Comment: Extremism affecting the daily lives of every Maldivian

This article originally appeared on DhivehiSitee. Republished with permission.

Islamic extremism is very real in the Maldives. It affects the daily lives of every Maldivian, and is gaining in scope, intensity and violence every day with the pseudo-democratic government that came to power on 7 February.

This is not to say that Islamic extremism did not exist during the three short years in which the Maldives was a democracy. On the contrary, it was during democratic rule that extremism gained its strongest foothold in Maldivian society.  It is a myth that democracy is an antidote to extremism, as is widely proposed in much of the existing anti-radicalisation literature. Democracy, with its many freedoms, provides a much more conducive environment for radicalisation than does an authoritarian regime, as has been seen in the Maldives.

When Islamic extremism began to be imported into the Maldives in the late 1990s with the advent of the so-called international ‘religious terrorism’; and when the export of extremist ideologies intensified globally with the War on Terror, the Maldives was under the dictatorial regime of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Although in recent times Gayoom has aligned himself with the ideologies of the hardline Islamist Adhaalath Party, during his rule, he presented himself as a moderate Muslim who believed in freedom of religion and advocated religious pluralism in the Maldives.

What he did not tolerate was extremist ideologies spread in the name of Islam. His methods of suppressing such beliefs – imprisonment and torture – cannot be condoned, nor are they compatible with the values of democracy. It cannot be denied, however, that they held Islamic extremism in check in the Maldives for over a decade.

The transition to democracy in November 2008 opened the door for Maldivian Islamists to push their agenda forward.

A confluence of events had helped them consolidate support even under Gayoom’s repressive policies: the 2004 tsunami which literally put the fear of God into many a Maldivian living on remote islands, and which the Islamists exploited as a means of spreading their ideology by depicting it as punishment from God for man’s ungodliness; and the War on Terror, which was used by Islamist states and movements to intensify their efforts to fund and spread their ideology to Muslim populations across the world.

Despite a tourism industry worth billions of dollars, three decades of authoritarian rule in the Maldives left behind a population that was mostly on the poverty line, had extremely low levels of education, and contained tens of thousands of disaffected youth with few prospects for social mobility or economic success. All are factors that have been shown to facilitate the spread of extremist ideologies.

Added to this was the supposedly inescapable need for the newly democratic government to form a political alliance with the Islamists, and a democratic president who believed in freedom of expression in absolutist terms, and who failed to fully appreciate that such freedoms are not always exercised with responsibility by those who enjoy them.

While during the War on Terror most democratic governments everywhere sought to find a balance between freedom of expression and the need to curb incitement to violence in the name of religion, under Mohamed Nasheed’s government Maldivian extremists enjoyed absolute freedom of expression.

Bookshops came to be laden with publications that spread their teachings; their message was constantly transmitted in mosques, on air, and on the Internet. The success of their efforts are now there for all to see.

Of course, under Nasheed’s government it was not just the extremists who had the freedom to express their views. Those who disagreed with their ideology, too, enjoyed the same freedom. This was, in fact, Nasheed’s strategy and hope: that the civil society would counter extremism without requiring any intervention from the government.

It was a huge mistake. The civil society was not strong enough to take on the Islamists, especially in the face of the institutional support that the Islamists enjoyed under the MDP (Maldivian Democratic Party) government with its politically expedient alliance with the Islamist Adhaalath Party. Nasheed also underestimated the power of the label of ‘un-Islamic’ or anti-Islam as a tool for suppressing dissent.

The fight against extremists was thus left to individuals who worked alone or in very small groups. Their discourse was easily slapped down and condemned by the extremists using the ‘anti-Islam/un-Islamic/heretic’ label. As it turned out, this label was also the most powerful tool used against Nasheed himself to help facilitate the downfall of the MDP government, demonstrating just how much power such a designation wields in a rapidly radicalising society.

Despite the knowledge that Nasheed was a firm believer in freedom of expression, few dared to take on the extremists openly then, or now. When they did, the MDP government utterly failed to support them. The lack of any assistance or support for Mohamed Nazim, who in May 2010 dared to publicly declare his disbelief in Islam, and of Ismail Mohamed Didi in July 2010 who felt persecuted for his lack of belief and committed suicide at the age of 25, brought into sharp relief the absence of any serious commitment by the MDP government to fighting extremism.

