American scientist’s car set on fire in Addu

The police are investigating an apparent arson attack on a car used by a team of American scientists conducting research in Addu.

South police division Commander, Superintendent Yoonus Sobah told Minivan News that police were alerted to the incident around 12:51am on Sunday. The fire was put out when the police team reached the scene.

Sobah said it is too soon to say whether the fire was a deliberate attack or a random incident.

“We are continuing the investigation. So far we have not found any evidence to prove the fire was set deliberately,” Sobah said.

The car was rented by the American research team involved in the Dynamics of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (DYNAMO) project based on Gan in Addu atoll.

According to DYNAMO project Research Assistant Justin Stachnik, one of 13 American researchers currently in Addu, the car was parked outside the house they are currently residing in Hithadhoo.

He said the details of the incident remains “unclear”, and it was the neighbours who spotted the fire and put it out.

“What I believe happened was that someone put a half litre of petrol between the tire and the outer gate wall, ignited it and ran away. The tire burned and popped, there’s some damage to the metal and the bumper, as well as the electrical system–some of the wires have been fried,” Stachnik said. “But overall, the damage is fairly minimal.”

From looking at the char and soot marks in the car, outer wall and the leaves in an overhanging tree, Stachnik estimates the flame was between three and three-and-a-half metres high.

Although “there is no doubt” that the act was intentional, Stachnik does not believe it was “directed specifically at him by an organised group.”

Stachnik said neighbors have told him that nothing like this has happened before.

According to a senior official at Addu City Council, the office has received reports that the research team is seldom disturbed by some locals who “dislike” foreigners or non Muslims.

The official attributed the fire incident to the recent increase in religious tensions and the December 23 protest, which he claimed has exacerbated religious intolerance in Addu.

“We have received information that some parents with extreme views are telling their children the American scientists are Kafir [non muslims] and they must not speak to them. It is possible the fire was set by the children as a prank,” he said.

However, Stachnik who arrived in the Maldives nine days ago to track tropical rainfall during the final intensive leg of Project DYNAMO said that aside from the car incident, the team has been warmly welcomed to the area.

“People are smiling and saying hello as I go by on my bike, sometimes stopping to offer help if I need anything. The grocer had us over for dinner the other night and some people have been making plans for picnic boat rides to other islands.” He said he hasn’t heard of any discrimination against foreigners.

Project DYNAMO is a component of the first in-depth study of equatorial tropical storms between the Maldives and Papua New Guinea, designed by the US Energy Department’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) climate research facility.

It is scheduled to finish in April.

Meanwhile opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has condemned the attack on the car.

Spokesperson for PPM and MP Ahmed Mahloof alleged that the government is behind the fire incident claiming it is part of a “government conspiracy to provoke conflict between the opposition and foreigners”.

“Foreigners have been coming to this country for a long time and they have always been living in harmony with the local community. However, the attack is suspicious because it happened not long after the December 23 protest. The government is trying to defame the opposition and religious groups by conspiring against us,” Mahloof accused.


29 thoughts on “American scientist’s car set on fire in Addu”

  1. This Is expected.

    Coalition thinks they can con the Maldivians easily with religion as a tool, beacuse we are ignorant and stupid.What they don't realize most of the time, it back fires for the same reasons.

    Good. Every action has a reaction. Just be prepared for them.

  2. This is very sad! I hope the police catch the thugs who did this and bring them to justice!!!

  3. There is evidence that the current government is trying to label the opposition voices as intolerant and supports terrorism.

    I must say that this minivan news article (bu lubna) is very balanced unlike many MN articles.

