It is very unfortunate that almost all the political parties except the MDP are using religion as a political tool to keep former president Nasheed from winning the presidential elections this September, writes Dr S Chandrasekharan for the Eurasia Review.
Their main thrust in the election campaign is that all the parties are out to save Islam from Nasheed and his MDP!
It may be recalled that in the famous February 7 coup of 2012, the Islamists along with other recalcitrant elements spearheaded the move to oust a lawfully elected government of Nasheed.
Nasheed is pitching for a “liberal Islam.” Last month on the 28th, he said that what is worrying is that “radical Islam” and “Wahabism” is spreading throughout the Middle East and East Asia and that this is not the Islam but more “hijaz or Saudi thinking, and their culture”. He said that it more an idea to impose that (Saudi) culture on all Islamic societies.
Nasheed added that people have not stood up and given an alternative narrative. It is so important now to come up with an alternative narrative, a liberal version of Islam or actual version” of Islam.” I have no doubt that this kind of statements would affect adversely his chances in the coming elections.
Nasheed is thus not only taking on other political parties but also the mighty Saudi Arabia in his electioneering campaign! He has also criticised the Islamic scholars who according to him “were using religion as a tool to attain their individual political aspirations.”
The crucial point that should be of interest is whether Nasheed will be allowed to contest the next presidential elections. His growing popularity may provoke the extremist elements to do away with him. His personal security is of utmost importance now. It is for India and other international players to ensure a free, fair, violence free and an inclusive election.