Instead of tackling the oppression that the Islamists were imposing on Maldivians, the MDP – beleaguered by continuous authoritarian attempts at a reversal – often chose to ignore the problem, or worse, sided with the Islamists.

With the regime change of 7 February, the problem has grown acutely worse. Not only did the new caretaker President Dr Waheed enthusiastically demonstrate a previously unknown affinity with Islamists, his Coalition Government has, from the beginning, continued to deny extremism even exists in the country.

This deliberate denial, coupled with the appointment of Islamists to top positions in government and society, has resulted in the opportunity for extremism to grow unchecked. It now has deep roots within all state institutions including the executive, the parliament, the judiciary and most worryingly, within the security forces.

Recent events of extraordinary violence and their aftermath have gone a long way in demonstrating the truth of this claim.

The attempted murder of Hilath Rasheed

Hilath Rasheed is the only openly gay human rights activist in the Maldives. He, along with fellow blogger and writer Yameen Rasheed, were among the very few Maldivians who dared to voice their anti-extremist opinions publicly. Most bloggers and other writers used pseudonyms. Such caution was not without reason. Death threats against such writers were common.

On 4 June 2012 extremists carried out their threats and attempted to murder Hilath. I met Hilath a few weeks after the attack. There was a scar about 10 inches long  running across his throat horizontally. His voice was only just coming back, and his whole being appeared shaken.

Hilath told me that the last words he heard from the man who cut his throat were:

This is a present from Shaheem, Mutthalib and Imran.

The three men referred to are: Sheikh Shaheem Ali Saeed, the current Minister of Islamic Affairs; Ibrahim Muththalib, an MP who is the most ardent advocate of the death penalty in Parliament; and Imran Abdullah, president of the Adhaalath Party and one of the main actors in the Islamists’ contribution to the change of government on 7 February.

Hilath also made the allegations openly on his blog (banned in the Maldives since November 2011), and they were also reported in Minivan News, although the latter stopped short of identifying the politicians by name.

There has been no official response bar an attempt to mislead the international community by portraying Hilath as a violent criminal caught up in gang violence.

While it is a fact, related by Hilath, that the man who cut his throat named the said politicians, it is quite possible the attacker may have been lying about their involvement. It is also possible that the attackers (there were three altogether) decided to act on their own, motivated not by direct orders but by the ideologies perpetrated by the named politicians.

In the absence of a proper investigation by the Maldives Police Services (MPS), it is hard to know for sure.

In the four months since the attack, and despite existing evidence such as CCTV footage of the incident, the MPS has made no progress whatsoever in their investigations. Without police protection and fearing, instead, persecution by them, Hilath now lives in self-imposed exile. And the MPS has, for all intents and purposes, abandoned the investigation.

This failure by the Maldives Police Services to investigate the attempted murder of Hilath is not simply the incompetency one can expect from a heavily politicised police force. It also implies the existence of dangerous connections between law enforcement leaders and Islamists that go to the very heart of the increasing extremism in the country.

This is a proposition I make on the basis not of Hilath’s case alone – a similar failure has plagued the MPS in the most recent attack associated with Islamists: the murder of MP Dr Afrasheem Ali.

The murder of Dr Afrasheem

Dr Afrasheem Ali was among the increasing number of politicians in the Maldives who also act as religious scholars and pundits, blurring further the already thin line between politics and religion. He was a staunch Gayoom loyalist, an MP for Gayoom’s Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) who played a key role in the successful authoritarian attempts to hijack judicial independence in the Maldives.

Although some of Dr Afrasheem’s views on women and their role in society was far from liberal, he is reported to have spoken against forcing women to cover-up and also said that a believing Muslim cannot be declared an unbeliever simply for their failure to grow a beard or display other such ‘religious’ trappings – apparently daring statements for a religious scholar and what passes as ‘moderate’ (or ‘un-Islamic’) in the Maldives these days.

Dr Afrasheem’s killing was no random act of violence. It was a targeted assassination, carried out without mercy within the premises of his own home. He had been the victim of previous attacks, targeted for his beliefs that contradicted those of extremists. In conservative religious circles he was often referred to as Dr Iblis (Dr Satan).

The last major activity he participated in before his death was to appear on television, reportedly at his own behest, to “ask for forgiveness from citizens if he had created a misconception in their minds due to his inability to express himself in the right manner.”  The Islamic Ministry has denied reports that it pressured Dr Afrasheem into making the apology. And, Islamic Minister Shaheem has stated that, contrary to reports, there had been no disagreement between them.