  4. Its so obvious, a 5 year old can c whats going on,,,,,,,lets brand all maldivians as extremists so this government can jump on the islamophobia bandwagon...... Its this government who released all those criminals, its very easy to believe in a conspiracy theory, all anecdotal evidence points towards ashamed i got sucked into these lies and voted for this government

  5. I condemn this cowardly act against a visiting guest scientist...Even though at this point in time there is no evidence pointing to any particular individuals or groups, it doesn't seems like a accident, Its sad that some Maldivians are so intolerant. These western scientists are the people whose invaluable scientific research gives us every thing from MRI machines to telephone and attacking them makes no sense.I am afraid this could be just the beginning of a Pakistan style bombings and terrorist activities against tourists.This once again brings home the dangers of politicizing islam and using it as a political tool by both sides of the political divide. Its also foolish for Mahloof to make statements with out any evidence.I hope the religious scholars will take note and torn down their fiery rhetoric against non muslims.

  6. mahloof is right.
    the very comment by addu council person who is a member of government party proves it. what is this council fellow talking about when the american himself is telling that he faced no problem from anyone or a group of people.
    because of the way the government party people talked after the incident my prime suspect is them.

  7. By Allah SWT, we will not allow such Jews to conduct their worldly research on our soil! Please tell me o maldivian muslims, what do we achieve by researching about rain? Dr.Zakir Naik (May he be blessed by Allah SWT and granted Jannat in the hereafter), numerous times explained to us, where and how the process of rainfall is miraculously mentioned in the quran! And this, 1400 years ago! Subhanallah!

    Be warned my Maldivian Muslim brothers! These Jews aren't coming here to 'research rain' or anything! Like how some of our muslim brothers' NGO's have mentioned before, the Jews have only one intention, and that is to spread Christianity! Subhanallah! We can't let our young children listen to such misleading satanic words!

    Please leave our country, and take Maldivian Jews with you as well. We would like our country to remain 100% muslim mashallah!

    Sheikh Imran Abdullah

  8. instead of protecting the hated idols why cannot our police boys be sent to protect normal ppl and their properties?

  9. Mr. Mahuloof you are the one who advocate hatreds towards Christianity and world religions. Are you afraid of the Americans?

  10. Don't they see the signals. Don't they realize the situation?

    We do not want Jews and Jews-helpers on our holy soil.

    Got that?

    No MRI, no scientists, no Americans.

    Did Moosa alibi salaam need an MRI? No. He lived and died.

    Maldivians have said, unequivocally, on 23rd December. No non-Muslims allowed on our soil.

    Get that!

  11. congratulations to hawwa lubna for this balanced report. you are the only one working in minivan news who doesnt show an anti islam bias in their reports.

  12. Fools who were deceived did take a oath to to protect, fools being fools who knows what they would do, science being conducted here is haraam.

    In fact while Islam says to read
    learn and investigate the nature, so you can understand the wonders you see. So where is the hypocrites, lead by Sheik Imraan, Yamin abdul Gayoom, and Burumaa Gasim leading this nations gullible to. !!

    Down a spiral into dystopian chaos

  13. Mashallah! I'm so happy muslim mujahids such as Ibrahim Zubair are expressing what the Maldivians want! Not what some munaafiq Jew Maldivians want!

    Brother, may Allah SWT bless you and your family, and reward you Jannat with the finest virgins!

    And to everybody else who want these Jews researching 'weather' on our soil, fear the day of Judgement, for being a Jew will be the worst thing you could do in this world! Like brother Bilal Phillips previously mentioned, why do we need to spend billions on space probes to send to Mars? What does this do? Does this help us in the Day of Judgement? Would Allah SWT ask you if Mars was inhabitable? NO! And nor would you be asked about rainfall, since Allah SWT has mentioned all what needs to be said about rain in the quran, and Dr.Zakir Naik (May he be blessed by Allah SWT and granted Jannat in the hereafter), has explained to us these verses!

  14. Facts:
    1) ANNI blackmailed tourism industry to come to power..
    2) ANNI is blackmailing tourism industry to stay in power now..
    3) ANNI has links to 3rd Nov88 TERROR..

  15. Anyone who believes that Jews wish to spread Christianity is hopelessly ignorant. That's like thinking that Muslims wish to spread Hinduism.

  16. PPM cannot have it both ways! PPM have unleashed the genie of Islamic terrorism in the Maldives. It's too late now to try to bottle it. Mahloof is crying wolf now. He was too quick on the mark to try to deflect attention from PPM and their dirty campaign to ignite terrorism in the Maldives.

