Jamaat al Muslimeen
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Trinidad and Tobago
It was the organisation's leader, Imam Yasin Abu Bakr, who led members of the Jamaat in an attempted coup d'état against the elected Government of Trinidad and Tobago in July 1990, during which the group occupied the television station and parliament. Over a six-day period members of the government including then-Prime Minister A.N.R. Robinson were held hostage at gun point while chaos and looting broke out in the streets of the capital Port of Spain.
A court ruling upheld an amnesty agreement obtained during the incarceration of parliament by the group. This led to the non-prosecution of its members for this crime despite the contention that the fact that guns and force were used to obtain said amnesty constituted duress. Subsequent to the attempted coup, it aligned itself publicly first with the United National Congress (in the run-up to the 1995 General Elections) and later with the People's National Movement (PNM), the party which formed the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago until May 2010.
Before and since those elections, however, present and past members have been connected or prosecuted for serious violent crimes. These crimes include drug and gang related killings, rape and a current spree of kidnappings for ransom of members of the local upper and middle class. The organisation's leader is currently being prosecuted with conspiracy to murder several of the group's former members who had spoken out publicly against the Jamaat al Muslimeen and its practices, and who were suspected of becoming witnesses in legal proceedings against its members.
Currently they are under surveillance by the local National Security Agency as well as the United States Central Intelligence Agency for suspected terrorist relations with the Middle East, as are two other Muslim factions.
On July 24th 2015, they escaped and commenced in a shootout in the Country's capital Port of Spain and the Port of Spain General Hospital which put the capital on a lock down and caused the twin islands to be on high alert. One escapee was killed by the police during a later shoot-out at the Port of Spain general hospital.
- Angela Potter, "Trinidad Muslims Being Closely Monitored," Associate Press, November 1, 2001.
- Robin Walker, "Profile: Jamaat al Muslimeen," BBC News, June 3, 2007.