“President Yameen, the world is watching you”, warns Australian senator

Australian Senator James McGrath has warned President Abdulla Yameen that the eyes of the world are on the Maldives’ deteriorating human rights situation.

“Do not lead your country into the shadows of fear and hate and violence. Stamp on ISIS and the other agents of hate. Let the Maldives be free – President Yameen, the world is watching you,” McGrath told the Australian Senate yesterday (October 28).

The Queensland senator told the house of judicial corruption, political violence, media suppression, and religious extremism in the Indian Ocean nation.

He gave special attention the the ongoing Supreme Court case against the Human Rights Commission (HRCM) and the disappearance of Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan 82 days ago.

McGrath informed the assembly that he had worked with former President Mohamed Nasheed during his successful 2008 presidential election campaign, describing the transition to democracy as a “political fairy tale”.

The governing Progressive Party of Maldives last week accused Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) of attempting to use the international community to influence the case against the HRCM, to “discredit Maldives reputation”, and to “impoverish the Maldivian people”.

Recent events in the Maldives, including consistent attacks and threats against opposition MPs and property, have prompted concern from the EU, Amnesty International, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and the Canadian government.

McGrath – who described the suo moto proceedings used against both the HRCM and the Elections Commission earlier this year as “unusual” – said “a worrying trend has been for the supreme court to violate the separation of powers outlined in the 2008 constitution”.

Noting the likely abduction of 28-year-old journalist Rilwan had come after a series of attacks on the media in recent years, McGrath observed a “slide into authoritarianism and religious extremism” in the aftermath Nasheed’s departure from office in February 2012.

The senator’s comments regarding ISIS followed one week after UK Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Tobias Ellwood responded to a written question from Karen Lumley MP on the group’s potential activities in the Maldives.

“We are aware of the activity of ISIL sympathisers in the Maldives, and we will continue to engage with the Maldives government about the promotion of religious freedom and moderation,” Ellwood informed Lumley.

While up to four Maldivians are reported to have been killed fighting in the Syrian civil war this year, a family of four were reported to have migrated to ISIS held territory last week.

Up to 200 demonstrators marched through the capital Malé last month, brandishing the flag made famous by ISIS, calling for the full implementation of Shariah in the Indian-ocean archipalego.

McGrath yesterday expressed alarm at recent moves to subject the publication of poems and prose to government approval – a move he called “blatant censorship” – before concluding his speech.

“The world is watching you president Yameen. Be a true leader and let your people be free. Let them speak freely, let them be without fear of violence, let them have rights of association, let them talk right and join together as free peoples.”


20 thoughts on ““President Yameen, the world is watching you”, warns Australian senator”

  1. The disease is correctly identified by the Senator.
    However, as usual the prescribed medicine is wrong. Not only wrong, it will provoke a backlash.

    Radicalisation and extremism is the disease that should be cured. Radical Islamists is a problem and the solution should be simple EDUCATION.. not bombs or drones or call for freedom of religion.

    The call for 'promotion of religious freedom' is not the medicine in a country which considers 100% Isalmic as its national dentity. Sure, not every practices Islam, but calling for religious freedom in Maldives is totally counter productive as it will alienate the moderates.

    Mr. Senator, next time please apeal to moderates. You have alinated them in your call.

  2. McGrath, I agree with the world you said about extremism in Maldives, very true this paradise is one of the dangerous place for the peoples who speak in free language in terms of religious issues.

  3. Australia is a crusader state allied with Zionism. Australia first should have freedom for Muslims release Muslim prisoners than make such requests.

  4. Yes we have problems in our country, yes we have a corrupt judiciary, yes we crazy ass parliamentarians and police brutality and what not

    But have we ever and I mean EVER stood up and said the world is watching you Senator McGrath - you better become more proactive if you are against the WA shark cull - no we don't

    What is this need for the white man to meddle in our affairs - I mean I can believe if you were paid off by some stupid Maldivians but other than that - whats the deal man?

  5. @thanks but not smart

    Oh, denying people religious freedom is "moderate" now? I must've missed the memo.

  6. Why do you have to link radicalism with freedom of religion

    You messed up the argument Senator just juke the way the local Salafists do.Now you have empowerd the radical Islamists. Your misguided words are political gold for their recruitment

    And who gets defeated? The moderates

    You are NOT helping

  7. To say, I think the world is watching you is to dramatize and exaggerate the situation in Maldives Mr.McGrath. You exaggerate the psychopathic population that has been an easy prey for manipulators to convert to believe extremist views. I don’t think the world is watching anything other than the tourism in the Maldives, and don’t think the tourist’s staying in the resorts even now, ore care, what’s going on regarding political life in Maldives. I would be concerned what’s happened now with strong influences’ of psychopaths that gaining strength, I am sorry for the life and future for the normal population in Maldives if this evil groups get a foothold there.

