By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – With Trinidad and Tobago being dubbed a recruitment hub for religious extremists such as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), questions have been raised as to whether Guyana has any concerns about the growing threat of international terrorism.
Reports in Trinidadian media have confirmed that at least 89 Trinidadians have taken up arms with ISIS and there is a plea from the terrorist group for more persons to join the group.
Last Friday, the Guyana Government made it clear that it will not be tolerating any form of religious extremism on these shores.
“The government is resolved to ensure that no form of religious extremism will be allowed or tolerated in Guyana that resulted in the type of loss of life which occurred in Paris,” Minister of State Joseph Harmon noted.
In condemning the Paris attacks, the government had stated, “These acts remind us that there still exists among us evil forces which use the cloak of a peace-loving religion as justification for their murderous agenda. The Government of Guyana recognizes Islam as a religion of peace and that the vast majority of Muslims lead peaceful and law-abiding lives… We reject those who use Islam or any other religion as a front to attack the people of any nation.”
While Guyana has a high Muslim population, officials do not believe that there are religious extremists in Guyana.
Former Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee on Monday stated that the only time that he can recall was Guyana making such headlines was when a man of Guyanese citizenship – Adnan el-Shukrijumah, was named the head of Al-Qaeda.
Another was with the arrest of a group which had allegedly plotted to blow up the John F Kennedy Airport.
“Whatever the instances, once the cases are based on strong or incontrovertible information then the Ministry of Home Affairs would issue an advisory,” said Rohee.
Rohee said that in Guyana’s case there have been more cases of political extremism rather than religious extremism.
“I doubt whether the extremist manifestation were of a religious nature – they were in most cases political,” the Former Minister stated.