Comment: I’m not wearing white

Adhaalath and their NGO minions are asking all “those who love Islam” to wear white and meet up at the Artificial Beach today. By all means, go. Women and men, Maldivian citizens – go to this gathering, but do not wear white.

Do not support the degradation of our society, the proposed harm to our economy, and the manipulation of our religion for purely political purpose. Go to the rally, but do not wear white.

The Legislation Will Work

I have now met with over 100 current and recovering addicts in Maldives, and even over the course of this last year it was clear that the costs of alcohol was going through the roof as a result of effective police sweeps. This legislation gives the police the authority and means to ensure that resorts and hotel companies are held accountable for every single drop of alcohol that is brought into this country.

Daily logs, thorough accounting, security cameras and a whole host of other measures are made mandatory by this legislation. The Economic Development Ministry has found an ingenious compromise between progressive development – which will benefit our entire nation – and reinforcing stringent control over alcohol. The very notion that this legislation makes getting alcohol easier, just because it is now on the same island as many of us, is completely ludicrous and neglects every provision stipulated in the legislation.

Alcohol Based Economy

The Maldivian economy cannot be maintained without alcohol. This is the bottom line. Tourism is the largest sector of our economy, accounting for more than 28 per cent of our GDP. Without maintaining the strength of this industry, our nation will fail.

If we look into the industry itself, the three leading nationalities of tourists (Italians, Britons, and Germans) are all groups with traditionally high alcohol consumption rates. But if we go beyond that to look at marketing strategies, every single tour operator emphasizes the idyllic image of lying on a beach with a tropical alcoholic drink by one’s side. This is not unique to the Maldives, but inherent to every single tropical island paradise.

There is no difference between an island resort and a city hotel. The average resort will have around 150 staff members at any given time. 150 people are enough to call an island inhabited, and therefore if alcohol is banned because of Maldivians’ reside on the island, then they should be banned in resorts as well. But while we run around calling for bans on alcohol, we are simultaneously calling for more Maldivians to be employed by the tourism industry – instead of Bangladeshis, Indians, and Nepalis. We have soaring unemployment rates, and if we were to ban Maldivians from the largest economic provider in the country, how will we progress as a nation? How will we progress as a people, while destined to be eternally impoverished?

The answer to these problems is not greater exclusion, but rather inclusion of the Maldivian people in our largest and fastest growing industry. The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade is taking the first steps to ensure that all Maldivians can benefit from tourism. Imagine entire islands whose local economies are vibrant and sustained by a perpetual inflow of tourists. Imagine a nation where 40% poverty rates were a thing of the past and everyone has equal access to education and adequate healthcare. The answer is not more separatism, but rather integration.

Disunity in Government

The best way to develop is through promoting tourism and integrating it with our communities, and this piece of legislation is the first step. However, it has led to great disunity in the government. We have Adhaalath breaking away and GIP (Gaumee Itthihaad Party) being hung out to dry.

In the past few months, Mohamed Rasheed – Minister for Economic Development (and a GIP member) – has come under significant pressure to put forward this legislation. Unlike myself, the GIP general membership’s will is firmly against legalizing these restricted alcohol sales in inhabited islands. However, because GIP has an active policy of supporting the government and being a “good coalition member,” Rasheed was determined on working within the current development framework for the overall betterment of this nation.

If the President’s Office decides to do a turn around, and hang him out to dry – the Government’s most steadfast coalition supporter will be slighted. Though the party has only 4,000 people in its membership – GIP has remained unwavering in its support of the government, even while its center left policy was neglected and its Island and Atoll councilors were sacked for supporting two GIP candidates during the Majlis election. At every step GIP has defended government policy and will continue to do so till the 2013 election.

Adhaalath, on the other hand, is already maneuvering for the Presidential election in 2013. That is what this demonstration is about. It is not about religion, it is not about alcohol. It is only about political gain. While State Minister of Islamic Affairs – Shaheem has said he will not call for anyone’s resignation, Adhaalath has said explicitly that any government that allows for economic growth through alcohol on inhabited islands needs to be removed. As State Minister, Shaheem is actively organizing dissent and a fully fledged demonstration against the government he is supposed to represent.