And, just as with the attempted murder of Hilath, the government’s immediate response was to mislead the international media. This time it implicated Nasheed, with the President’s Office spokesperson sending an SMS to international news agencies reading:

Nasheed’s strongest critic Dr Afrasheem has been brutally murdered.

And again, just like with Hilath’s attempted murder, the investigation of Dr Afrasheem’s death appears to be going nowhere.

Not only has there been zero progress, the MPS has also been busy making political use of the murder—a trend which started with the murder of a policeman on 22 July 2012.

So far, a total of six people have been arrested in connection with Dr Afrasheem’s murder. Two weeks later, no charges have been brought against any of them, lending much credence to the allegation by MDP and other democrats that some of the arrests are intended more as a means of persecuting MDP/democracy activists rather than solving a murder. One of them, a young MDP activist, Mariyam Naifa, was released without charge, explanation or apology – but with many conditions – just yesterday, after 15 days in jail.

The MPS is not the only institution where murder is regarded as a political opportunity. Within days of Dr Afrasheem’s death, the Islamist-led push for the death penalty has received new vigor in parliament while the government has moved rapidly to revoke licenses for twenty-four hours shops and cafes citing ‘national security’.

The fact of the matter is that extremist ideologies have taken root within the national security apparatus as much as it has in political institutions. This is evident from the role that religion played in motivating the police and army personnel who refused to obey the ‘heretic’ Nasheed’s orders on 7 February.

It appears that crimes committed in the name of Islam are being pushed to the side by law enforcement personnel who are more interested in turning such atrocities into political battlegrounds, and/or see them as religious duties that do not deserve punishment.

If this continues to be the case, there is little doubt that the Maldivian people stand to suffer even more serious civil and political repression in the not too distant future as the Islamists continue to turn their extremist ideologies into government policy.

Is there a solution?

Islamism in the Maldives is a fact. It may not be the sort that blows people up and turn buildings into ash, but it is rapidly changing the Maldivian society into one of religious intolerance, xenophobia, and a place of violent punishments for those who refuse to follow its ideologies.

If extremism and its associated hatred and violence are to be stopped, or at least held in check, the MDP must start standing up to the politicians and ‘religious scholars’ who propagate such views, and it must stop giving into their demands for the sake of political expediency.

Nasheed has promised that MDP would refrain in the future from forming political alliances that require it to sacrifice its ideals. If he keeps his promise, this is indeed good news. Despite the corruption manifest among many members of its upper echelons, MDP is the only political party in the Maldives right now that has shown a strong commitment to reinstating democratic governance in the Maldives. And, Nasheed remains a beacon of hope for most Maldivian democrats who firmly believe in his commitment to democratic governance despite past mistakes.

The MDP is also the only such body in the country with the clout to push for anti-radicalisation measures without losing the support of a majority of its members. Many of MDP’s supporters are secularists and/or those committed to religious tolerance – values of democracy that are said to be universal.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee stated categorically in July 2012 that there should be no reason for the Maldives to cling on to its current reservation on Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Under the circumstances, it makes no sense for MDP officials to back down when confronted with militant beliefs as it has done in the past.

Even if the MDP does find the courage to stand up against extremism, however, the Maldives needs the support of the international community in fighting the phenomenon. It failed miserably in coming to the aid of the Maldivian democracy in its hours of need, choosing instead to support the pseudo-democratic government of Dr Waheed. But, it cannot afford to be so blasé about the growing extremism in the Maldives.  A failure to properly understand the current Maldivian malaise poses a danger not just to the people of the Maldives, but to its neighbours and the world at large.

Even the most realist of international actors should, therefore, pay close attention to the activities of Maldivian Islamists and refuse to take the new government’s word that ‘there is no extremism in the Maldives’ like it accepted the government’s declaration that ‘there was no coup on 7 February.’

Azra Naseem holds a doctorate in International Relations.

All comment pieces are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write an opinion piece, please send proposals to [email protected]


42 thoughts on “Comment: Extremism affecting the daily lives of every Maldivian”

  1. Many thanks to Azra for publishing a very informative article. It quite nicely, but frighteningly covers the state of Islamic extremism in the Maldives.

    I have observed, with great horror, how the United States have been quite deliberately turning a blind eye to events in the Maldives. It's ambassador has met Waheed and his allies several times, since the toppling of the democratic government.

