Imam: Speak out against genocide in Palestine

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Maulana Atif Majeed Sulaimani at the Eid-ul-Fitr prayer service held at the San Fernando Jama Masjid, Mucurapo Street on April 10. – Photo by Jeff K Mayers

An imam has called on people to speak out against the deadly and ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying images and footage of the scenes of bombings and other attacks in Palestine were heart-wrenching.

Maulana Atif Majeed Sulaimani said it was incumbent and obligatory to speak for them, not only as Muslims but as human beings.

Sulaimani said people are humans first before belonging to any ethnicity, religion, clan or tribe.

He added, “We have to speak for humanity. We are like one body. If one part hurts, the entire body hurts. Humanity is like one body. We are the children of Abraham, all of us. Wherever oppression is happening, we should speak.”

“What is so different between us and them? What is stopping us from speaking against this brutality? Have we become selfish or something? How on earth are we forgetting the atrocity, the genocide, the brutality, mass killings and murders that the Palestine people are facing?”

Sulaimani spoke on April 10 at the San Fernando Jama Masjid at Mucurapo Street, where hundreds of people gathered to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr.

Among them were Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Minister Kazim Hosein, a member of the masjid, and his Cabinet colleague, Energy Minister Stuart Young, who is also the Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister.

The imam said not only are Muslims being killed, but more than 50 per cent of the victims are Christians.

He also thanked Allah for allowing people to celebrate the auspicious occasion in a peaceful and secure environment in Trinidad and Tobago.

“The people in this country have no threat or concern that someone would throw a bomb on top of their heads.

“While we are here, there are many who do not have this opportunity. It is not all the time that Allah is testing us through difficulties and trials. Sometimes, Allah tests us through comforts but gives us wealth and fulfils all our desires,” Sulaimani said.

“These bombs are not being dropped on them in Palestine, but rather it is on us because we became dead. They are alive. Allah is not testing them; he is testing us on how we react towards this aggression and oppression.”

The imam also called on the congregation to forgive others and live a life free of grudges, animosity and jealousy.

Hosein, also an imam, gave remarks and cited the deadly conflict in Palestine, reminding the congregation that Islam teaches about humanity.

Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Minister Kazim Hosein speaks at the Eid-ul-Fitr prayer service held at the San Fernando Jama Masjid, Mucurapo Street on April 10. – Photo by Jeff K Mayers

He said anyone who looks at the images and videos from Palestine would weep and understand what it feels like to lose their parents, family members and other loved ones.

Hosein added that as Muslims, they must never forget their deceased parents and loved ones, especially on Eid.

The minister wiped away tears, saying: “When you wake up on Eid and do not see them, it is sad.”

He said once people are born, they must die.

Hosein added, “We come with nothing and will leave with nothing. All we can do is humble ourselves… We must continue to be our brother’s keeper.”

Young brought greetings on behalf of himself, the Prime Minister and the Government.

He said Dr Keith Rowley, who is abroad, was not physically present at the event but was there in spirit.

Young said people in Trinidad and Tobago must be grateful for the diversity, acceptance and respect for one another.

Energy Minister Stuart Young delivers remarks at the Eid-ul-Fitr prayer service held at the San Fernando Jama Masjid, Mucurapo Street on April 10. – Photo by Jeff K Mayers

He said he supports Caricom’s position on the call for an immediate ceasefire to what he called the indiscriminate war on the people of Palestine, particularly in Gaza.

Young said some of his cousins have relatives in Palestine.

“Innocent lives are being lost. As the imam rightly said, before we choose any religion, we are humans,” he said.

“Islam teaches many lessons like what is right from wrong. Today, the world seems increasingly to have lost that lesson, to determine what is right from wrong in the simple tasks of life.”

As customary, scores of people lined the street for charity.