Additional reporting by Ahmed Nazeer
The Adhaalath Party has issued a statement condemning former President Mohamed Nasheed’s comments on Islamic radicalism during an address in Denmark.
During his address, Nasheed stated the Maldivian population had largely rejected Islamic extremism, and, in a veiled reference to the Adhaalath Party, noted that “the Islamists were never a credible electoral threat.”
“ The Islamic extremists also didn’t like the Maldives’ new democracy because they were unpopular. They failed to win the Presidential elections in 2008, they failed to win local government elections – in 2011 they won less that four percent of the vote. But now, after the coup, extremists have been rewarded with three cabinet positions in government, and in many ways set the tone of government communications. They are busy trying to indoctrinate people with a misguided version of Islam,” Nasheed said.
“Nasheed misled them about the party he fears and envies most: the Adhaalath Party,” the party responded in a statement. “Nasheed knows very well that the Adhaalath Party is not a party that has no power and influence, unlike what he said in Denmark.”
The party accused Nasheed of “placing idols” in Maldivian lands – a reference to the SAARC monuments gifted to the country by other South Asian nations during the 2011 SAARC Summit hosted in Addu Atoll – and of “giving our assets to foreigners” – a reference to the concession agreement to manage and upgrade the international airport granted to Indian firm GMR.
In his address, the former President acknowledged that there was “a lot of xenophobia, Islamic rhetoric and intolerance going on in the Maldives”, and noted the destruction of 12-century Buddhist statues, manuscripts, and other evidence of the Maldives’ pre-Islamic history.
“There is idea of wanting to return to Hejaz at it was in the 7th century. This is Wahabism in principle. And it is difficult and worrying,” Nasheed said.
“The vast majority of our society are very tolerant people. If all this Islamist rhetoric is removed from official discourse, there will be a much more liberal society. I assure you the rhetoric will be removed from official discourse,” he said.
The Adhaalath Party meanwhile expressed astonishment “that there are a few Maldivians joining [Nasheed] in his work to get another chance to brainwash the Maldivian people. God willing Mohamed Nasheed will not be able to come to power ever again,” the party said.
Nasheed’s address at Copenhagen university: