Comment: A national emergency

Minivan News on Sunday: a 13 year old girl is being abused by her own father.

Another child abuse story. Another day. Did I notice anyone raise an eyebrow?

The children of this country are being sexually assaulted and abused by people they know and trust. This is the only conclusion that can be drawn from the regular appearance of news articles and stories about the abuse of children in our communities.

This happens all the time. It is becoming quite ‘normal’ now. In fact, there is evidence to support this.

The Maldives Study on Women’s Health and Life Experiences published in 2007 by the then Ministry of Gender and Family found that “girl child sexual abuse was most often a repeated form of abuse rather than a once off occurrence”.

The study also found that “male family members (other than fathers and step-fathers) and… male acquaintances were identified as the most common perpetrators of girl child sexual abuse”.

Most damningly, the study found that “overall, one in three women aged 15-49 reported experiencing physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lives, including childhood sexual abuse”.

Another story, a different day.

Hundreds of liquor licenses allow the expatriate community to indulge themselves in the supposed pleasures of alcohol. A steadily increasing community of foreign workers have been indulging in such pleasures in our homes and communities for decades, quite legally.

The People’s Majlis passes a bill which attempts to control the distribution and consumption of alcohol. It would also stop the consumption of alcohol in our homes, which are rented by expatriates who have these liquor licenses.

Uproar ensues following the passage of the bill. Our airwaves are filled with news of protests and the constant reportage makes the whole issue akin to a national emergency. The horror of such a move by the government!

A group of allegedly devout men and women threaten to destabilise the country by toppling the government if the bill were to come into force. Communities are outraged and will not allow this to happen because alcohol is ‘haraam’.

Meanwhile, the lives of unknown numbers of vulnerable children continue being quietly destroyed behind closed doors, often by the very people who are responsible for their welfare and protection.

The community does not protest. It seems to be a non-issue for them. They do not condemn such behaviour or threaten to overthrow the government in fits of outrage. In fact, the community is silent.

The brutal treatment of children is clearly not a concern in this society. But the sale of alcohol to non-muslims sends our communities and media into uncontrollable convulsions.

What does this say about our society? What does this say about our priorities?

When the controlled sale of alcohol to non-muslims becomes a bigger issue than the destruction of our childrens’ futures due to sexual abuse and violence, is it not time to reflect on the madness and incoherence of the value system of this society?

Let us not look around for someone to blame. Let us consider and reflect upon our own failure to address this silent national emergency.

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30 thoughts on “Comment: A national emergency”

  1. Where the hell is the Islamic Ministry on this issue. Is this allowed in Islam. Dear Sheikhs please cite out few hadiths on this to acquit the father.

  2. These Islamists are cowards who dare not speak about any group that can retaliate against them, hence the silence on gang violence and drug dealing and street murderers.

    We all know that they pick on women for one and one reason only. Because they can! (forgive me for going Clinton on you).

  3. Child abuse has been an urgent and a largely unaddressed problem for well over a decade (that I know of). However, the government has taken the first steps towards addressing the problem with the creation of "help" lines, special protection units, and Gender department workers.

    However, this is also a national problem. Like drugs, it has come to directly affect more than a 3rd of our population and it is a problem that crosses all class barriers.

    I've listened to so many stories of sexual abuse and even outright rape in Maldives that I do believe it to be quite common place. Most of these young women were in wealthy homes, with loving and caring families. Young women are scared by these experiences, and continue their lives with these scars.

    I wish this was an easy situation to address. But it is not. People are scared of admitting they were abused, even to themselves. They'll try to excuse it, or classify it in some other way. Sexism is rampant throughout out community, and someone who is abused is seen as having deserved it.

    Attitudes and values need to change.I wish there was an easy way forward.

  4. What does this say about our society? What does this say about our priorities?

    The tolerant civil Maldivian society which was there around 20 years ago is not there anymore. Our values and our way of life has been hijacked by radical Wahabbi/Salafi ideology , that belongs to dark ages. For them women are inferior and children are a property of adults. These are the people who call for under age marriages and encourage having slaves (Jariya’s). When the Jariya news broke out the defender of “Islam” in the Maldives, Islamic Ministry even denied the story. The Islamic NGO’ Salaf and Islamic Ministry have done nothing to counter child abuse.

