Continuing with my recent Islands Kick, Trinidad and Tobago is a relatively prosperous West Indian country with some oil and a big refinery. The population is split between South Asians (like Nobel laureate writer Sir V.S. Naipaul), blacks (e.g., the late actor Geoffrey Holder), and mixed (e.g., the rapper Nicki Minaj), which has made for some rather tumultuous politics over the years.
Now ISIS is recruiting in Trinidad.
From The Atlantic:
Trinidad has the highest rate of Islamic State recruitment in the Western hemisphere. How did this happen?
SIMON COTTEE DEC 8, 2016
… The Islamic scene on the island is divided: There is the Indo Islam of the East Indians, who first came to Trinidad in the mid-19th century as indentured slaves, and there is the Islam of the Jamaat al Muslimeen, whose members, many of whom were formerly Christians, are almost exclusively black. These two groups do not tend to mix, still less intermarry. But both, in their different ways, are far from the Salafi Islam that the Trinidadian criminologist Daurius Figueira believes has infiltrated T&T. Figueira, who is Muslim…
He attributes the growth of Salafism on the island to Saudi proselytizing. “They’ve spent money and brought in all these Wahhabi scholars from Mecca,” he told me when I visited him. “They’ve passed on the doctrine, then they’ve started to take the young males and send them to Mecca, and then they come back to Mecca and they continue, so now you don’t even need to send missionaries again.”
Razib 101: The hajj radicalizes through social climbing. Everybody comes back from Mecca a world traveling sophisticate and rubs in to their bumpkin, stick-in-the-mud neighbors, “When I was in Mecca, I saw how to do it the proper way …”
The most visible sign of this infiltration, he said, is the full hijab: Before the Saudis’ missionaries came, Muslim women in Trinidad didn’t wear it, but now he said it’s relatively commonplace.
So it’s not just that there are more Muslims around, it’s that the Saudis missionaires have radicalized them to bundle up their womenfolk.
Figueira was keen to dissociate the Jamaat al Muslimeen [the black converts from Christianity] from the militant Salafis whom he believes are sympathetic to ISIS. “If you have any understanding of the Jamaat al Muslimeen,” Figueira said, “you’ll understand that Islamic State will have nothing to do with them because the Muslimeen does not pass the test by Islamic State to be a Salafi jihadi organization.”
In a research paper on the Jamaat al Muslimeen, published in the British Journal of Criminology, the sociologist Cynthia Mahabir describes how the Muslimeen, after 1990, transformed itself from an idealistic social movement—“a fraternity of ‘revolutionary men of Allah’”—into an criminal enterprise, or “Allah’s outlaws,” to use the title of Mahabir’s paper. Figueira puts it like this: “Yasin [Abu Bakr] would never get involved with Islamic State and recruit [people] and send them to Syria, because it’s bad for business! They [are] on a hustle, they’re hustlers, they looking for a living.” According to the analyst Chris Zambelis, this hustle has allegedly involved “gangland-style slayings, narcotics and arms trafficking, money laundering, extortion, kidnapping, and political corruption.”