Ex-Jamaat member killed in Diego home

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A policeman at the scene where Salim Abdullah Muwakil was found shot dead in his home at Green Drive, Diego Martin. – ANGELO MARCELLE

Businessman Salim Abdullah Muwakil, 66, was shot and killed in his Diego Martin home on Friday night.

The 2013 report of the Commission of Inquiry into the 1990 attempted coup described Muwakil as being “actively involved” in a plot to assassinate prime minister ANR Robinson, and identifies him as one of the Jamaat Al Muslimeen responsible for organising explosives to destroy the old police headquarters on St Vincent Street, Port of Spain.

The father of 21 was also the former head of the WASA workers section of the National Union of Government and Federated Workers.

According to the police, around 11.40 pm, residents of Green Drive, Diego Martin heard gunshots and called the police. Officers found Muwakil in a pool of blood in the middle of his bedroom. He had several gunshot wounds.

Several spent shells were recovered on the scene and investigations are continuing.

His son, Muhammad Muwakil, actor, musician and founding member of Freetown Collective, described his father as generous leader and a staunch Muslim who felt it was people’s duty to help those who were weaker or who had less.

“Anyone who knows my father, the one word they would use to describe him was generous, to a fault sometimes. He was somebody that chose to stand up for what is right and do his best to be that person within the community. He was someone people knew they could come to for help at any point in time.”

He said the example of his father, and the people he grew up around, made him who he was. As a result, he did not “have a moment of hate” for the person who committed the act.

Friend Abasie Jawwad described Muwakil as a caring man, so he did not appreciate how the media was covering his death.

“They are trying to paint him as a criminal so people would judge him based on 1990, over 30 years ago. But people are supposed to judge you for who you are now. So if somebody kill him in this present time, the public would say he deserved it, that he paid for what he did in 1990? That is wrong!”

He said Muwakil was an exemplary person in the community who helped those in need. He was an older man who focused on his family and businesses so he could not understand why someone would want him dead.

He recalled when, as a young man, he was “under pressure” and Muwakil helped him find a job, and he did the same for many others.

“If he was in his young days you could say they have reason to kill Salim but Salim retire from WASA and he just home seeing about his business, community and children. The person who killed Salim, maybe they know why they did it, but it’s sad to see something like this happen to him.”

Muwakil was one of more than 600 people murdered in 2022.