    Western countries, particularly the United States has always maintained their foreign policies, not with a view to upholding the values they care about, but more in line with economic and geo-political needs.

    The United States is fully aware of the radicalisation that is going on and the threat that poses to democracy. However, it appears that it has done its calculations and probably concluded that they can "contain" this small country, and the most expedient way for them to maintain their geo-political influence was to side with the present regime.

    Just as Newton's third law predicts, the engagement of the United States with the Maldives has caught the attention of the Chinese. Gift bearing Chinese are in the Maldives at this very moment, signing various agreements and handing out wads of cash.

    There is much to worry about.

  2. When a person openly declares his unnatural sexual orientation and goes meddling with prevailing religious practices, who is the extremist? The perverts who mindlessly follow their unscientific whims and dogmas or followers of the non-extremist religion Islam.

    Your ignorance of Islam does not make the religion any less prestine. Just read a bit. What was the EU civilization built. Dark ages for whom? Whose culture is superior. Whose values more natural? Why is the world blinded by arrogance? Because they choose to - deserve nothing less than eternal misery.

  3. another long boring islamophobic rant by another dull, soul-less, brain dead secular zombie! what more is there to say? What is wrong with islam? why cannot these zombies let islam be? we muslims do not have the right to love our religion? somehow we all shall be secular and dull like the zombies? Grrrrrr!

  4. Minivan and Azra, Many thanks to your article here for proving our Prophets(PBUH) words as the truth and only the truth.

    Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah Most High be upon him) prophesied of the Last Age that:

    • “People would follow a way of life other than mine, and give guidance other than mine”…“I fear for my people only the leaders who lead men astray”…“Before the Last Hour there will be great liars, so beware of them”…“When the most wicked member of a tribe becomes its ruler, and the most worthless member of a community becomes its leader, and a man is respected through fear of the evil he may do, and leadership is given to people who are unworthy of it, expect the Last Hour”.

    All of these warnings have already been dramatically and ominously fulfilled. Around the world today, with but few exceptions,people, including Muslims, now have the worst leaders. This ominous sign of the Last Day has come to pass, yet there are so many who do not, or cannot see, and they blindly rush as dumb cattle to endorse or to follow such leaders for personal gain, or fear, or due to sheer ignorance;


    • “Women would dress like men”, and we already see them today with trousers, jacket and, perhaps, a tie; and “women would be dressed and yet be naked”, and this prophecy, also, is now fulfilled. When women parade in public “dressed, yet naked”, as they do today, and when Muslims cannot prevent such, they should then seek to flee from such mainstream society rather than to remain a part of it until the women are fully naked and “donkey-like” sexual intercourse is on public display (on cable tv and elsewhere). If they foolishly choose to remain a part of such corrupt and decadent society then they or their children would eventually be ruined by such a society.(LIKE THE VEILS OF MALDIVIANS AND THE CLOTHES DHIVEHI ACTORS WEAR BUT WHAT TO DO, WE DON'T HAVE ANY OTHER PLACE TO GO, sigh)

    • “Men would dress like women”, and already this sign also has come to pass. Almost no one can tell that ‘she’, the so-called ‘crossdresser’, is really a man;(LIKE HANI AND THE BUNCH)

    • Homosexuality (and lesbianism) would become commonplace, and that is now happening before our very eyes. Social acceptance and legal protection for this abominable sexual perversion is gaining ground. Indeed those who hold fast to the divine prohibition of such sexual perversion are now demonized as a people who suffer from a disease called ‘homophobia’;(LIKE ADVOCATED HERE BY AZRA AND NASHEED, WE THE MUSLIMS, ARE THE RETARDS AND DERANGED FOR NOT ACCEPTING THESE INSOLENT FOOLS BUT WHAT TO DO IF WE STAND AGAINST THEM THEN WE BECOME EXTREMISTS, sigh)
    (Exerpt from imran, N hosein)

    thanks Azra, my faith has grown EVER so much more after i read this and i would definitely keep my children away from your kind of homosexuality,lairs for leaders advocating PHD HOLDERS, educators or whatever!!!!

    now the fools will bash me up, heheeheee

  5. When we say 'extremism', we are referring to wahhabism aren't we? Well I do, and for good reason too. It's one of the worst forms of Islam which many believe to be the 'true' version. Poverty and lack of education makes this version of Islam very appealing, and therefore a large number of Maldivians are turning towards it. The main concern for the government should be whether or not the country is turning into another Pakistan, where anyone speaking against the wahhabi lot are dealt with by bombs in public places. Or if you're a female child, you could be shot in the head too. I have heard many wahhabi Maldivians say that she deserved it, and really wonder if people like Shaheem or Imran agree with what happened to her as well.

