President Mohamed Waheed has pledged to continue working with the religious conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) and has said he remains unconcerned about radicalisation in the Maldives.
Following a two day official visit to Sri Lanka, Waheed spoke to the AFP about his Adhaalath coalition partners and addressed concerns about rising religious fundamentalism in the Maldives.
Waheed believes excluding Adhaalath from mainstream Maldivian politics risked marginalising the party, which would have a “negative long-term effect”.
“We believe we can work with them (Adhaalath), we believe we must work them, because not working with them would be to marginalise them,” Waheed told the AFP.
“Rejecting them would have a more negative long term effect. Inclusion is better than exclusion. It is better to take them on board. Better to work with them,” he added.
Waheed described some AP members as having “extreme views”, however he believes most have “moderate Islamic beliefs”.
“I don’t worry too much about this [radicalisation]. There will always be a few extremists everywhere, even in Europe and the America,” said Waheed.
No attacks have been blamed on Islamic extremists recently, according to Waheed, but he noted that the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has accused extremists of destroying the entire collection of 12th century Buddhist artifacts at the National Museum in Male’ during the political unrest last February.
Waheed pledged that despite pressure from his coalition partners to adopt stricter Sharia Law punishments, the Maldives would remain a bastion of tolerance.
Meanwhile, recent local media reports have suggested the AP is considering backing out of Waheed’s coalition due to a lack of campaign activities, however the party has yet to overtly raise concerns over the manner in which President Waheed is campaigning ahead of September’s presidential election.
In addition to the AP, Waheed’s coalition consists of his Gaumee Ithihaad Party (GIP), the government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), and the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP).
Both Adhalaath and GIP do not presently have any elected members in parliament.
The religious conservative party was previously a coalition partner in the government of former President Mohamed Nasheed, later leaving the government citing concerns at what it alleged were the irreligious practices of the administration.
This led the AP in December 2011 to join then fellow opposition parties – now members of Waheed’s unity government – and a number of NGOs to gather in Male’ with thousands of people to “defend Islam”.
During the same day, Nasheed’s MDP held their own rally held at the Artificial Beach area in Male’ claiming his government would continue to practice a “tolerant form” of Islam, reminding listeners that Islam in the Maldives has traditionally been tolerant.
“We can’t achieve development by going backwards to the Stone Age or being ignorant,” Nasheed said at the time.
Shortly after coming to power in February 2012, flanked by members of the new government’s coalition, President Waheed gave a speech calling on supporters to “Be courageous; today you are all mujaheddin”.
In December 2012, shortly after the protests led by Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla under the self-titled ‘national movement’ against GMR concluded, the government of President Waheed abruptly terminated the agreement and gave GMR a seven day ultimatum to leave the country.
Subsequently, Imran has been accused of attempting to influence the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC)’s investigation into alleged corruption in the previous government’s aborted airport privatisation deal, a commission member alleged to local media outlet CNM this June.
The ACC’s findings, which were published in June, concluded that there was no corruption in the airport privatisation deal, days prior to GMR claiming US$1.4 billion in compensation for “wrongful termination” of its 25 year concession agreement.
Meanwhile, Chair of Adhaalath Party’s Scholars Council, Sheikh Ilyas Hussain was recently summoned to Parliament’s Penal Code Committee after alleging he had made misleading comments about provisions of Penal Code bill during a religious sermon.
According to local media, on March 22 Sheikh Ilyas held a religious sermon dubbed the ‘Purpose of Islamic Sharia’ at the Furuqan Mosque after Isha Prayers, where he swore to God that the new Penal Code was “made to destroy the religion of Islam”.
In February 2013, the Adhaalath Party declared that the 15 year-old rape victim who was recently sentenced to 100 lashes and eight months of house arrest “deserves the punishment”, as this is the penalty for fornication under Islamic Sharia. While, in 2011, the AP issued a statement calling on the state to implement Islamic Sharia and execute mothers who abort their children.
In September 2012, the Islamic Minister, the party’s senior member Sheikh Shaheem Ali Saeed, sent a circular to all government institutions banning the holding of any mixed gender dance events.
In April 2012, the Adhaalath Party called on the Education Ministry to cancel the inter-school singing competition, claiming that music and singing is ‘haram’ [prohibited in Islam].
Despite these past objections, the AP and Waheed’s coalition held multiple campaign events – including a music show and barbecue – targeting youth in June 2013, to launch the first of its pledges and policies.
Adhaalath Party representative Hussain Wafeer said the party’s involvement was only with the policy launch, and distanced the party from other events.
