Comment: Operation Haram to Halal – the Islamist role in replacing Nasheed with Waheed

‘Since Mohamed Nasheed of Kenereege who held the post of the President of the Maldives is an anti-Islamic, corrupt, authoritarian, and violent individual who abused the Constitution; and given that Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik is the man to steer the country to a safe harbour, the Consultative Committee of Adhaalath Party has taken the unanimous decision to pledge allegiance to Dr Waheed and to support his government until 2013’. – Adhaalath Party, 7 February 2012

Maldivian Islamists played an instrumental role in the events of 7 February 2012, which forced the country’s first democratically elected president Mohamed Nasheed to ‘resign.’ Coup Deniers and followers of Islamists vehemently object to any such claim. The Islamists themselves, however, have been very public, and very publicly proud, of the ‘religious duty’ they performed by facilitating the removal from power of Nasheed – in their opinion an anti-Islamic heretic.

This is clear from the many proclamations and announcements they made in the lead up to and in the aftermath of Nasheed’s ‘resignation’. Having declared Nasheed a heretic on 7 February, Adhaalath Party put out a press release on 8 February, the worst day of violence since transition to democracy. It called on people to stand up against Nasheed, “with swords and guns” if needs be. Any Maldivian who failed to do so was a sinner, and had no right to live in the country. Fight Nasheed or emigrate; Jihad against him or be eternally damned, it said. The ‘truth’ of their words was bolstered by selective quotations from Islamic teachings. Accepting Waheed—”a just ruler”—was portrayed as a religious duty of Maldivian Muslims.

Replacing Nasheed with Waheed, the ‘haram’ president with the ‘halal’ president, appears to be what Adhaalath President Sheikh Imran Abdulla referred to on 31 January as ‘Phase Two’ of ‘the work we have been doing until today.’ What was the work Adhaalath and its allies had been doing until then?

Setting the stage: grooming the population

Out of necessity, Nasheed had to include Adhaalath Party in the coalition government he put together in 2008. To put it mildly, the liberal minded president and the ultra-conservative Adhaalath Party had nothing in common. Despite the frequent clashes over various issues—selling alcohol on inhabited islands, making Islam an optional rather than a compulsory subject in secondary school, introduction of ‘religious unity regulations’, provision of land for an Islamic College in Male’—Nasheed had no choice but to stick to his coalition agreement. The turbulent political marriage of convenience came to an end only in September 2011 when Adhaalath voted to sever the coalition agreement citing Nasheed’s lack of cooperation in its efforts to ‘strengthen’ Islam in the Maldives.

In the intervening period, driven by pragmatic reasons and by an oversimplified belief that freedom of expression is sacrosanct—no matter what the consequences—Nasheed failed to impose any restrictions on the increasingly extremist and hardline rhetoric of the Islamists. With Adhaalath’s Dr Abdul Majid Abdul Bari at the helm of the Islamic Ministry, radical preachers from abroad and from within the country were given free-reign, and funds from the public coffer, to address the Maldivian population. 2010 saw, for example, the Indian televangelist Dr Zakir Naik, as well as Jamaican Dr Bilal Philips and British Sheikh Abdurraheem Green address the Maldivian public. In addition to the foreign preachers, Maldivian missionaries trained at madhrasaas in Pakistan and ultra-conservative schools and universities in India, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere bombarded Maldivians with radical rhetoric from every available public platform.

Anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and intolerance of other religions became a part of daily discourse, broadcast on national television, played incessantly in public spaces from taxis and ferries to loudspeakers on the streets. Close to 90 percent of books stocked in most Maldivian bookshops during this period came to be those authored by the extremists whose words were designed to influence every little detail of a Maldivian’s life from toilet to conjugal relations. While extremist literature flourished and their voice took over the public sphere, the liberal voice floundered. When concerned liberals approached Nasheed asking for his help in countering the voices of extremism, his response was—more on less—to tell them ‘do it yourselves.’ The government, he said, could not impose restrictions on speech.