    We are not fools and neither are the international community. What was sparked on December 23rd will reverberate very badly in this country in the future. We have had Nigerian extremist group Boko Haram kill hundreds of Christians on 26th December. These are not unrelated events and the whole world is watching these and others with horror.

    PPM and their allies are really very stupid. The minute they realise that their tactics will badly backfire on them and tourism might suddenly come to a standstill here; they try to start to deflect it away from them and their actions. Don't for a minute think that the rest of the world is so naive!

  17. I must say what the impostor Sheikh Imran Abdullah is saying would be funny if what he says is actually not being said by the real Sheikh Imran Abdulla. Many things you have said said in jest has been said in seriously by the real Sheikh. What you said about Bilal Phillips (his lecture at school) is true - why study astronomy or hotel school? Does this help us in the day of judgement? And on and on. etc etc.

  18. @Sk Imran Abdullah : "Jews have only one intention, and that is to spread Christianity" Jews and Christians are different and actually Jews were severely persecuted by Christians. Jews certainly dont want to spread Christianity. I dont think this is Sk Imran Abdullah, President of Adhalath Party. He sure cant be that stupid.

  19. Ohh!!! What a sick society, animals have far much better behaviour than human being. This place will drown not because of rise in sea level because of political instability.

  20. "Would Allah SWT ask you if Mars was inhabitable?"

    Would Allah ask you about flying? How about sailing and fishing? Surely Allah isn't interested in those either. Er, what about blowing up Christians and Jews? Well, for that you need explosives and a bit of technology these days. Does Allah allow you to acquire that knowledge or is it laid down in the Quraan too? Last time I checked, I couldn't find anything in the Quraan on Semtex or other really effective high explosives, which would be quite effective against the infidels visiting these islands of paradise of ours.

    Maasha Allah, let's pray to Allah to send us bits of Semtex to blow up infidels...

  21. hi people.
    I do not want to claim responsibility for this but I want to be fair this time. I cannot live the lie my whole life.
    This arson attack on the scientists car was an idea of a friend of mine who is also atheist like me. We did this ofcourse to frame the silly Muslims in this country and to provoke a little bit of a religious fight which is fun, if you see our point of view. Now what went wrong is that i have come to realize that i need to be truthful even defending my values. So i am saying this with all honesty that its a little plot of ours which somehow did not work. I apologize to the American scientists and i hope they will not make much of this issue.

  22. Mldivians are neither more or less intolerant than any other race, its the government thats intolerant of the sentiments of the people, with their ad hoc reactionary policies, selling off the countries assets to foreigners with an agenda to push certain agendas and getting maldives not to vote for palestine and call for intenvention into syria, etc. So ashamed of this governments stupidity and becoming the USUK poodle

  23. of frack! there goes the fake "moyameehaa" again. thats it. i am NOT going to post any Comments on MinivanNews till you guys do that facebook connect or disqus thing.

    good bye!

  24. @Ibrahim Zubair

    "No non-Muslims allowed on your soil?"

    Say goodbye to your tourist dollars, iphones, wave motorbikes and evening coffees. 😛

  25. hey my brother moyameeha.
    wait a min.. don't go. I am actually doing this because somebody has been posting in the name of Sheikh Imran. Whoever that monster was he is just nasty trying character assassination on a respected sheikh. I just want to raise this issue. I have no beef with you or minivan. And its actually more fun if you can sometimes others names and play a little bit of hide and seek with aliases.. so no hurt feelings bro!

    And dear minivan editor: pls do not restrict comments to facebook logins because ppl like a little bit of anonymity when debating high voltage issues here in minivan. Most would not want their family and friends to read the nasty comments in minivan linked back to their facebook profile!

  26. Ahmed bin Addu bin Suvadheeb wrote on Tue, 27th Dec 2011 12:15 PM

    "Maasha Allah, let’s pray to Allah to send us bits of Semtex to blow up infidels"

    That is an admirable goal!


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