Scholar tells Caribbean to focus on crime, not ISIS

Barbados Today:-Trinidadian Islamic scholar David Muhammad is accusing Caribbean governments of paying too much attention to the so-called Islamic State and too little to the ballooning murder rates.

The Nation of Islam representative for Trinidad and Tobago and the Eastern Caribbean told a gathering at the Crumpton Street headquarters of the Clement Payne Movement that the region’s political leaders were seeking to please the United States by beefing up anti-ISIS legislation while violence among their nationals was wrecking Caribbean communities.   

“You know what is so ironic? The Caribbean region is probably the only part of the whole world along with Central and South America where there have been no terrorist attacks in the last ten years . . . but our governments are talking about national security legislation against terrorism to impress the American government that we care more about their laws than our own problems, when we have the highest murder rates here,” he said at Saturday’ forum for Barbadian Islamists and Pan-Africanists.

The English-born Muhammad is an author and University of the West Indies graduate with degrees in education and sociology. He is here to hold community meetings and promote his book, African Studies, which presents a Caribbean perspective of African history.

As a former manager of Trinidad and Tobago’s under 17 and under 23 football teams, as well as the senior squad, he would have dealt extensively with the youth and the social and psychological pressures they face.

He said Caribbean governments were disregarding the proliferation of guns and killings to the detriment of the region.

“We’re ignoring murder and the abundance of guns and drugs to the being brought into the black communities. That is the height of the ignorance of our politics, not even looking at what is happening right under our noses,” he said.

A United Nations report in 2014 listed three Caribbean Community member countries among the top ten countries in the world with the highest murder rates.

Muhammad said despite these figures Caribbean governments seemed more interested in protection from the Islamic State that operates Iraq and Syria.

“It’s black-on-black death, black-on-black cycles of self-destruction through illiteracy, high drop-out rates, broken homes, dysfunctional families, faulty parenting, and no positive male role models in the house, so a gang leader becomes the mentor for the youth – and we’re paying more attention to ISIS?” he asked.

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