Vice President and Justice Minister Raynold Oilouch said that Palau does not condone any activities that encourage violence as a response to the report of an Indian man, identified to be a terror suspect, that was recently arrested in India and had been claimed to have been “radicalized” in Palau.

Oilouch, in an interview with the media yesterday, September 24, said that he is aware that Muslims in Palau, especially Bangladeshi nationals, gather in certain places here to pray during big Muslim Calendar days but he is quick to add that he doubts that there is an activity conducted here that is beyond praying.

“I kind of doubt that because Palau is such a small place,” Oilouch said, making a point that any such suspicious gathering would not go unseen.

Oilouch, however, stressed that he does not know what the word “radicalize” used in the report exactly meant.

“In any case, Palau does not condone any such activity. I want to make sure that Palau will never ever condone such activity. Anyone who is in Palau and those activities that may lead them to become more violent or anti-social or pick up arms against what…we’re going to send them home,” Oilouch said, adding that these kind of people have no place here in Palau.

Oilouch also said that the timeline mentioned in the report happened a long time ago so he had no way of knowing any information about the suspected terrorist.

Oilouch also slams ideas expressing hate at a particular race, explaining further that Palau needs foreign workers.

“Whether we like it or not, Palau needs foreign workers and foreign workers come to Palau to work so it is a mutual benefit to both Palauan people and as well as the workers coming to Palau,” he said.

“All workers should be treated fairly and that they should be treated humanely,” Oilouch said but he was quick to add that Palau also does not tolerate any person who comes to the country and does activities that are unimaginable.

Recently, the Hindustan Times, an Indian English-language daily newspaper, has reported that alleged Hizbul Mujahideen operative, Qamar-uz-Zama, was radicalized by Muslim extremist groups during his stay in Palau, between 2008 and 2012, where he worked as store keeper at a warehouse.

Zama was previously arrested by the Indian operatives on September 13 at a rented house in Kanpur where he was staying and was believed to be planning to carry out a “fidayeen” attack – one that is carried out by well-trained terrorists to bring as much damages or casualties as possible before being killed – during the Ganesh Chaturthi, a Hindu festival celebrating the birth of deity, Ganesha.

Zama had reportedly left his country for Palau in 2008 and had turned a hardliner when he returned to India in 2013. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)