In spite of the government reaching out to Adhaalath, giving them autonomy, allowing them to lead in all Islamic affairs, and placating conservative trends, Adhaalath is not satisfied. They are not willing to meet the government half way, and are now actively working to destabilize it and flex their political power. This gathering is about both flexing that power and measuring it. It is a traitorous action, and against the developmental framework of this government.

New Islamic Leadership

They have drawn the battle lines, taken action against their coalition partner, and now Adhaalath needs to be expelled from this government. We need new Islamic leadership in the country. One that is moderate, willing to promote dialogue and not repress anyone (yes, even the conservatives). We need to promote balanced view points.

All of our new media regulations require fair and balanced coverage. This principle needs to extend to religion as well so that it is not only the radical conservatives who gain the airwaves.

What do I mean by moderate? Well, someone like President Gayoom. Now, I believe Gayoom’s administration to be responsible for the arrest and torture of eight of my thirteen uncles (as well as countless others), but there is no denying that his version of Islam is far more moderate than the conservatives we have running around.

It is time we stop skirting around the issue of religion. Stop living in fear of speaking our minds. We need to revolutionize the Ministry for Islamic Affairs with moderate sheikhs who will promote greater religious understanding, instead of only Salafi based conservative dogmatism.

As the result of a policy of appeasement during the First and Second World Wars, action came too late for many and millions died. For us, it’s not too late. We need to protect the security and economic prosperity of our nation. We need to save its soul from losing that which makes us inherently Maldivian.

Defiance of Tyranny

It is time to expel them from this government as one would poison from fatal wound. They have shown themselves to be uncompromising, unyielding, and unwilling to work with this government. Adhaalath is using these events and Islamic preaching to try and gain momentum that will bring them a 2013 Presidential victory, or at the very least, a Parliamentary one.

As they strut today, to and fro, albino peacocks on the stage of public Islamic opinion, remember their political motive. Go witness the spectacle, and do not wear white. If you must have white in your clothing, wear another color as well. Wear blue or turquoise. Pink or magenta. Wear green for Islam (though green and white is GIP’s colors). Wear yellow for our government. Black for the death of freedom and justice. Just do not wear white alone.

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62 thoughts on “Comment: I’m not wearing white”

  1. Great article Salim. I also agree that we do not need a Ministry for Islamic Affairs. Religion is something that is deep in our hearts, and should not have a political post.

    That our country could survive without tourism is just ridiculous.

    Despite Gayyoom's cruelity during his inhuman dictatorship, I have to admit now that he kept the religious fanatics very well under control. In a dictatorship this was easily possible - now under the democracy it's not.
    Would like to see how Anni gets rid of them...

  2. saalim,
    read ur crap artical and am very symphathetic to u and ur parents. question of improper upbringing nd ur parents would realise this sooner or later.
    if u dont hv faith or atleast any islamic background dont utter this rubbish. u might think by publishing such articles would promote urself then u atheast crap u r wrong. get u act together and go ask ur parents to teach u lailaaha illallah

  3. u c, this is a democracy... and in a democracy the majority wins. So just wait til the day people with ur view comprises a majority in this country.

    Until then, no alcohol and no churches. period.

  4. The enforcement that you are talking about are the same people that have failed
    1.Over 10 murders in gang violence no convictions.
    2.Thousands of bottles seized no convictions only the boat captain and the lorry driver were ever arrested. Where are the permit holders and the bonded warehouse people responsible.
    3.One year it took to investigate the case of Adam Naseer , The evidence MPS submitted to the courts were pathetic and not enough.
    4. The individual permits are not the reason for sale of alcohol in male' it is a million dollar business. a bottle that cost $ 8 sells for 800mrf. So room for corruption and law enforcement involvement is there.
    5. the brown sugar addicts are not in picture at the moment because they are either in jail and can't be pardoned by the executive. Most of them are now based in islands where they are simply more hidden.
    6.No comprehensive formula has been worked out in handling the issue of the addicts.
    7.Police clearly lacks the evidence act,but if the act was to be passed and enforced they lack the expertise and know how in dealing with evidence. In none of the murder cases has the weapon been found or how they handle crime scenes are pathetic. clearly lack the knowledge in social environment of the Maldives. 2 years in the shell of yours cant be called experience of Maldivians or the way we live.