    Simply these bearded so called “scolars” do not know anything else other than spread hatred and fear.
    The priorities for Maldivians have changed. Instead of being economically active and working for the betterment of our country or helping each other, they spend whole day listen to these crazy “Seykus” who promise “Halaal wine” and virgin, underage girls for them in heaven, if they follow the codes propagated by Islamic Ministry, Seiky Fareed, Salaf and likes of them.

    Maldivians are destroying a peaceful culture inherited to us through a very tolerant and forward looking ancestors. Our Buddhist past surely has made a huge contribution to this. We respected equally to man and women. We did small deeds and men are not judged by how long his beard is or how often they peform prayer. Instead they were judged by how hard they work and how often they help neighbours, friends etc... They were also judged by honesty and selflessness.

    Today all these crazy Seykus and likes of them are pointing figures at others (moderates) and saying if you don’t conform to our way of “what is right” you will go to hell. They are so intolerant that they are giving death threats to people who have stakes in Holiday Inn (hotel connect to recent liquor permit saga).

    Maldives today has two extremes. On one side the religious fanatics and the other the drug addicts. People like me who doesn’t conform to drug addicts or Salafis, are marginalised. I feel that the Maldives I grew up will never return back. I remember in early 90’s hundred’s of good people gathering in Maafannu Hikithan protesting child abuse by expatriate workers. Then people are genuinely concerned about this and they do not want their children to abused. Then there is no Islamic Ministry or this Salafi ideology in the Maldives, and even addicts were hard to come by.
    It is sad that our society has lost everything that our ancestors left us.

    At this rate we will be having a country where so called “Islamic Scholars” rule our lives high on Heroin imported from Thaliban and abusing young girls.

    Note: Do not tell me that I will go to hell or my eyes will be blind because I don’t agree with Salafi/Wahabbi version of Islam.

  5. Yes, Kashiveli is indeed spot on. But it’s a pity the author doesn’t have the courage to get this article published in his/her name. The efficacy of the message is somewhat diluted because of the author’s decision to remain anonymous.

  6. There is a vast difference between the two thats obscurred by our biased crticism or we purposely ignore it.Child abuse is illegal and noeone has tried to legalise it.Alcohol cannot be said in the same words.That's the difference.........My point is not waste time weighing these two,let me go to the subject.We have lots of emergencies in our society and some of these needs to be addressed first.The first and foemost in my view is to strengthen law enforcement institutions,especially the judiciary and restore public trust in these place.I think noone doubts about the urgency of this.We have laws and regulations but we fail in the implementation stage.That's what we need to protest over and I'll lead the front line in such a protest. 🙂

  7. Anonymous or not - the message is quite clear. I understand that the hordes of dotus silently support child abuse (their second revenue bringer, after heroin and opiate sales). - And anyone speaking out against them is immediately branded anti-islamic, by the draconian constitution of Maldives.

    I believe that, muslim or not; those who exploit our children are undeserving of life. The public must find the strength to protest against these unfair, and ultimately unislamic laws that allow such criminals to get away with their crimes.

  8. Anyone on for a protest on "moderation"? We really need to work on getting back the peaceful beautiful life we had before...before the crime rate increased and drugs became a menace and legal child abuse became an every day thing. These extremists need to come down to earth until they die and go to heaven to be served wine by eternal lads. Why don't they go to Afghanistan and live in a cave? I am sure they can't coz they want cars and mobile phones and all that the kaafaru world makes and sells. Piss! Piss! We want freedom from the Wahhaabis and the Salafs and the like!

  9. Child abuse has everything to do with the moral standards of our society. When the President openly tries to bribe the opposition by announcing that he could turn a blind eye to past corruption, in return for support in Parliament on issues such as the recent vote of no-confidence, we have to expect other such vices to remain unchecked.

    I know that some of the readers will pick on my comment as politicizing an ages old social issue. But the fact is that until we see a decent moral standard in our leaders our society will not change.

    It is hypocritical for us to support and defend corrupt politicians and expect others to maintain high moral standards.

  10. Adhaalath party and salaf will come out and protest if your government publish a law which will allow these kind of abuses and gay rights..if that happens we wont be coming out with card boards..rather it will be……………………..