Despite the strong civil society that flourished during Nasheed’s government, the extremist movement had become too strong by then for individuals—acting without any support from the State—to organise against it. The labels of apostasy, heresy and anti-Islamic agent’ had become too powerful as political tools by then for any anti-extremist group or movement to be able to get a foothold in the public sphere. Many individuals attempted to organise into groups, but were shutdown as anti-Islamic before they could become a coherent voice in society. Anyone who expressed doubt about their faith in Islam was branded an apostate and ostracised. The strength of these prevailing sentiments was seen in the suicide of Ismail Mohamed Didi, a 25-year-old man who hanged himself in July 2010 after being hounded by friends and family for expressing doubt over his belief in Islam. The extremists were determined that the myth of ‘Maldives is a hundred percent Muslim nation’ will be maintained, even if it meant the oppression and death of those who did not believe.

Phase One: Nasheed as heretic

The push to drive Nasheed out began in earnest at the end of 2011. Many incidents towards the end of the year proved fortuitous for the extremists. In November Maldives hosted the annual summit meeting of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation). Among bilateral gifts exchanged were various monuments and statues depicting the culture and traditions of the gifting country. In the spirit of ‘building bridges’, the summit theme, Maldives displayed a welcome banner at the airport in which religious figures dear to all members of SAARC were included. An image of Jesus was on the banner. Alleging that the banner promoted Christianity and that several of the gifts—including one from Pakistan—were anti-Islamic idols of worship, religious organisation and parties galvanised the public into what can aptly be described as mass-hysteria. The banner was taken down, and the monuments were put under police protection until they were destroyed. All in the name of protecting Islam.

On 24 November 2011, visiting UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay addressed the Maldivian parliament and spoke out against the practice of flogging, which continues to this day. The public furore incited over the ‘idols’ had not yet died down down. Islamists saw another opportunity to keep the hysteria alive. They led about a hundred or so angry people to the doors of the UN building to protest against Pillay’s call for a humanitarian approach to punishment. Although Nasheed’s Islamic Ministry unequivocally condemned the speech, Nasheed himself spoke in favour of Pillay’s stance. For the ultra-conservatives in Parliament and in socio-political positions of power, it was a sure sign that Nasheed was an anti-Islamic ‘Western puppet.’

The next plum opportunity for the Islamists came on 10 December, the International Human Rights Day, when a handful of young Maldivians staged a minor ‘silent protest’ against the growing religious intolerance in the country. Despite the fact that Nasheed’s government imprisoned one of the protesters, the Maldives’ only openly gay activist, religious conservatives were furious with Nasheed for not meting out severe punishment against the protestors. It was deemed as further evidence of Nasheed’s heresy.

It is against this backdrop, and armed with these pretexts, that the campaign to depose Nasheed was launched. Its first major public display was on 23 December in the form of a protest under the banner: ‘Maldivians Defending Islam.’ Having been bombarded since November by messages that Nasheed is a threat to their faith, and convinced by the relentless extremist rhetoric of years, thousands of Maldivians spilled onto the streets of Male’ in ‘defence of Islam’. What a majority of the people had not had the time or space to understand is that the threat to Maldivians’ faith has come not from Nasheed but from the extremists.

For hundreds of years, insulated as the country had been from the rest of the world, Maldivians were largely ignorant of the various conflicts within and around the ‘Islamic world’. The Islam that Maldivians practised was personal—a deeply held faith that did not need mediation by ‘scholars’ or preachers. Public displays of piety, such as having women shrouded in black or men hiding behind waist-length beards, were never part of the Maldivian belief system. Suppression of women as second-class citizens, violence in the name of religion, disputes over which prayer to be said at what time, insistence on imposing the death sentence, child brides, sex slaves—these were not part of the fabric of ‘Maldivian Islam.’ The extremists introduced such ideology and practices into the Maldives, and spread it across the country using the very freedoms of democracy they rally against. The success of the extremists had been their ability to use its newfound freedom of expression as a tool for convincing an unsuspecting population that until the arrival of these missionaries, Maldives had been ignorant of the ‘right Islam’.

It was in the defence of this extremism, which Nasheed had failed to act against—and which he was now being accused of threatening—that thousands of Maldivians gathered in Male’ on 23 December.

