Taking the Wind Out of Maldives’ Radical Sails: The Sunday Standard

“There is alarm in India over Jehadi indoctrination of youngsters from the island nation of Maldives in Pakistan,” writes Devirupa Mitra for India’s Sunday Standard publication.

“Red flags have gone up over young Maldivians going for Islamic studies at seminaries in Pakistan and later turning up at the wrong place at the wrong time. Like a 31-year-old Maldivian national killed in a bomb explosion in Afghanistan in December 2013.

To curb the spread of Pakistan-induced radicalisation in the atoll—as it could pose a greater security challenge due to Maldives’ strategic position and freer travel guidelines—New Delhi is moving towards increasing contacts with moderate Indian Islamic institutions to educate youths from its Indian Ocean neighbour.For a year now, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has been working on a proposal to increase engagement and contact between Islamic groups in Maldives and moderate Islamic educational institutions in India. All with the hope that more Maldivian youth would prefer to come to India in large numbers to pursue Islamic education than go to Pakistan.

The latest example of the phenomena which has raised concern came to the fore just last month, when the family of a Maldivian national, who had been studying in Pakistan for nearly six years, learned that he had died in a bomb blast in Afghanistan. A media report quoted a local politician as saying that when he called home, he would just “talk about Jihad and independence of Palestine”.

Sources made it clear that the government will try not to barge into this sensitive area in a heavy-handed manner, so it will only be a “facilitator to increase contacts with moderate Indian groups”.

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One thought on “Taking the Wind Out of Maldives’ Radical Sails: The Sunday Standard”

  1. India is a very large Muslim country and there are all kinds of Muslims in India.

    India should be easier for Maldivians to travel to than Pakistan.

    The creation of Pakistan ( East Pakistan & West Pakistan a thousand miles away from each other and culturally different from each other ) was a big joke.

    The fact that it was a big joke came into the open when Bangladesh was created where East Pakistan was. That was in the early 1970s.

    I understand that fundamentalist Muslims in Bangladesh supported West Pakistan in the War of Independence that was fought.

    The Muslims that are left in India were Muslims who either did not want go to Pakistan (that means realistically only West Pakistan) or for practical reasons were not able to go there (India is a large country with many States differing in language, history and culture).

    Maldives was never part of India in the same way as Pakistan or even Nepal. Maldives relationship with India is more like that of Sri Lanka (ie. the Sinhalese part of it).

    In fact Maldives is less part of India than even Sri Lanka because of the fact that Maldives is further away from India than Sri Lanka is. There are other reasons too why Maldivians are less Indians than Sri Lankans.

    There is a significant Muslim (Tamil speaking minority) in Sri Lanka but their situation is nowadays heavily politicised in relation to the Sinhalese majority.

    So establishing closer ties with Sri Lankan Muslims (than the relationship that exist now) may not be advisable for political reasons.

    Antagonising India will not be to Maldivian advantage for geographical and economic reasons and even military reasons.

    Cultivating friendship with Indian Muslims (ie. of the right type, which in fact means pro-Indian Muslims) will be the best option for Maldives.

    Please do not go to Pakistan. It is a far away country for us. It is also a very dangerous country, much more dangerous than India.

    No nation can live by religion alone. No nation can live just through Islam.


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