    Besides, have any of u ever been to any dharus given by a salaf most dharus sheikhs teach us to fear Allah and other islamic teachings...if anyone learns to fear Allah these kind of abuses wont happen in the society...

    The corruption the misguidance you see in the society is only due to the lack of Islam knowledge and the lack of fearing Allah.

    these are facts..if u dont believe me just go to this the crime statistics Saudi is at the end of the list while Columbia Mexico are on the top..

  11. moderate
    if u want to keep away from salafs and wahhabies why don't you go to America or Israel...this is a muslim country ...noway we will sell it to u secularists. and we will teach the Quran and Sunna till our last breath whether you like it or not..

    guess u can go to hell...there wont be any muslims there..

  12. To Jade all Dotus.
    I would rather like to go to Hell and have conversation with people like Newton, Gandhi, Steve Jobs so on... (What you call Kafir) other than going Heaven with you, Salafis/Wahabbis or Osama Bin Laden. I don't want your wine and virgins in your heaven.

  13. being moderate means its dhivehi islam, the islam we have been practising for ages before your father came and started preaching a new form of islam, so i am confused here, theres so many types of islam and so many version of hadiths and so many intepretations of these many version of hadiths and the many sects sub sects ranging from ultra orthodox wahabis and salafis to sufis and quranites and i am confused? and people like you followers of satan continue to radicalise and make more sects that becomes cults. islam is submission to ultimate creator and nothing else..and i am going to hell according to shut the f up..coz what happens to me is not your f problem. reilgius this religous that budget religios parliment religious me religious u religous radio religous tv relgious 24 hours religous..come on gimme a break..

  14. On the contrary jade, I'm sure there will be plenty of so-called Muslims in hell! Where do you think all those "virgins" for your "martyrs" come from?

    Well said, kashiveli! We, the Moderates, are with you in spirit.

    Naimbe, is it a matter of courage when you are putting the lives of your loved ones in danger by simply expressing your belief? You'll only know how it feels when it is you who's in the line of fire, my friend.

  15. @Jade , You sound outraged. Who gave you the job of a God's policeman to impose religion on us by violent means. Talking about hell yuo said there won't be muslims in hell, how about the father who f..d the daughter.

  16. @jade - Spot on. I think some are trying to just find another subject to pick some type of blame. True, most likely none of them has been to one of the lectures given by sheikhs on fearing Allah (swt).

    Child abuses are carried out by people who do not fear Allah or knows the punishment that awaits them for even for a simple crime such as back-biting for fun.

    Again on the one hand, they are so against Allah and his laws. They support democracy so much that they criticize Islam as frequently as they can. So why not ask why democracy has not solved this child abuse crimes? Where is all the western NGOs who are supposed to find solutions to these problems? Have they found a solution?

    If Islamic law was implemented in Maldives even for just a few days. Those few days would have the lowest crime rate in the history of Maldives simply because people would fear the punishment if they hurt someone or do anything against the law.

    Yet, instead of supporting Islamic law, they only ask where is the scholars? Why are they not coming out? Islam already has given the answer to social and domestic crimes. Islamic law is the only solution to these crimes. So until we live under that, it should be the secularist that go on the street asking their western model democratic government questions of why this is still happening? What are the solutions? How are they going to enforce the law? etc..

  17. Dear jade,

    can you please post the link to the crime statistics you mention sometimes? Especially the section showing the Saudi crimes (or no crimes)!
    If you are not able to do so, I will do it in your place.
    So, pls try your best. Thanks.

  18. @jade: Your argument and that of your beloved dharus is all set on "if you fear Allah you will obey him" You then use the same fear mongering culture to ensure that students fear their teachers, children fear their fathers, wives fear their husbands, preachers fear their imams and so on... The heaven that await you should be a fear laden place too since you did the right thing not because you wanted to. But only because you were too frightened of the consequences, in other words, you did all that under duress.

    I want to be doing the right thing because I "want" to do it. I want to obey Allah because I love him. I want o obey my father because I love him. I want to follow the rules of the religion because it will bring happiness to all. I want to "choose" to live in the right path.

    If you drank alcohol only because you would be forever tortured if you didn't, that action is not a sin. If you didn't drink alcohol only because you will burn forever if you did, is that act then a good deed?

  19. fatumath
    the link is there in that comment..anyway again here is the link..