Phase One, Stage Two: the unholy alliance between ‘democrats’ and Islamists

It would be a mistake to assume that the Islamists, as widespread and powerful as their influence among the general population has been, would have been able to successfully depose Nasheed on their own. Rather, this occurred when opposition parties, having proven time and again their penchant for regarding Islam—and democracy itself for that matter—as open to opportunistic appropriation, allied with the Islamists with this very goal in mind.

Eight opposition parties of the Maldives and allied NGOs put their organisational and rallying tools behind the 23 December protests. That this was an alliance, for the political parties at least, wholly devoid of any Islamic piety is clear from who appeared as its leading members. A core group of them were resort owners—rich tycoons who have no qualms being purveyors of alcohol, pork, and ‘hedonistic’ pleasures to ‘infidels’. What smacked of hypocrisy and opportunism even more was the involvement of figures who had previously spoken out against the rising extremism in the country. Present among them were, for example, Dr Hassan Saeed who co-authored the book ‘Freedom of Religion, Apostasy and Islam’ which argues that Islam is a religion of tolerance. He is now the newly appointed President Waheed’s special advisor.

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom had a statement read out in favour of the protests despite his long career being rich with seminars and papers arguing the tolerance and liberalism of Islam. Without the easy manner in which these figures dismissed their own convictions for the sake of political power, the Islamists would not have been able to push their agenda onto the Maldivian people so easily. It was a case of political parasites feeding off each other.

The next step was the publication of a pamphlet by Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), or Maldivian National Party, that provided alleged details of a secret agenda pursued by Nasheed to undermine Maldivians’ Islamic faith. The 30-page pamphlet, ironically, can easily rival Dutch politician Geert Wilder’s hate-filled anti-Islamic film ‘Fitna’ in its use of the Qur’an to incite hatred. There was very little that matters to Muslims that was not exploited for political gain in the publication. Nasheed government’s decision to foster business with Israel was depicted as an ‘alliance with Jews’ at the expense of Palestinians and his bilateral ties with Western governments was portrayed as friendships with ‘enemies of Islam’. Blatant lies, such as Christian priests being appointed as Nasheed’s emissaries, were mixed in with facts that were twisted beyond recognition.

While using the democratic principle of freedom of expression, freely granted by Nasheed, it sought to convince Maldivians that modernity and Islam are diametrically opposed to each other. Equating the overthrow of Nasheed’s government with a religious duty, it called on all Maldivians to do what they can to unseat the immoral heretic from power. Dr Hassan Saeed, author of the book ‘Freedom of Religion, Apostasy and Islam’, is the deputy leader of DQP. Its leader is Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed. He is now the Minister of Home Affairs in Dr Waheed’s newly formed cabinet. In 2007 Dr Jameel was Gayoom’s Justice Minister, and resigned seemingly in protest against Gayoom’s failure to reign in the increasing Islamic militancy in the country. Less than five years later, his supposedly staunch principles were nowhere in sight as he pushed Maldivians to protest against Nasheed’s liberal government and embrace Sharia.

Phase One, Stage Three

Nasheed’s orders to have Judge Abdulla Mohamed arrested on 16 January 2012 was like a manna from heaven for the politico-religious coalition which was now calling itself the December 23 Alliance. Here was an opportunity to marry Nasheed’s alleged anti-Islamic activities with his violation of the constitution. Not one member of the opposition, nor the self-proclaimed champion of the constitution, President Waheed, has ever spoken out against the unconstitutional acts that has allowed Judge Abdulla to remain on the bench. The very same leaders, who now bellowed and whipped the people into a frenzy over the Judge’s detention, had presided over—and evidence exists, orchestrated—the events which allowed convicted criminals and sex offenders to remain on the bench in violation of Article 285 of the Constitution.