  5. Law Enforcement In Maldives

    The number of drugs being confiscated in the Maldives since our government has taken over have increased at least four fold that I know of. The reasons why Aishath gives as to Police incompetence is not Police incompetence at all.

    The reason why convictions are not be handed down is because there is not enough legislation allowing the introduction of evidence and because the Judiciary is in need of capacity building measures and reform. Of course there is some corruption and incompetence, however, not all policemen are corrupt. In fact, most people are not, and those who are will be caught by our newly established anti-corruption commission.

    You acknowledge the need of an evidence act, but then dismiss the entire forensic unit which is not even allowed to hand over the the evidence they collect. I know the social environment of the Maldives, and what is more i know the institutional incapabilities.

    My Upbringing

    My parents brought me up quite well. I've gotten my Bachelor's degree from one of the best institutions of learning on earth. And at the age of 23 I have a firm understanding of my views, my life, my goals, and my purpose. What is more is that I am committed to my faith and secure in my beliefs. I believe in God and his prophets, and no - I do not advocate Atheism. Nor am I promoting myself. Nor am I promoting my parents.

    This view can only be politically detrimental, so obviously I am not advocating it for political gain. I advocate it because I seek a nation free of repression, fear, and intolerance. I advocate it because I believe in Moderate Islam and liberal philosophies.

    As for Imam Dr. Salih Yucel, he has been a respected Imam for over 35 years. He is a 50 something year old man. Do you honestly believe he would try and lead anyone astray? Rilwan, you are ignorant and pathetic to attack a just, kind, and gentle man.

    As for GIP, "Gaumee Itthihaad" as a phrase was registered to Dr. Waheed, Dr. Luthfi, and their group of intellectuals before it was used to identify the opposition movement. On the other hand QNP (Qaumee National Party) was chosen well after GIP's formation. For any to imply otherwise is defamation and libel.

    As for what GIP contributed to the Campaign, they had traveled up and down the nation before the alliance with MDP, and after - every core member was active in working together with MDP Itthihaad's headquarters. Adhaalath simply would not have even had a chance at governance without GIP. And before they had the Islamic Ministry, they were a shadow of what they are now.

    Adhaalath has been using the Islamic Ministry as a tool for their propagation, growing through Ministerial influence, as is represented by the demonstration held by them on Friday. GIP has not abused power in this fashion, or they would have grown too. The difference is that they don't use Islam for political gain.

    Taking a stand against conservatism is not a political move. From a political aspect, it would be quite stupid. But I'm not doing this for politics. I'm doing it because I believe Adhaalath's polices are an affront to true Maldivian Islamic values. And while everyone is entitled to their views, I will protect freedoms and rights in our country. I will make sure that repression and fear never takes hold again. I will not give in to threats or accusations or falsehoods. And with every fiber of by being, I will make sure that our nation is not shrouded in the perpetual darkness that conservatives now seek.

  6. Jeffrey:

    As an individual who grew up in Maldives, I can say for sure, the version of Islam that you so badly to spread in Maldives is utterly alien to Maldives. We have not heard of Islam that allows fornication, homosexuality, drinking, skipping Salah & Siyaam or not observing Hijab by both men & women in Maldives.

    Maldivians are espousing the true teachings of Islam after the autocratic regimen of Maumoon. We are going back to the roots of Islam. The moderate & eternal teachings of Prophet Muhammad (saws). The kind of Islam that you & your parents follow is never found in Maldives. And, inshaAllah, we will not allow such kinds of profanities & secular radicalism in the name of liberal, moderate Islam. Surely, it does sound very appealing. Only fanatics like you will adopt it.