  6. Religion does not have credibility in the best. Islam is bringing that lost credibility to the western intelligentsia- the non- extremist,moderate religion limited to Quran and Sunna nor other versions.

  7. i can remember those days when the propaganda started, the cult didn't like their preaching to be called "lecture" instead they chose "dharus" to give a more spiritual touch. n then calling "haabee" "wahaabee" was the most gravest the moderates chose to use the world "extremists" n its back to square one. they dont like it either.

  8. i am no prophet or massenger but i can predict that maldives is doomed to sink with these habees.but in a turn of event believe that those who are brained washed,will realise that these fake satanic preachers are power hungry morons and they dont practice what they preach and hadhith n sunna could be twisted into anythin at all. i really feel sorry that these idiots are gona wake up on day of judgment and realize tha they have blindly followed Shahee Al bukaree and rest of the lairs. who degraded the prophet.

  9. Bismillah
    Humans need a better way of life than democracy as it can change over time and the people in power or people with "doctorates" (yeah that's you) change public opinion to suit themselves or to be slaves of the mind to their higher ups.

    If you believe in heaven and if you believe in hell work hard for the hereafter.


    Surah al bagarah verse 23 to 24

    And if ye are in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto Our slave (Muhammad), then produce a surah of the like thereof, and call your witness beside Allah if ye are truthful. (23) And if ye do it not - and ye can never do it - then guard yourselves against the Fire prepared for disbelievers, whose fuel is of men and stones. (24)

    No doctorate will help in this. Wake up

  10. @twilight on Sat, 20th Oct 2012 9:15 PM

    "Religion does not have credibility in the best. Islam is bringing that lost credibility to the western intelligentsia..."

    Perhaps, you'll think more deeply about what you're saying. Islam is no better, nor worse than any of the other thousands of MAN made religions. Yes, these are pure fabrications of the human mind. Just take a look at the millions twirling around a stone temple in Mecca right now. Do you think a superior creator would have a need for his creatures to encircle a stone temple and perform pagan rituals? Stoning the devil (who is none other than our own selves)? C'mon, use your brain.

    Earlier you questioned the dark ages of the West and whose civilisation was more enlightened. I think you were referring to the golden age of Islam and I wonder how much you know of it. Certainly, that age did not flourish due to Fatwas, religious dogma, subservience of women, or any of the other bull shit. Islam and its followers rose due to their open mindedness, scientific research and knowledge gathering, respect for ALL human beings regardless of colour, nationality or religion and a sense of sharing amongst all regardless of social rank.

    Is there a single Islamic state or community that can claim to the latter in modern times? I certainly cannot find any, and there hasn't been any for the last 800 or so years when the decline of Islam began.

    Abandoning religious dogma and searching for the common thread that binds ALL human beings, is the best way forward. After all, the basic principles laid down by ALL religions are exactly the same and that's no coincidence, since that represents the collective wisdom of human history.

    In summary, instead of looking for gay, minority scapegoats or whoever else doesn't "fit" your particular notion of "normality", try to accept the differences that are inherent in all of us.

  11. Lol, when did Maumoon ever call for religiuos pluralism? A youtube video taken out of context in which he says Maldivians have the right to practice whatever religion they want?

    He was actually referring to the right of Maldivians to choose to continue to practice Islam despite the international community trying to force us to embrace religious-pluralism.

    I am an atheist and I am perfectly fine with the Maldives remaining a Muslim country. Just go to Friday prayers, spend time with your family and don't bother praying in your own time. During Ramadan. It's easy.

    Let's face it. Religious pluralism is largely an issue adopted by a minority of the well to do of our country, mostly educated abroad and out of touch with the Maldivian commoner.

    It's time they realized that there are far more important socio-economic priorities that need to be adressed in this country - all of which can be resolved without the existence of religious pluralism. In any case, the last thing we need here is more factionalism.

    Also, the threat of extremism here is overblown and even then to suggest that extremists bred here, in a country of no geo-strategic importance, populated by circa 300,000 people pose a threat to the world at large is egregious hyperbole. Calculated, obviously, to encourage foreign meddling in our sovereign affairs.