Deleted from public discourse, and therefore missing from public understanding, was the sad truth that at the time of Judge Abdulla’s arrest there were no democratic institutions capable of reigning in his many unlawful acts on the bench. He had no scruples over letting dangerous criminals walk free, espousing political views, and displaying sexual depravity in the courtroom. And he bestowed on himself the authority to overrule the Judicial Service Commission, the independent institution established by the Constitution to oversee the ethical and professional standards of the judiciary. That the opposition’s use of the judge’s arrest for inciting public protests was nothing more than political opportunism becomes clear in the fact that following Judge Abdulla’s release—on the same day that Nasheed was deposed—there has been no move to investigate the charges against him. Nor has President Waheed, taken any steps to initiate an investigation into the failures of the JSC. It is as if Judge Abdulla has no pending complaints of judicial misconduct against him, nor a criminal background. Exhausted by the ‘ordeal’ in which he seems to have had no role to play, he is now on a month-long holiday.

Phase Two: in the name of God and country

The two hundred or so members of the public who came out to protest against Judge Abdulla’s arrest for 22 consecutive nights were a motley crew. Some were there to defend extremism, others were there to defend the Constitution and demand the freedom of a politically biased, criminally convicted judge who remained on the bench in violation of the Constitution. It was their honestly held belief that reinstating a judge found guilty of political bias was the way to give themselves an independent judiciary. The rest were people who would protest the opening of an envelope, social deviants, and hired thugs egged on by opposition MPs and party leaders who incited them to continued violence daily for three weeks.

On 31 January, a week before Nasheed was forced to resign, the 23 December Alliance met in the wee hours of the morning. Presiding over the meeting was the President of Adhaalath Party Sheikh Imran Abdulla. At his side, displaying proudly the alliance between the political opportunists and the Islamists, is the Vice President of former president Gayoom’s new Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Umar Naseer. They both announced that since Nasheed had stepped outside of the boundaries of the constitution, their alliance had made a unanimous decision to pledge their allegiance to the Vice President. Their decision was reached, they said, after meeting with Vice President Waheed earlier that night. Umar Naseer, who had repeatedly incited violence during the weeks of protests, calmly called upon the armed forces of the country to refuse to obey any orders by their Commander in Chief Nasheed as he had ‘violated the Constitution.’ Umar Naseer appeared not to know—or not to care—that calling on the nation’s security forces to disobey their leader did not figure anywhere in the constitution either. Giving credence and weight to this call to unlawful acts, at least for those who were convinced Nasheed was also a heretic, was Sheikh Imran and other religious ‘scholars’.

Would the mutinying police and military officers that joined them have helped overthrow Nasheed’s government were they not convinced they were acting, not just for the country, but for Allah too? It is possible—for reports suggest that Allah was not the only God worshiped on that day; Mammon, too, commanded much devotion. Yet, it is Allah that the men in uniform who took over the state broadcaster with such violence thanked loudly for their success. ‘Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar!’ is what a band of military men marching on the streets of Male’ on that day were calling out in unison. It is Allah’s name that 2013 presidential candidate and owner of the Villa Resorts chain took when announcing Nasheed’s resignation to the public before it happened. One of the first acts of violence carried out on 8 February was the destruction of Buddhist relics from the pre-Islamic history of the Maldives dating back to the eleventh century. It is not the first time that Madivian Islamists have emulated the Taliban in their actions, and it will not be the last for many are disciples of the same form of Islam practised by the Taliban and several are alumni of the same madhrassas and universities Taliban leaders attended.

It cannot be denied that a large number of those who celebrated the departure of Nasheed were glad to see him go ‘because he violated the constitution.’ But those who do genuinely believe in the constitution, and are convinced that following it is the way forward for the country, know that deposing a democratically elected president by a coup is hardly constitutional. They are the many hundreds who have taken to the streets in ‘colourless’ protests—they are not supporters of MDP, nor necessarily of Nasheed. They, however, disagree with how the democratically elected leader has been forced out.

Apart from the diehard supporters of former president Gayoom and his allies, paid-for supporters of Gasim, and other tycoons who have the country’s politics in a stranglehold, the only people who remain jubilant at the overthrow of Nasheed are those convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that he was an anti-Islamic heretic. In helping depose him, in celebrating his departure, they have performed a religious duty. Replacing the haram Nasheed with the halal Waheed may not be democratic but it has assured them of a place in heaven. Little do they understand that, in this life, the rewards of their toil will be reaped not by them or their children but by those who have so shamelessly exploited their belief in Allah.

