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Wakeel hopes for better
Head of the Waajihatul Islaamiyyah (The Islamic Front), Umar Abdullah, believes yesterday’s no-show of several Imams, senior police officers and Chaguanas Mayor Gopaul Boodhan to yesterday’s peace initiative by former Unruly Isis members was a big disrespect.
The peace initiative, led by Abdul “Krysis” Wakeel, was title “T&T We’re Sorry…Be Better, not Bitter” and was held in collaboration with the Masjidus Salaam.
Wakeel, who shot into the media limelight recently after a series of videos with him laying threats and calling names of police officers allegedly involved in gangs went viral, was out yesterday handing out bouquets of flowers to motorists and passers-by, along with bottles of cold water, snacks to children and Islamic motivational posters as a form of restoring peace within the community.
“This is how we’re giving back to the community, as little as it is but it took a lot from me to put down pride and come out here,” Wakeel, who announced recently he was dropping his nickname, said.
Among those invited were Jamaat al Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr, Central Division head Senior Supt Kenny Mc Intyre and Gopaul Boodhan. But none of them showed up.
“Perhaps they had other more important engagements to attend to. We, however, consider this very important and their support is needed as a major factor,” Abdullah said.
Abdullah described this as a big disrespect, but said it will not deter Wakeel and his group from their peace initiative, including future peace events.
Asked how he felt about other Muslim factions staying away from the initiative, Abdullah said they indicated to him that they were more camera shy and didn’t even want their real names to be used.
Abdullah said there was a need for the guns to come off the streets and suggested there should be a gun amnesty.
“If there should be a gun amnesty, there is the need to offer these youths with something more powerful than the guns, empowerment. Give them responsibilities, look into areas that need fixing and ask them how it can be fixed and what they need to do and in that case we would be able to move forward,” Abdullah said.
Asked who he was, Wakeel said he was more like a religious leader in Crown Trace.
“I teach Islam, I lead them in prayer and I teach them how to pray. On a Friday, I give the Khutbah (which is a public Islamic sermon). That is what I do,” Hakeem said.
Asked if he wants to be a better role model to the young people, he replied “Yes. Those little youths look up to me and I want to be a better role model for them. I don’t want them to see me as a gundelero or a gangster and follow that, that is why I am changing to someone better so that they can see that and follow this new way.”
Asked what he thought of the poor support, Hakeem said: “We don’t expect that in one day it will happen. It has to have a perfect understanding and organised talk and that’s how it will happen.
“A lot of people are emotional because a lot of them have lost family members. This is a sensitive situation and we will deal with it cautiously.”
Gangsters should surrender
One of the invitees who failed to attend yesterday’s initiative was Enterprise Imam Morland Muakyil Lynch.
When contacted yesterday, Lynch said in order for peace to be restored in the community, the people who are responsible for all the killings should give up themselves to the police.
Lynch said several of his family members, including his son, Ackmal Lynch, were gunned down and Unruly Isis gang members were believed to be the perpetrators.
On July 22, 2015, Abdullah’s sons—Aqyil Lynch and Ackmal Lynch, 22—were shot by masked men at a construction site in Charlieville. Akmal died but Aqyil survived.
Lynch admitted that he passed by during the initiative and saw only Wakeel and one other person giving out the tokens. However, he said he did not believe their efforts were genuine.
“First of all, Krysis is not the leader of the Unruly Isis. There are five of them and none of them came forward and was seen out there today (yesterday). That gang has about 20 members and not even five of them came forward to participate because why? They are not coming out to support and give no support to Abdullah and them because he is not their leader,” Lynch said.
Efforts to reach Mc Intyre were unsuccessful yesterday as calls to his phone went unanswered.
Boodhan’s phone was answered by someone from his office who said he was in a conference. When asked if he was invited to the peace initiative and if so why did he not attend, the woman said they weren’t sure but promised to look into it and give a feedback.