  12. *During Radaman, simply avoid eating in public. You'll be home during the rest of the day.

    It's easy to be non-religious in the Maldives. Just don't make a display of yourself.

  13. What I believe is if the "Islamists" wanted Hillath to be killed, it would have happened a long time ago. Same for Dr.Afraasheem. But the "bitter truth" is that all these attacks were planned by Anti-Islamic ppl who wanted to blame "Islamists"....But everything just exploded on their hands.....What you are doing is like filling water to a vessel which has no base.....All the water you pour into it will be leaked to the ground. No matter how much you hate Islam, we will enforce Islamic Sharia in Maldives. In Sha Allah .........

  14. @Maai Allah on Sat, 20th Oct 2012 11:41 PM

    You are a unique Muslim and the first one I have come across with logic on punishments.

    Now, if you were a normal Muslim, you would not be content with punishment from above alone. You would want to show to all your friends how devout you really are. The only way you could do that is spewing, ranting how anti-religious Azra is and if you happen to have a weapon, swing it hard at her. How harder you swing is the measure of your steadfastness to religion!

    Given some thoughts, one might even be tempted to believe that even the 'normal Muslims' are not sure of punishment in afterlife, that they feel compelled to punish their adversary right here on earth. Extended a little further, they feel so misled, so stupid, so taken-advantage of,by the camels that they would now feel ashamed at themselves, their forefathers.

  15. Ahmed Bin Suvadheebs was condemning the Hilaths and Yameens of the Ma"dives a few years ago (and rightfully so) and dismissing "Islamic extremism" as an irrelevant fabricated threat (and rightfully so). Shame he has now become a hypocrite and mocks even Islam.

    As Ive said before anyone who has a problem with Islamic fundementalism has a problem with the fundementals of Islam. May Allah swt guide the hypocrites like Ahmed Addu back to Islam. Amen.

  16. The comments here continue to cement the fact that the vast majority of 'religious' Maldivians are ignorant puppets who follow blindly after the empty words of hypocrites.

    You have absolutely no RIGHT to accuse anyone of being anti-Islamic or a heretic. That is the sole right of God.

    The fact that you so-called self-proclaimed 'religious' personages are accusing Azra, and Minivan, of being infidels (or targets who deserve some sort of demented 'punishment' designed to satisfy your own personal perverted fantasies), goes on to show that under the pretense of defending Islam, you are in fact offending it more than any beardless, naked homosexual standing on the Holy Book with Buddha tattooed on his forehead.

    Before you stamp on these thoughts akin to the myriad of others that has come your way, please consider the following verses of the Quran and try, just try, to use your god-given brains which hopefully hides within the gray goop an ember of intellect.

    First of all, realize that the Constitution of Maldives itself defies the word of God by force feeding Islam down everyone's throat.

    “There is no compulsion in religion” (Al-Baqara:256)

    “Had God willed, they had not been idolatrous. We have not set thee as a keeper over them, nor art thou responsible for them” (Al-An'am:107)

    “Do not revile (or insult) those unto whom they pray beside God, lest they wrongfully revile God through ignorance” (Al-An'am:108)

    “So remind them! You are only a reminder. You are not in control of them. But as for anyone who turns away and is unbeliever, Allah will punish him with the Greatest Punishment. Certainly it is to Us they will return. Then their Reckoning is Our concern. “ (Al Ghashiyya: 21-26)

    Of the Prophet Mohamed's (PBUH) attitude towards peoples of other religions and tribes, God says: “It is a mercy from Allah that you were gentle with them. If you had been rough or hard of heart, they would have scattered from around you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them, (Al Imran, 159)

    “You cannot guide those you would like to but Allah guides those He wills. He has best knowledge of the guided.” (Surah Al Qasas, 56).

    And many more in the Quran itself, and even in hadiths. You've had enough stuff spoon-fed to you already, go read the Holy Book, go think, analyze, use your head... please, be the humans God calls on you to be, not minions of Satan masquerading under the guise of religiosity.

    You have forgotten the meaning of Islam.

    Oh, by the way, the article is nice. It addresses a problem that is threatening to destroy this already fragile country. And I hope the tide will change as more people take it on as their own responsibility to research and learn, to gain their own knowledge, and refrain from trusting their entire minds and lives to horned 'scholars'.

  17. Again, if allowing women to gain literacy is exploited by them to write base propaganda and slander the religion of The Lord of Mercy, then it is a most devious enterprise and must be ceased at once.