Phase Three?

President Waheed denies any knowledge of a coup, and refutes all allegations that he was party to the plot that forced Nasheed from office. Even if he is given the benefit of the doubt, and under the unlikely circumstance that he is, indeed, ignorant of the machinations of the politico-religious alliance that facilitated his assumption of office, he should be aware that his position is precarious indeed. The only reason he has been given the seal of approval, Adhaalath has made clear, is because he has not openly sided with Nasheed in his many stand-offs with the extremists. Reading between the lines of President Waheed’s utterances since assuming office, this was not out of choice—Nasheed did not allow him to participate in any decisions that mattered. This is, in fact, President Waheed’s biggest gripes against Nasheed, seemingly on a par with the deposed president’s unconstitutional arrest of the judge.

President Waheed has close to him as his Special Advisor Dr Hassan Saeed and as his Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed. Two leaders of the party that authored the pamphlet of hate against Nasheed. One of the ‘sins’ the pamphlet alleges former president Gayoom committed as a leader was not forcing his wife to cover-up, and not bringing his children in line with hard-line Islamic principles. For this, the pamphlet condemns Gayoom. President Waheed’s wife is guilty of the same ‘sin’, and his children, Western-educated and brought up in the United Sates, are unlikely to heed any paternal demands to toe an ultra-conservative Islamist line. At least one of his children is a liberal and an outspoken supporter of democracy. Already, President Waheed is treading a thin line.

It is only a matter of time before the Islamists begin re-instating their position, and President Waheed becomes the focus of their ire. It makes little sense for them to have brought down ‘Nasheed the Heretic’ if not for a promised bounty that is not yet known. In their 8 February press release, it quotes from Islamic teachings as saying:

‘It is the duty of every Muslim to wage a Jihad against those who apply any law other than that of Islamic Sharia. And, until such time as they have accepted Sharia and begun applying Sharia among the people, it is your duty to wage war against them. ‘

Clearly, the Islamists’ work has only begun. Would President Waheed, who describes himself as committed to democracy, allow Islamic extremism to further takeover the country and destroy hundreds of years of peaceful, traditional Maldivian Islam? Would he stand up for his principles? Or would he allow them to be sacrificed at the altar of his political ambitions? It remains to be seen. As do details of the deal that was done between political opportunists and the Islamists to ensure Nasheed the haram president was replaced by Waheed the halal president.

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]


72 thoughts on “Comment: Operation Haram to Halal – the Islamist role in replacing Nasheed with Waheed”

  1. great article and unbiased reporting. Nobody can refute the facts although Waheed Hassan Manik and his allies are trying to fool the entire world. thanks for writing Azra. Look forward to more. At this point we need all honest writers to come forth and express their views...

  2. So you call anyone who is anti-nasheed an extremist islamist r8 and any1 who is pro nasheed a moderate islamist?..Well than y divide along the lines of nasheed and maumoon who had a more radical stand against the fundamental islamists by putting them in prison and cutting of their beards and banned the use of the full veil!This is just MDP prpoganda to create fear among the educated youth that if they lose power there wil be strict imposition of fundamental version of Sharia law in the Maldives.Come to ur senses doctor and dont watse your energy writing such boring long senseless articles as there is a capable international grid that is doing good research and has a clear view of extremist and terrorism activities in the world and no one except Nasheed identifies it with the Maldives.
    As long as they dont radicalize and use violence and terror as a measure to enforce their ideology on others in the community even their views have to be respected in a so called free and fair democratic society and majority wins.I guess you would like a system like dat of maumoon better, only it has to be Nasheed in his position-dats ur democracy plain and simple.

  3. Once again a beautiful narrative. I suppose all the alcohol in the resorts have been replaced by zam zam water since 7 Feb 2012

  4. I am ashamed of these Adaalath people.
    If they are real and true Muslims - why do the allow liquor in resorts???? Why do they allow liquor in Hulhule Island Hotel?? Why has Maldives got the highest divorce rate in the world?? Why has Maldives got one of the highest drug uses in the world??? Why has Maldives got one of the highest smoking uses in the world?? Why has our country got one of the laziest set of people in the world? And all this began, I must admit, from the person I always supported - Gayoom. Why??? Also do you think the Adaalath politicians do not do unnessary stuff like drinking, playing around with women etc??? There is a lot I could say but been a Muslim, I am keeping quiet. We are a tolerant country and lets remain that way. I do not want other religions in our country. But lets not pretend that we are a true Islamic state. With so so so much of sin in our streets of Male - it is a shame.