  8. @thanks but not smart

    The backlash comes from people who use religion to force their agenda down others throats, I agree.

    And when that backlash happens, people should start fighting back. They're not 'chosen warriors of Allah', they're thugs, heroin dealers, rapists and murderers.

  9. We don't have to give religious freedom in this country just because Nasheed and his fiends are calling for it.

    These kind of words from Foreign countries are empowering and encouraging the marginal extreme faction in Maldives to become more active.

    In its Nasheed who is behind this and he is the one who is inciting all these actions. Nasheed is doing and supporting Extremists in this country with hope that he can become the President again.

    Human rights in Australia is not the best. We have seen how they treated Asian ethnic just two year back and what kind of racial crimination they have.

    Does that count as " Human Right violation" . Just because the guys is white does not mean you are superior human being.

  10. Democracy = majority rule. That means in Maldives, the majority 99% would NEVER allow freedom of religion. Why? because its a small community like an Amish village with islamic tradition and culture dating back 500+ years.

    Now, Islam is not just a religion. It is a culture and a welfare system as well. Thus calling for religious freedom in a traditionally Islamic contry is asking for a very very fundamental change. This will irk the ire of the majority. Thats does mean Maldivains are extremists.

    The issue faced by the west and whole world is Islamic extermism and britality of ISIS, Taliban, Salfista, etc..which needs to be addressed as a global issue.

    Freedom of religion in Maldives is national issue which should be settled by democratic means (majority decesion)

    The Senators views further adds to the disillusionment people already have with the democracy in Maldives. You can hear those Salfists says 'We told you so' 'Those white men are not really interested in democracy in maldives.. they want build churches'

    ... see how this Senator has got it wrong, though his intention may be good.

  11. @thanks but not smart yes I think you are on to something, Maldives is like a small community width traditions and very much like the Amish, you don’t get far if you try to give the Amish hints how to live better.

  12. While it is commendable that Australian elected officials and the world is on vigil on extremist and ISIS support in Maldives, I sincerely hope that Australian would at the least speak out and vote against the brutal occupation of Palestine by Israel. Australians should call for sanctions against Israel.

  13. Why this Senator guy cant see what is happening in Palestine, Egypt, Burma, etc. Their mouth keeping shout on those huge issues and opening their mouth so wide on the small issue here is enough proof that these guys are not for demo crazy but against Islam. We know your intention man.

  14. @Logal Sumaari

    Austria is at the service of Zionism and is a crusader state so it will not vote against Zionism it is this simple. Together we make sure Palestine will be free from the river to the sea of zionists.

  15. Also this country joins together in bombing the caliphate... another proof hey don't belief in democracy. Endless war against Islam.

  16. We all have to watch this corrupt government. Now they are trying to control audit office just to hide their corruption. Mr. Adheeb must know oneday you all be punished for your actions.

  17. With due respect, people seem to be conveniently short-sighted. They put away facts. They forget that Maldives Islam was not initially the religion of Maldives. It is a fact that Maldives embraced Islam at some point in its history. Culture, the way of life of a people, is not static. If nature did not stop Maldives from embracing Islam, do you think nature will stop Maldives from embracing another religion or other religions? The catalysts that made that shift happen will be the same that will bring another shift. History repeats itself. Religions, as they exist now, in their extreme forms (and that applies to Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, etc) will not survive unless they adapt to realities. God may have given the 10 Commandments in stone tablets during the time of Moses. But if the same God was to give the commandments today, it would be in the form of other tablets (possibly iPad or Samsung something).

  18. @thanks but not smart

    99%, huh?

    Three things. First, where'd you get that from?

    Second, (if that 99% story is true)does it mean that the 1% have no rights?

    Third, whatever happened to the myth propagated by the state in an effort to control dissent that Maldives is a 100% muslim country? 😛

  19. An article from Minivan news:
    "The bomb blast at Sultan Park – a major tourist attraction in the capital located in front of the Islamic Centre – was triggered using a mobile phone and washing machine motor attached to a gas cylinder.

    The attack injured 12 tourists, including eight from China, two from Britain and two from Japan. The incident received widespread publicity around the world, damaging the country’s image as a luxury tourism destination."


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