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Muslimeen count losses

BY ROBERT ALONZO and DENYSE RENNE

Social welfare officer of the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen, Kala Akii Bua, yesterday estimated the cost of damage to the office of Jamaat leader Yasin Abu Bakr at $200,000.

But he said this was just an initial estimate and the final cost would be known today after an intensive inspection.

Akii Bua was speaking with the Guardian yesterday evening, after the departure of a large contingent of army and police personnel who occupied the mosque for the past two days.

Akii Bua said the officers left the compound without saying anything to anyone, and when members of the Jamaat saw the damage to their leader's office and other offices ransacked, they were hurt.

A female member said she felt the Muslim religion had been disrespected.

"Look at how they dig up the Imam's office and they did not find anything. They have disrespected our faith and the Imam." She said the toilets were littered with faeces and stocks of books were scattered all over the compound

Now, she said, the Jamaat was concentrating on rebuilding and looking forward to the future.

Earlier, the contingent of army and police officers, who took up strategic positions around the mosque and adjoining buildings, resumed the search for weapons by drilling the flooring of Bakr's office early yesterday, but nothing else was found.

The office was demolished during the search on Thursday.

Police claim they found a rifle, ammunition and a hand grenade on the compound during their search on Thursday.

But senior Jamaat members reiterated yesterday that the cache was planted on the compound by the police to frame Bakr on criminal charges.

Under torrential rains and bolts of lightning, Bakr's followers blocked the roadway adjacent to the compound and held juma (midday prayers).

In his sermon, Akii Bua said the enemies of Islam had been pushing Bakr but it would only make the Jamaat stronger.

He said Muslims from other mosques had nothing to fear from his organisation because Islam was on the move and was rising.

He said he believed the membership of the Jamaat would increase, adding that 15 years after the failed coup, the Jamaat was much smarter.

Akii Bua also called for discipline among the young men and women of the organisation, as the occupation of the compound by law officers was only temporary.

2004-2005 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

http://www.guardian.co.tt/news3.html

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