Port Maria mosque gets scores of new converts
PORT MARIA, St Mary:
In the 15 months since Family and Religion last spoke with Imam Mustafa Muwwakkil of the Masjid (mosque) in Port Maria, St Mary, the country has experienced a change of administration, and its most important trading partner has elected a president many regard as an Islamophobe.
During the same period, Muwwakkil has observed an increase in the number of new visitors to the mosque, particularly young men from outside of the parish.
He said last week: "We are swelling at our seams with new converts. It's just the time, and there will be more as time goes along because we are dealing with a system that has failed everybody. But a lot of people don't want to accept there are failures because we keep replacing failure with failure, so it will be a repetitive cycle, like chasing your tail."
Muwwakkil believes that people, both at home and abroad, are fed up with the status quo and responded nonchalantly when questioned about the new US president's apparent contempt for his religion.
He said: "One of the things about [President Trump] is that he seems to attack Muslims and Muslim countries, but I am not perturbed by his fanfare because I believe that nothing happens unless Allah permits it. To put it in Jamaican terms, if he is bad, before him, there were badder man, like the pharaohs, and other tyrannical leaders throughout the annals of history.
"As for Muslims who have this great aspiration to go to America, they have the wealth and education to make their own country better than America. America is not a Muslim country. They worship creation instead of the Creator, so they are not better than us in anyway.
"[People] should educate themselves to produce things that generate money to make the living standards of the people in their country satisfactory, without usurping any of the rules of Islam. It's not about their fanfare; it's about what will and can happen because everything must rely upon Allah."
'ISLAM IS IMPORTANT'
While Muwwakkil acknowledges that most Jamaicans consider themselves to be Christians, the Port Maria-born preacher insists that in terms of heritage and culture, Islam is equally important.
He explained: "If we're talking about the slave trade, the majority of our foreparents came here as Muslims. We can go into the archives and history of Jamaica and find out who these people were. Some were so educated they could recite the entire Qur'an from memory. It's just that we have lost touch with them and prefer or choose to hold onto foolishness, instead of what makes sense.
"When I say foolishness, I mean if you believe that God killed His son to save you. How would you have your one son and kill him to save some people who are not going to follow you? You have to realise the creation is one and there is only one Creator. You have to worship Him and not what He creates. It's as simple as that."