Imam Yusuf Diab, of the Crown Point Muslim sect, applauds Government’s move to register and offer Venezuelans employment and medical services for one year.
Speaking with Guardian Media at the Crown Point Masjid on the eve of the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr, the Imam said he is happy the Government began the initiative.
He made it clear that as an Orthodox sect, his organisation did not get involved in Governments’ affairs.
However, as a businessman, he saw “the registration as a good idea.”
Noting that “the wave of Venezuelans is irreversible,” and that “the situation in Venezuela is not going to get any better soon,” he said: “It’s a good thing they are being regularized and are going through the due process.”
“They could help build the business sector here (Tobago),” he added.
He has worked with them before and noted that “the Venezuelans are good workers. They are reliable. They are trustworthy.”
He feels the Government’s initiative should have begun earlier and included other nationalities.
“I think they should have done that a while back and they should have included all the other nationalities that come here and are willing to work,” the businessman, who owns a number of restaurants in Tobago said.
He said the Government’s action is similar to Sakat in the Muslim religion. “Sakat requires all who have to give to those who don’t have so that no man is way above another in society,” he said.
However, he feels the Government should go a step further and protect the national community.
“While I applaud the idea, it’s good for us to also keep checks and balances on the entire immigrant situation as they (Immigrants) are from a different culture,” he said.
“Venezuelans should be tested for different diseases. We expect that they would have their own diseases. They should be tested and get immunisations against certain other diseases,” the Imam told Guardian Media.
“At the end of the day, we have to protect our way of life. We have to maintain our culture,” the Imam said.
Meanwhile, speaking about the role his sect is playing in Tobago’s society, he said, “the organisation has a great relationship with the Tobago House of Assembly.”
“We have outreach programmes that educate people about Islam and show them that the worldwide violence is not a part of the true Muslim religion,” the Imam said.
- by Camille Mceachnie