    Furthermore, Azra must be arrested and punished as an example to the unvirtuous so that they might mend their ways. A virtuous child is born to a virtuous womb.

  18. As we saw in Iraq and Libya, and as unfortunately we will no doubt see in Syria if the interfering West is successful, once the so called "repressive dictator" is removed as the head of state, inter Muslim religious chaos, death and destruction result...caused largely by the intolerant Sunni/Wahabbi faction of course.

  19. Rise of extremism in a sunni muslim nation? surprises there.
    This situation (common to all muslim countries now) is a result of decades of brainwashing of muslim youth into believing that
    Secularism is Wrong
    Plurality is Wrong
    Islam is the greatest thing to happen to mankind in the history of the world and the solution of all earthly problems
    and that muslims are God's Chosen People and somhow superior to everybody else.

    Makes you wonder then why the countries of the 'true believers' are backward, violent, politically unstable, crime ridden cesspits where there is no freedom or human rights.

    Boy, am I glad I was born a hindu!!

  20. @ ahmed bin addu bin suwadeep

    Definition of religion should settled first. It comes from God.

    Evaluate the religion by the scriptures. Which one is the only best. Without your will to accept the religion from God noen can convince you. God bless you

  21. Something you guys should know is that no matter what you say against Islam or the Shariah, you'll be gripped and thrown into Hell on the day when all your deeds are taken into account. So think before you speak. Extremism is not only when people wear their beards long or when dress completely hiding their faces and hands. Extremism is everything but the middle of anything.
    And to those who say that the followers of the Prophet PBUH are extremists, i have only one thing to say to you. REPENT BEFORE YOUR TIME IS OVER. REPENT BEFORE THE ANGEL OF DEATH GRIPS YOUR SOUL AND RIPS IT OUT OF YOUR MEAT SUIT.

  22. Do you know the real meaning of extremism in Islam! It means either not following the preaching of our beloved prophet or introducing Bidwah or additions to the religion. In short, going either above or below the limit.
    Azra, address your self as an extremist, not to the Muslims who follow Quran and sunnah.

  23. @ ahmed bin suvadib.
    you do not 'get' the secularism of the so called islamic countries yet, i see. the reason is because the secualarist are propped up by the west. that is why they supported Gaddafi, Saddam, Bashaar, his father as well as Mubarak or you name who. Its not because muslims do not want to see good muslim rulers for them, but they were deprived of this opportunity by the west which sees islam as a way of threat on their life style. this fear is not without basis. imagine if a muslim country bans all music, all forms of insuarance, bank interest, unislamic commerce... of course the producer countries will suffer. this is the same reason why the record industry is after muslic lovers who want to share the joy of music. RIAA doesnt want to see their money loosing because of somebodys idealism. so its all down to economics. the islamic system is a real threat to what west has to produce and that's why they are propping up the secular minded leaders in all muslim countries. that's why they are propping MDP here despite their so many mistakes.

  24. @Salafist

    thumbs up to you, we need your type of thinking to hold fast to our religion Good luck

  25. Azra is an MDP propagandist who is resident abroad.

    Hence, she lacks the capacity to write about daily life in the Maldives.

    Just pointing out the obvious hypocrisy.

  26. tsk tsk,

    You hypocrisy is noted, and always obvious. You don't need to spell it out.

  27. Simplifying the problem of extremism without considering the socio-economics causes of this phenomenon - and denying it exists altogether or that its a serious problem at all are both unhelpful.

    tsk tsk and Azra are simply the opposite ends of the spectrum. 'Extremists' if you will.

  28. in maldives islamic extremism is less of a problem than gang violence and gangs sponsored by politicans and political hatred. that's what has been affecting daily life in maldives...really i don't think azra would have written this piece if nasheed hadn't suddenly declared islamic extremism to be a problem in maldives.propagandist, i have to agree.

  29. @Dhonbe It may be a novel idea to you, but reading something before criticizing it helps. What does paragraph eight talk about if not the underlying causes of extremism?

    @nasheehism You should try and do some research. Azra has been talking about the issue long before Nasheed raised it as a serious concern. Just because you haven't read it doesn't mean she hasn't written about it.

    @tsk tsk Just because you someone is resident in the country does not mean they are in touch with the people. If that were the case, the government would not be lying to foreign media. Nor would Waheed be denying that there is a medicine shortage in the country.

