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Jihad Concerns in Caribbean

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Westerners mulling a Caribbean cruise this holiday season may want to slow the roll on buying those tickets. ISIS terrorists, it seems, may have put the islands on its holiday hit list.

Caribbean authorities are currently taking steps to keep terrorists traveling back to Trinidad and Tobago from touching down on island properties.

At least 130 people have travelled to Syria from Trinidad and Tobago.

And they’re warning: It’s not a matter of if the attacks will come. Rather, it’s when.

The Express has more of the story:

[T]he Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is currently taking measures to prevent fighters from returning to the islands, located southeastern from the United States, into a platform from which terrorist attacks can be organised.

When quizzed over the risk of jihadis returning, Minister of National Security of Trinidad and Tobago at the CARICOM replied: “It is not a matter of yes but when.”

The warning comes amid fears fighters will be able to travel between most of the Caribbean islands without a visa, meaning reaching the Bahamas would leave any terrorist just a step away from Florida.

John Estrada, a former US ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, warned militants from Trinidad and Tobago have been well received by ISIS.

Describing the islands as the terror group’s “unthinking seedbed”, he told New York Times: “Per capita, Trinidad has the greatest number of foreign fighters from the Western Hemisphere who have joined the Islamic State.”

“Trinidadians do very well with ISIL.

They are high up in the ranks, they are very respected and they are English-speaking. ISIL have used them for propaganda to spread their message through the Caribbean.

“The Islamic State uses them as propaganda to spread their message in the Caribbean.”

According to the Caribbean Crime and Security Implementation Agency (Impacs), more than 200 people have travelled from the Caribbean in recent years to join ISIS.

Particular concern exists in Trinidad and Tobago, which has the highest proportion of Islamist radicalisation throughout America.

With 1.3 million citizens and a community of 104,000 Muslims, at least 130 people have travelled to Syria to live and fight under the flag of ISIS, according to figures revealed by the Government of Trinidad between 2013 and 2014.

Islamic radicalism is not new in Trinidad and Tobago.

In 1990 there was a failed coup by a radicalised Muslim group, but it was in 2007 when this country and neighbouring Guyana planned an attack against fuel tanks at JFK airport in New York.

The terrorists were sentenced to life in prison in the US in 2012.

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