On Sunday, following a meeting with members of the National Security Council and Cabinet Ministers at her private Philippine residence, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced the anti-crime initiative saying the limited state of emergency in hot spots across Trinidad and Tobago was “merely part of a larger aggressive reaction response by the Government.” In a telephone interview on Monday, Ali said his request was based purely on religious reasons since several mosques had adopted the practice of reading the entire Koran during nightly Ramadan prayers.
“ASJA fully supports the limited state of emergency,” Ali said, adding, “but we are concerned that the curfew should be extended from 9 pm to 9.30 pm in certain areas to facilitate those mosques in the curfew zone.”
“Some people leave their district, and go into another district for the nightly prayers so this would seriously hinder them in their prayers,” Ali continued.
Ali also noted that the all-night prayer observances, Laylat al-Qadr, or “the night of decree or measures”, which is considered the most holy night of the year, would also be affected by the curfew as Muslims would not be able to attend the services. The special service is expected to be held on August 26.
“Some people stay the entire night, but there are others who would not spend the entire night and they would leave around 11 pm or even midnight. What would be their position? So we are humbly asking the Government for a special allowance to be made for our people,” Ali said.