  20. Jade.

    The problem with 'fearing Allah and obeying him' is that there are two many people who claim to be speaking for Allah.

    Ok so we have the Quran that we (being Muslims and not Salman Rushdie) believe to be incorruptible, but what about the interpretation of it. The Quran is in parables and refer to things that had happened a long time ago amongst people who are exposed to the same geo-sociological realities that human communities face. Do you seriously expect us to believe just (and only) your take on it.

    What I am trying to say is that there is no one Islam, there are Sunni's and Shia's and amongst them hundreds of minor sects. ALL claiming to be the real muslims.

    So when the Real Slim Shady is unable to stand up (at least unable to convince everyone else that he is the real thing) then the only way forward would be....tolerance...tada!

    So,we can never be quite sure if you and your Habbees are right or say any other group, similarly we can never be sure you are wrong. Either ways if we live and let live, each one of us chooses our own path and live with consequences of our own making.

    So please Jade's of the world, stop imposing your religious values on the rest of us and go back to doing whatever it is you were doing before.

  21. O mankind! A likeness has been made, so
    listen to it carefully. Those you call upon
    apart from Allah are not even able to
    create a single fly, even if they were to
    join together to do it. And if a fly steals
    something away from them, they cannot
    get it back from it. How feeble are both
    the seeker and the sought! They do not
    measure Allah with His true measure.
    Allah is All-Strong, Almighty.
    (Surat al-Hajj: 73-74)

    is Steve Jobs and Newton able to create a fly???

  22. hell raiser
    why do you talk about gandhi or one knows their about someone mantioned in Quran that he will surely be in hell fire like pharaoh the tyrant..if u want to be with him its your choice..but i want to be with the best of the humanity prophet Mohamed (pbuh)..

  23. Totally agree with HassanK. Fear Fear Fear! Is that all the so called Islamic Sheiks has to offer?

    Where is ones own *thinking* in deciding Right and Wrong! Is it even sensible to decide not to commit child abuse/violence because of fear to Almighty and the punishment in hell ONLY but not because it is simply morally wrong as a humanbeing to inflict such an act of cruelty and pain to another humanbeing? Especially a young, powerless, innocent child?

    Tell you what.. I dont need the fear mongering preaching of ANY religion in knowing this.

    For the so called "Islamists" - doesn't the Quran instruct to use your god given wits before swallowing any bullcrap? sheeesh what a bunch of loonies!

  24. @samba a fly is a simple organism, humans have already made fly robots capable of flight in 2008, you are so outdated check this article

    and as whether steve jobs and newton is concerned work is already underway at robotics research including carbon based life forms and other get updated on the issue it will help to understand the limits of human capabilty as well as knowledge

  25. @jade ,Newton,Einshtein and many other intellectuals Of course they cannot create organic fly but they never say bullshit about virgin in paradise and river of vine and create terrorist attack In the Name of Allah.All true scientist is investigating and discovering a Nature laws transformation and events.and it is more correct way to understand God presence that listening story about girls and vine in paradise from bearded wahhabit maniacs who torturing childrens and telling idiotic story about hell and heaven.

  26. Fear fear fear - that's all they can teach. Bla bla bla... let's live in fear and don't think ourselves... It's a shame that these beardos don't go out on the streets and protest against child abusers - because they support it!

  27. If one does a Google search on “how to be smart”, it yields 254,000,000 results in 0.34 seconds, with thousands of tips on how to exercise smart choices in every aspect of life—from genomes to cars to clothes to kids to votes to money to FTP servers.

    If one runs the same search on “how to be sincere”, the top links the search engine comes up with, are software consultants and watches that go by the brand name Sincere, and a definition of the word in Merriam Webster’s online dictionary.

    It’s a clear sign of the times – the world values smart people more than sincere ones. Well-dressed, well-heeled, well-spoken individuals score more brownie points socially, are more popular and more likely to be successful in whatever they set out to do—regardless of what they may be like within.

  28. yea Marina
    If you don't fear the Lord of the heavens and earth who gives you life and death then who else will you fear..

    If you don't fear the hell fire which is 70 times more powerful than which you see in the world then what else will you fear..

    If we fear the hell fire and hope for mercy of Allah.. InshaAllah the socity will be much better.


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