    The westoxified Muslims, who cannot for some reason cut the cord with Islam, have been trying to import immoralities into the Islam. They want to have extra- & pre-marital sex, drink alcohol & do drugs, give them option to be gay, pray & fast as & when they wish, strip to bikini, refuse to implement the Shariah & so on. Thus, they want somehow to re-interpret Qura'an & Hadith to permit these major sins in Islam. These individuals, esp. educated & brought up by secular parents in secular environments, want us to believe that the moderate teachings of our Prophet (saws) are conservative or extremist. In fact, it is these individuals who have been misguided & are slaves of their Nafs.

    We are seeing the positive changes after Islamic Minsitry is managed by Adhaalath Party. More & more people are observing their Prayers (Salah). Men & women are observing Hijab. Parents are teaching Islam & Qur'an to their children from infancy. More people are giving Zakath (alms), the second or third pillar of Islam. We saw people being more cautious of Islam during Ramadan instead of sleeping whole day or wasting time in playing. We saw people spending hours in prayers & reciting Qur'an to get maximum benefit from the Holy month of Ramadan. People drawing closer to Allah (swt).

    Mr. Jeffrey. What you see in Maldives will be totally alien to you as you grew up in a secular environment. Internal (home) & external. Your parents may not have instilled the teachings of Islam when you grew up. You may have not learned to read Qur'an. You may have not observed the daily five prayers or attended the Jumuah (Friday prayers). But not the Maldivians. The fathers take their sons to Jumuah from very early ages of 5 years. Daughters pray with their mothers in their homes or Women Mosques. The family break their Siyam (Fast) in the home as a family, when your family will probably be skipping it.

    We do not want our sons & daughters to engage in pre-marital relationships as Allah (swt) has commanded us not to come even near to Zina, closing all doors that lead to Zina. You maybe taught that dating is okay. Holding hands, kissing, making out or even consensual sex is okay. For us its not. Allah (swt) has explicitly revealed in Qur'an that Zina is a major sin in Islam.

    Your hatred for Adhaalath Party is because of their moderate & true teachings they stand up. We do not love Adhaalath Party. We do not support Adhaalath Party. We support their love for Islam. Their zeal for Islam. Their works to liberate our country for religious extremism & secular extremism your ilk are trying to spread.

    We will not be afraid to speak our minds although the people in govt. may be extremely secular people with Satanistic ideologies. Anni & fili Waheed may be President & VP. We do not care. If anyone of them try to impose anything that is forbidden in Islam we will stand up against it. We cannot be quietened. We will protect the Islam from all kinds of extremism & secularism, inshaAllah.

  7. Fracture, intolerance is not a teaching of our Prophet (PBUH), neither is screaming at anyone who disagrees with you with choice words, like atheist, apostate and what not.

    The Prophet (PBUH) also did not threaten anyone who marely disagreed with violence (ofcourse the ones here are very veiled, but everyone understands what is meant)

    He also advocated justice and acceptance of minority. It was not the rule of majority while squashing the minority. he was tolerant enough to live with jews,christians. While in Maldives now, we are at each others throats over difference in practising the one religion. You can't pick and choose which parts of the prophets teachings to follow.
    If alcohol is haram so it should be so in each and every place, if we can tolerate to have it sold to foreigners it should be applied to all establishments.
    I think you also know maldivians are notorious for having sex outside marriage, for having extra marital affairs, and do you know what, religious conservatism did not actually put a stop to it.Now the excuse for extra marital affairs is that islam allows husband sharing, having more than one wife. Anyone can twist religion to twist their own needs. What maldives practised through the ages, might not have always been in line with whatever school of thought you belong to, but it was islam, and back then it was not a show off religion, people prayed but did not go around boasting about it. It was beautiful and more spiritual and less of a show off, capri pants, beards and tents don't make a person more pious.
    And you or anyone else doesn't have the right to judge the faith of anyone, religion is between man and God and as long as someone says he is a muslim you have to accept it and show respect, or else you are going against the teaching of Prophet (PBUH) and God aren't you?

  8. There is no need to put words into my mouth. I know what I have to say & what I am saying. Nor to twist my words for your .