Asked about the party’s official stand on the music show events being carried out under the name of the coalition they were part of, Wafeer said he would confer with party leaders as to their stand on the matter. Minivan News was later unable to contact him.
Rising religious fundamentalism is negatively impacting women in Maldives, a study published this week, the “Maldives Operational Review for the ICPD Beyond 2014”, conducted under the supervision of the Department of National Planning (DNP) in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) determined.
“Even though, the Maldivian Constitution guarantees equal rights and freedom for all Maldivians without any discrimination, prevailing traditions and socio-cultural norms have limited women’s participation in the workforce and in the community,” the study stated.
“The increasing level of religious fundamentalism and conservative thinking has worsened the situation,” it added. “The sudden growth of religious fundamentalism and conservative thinking is an emerging challenge, particularly for women and young girls.”
“There has been an increase towards certain trends such as preference for home schooling and refusing vaccination and other medical services for women based on religious beliefs.”
Meanwhile, religious conservatism and extremist violence have been increasing in the Maldives over the past decade, while incidents of Maldivians joining overseas jihadist groups are becoming more common, according to a report published in the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) Sentinel, a publication based out of the West Point military academy in the US.
“The country has already suffered one terrorist attack targeting foreign tourists, and a number of Maldivians have traveled to Pakistan’s tribal areas to receive jihadist training. Moreover, evidence exists that jihadists tried to form a terrorist group in the country in 2007-2008,” the report states.
“This has coincided with a number of violent attacks on liberal activists and other citizens who have expressed outspoken support for moderate religious practices,” the report notes.
If current trends continue “extremist incidents may rise, with violence targeted against the country’s more liberal citizens,” it added.
Asked to clarify the President’s remarks on radicalisation, GIP Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza told Minivan News yesterday (July 9) he was “not aware of this” and “did not have any comment” on the matter.
The Adhaalath Party was not responding to calls at time of press.
8 thoughts on “Better to work with Adhaalath Party than risk “negative long-term effects”: President Waheed”
Damn right! They are leeches out for blood and war.
Best advice, keep your enemies close, real close.
The destruction of irreplaceable historical material from the National Museum was most definitely done by extremists, regardless of whether they are members of Adhaalath or not. This is not just an accusation from MDP. All sensible Maldivians know this.
This act is a direct copy cat act based on the Wahhabi rulers of Saudi Arabia, who do tasteless and barbaric acts such as the destruction of Caliph Abu Bakr's house and build a Hilton Hotel on top of it! All because someone might be tempted to start on a path of idolatry!
The irony is that Saudis (those in power and with money, and not the ordinary Saudi folk) have become worshippers of money and power! Is there a worse form of idolatry? What are we copying such mindless attitudes?
Egyptians do not burn or destroy their Pyramids or the many thousands of artifacts they've inherited from the past. Are they not Muslims too?
Even the Holy Quran refers to historic artifacts and there's no order for Muslims to destroy them. In fact, it's encouraged to preserve them, if only as a sign for those who come after us.
"This day shall We save thee in the body, that thou mayest be a sign to those who come after thee! but verily, many among mankind are heedless of Our Signs!" - Holy Quran, 10:90, translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali.
Of course he's not worried. All his children are in the free world. It is we commoners who have to worry about our children getting gang-raped by the bearded pigs (for feesabeelilah), then accused of ziney, and punished.
Working with mullahs to increase their influence only discredits other forms of Islam and faiths. This will not turn Dhivehistan into a bastion of tolerance - the opposite in fact, it will result in an oppressive fascist theocracy. Mullahs should not have a place in politics period - that is the only way you can encourage diversity.
And Adhaalath has moderates? LOL. Do you mean BonAqua Shaheem, the Chief Mullah? He has said that: DNA cannot be evidence in an Islamic court, schoolgirls should be veiled, Freemasons are brainwashing Dhivehistanis, the world should be ruled by a Global Islamic Caliphate and that destroying idols is not a sin. Yes, we all know what "moderate" means - an Islamist terrorist wolf in sheep's clothing.
@Homosexual on Tue, 9th Jul 2013 7:12 PM
"the world should be ruled by a Global Islamic Caliphate ..."
Interestingly, this is one of those grand visions for a lot of those so-called "extremists". I wonder what they really know about a Global Islamic Caliphate.
There never was a global, peaceful, just, democratic and free Caliphate except for the very short one headed by Caliph Abu Bakr. The Islamic world at that time was rather small and mostly confined to Arabia. The three Caliphs that followed Abu Bakr were all murdered! Of course, after Ali Ibn Abu Talib, it all went haywire, and mayhem ensued, which continues to this very day (just take a look at Syria).
