Islamic scholar in Trinidad wants antigay "Muslim villages"

An Islamic scholar in Trinidad wants to establish Muslim villages in the Caribbean country to protect people from homosexuality, alcohol, crime, and fornication. Imran Hosein made the comments during a lecture Sunday, the Trinidad Express newspaper reported. Hosein gained attention in March when the country's largest Muslim organization barred him from speaking at their mosques, saying his lectures could incite terrorism. He has spoken out against U.S. policies, including the war in Iraq, and written that the September 11 attacks were likely the result of a Jewish conspiracy.

According to the Express, Hosein told the audience that establishing Muslim villages could protect Islam from adultery, homosexuality, and alcohol. Non-Muslims would not be allowed to "walk with a bottle of beer or walk half-naked down the streets," he said. The villages would have 200 to 300 families, and non-Muslims would be accepted if they follow the rules, he said. "Muslim schools would not accept any state funding, hence would not be subject to any state control," he added.

Muslims account for about 6% of Trinidad and Tobago's population. The barring of Hosein from most of the country's mosques in March sparked debate among Trinidad's Muslims about how their faith should be taught. Many say anti-American pronouncements should play no role in Islamic lectures, while Hosein and his supporters argue that Muslims should not close their eyes to what is happening around them. The organization that barred him, Anjuman Sunnat Ul Jamaat Association, dismissed Hosein's suggestion as ridiculous, saying it amounts to segregation. Muslims are free to practice their religion in Trinidad, so there is no need for separate villages, they said. "We are a minority in a plural society," said Yacoob Ali, the association's president. Setting up a village is "isolationist," he said.

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