  5. Everybody wants some kind of entertainment.

    This may look like something most do not want, but reality is it is.

    For now, Waheed to lead is the way. Give him some time, MDP will take over. More clash, more talk, more entertainment. Everybody loves it...

    simply because there is lack of any other form... sad...

  6. It is not Adhaalath Party that brought Anni's government down.
    It is Anni's foolishness that has done so.

  7. Excellent article, if only we had more great intellectuals like this, the country would be going in the right direction.

    Obviously the above article extends past your intellect threshold. Please point out in the article where Azra even indicates "anyone who is anti-nasheed an extremist islamist r8 and any1 who is pro nasheed a moderate islamist". What a load of nonsense.

    "This is just MDP prpoganda to create fear among the educated youth that if they lose power there wil be strict imposition of fundamental version of Sharia law in the Maldives"
    So you disagree that the fundamentalists are taking a hold on the country? Look around you. In just over 10 years they've converted a moderate Islamic society into something that resembles Pakistan. Where did all those veils and beards come from do you think? Just a fashion statement I suppose?

    "Come to ur senses doctor and dont watse your energy writing such boring long senseless articles as there is a capable international grid that is doing good research and has a clear view of extremist and terrorism activities in the world and no one except Nasheed identifies it with the Maldives."
    So a doctor in international relations should come to her senses? Need I say more? Please point us to some of this "good" international research to backup your nonsense.

    Another anti-MDP, PPM/DRP Coup Denier I suspect. Get real, you idiot. People like you should stop holding on to the past and start thinking progressively about what's best for the country.

  8. Another article to fool the visiting foreign investigators... Pls do not under-estimate them - They know about Maldives better than most of us.

  9. Bravo! Well researched! Well analyzed! Well written! Professional MATURE journalism!

  10. Our Prophet said: Zayd Ibn Thabit visited the Khalifa Mu'aawiya (more than 30 years after the Prophet's death), and told him a story about the Prophet. Mu'aawiya liked the story and ordered someone to write it down. But Zayd said, "The messenger of God ordered us never to write anything of his Hadith." (Reported by Ibn Hanbal)

  11. So brothers and sisters in Maldives believe in Allah and his book only.

    This scholars like Illiyas and Shaheem will ask you to go to scholars to find out the true meaning of Islams and when they talk about when you here what prophet said this or that it all lies.

    Prophet forbid to write anything other than Allah Prescribed for us.

  12. There is not one single Hadhith that is Hundred per cent correct, follow Quran and Allan alone, rest are all rubbish.

  13. when people like Sheik Shake talk in Hadhis don't believe em.

    Prophet Mahamed said don't write what ever I say.

    Write only what Allah says

  14. Within a short span of 200 years from the Prophet's death (only 130 years from the lifting of the ban) there were over 600,000 Hadith's floating around at the time of Bukhari which were all attributed to the Prophet. Bukhari himself admitted to spending nearly 40 years studying the Hadith's and could only verify the chain of transmission from 1.24% of the total!.

    In other words all Hadhith crap.

  15. @ibra on Sat, 18th Feb 2012 6:58 PM

    "Pls do not under-estimate them – They know about Maldives better than most of us."

    Do you know why or ever wondered why? I'll tell you; it's because they use their God given brain cells for a good use!

  16. It was clear to me from the beginning, the coup was a religious issue.
    I have heard so much of nonsense talk from Maldivians on Nasheed, what he has reportedly done against Islam etcetc, that the nature of the coup was clear.

    As I have pointed out earlier, what is happening in Maldives at present, is nothing else but reflecting the problems, the whole Islamic world is in.
    This means the nosedive has started.