Muawiyah Ibn Abu Sufyan, who fought wars with Caliph Ali Ibn Abu Talib took over the Caliphate when Ali was murdered. Ali had this to say about Muawiyah:
"By Allah, Muawiyah is not more cunning than I am, but he deceives and commits evil deeds."
Of course, Muawiyah formed the first hereditary rule under Islam for other dictators and tyrants to copy. The rest is the bloody history of Islam to this day.
Given that history, I wonder why anyone thinks, that there can ever be a Global Islamic Caliphate, ever again. The chances of that happening are more remote than the possibility of humans living on Mars in the next century.
Adhaalath, adhaalath, adhaalath...
the laadheenee folks surely gets some kicks' out of repeating this mantra.
for those who do not know, adhaalath represents less than 10% of registered party folks. Adhaalath is consisted of average Maldivians who are generally more honest and conservative than the die-hard atheist mob party of MDP and the royalists from PPM.
Are you claiming that Waheed is laadheenee? 😛
"human being", your party is instrumental in blocking muslims from carrying out the pilgrimage. Therefore, the best possible method to deal with them, is to exterminate them.
Last, but not least, the adhaalath paateys are thieves who survive by stealing the identities of Maldivians, and desecrating the dead.
@ABABS: Your historical information is insightful, thanks for it.
I might add that acording to Hadith and Seerah, division within the Ummah even existed within the time of the Prophet, towards the end of Prophet's life particularly. There are a few Hadith which recount such stories.
For example, the Ansar, that is the helpers - or those from Yathrib (named Madina by the Prophet SAW) as opposed to the Muhajirun (Migrants) were hurt that their swords were dripping with the blood of Qureysh and yet the largest portion of the Ghusl (war booty)was given to the Qureysh. Prophet placated the Ansar by stating that the Ansar had the greatest reasure, Himself living with them. He also said that those weak in Faith, new to Islam needed most gifts to teach them about the Forgiving, Merciful nature of Islam. However, this "placating" obviously failed to work, as, for example, later on, the Qureysh often quoted a so called Prophetic Hadith that the leader - the Caliph - should allways be a Qureyshi, which, to me, implies inter tribal conflict which LASTED.
Another Hadith tells of another tribal leader demanding Justice from the Prophet, disgruntled by the distribution of the Zakat and the Ghusl. he was possibly a representative of the Kharwaj (the rebels who lead a Khuruj - a revolt) whom Abu Bakr fought against, demanding that they paid the Zakat for example.
Many Hadith, of varying levels of authenticity, recount stories of tension between the four Caliph's from the beginning.
Now, I do not wish to say much more as a few will find it offensive. But what I have to say, you can find out for yourself. Find it out by doing some research into why and HOW Muawiyah and Marwan became powerful, which one of the four Caliph's they were related to. Do some research into different theories as to who killed Ali Ibn Abu Talib, and why, and what his stance was initially against the Karwaj, and why he changed. Do some research into the beginning of the Ibadi movement.
The point is, the whole thing went haywire WAY before the death of Ali Ibn Abu Talib.
It was only through perpetual diversion - created through the task of Islamicising the world, that the Caliphate got away with so much oppression. There were, of course, schisms, rebellions early on (Shiah, Ibadi, Kariji movements.) Later schisms of a lot more depth emerged. But for the majority, early on, the continual focus on an external enemy diverted attention away from the oppressive nature of the Caliphate.
So much more to say about this, but, I think I would like to draw the following points out.
The first point is, history teaches how dangerous, how socially destructive and self destructive it is to use Islam as a political weapon. We are all only human beings, and power corrupts all, no matter how noble the ideals.
The best way to achieve the Grand objectives of Islam (Justice, Mercy, Equality, the revival of the Dignity of the Slave, The poor, the Oppressed, the Orphan) is through a constitutional liberal democracy which balances the will of the majority who are oppressed WITHOUT democracy with the need for freedom of any minorities. Also, a constitution which allows freedom of religion so as to not allow the religion to become used by those seeking power, and therefore, degraded, is also paramount for upholding the objectives of Islam.
You see, the dream of the fundamentalists is utopian. It feeds on the desparate nature of the oppressed for power they have been brutally starved of by tyrants. It also feeds on the narcisisstic will to power of the would be demagogues also.
To realize a true state of Islam, in this modern Maldives, a liberal democracy is what is needed. The anti-democratic and anti liberal parts of the Sahih Ahadith MUST be understood in the context of a violent, tribal WORLD.
To apply these parts in this day and age is against the objective, the ESSENCE of Islam.
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