Trinidad – ‘Muslims may have power to determine next govt’

SHAFAQNA – The Muslim community may have the power to determine which party forms the next government, according to Imam Rasheed Karim, leader of the newly-formed lobby group Ummah T&T.
The group was officially launched on Saturday at the Al Aqa’aba Centre in Felicity, Chaguanas and claims 80 per cent of the Muslim electorate in the upcoming 2015 general election.
Present at the launch were representatives of various Islamic groups in Trinidad and Tobago, including the Al Aqa’ba Islamic Foundation, Islamic Missionaries Guild of T&T, Anjuman Sunnat ul Jamaat Association (ASJA), Nur-E-Islam and the Trinidad Muslim League (TML).
Karim said the main objective of the group is to provide proper representation, equity and justice for the Islamic community.
He added that the upcoming elections will be “an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the strength of the country’s third largest denominational group in the electoral process.”
Speaking at Saturday’s launch, Imam Nazim Ali of Preysal said the Muslim community numbers around 130,000 or near ten per cent of the national population. 
The demographics dictate that they could play a major role in the outcome of several seats up for grabs, he said.
He said a ten per cent swing in the voter turnout can determine who wins the election.
Ali said he wanted to reintroduce the Muslim community to the power they have in numbers at the ballot box, which is especially relevant to the coalition politics as practised by the present administration.
He made a call for Muslims to join the newly-formed group, saying Muslims must not underestimate their power and influence.
The group plans to hold a membership rally, details of which have not yet been released.

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