may be one reason Arab capitals have not yet exploded in rage about Israel’s bombardment of Lebanon. The White House has already pointed to Jordanian, Egyptian, and Saudi government condemnation of Hezbollah.

    The latest Arab Israeli war presents a conundrum for many Sunni Jihadists. On the one hand, a chance to join in the resistance against the Jewish state presents a rare opportunity for zealots who revere the Palestinian Arab martyrs that have sacrificed their lives to kill Jewish civilians. But the main group doing the fighting, and instigating the war this time in Lebanon, are supported by the same Shiite state that supplies and funds the militias killing Sunni civilians in Iraq.

    “I think that fatwas like Jebreen’s are significant, because the division between Sunnis and Shia is more apparent than in the past,” the director of the SITE Institute, a group that tracks the online Jihad community, Rita Katz, said yesterday. Mr. Jebreen retired two years ago from Saudi Arabia’s government committee approving fatwas. Ms. Katz says he is considered one of the most respected and more mainstream Wahhabi clerics in Saudi Arabia.

    The division between Sunnis and Shiites goes back to the Koran. Mohammed’s son in law, Ali, claimed that he had been chosen as his successor, and to this day Shiites believe that Ali held the true claim to the Caliphate. Sunnis believe the prophet made no such choice and recognize the line of Caliphs that began with Abu Bakr, the choice of the prophet’s companions after his death.

    One can pick up some of this history in Mr. Jebreen’s fatwa. In it he refers to Shiite Hezbollah as “rafidhis,” meaning rejecters. In his religious edict, Mr. Jebreen writes, “Our advice to the Sunnis is to denounce them and shun those who join them to show their hostility to Islam and to the Muslims.”

    “Three years ago, I have not been seeing chatter along such lines.This became more prevalent following [the dead Al Qaeda leader in Iraq] Zarqawi’s declarations against Shia. Iraq has a lot to do with this,” Ms. Katz said yesterday. A week before Zarqawi was killed in June, he gave a four hour sermon entitled, “Did you get the message of the Shiites,” where Ms. Katz says he portrayed the Shiites as the enemies of Sunni Muslims.

    Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, however, has not rejected Hezbollah. In the last three days the organization has sent condemning the shelling of Lebanon in Egypt’s parliament and pledged solidarity. One member who deals with the press yesterday said, “Of course we are supporting the resistance. We have no choice.”

    Ms. Katz says the support of the brothers is to be expected. “The Muslim Brothers, as expressed by their ideological leaders Hassan al-Banna and Sayed Qutub, believe that support should be given to those who fight a joint enemy. Moreover, unlike the Wahhabis, the Brothers do not consider Shia as Sunnis’ enemies,” she said yesterday.

    For Egypt’s secular opposition the effect of the Lebanon war has been most dramatic. Two weeks ago members of the group Kafaya, a small coalition of leftists that broke major taboos in Egypt in 2004 by holding open protests against President Mubarak, were agitating for greater press freedoms. Yesterday, the group organized a small rally in front of the Lebanese embassy where most of the demonstrators held up photocopied photographs of Hezbollah spiritual leader, Hassan Nasrallah. A few waved Hezbollah flags.

    “People of different backgrounds and agendas will come together on this issue in a crisis,” one of the organizers, Ahmad Salah, said. The rally, while small, showed that secular liberals had migrated to the Islamist agenda, just as months earlier the Islamists in Cairo had migrated to theirs.

  2. One wonders, does Trinidad have a domestic counter-terrorism unit? If so, they don’t seem to be very effective, hm?

  3. Trinidad doesn’t seem to have an actual counter-terrorism unit as far as I’ve been able to determine. The police do have a blimp, though, which the government thinks is pretty hot stuff.

  4. After storming what I presume is a democratically elected Parliament, killing one of the Politicians and holding the Leader of the Government hostage at the point of a gun, I wonder what he really has to do to be locked away for good …

    The mind boggles!

  5. Of course, Trinidad also has a very large Hindu community (V.S. Naipaul being the best-known son of this group). I wonder how this affects them. Can’t be good.

  6. What happened when Sheikh Abu Bakr’s followers took over the Red House was, the government waited a few days, then granted them amnesty. After the jihadists stood down, they were rounded up, carted off to the hoosegow, and convicted of high treason. Their convictions were overturned by the Privy Council, which held that the government couldn’t go back on the amnesty promise.
    The sheikh’s current legal troubles are twofold: first, there is the conspiracy to murder his ex-followers. Second, the government is trying to collect the bill for repairing the parliament building after his men shot the place up.
    Unfortunately, neither one is a capital offense in the Republic.
    As for the East Indian population, they had control of the government and were making serious moves toward reform, but fell to fighting among themselves. The suspicion is that under the Afro-Trinidadian government (which is nominally Christian, but largely corrupt) will start looking like Uganda back in the 1970s.
    You’re right. This is Very Bad.

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