    Religion is between man & God. But we will judge by what is apparent as we were told to do so. Thus, if someone claims to be Muslim, but rejects the obligatory of Salath or believes homosexuality is an alternative life-style, we will judge by what we see. What is in his/her heart will be judged by Allah (swt) on the Day of Resurrection. Its upto to Him not us!!

    Saying that one advocates for freedom of choice & blah blah is very appealing. The thing which most fail to see is when the same person goes about & mocks a group of people for advocating a certain life style. On one hand you say, believe in choice or practice as one wishes, but on the hand labels anyone who wears Niqab or grows beard as religious fanatics or extremists. How liberal is that, huh? Typical hypocrisy of these so-called moderates.

    Get your facts right! There is not a single case of Jaariya (concubines) in Maldives. The story that ran in the media sometime ago did not turn out be radical. Did it?

    Islam is not merely uttering Kalimah of Tawheed or saying I believe. The limbs has to follow what is uttered. Else the Qur'an would not have the two words Aamanoo (believe) and Saalihaath (good deeds) occurring together, one after another in every verse where it is mentioned.

    4:122 "But those who believe and do deeds of righteousness,..."

    4:173 "But to those who believe and do deeds of righteousness...."

    5:9 "To those who believe and do deeds of righteousness hath Allah promised forgiveness and a great reward."

    13:29 "For those who believe and work righteousness, is (every) blessedness, and a beautiful place of (final) return."

    18:30 "As to those who believe and work righteousness, verily We shall not suffer to perish the reward of any who do a (single) righteous deed."

    18:107 "As to those who believe and work righteous deeds, they have, for their entertainment, the Gardens of Paradise,"

    32:19 "For those who believe and do righteous deeds are Gardens as hospitable homes, for their (good) deeds."

    103:3 "Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds....."

  9. Fracture, that no one else has to bear the sins of another is a basic tenet of Islam. If I fornicate, drink and do not pray, those sins are mine and mine only. You will not have to bear an atom's weight of the burdens of my sins come Judgment Day. It is only to Prophet Mohamed God ordered, "You who art shrouded in a cloak, stand up and warn." Of course, I say this on the assumption that you are not a prophet. Why are you so desperate to save humanity from God's wrath? Save yourself, and should not that be enough? To you your religion and to me, mine. I will not preach to you for I do not have to bear your sins. please stop imposing your ideals and standards on the rest of the country and the rest of humanity. Please.

  10. Fracture, I do not advocate "fornication, homosexuality, drinking, or skipping Salah." You don't listen to anything i'm saying. You're lost in your own fundamentalist mind.

    How many Maldivians used to wear Hijabs in the past? Is it even part of our national dress? You are the one is truly out of touch with our culture and heritage.

    I do not hate Adhaalath. I do not hate any political groups in Maldives. Do you know whom i do hate? I hate the pedophile who rapes a child. I hate the man who calls child abuse marriage. I hate that the abuse of women exists in our country. I hate that there is so much intolerance.

    If a woman chooses to wear a nigab, so be it. But i do not accept it being forced on anyone. If people choose to marry at the age of 18, so be it - but i do not condone underage marriage or fornication. If a man wants to believe on thing, that that is fine - as long as he does not persecute another for not believing the same thing.

    Yes the Islamic Ministry has done some good things, but they have not been sensible or effective. Interfering with trade agreements? Unauthorized bilateral relationships? Spending Zakat on a Television station!? Are you kidding me?

    I know our nation's heart and spirit better than you. And the Silent Majority is far closer to me than to you. That fact gives me home. That fact gives me strength. And with God's will, I will convince them to act before it is too late. Before the likes of you destroy our nation.

  11. Thank you, Salim Waheed. You are a true patriot.

    Disregard those scum who tell you to go to hell - Adhaalath Party is NOT "The one and only Islam"; and criticizing them does NOT mean you are criticizing Islam.

    Justice will be done, and history will tear up the sentence of death many fundamentalists now plot upon you.

  12. Now Salim's words changed to suit his father who grabbed the Presidency in a coup. All evidence we saw clearly shows the change of power was with the participation of mutant police & MNDF personnel. To some money is every thing even if it require to rape this country in broad day light.


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