    It may help the situation if people did not dismiss everything they disagree with as 'propaganda' or start attacking the person who said it. Shooting the messenger is never the solution.

  30. I did. But it's underemphasised and the fact that countries that have undergone rapid and unequal economic progress have a spike in religiosity, which is something that is stressed in the academia of this subject repeatedly isn't mentioned. The analysis is shallow on that aspect.

  31. @ Dhonbe. If you are familiar with what academia says on the subject, you must also be aware that the article does not pretend to me an academic exegesis on the root causes of radicalisation.

    It seems to me to be about denial that the phenomenon exists in the Maldives. Surely you don't disagree with the fact that exists. Not if you've read the literature like you claim.

    And from my reading of the article, what she blames authoritarian rule for is the economic/social conditions that authoritarianism left behind. These factors are what has created the right conditions for the rise of extremism, which is what you are saying too.

    You are doing your own knowledge of the subject by approaching the article with determination to disagree.

  32. Azra mey Allah(sbv) curse you here this world and in hereafter. You people would never be success by propagating war against islam. Never ever. Are You people are calling for war against the creator of creations? Then listen very carefully you dog. You would die as dog death like abu jahul did insha allah. Allah will course you DOG. YOu lesbians. You Gays. Before get sleep think twice about your repentance. Death will come on you.

  33. It pisses me off these people who have hijacked my deen and behave like Nazis in the name of my deen. Yes extremism exists and its getting worse day by day......just listen to the cds blasting away in male taxi cabs, the increasing number of girls being kept out of school and the number of children being denied vaccines. Oh and the increasing number of people dressed like pushtuns

  34. Goldilocks, girls dont need to be sent to school. They can learn what they need at home. School is a western institution designed to ruin Islam by introducing fitna to children by teaching them wasteful subjects like english, economics, and such other worldly trash.

    Whats worse, what if they have illegal sexual intercourse if they meet some misguided boy? Do you know how much of a loss that is to have damaged goods? You've lost over a thousand dollars just because your daughter choose to obey the devil instead of getting married to a pious muslim imam!

    What's more important - to expand the Islamic Ummah or to wastefully let our Islamic Ummah melt away to nothing just because you're purposefully reducing the birth rate of muslims?

    America kills millions of muslims every year; and if we cannot keep up with that, we will never be able to take over the world!

    Last, but not least, Your an idiot. More people are dressed like MUSLIMS. Not like your western women who have no problem walking naked in the street.

  35. Shimy:

    The funniest thing about the blatant misogyny of religious bigots like you is how disrespectful you're being to Mohammed's first wife. The Prophet would have made nothing of himself if not for her support, intelligence and self-autonomy; the latter appearing to bet the worst nightmare for your kind.

    Oh and FYI, covering up a woman's body, especially the niqab, is a form of sexual fetishization. It's why you think every woman who isn't wearing it is naked. Tell me this. Why are women to blame for your own dirty little mind? I love you how say "misguided boys"; so misguided by someones clothes that they'll be led to rape? Pathetic. Can't even take responsibility for ones own thoughts.

    All people like you do is make Islam and other men look bad.

    PS: Islam isn't a race or ethnicity, it is an ideology. So please stop talking about Muslims breeding as if they were cattle. It would probably greatly help future generations if the ones as utterly hopeless as you didn't spread their seed anyways.

  36. Hey, Shimy. I am the father of a girl (you wahhabi shits lust for them, I know). I also respect her independence and right as a human being to choose who she wants to be with. Children are not money-bags like you guys think they should be. Neither do they deserve to be used as pleasure slaves for your wicked ilmuverin.

    Now I know you're panting like a dog, desperate to assault and rape; but let me finish.

    You are everything that is wrong with the world. You use your children; the future of this nation like cattle. Tools to be traded. You are nothing more than brainless slaves to your wicked religion that respects neither Mankind or Allah. Slaves to the whims of wicked ilmuverin that are funded by wicked politicians.

    What difference is there between the barbaric pre-islamic qureysh and your so-called 'islamic ummah'?

    That's right. NONE.

    So here's my opinion of you - if I catch you attempting to lay hands on my child, I will cut your arms off and mail you to the cesspits of Talibanistan where you belong. In an envelope.

    Your ilmuveria gang leader Ahmed Sameer said the law is for the weak. So I'll bypass all Geneva conventions when it comes to dealing with you colonialist worms. See how you like the taste of your own medicine.


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