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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 June 2007, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Profile: Jamaat al Muslimeen
By Robert Walker
BBC News

US officials say four men charged over an alleged plot to blow up John F Kennedy airport in New York have connections with Muslim extremists, including Jamaat al Muslimeen, a radical Islamic group based in Trinidad.

There has been no comment from the group about the allegations.

Jamaat al Muslimeen first came to attention in 1990, when it tried to overthrow the government of Trinidad and Tobago. More than 100 armed men stormed the parliament building and took the prime minister and members of the cabinet hostage.

JAMAAT AL MUSLIMEEN
Muslim social group in Trinidad
140 members took part in 1990 coup attempt
Stormed parliament and Trinidad and Tobago TV, taking cabinet hostage
24 people died during coup
Group led by Yasin Abu Bakr
Those jailed for the coup were freed in 1992
Accused of links to criminal gangs
The militants surrendered after six days, claiming they had been granted an amnesty. And, although they were arrested a court later agreed they should be freed.

Since then Jamaat al Muslimeen has had several run-ins with the authorities. The group was linked to a series of bombings, but denied involvement. Last year, the organisation's leader, Yasin Abu Bakr, was acquitted of charges of conspiracy to murder two former members of his organisation.

The population of Trinidad and Tobago is mainly Hindu and Catholic. There is a small Muslim community, most of whom are Asian. But Jamaat al Muslimeen draws its support from the even smaller number of Muslims of African descent.

There is little history of Islamic militancy in the Caribbean. But security analysts have suggested the region could be attractive as a base for terrorist groups because of its proximity to the United States, its porous borders and because of the widespread poverty on the islands.


SEE ALSO
Hunt on for NY airport 'bomb man'
03 Jun 07 |  Americas
Country profile: Trinidad and Tobago
11 May 07 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Trinidad and Tobago
11 May 07 |  Country profiles

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