Muslims concerned about $100 change

Friday, December 6, 2019

Mem­bers of the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty are call­ing on the gov­ern­ment to hold their hand on a de­ci­sion to fast track the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the new poly­mer $100 note, which it wants to in­tro­duce be­fore the end of the year.

The group–Con­cerned Mus­lims of Trinidad and To­ba­go, wants Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Stu­art Young and the Gov­ern­ment to de­lay on the change-over from the cur­rent note to the brand new poly­mer $100 bill as they be­lieve a quick change will ad­verse­ly af­fect Mus­lims who ac­cord­ing to the group does not use the bank­ing sys­tem as it is against their re­li­gious be­liefs.

Min­is­ter Young an­nounced the de­ci­sion to change the cur­rent $100 bill dur­ing the post Cab­i­net press brief­ing on Thurs­day, and the amend­ment to the Cen­tral Bank act was brought be­fore Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day with the Sen­ate ex­pect­ed to de­bate the amend­ment in a spe­cial sit­ting to­day.

The Cen­tral Bank has an­nounced the bill will be un­veiled to the pub­lic on Mon­day.

No con­firmed time­line has been an­nounced with re­gard to the phas­ing out of the old $100 bill as yet.

But yes­ter­day, Imam Sher­az Ali told a news con­fer­ence at the Nur E Is­lam mosque in El So­cor­ro, “We feel per­haps that he may have by­passed the fact that many Mus­lims who do not use the bank­ing in­dus­try to save their mon­ey. Specif­i­cal­ly, be­cause Almighty cre­ator Al­lah in the Holy Quran has pro­hib­it­ed Mus­lims from tak­ing or pay­ing in­ter­est.”

“There­fore many Mus­lims over the years have saved their monies in their homes at var­i­ous places with­out us­ing the bank­ing sys­tem,” ac­cord­ing to Ali, who said there have al­so been sev­er­al is­sues faced by Mus­lims who have ven­tured to the bank to do busi­ness.

“When Mus­lims go to change this mon­ey that they have been sav­ing for many years, they will be met with re­sis­tance and op­po­si­tion from the bank­ing sec­tor which has al­ready over the past few years shown a lot of re­sis­tance es­pe­cial­ly to Mus­lims when they come to change mon­ey, to bank mon­ey, to do fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions be­cause of the sit­u­a­tion around the world due to in­ter­na­tion­al ter­ror­ism and so on,” he said.

Imam Ali al­so raised con­cerns about the Mus­lims who had been sav­ing mon­ey to trav­el to Ha­jj and ques­tioned if the changeover would cre­ate com­pli­ca­tions for them.

“Many peo­ple save for many years, it costs be­tween 50 to 70 thou­sand dol­lars to do this pil­grim­age. Now they go­ing to be faced af­ter this bill is passed, on Sun­day I ex­pect, to bring in that $50,000 with­in 14 days and to be able to prove that they were sav­ing this mon­ey to go to Ha­jj to now be able to change it to poly­mer notes. We find that this will cause a lot of dif­fi­cul­ties,” he said.

Im­ti­az Ali, Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer of Mus­lims of T&T al­so said the change would ad­verse­ly af­fect small busi­ness­men and taxi dri­vers, who do not use banks to house their mon­ey.

The group said while it un­der­stands the idea be­hind the change, they fear many in­no­cent peo­ple may be la­belled if the process goes on as pro­posed.

“We are very con­cerned, we think that this is un­fair, it is an in­jus­tice to the pub­lic of Trinidad and To­ba­go. While we ac­knowl­edge that it can help in the fight against crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ty and so on, at the same time a lot of in­no­cent peo­ple gonna be caught up in this,” Mo­hammed said.