The tiny Caribbean nation, with a population of just 1.3 million, lies about 10,000km from the former Isis capital in Raqqa. Yet at the bloody peak of the group’s power, Trinidad and Tobago had one of the highest recruitment rates in the world.
More than 100 of its citizens left to join Islamic State, including about 70 men who planned to fight and die. They were joined by dozens of children and women, the latter including both willing and unwilling companions, security officials say.
By way of comparison: Canada and the US, with populations many times larger, are each thought to have produced fewer than 300 recruits who made the journey east.
The island has a thriving international oil and gas industry, and for the US there are potential worries about a more direct threat. Trinidad’s citizens can travel through the Caribbean without visas, and a Trinidadian has already been jailed for his role in a 2007 plot to attack New York’s JFK airport.
Trinidad’s Muslims make up around one in 10 of the country’s population, and the overwhelming majority follow moderate forms of Islam.
But a tiny minority have been drawn to a more extreme creed. In 1990 a group called Jamaat al Muslimeen launched the western hemisphere’s first and only Islamist coup attempt, taking the prime minister and legislators hostage for several days.
Eventually the army regained control, but the imam behind the coup, Yasin Abu Bakr, was released from jail within a couple of years under an amnesty deal and has resumed preaching.
Read it all…if you want to see how The Guardian glorifies Trinidadian jihadis.