    The proportion of educated, liberal people against illiterate islanders and Fundamentalists is already too high, as this coming crash could be tolerated in peace. Revolutions and unrest will become daily events in Maldives. A setback in tourism, if not the total crash, is sure to come. There is not the slightest doubt about.

    Massive support came from tourism-people like Gasim, whose IQ is not sufficient to judge the consequences of his doing. Nevertheless he must not be surprised if Sun Island or his yellow planes are burning one day.

    The Maldives are in the process of crash. Also Nasheed has to be blamed because of his liberal mind not fitting to the country. In this sense the coup was even democratic, because it truly reflects the majority of the illiterate and radicalized citizen.

  17. President Moahmed Nasheed Anni's public denial to the rulings prescribed in the Quran and going beyond to ridicule the life of Prophet Mohamed[PBUH] was the reason for public outrage against him.

  18. Excellent article Dr Azra .. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it.. Don't be bothered with the comments of people like Jawaahirlal..who failed to understand your language. The people who preach religion in this country has no clear beliefs of Islam. The so called religious party .. adhalath is a cult group spreading extremist, selfish behavior which belongs to no religion at all. We the educated, rationale Maldivian knows it while they can brainwash the naive. They have no future in this country because we will not let them spread this cult behavior in this country.. the religious cults will fail....

  19. Dear Azra (or Ex President Nasheed)

    It was not the islamist that toppled Nasheed government (mind you it was not a MDP government, but a core of 10 people in MDP controling the party dictatorially)! Nasheed brought this to himself because of his and his elite groups intoxication and foolishness! It was too late when Nasheed got his senses and now he is bahaving like a kid crying "mama I lost my presidency"!
    Nasheed, Mariya, Sarangu Adam, Rekko Moosa got too greedy and started milking from dry ducks of business and ordinary citizens which caused this government to fall!
    1- Nasheed arrested Judge Abdulla without any due legal process and forgot what Gayoom did to him(Nasheed when he was an MP and before)!! He forgot what he stood for! He started to show his dictatorial powers too soon!!
    2. Nasheed started to enjoy (with Alcohol and girls & boys) at the president areas while the defence and police were witnessing it!!
    3. He became too arrogant and proud! His key cabinet minister became too lazy and careless (like Aslam and Naseem)!
    4. Started to bend rules and break laws for his party thugs like Jaa and gangs!

  20. @G\\\\\
    "In other words all Hadhith crap."

    No scientist or educated Muslim takes the hadith serious.They form however the Sunna and Sharia, be aware of that fact.

    The Muslim world is not expanding, as many believe, it is getting radical and therefore more visible.
    What is called "Sunni" nowadays is practically wahhabism. Radical Sunni, however, have in fact abandoned quran in favor of a doubtful Sunna based on hadiths.

    Also Maldives have turned wahhabi. This means the end of any hope for a couple of decades for the country.

    With the DR.of philosophy, Mr, Waheed, the march back into dark history hast started.
    He will be remembered in history is that one, the crash of Maldives, cultural and economic, has started with.

  21. @marie
    1) Anni was left with no choice. Your talking about a chief judge, hand-picked by the Gayoom regime that was able to stop an independent institution (the JSC) halt its own investigation against him. This is absurd in a democracy, this is unheard of. Before shovelling out your verbal diorrhea, you should look into the facts of his actions. He is a democratically elected president voted by the people. He is fighting for an independent judiciary for the people, and that includes you pee brain. Having been left with no choice he removed the judge from the bench after the JSC ruled that he was guilty of some of the charges brought against him. If he were to allow such behaviour to go on, none of the crooks from the old regime would ever be brought to justice as they all hide behind a blatant corrupt judiciary. The fact is, most of the judges in the country are under-qualified to be judges and were meant to be removed as part of article 285 within 2 years of the constitution. That did not happen so every one of them are sitting on the bench illegally. So if Anni should be removed (illegally removed that is), you would agree surely that all these unqualified judges that are still sitting on the bench, including convicted criminals like judge abdulla mohammed should be legally removed too?
    2) Bullsh&t.
    3) Bullsh&t.
    4) Bullsh&t.

  22. My opinion we don't have honest sheiks in Maldives, most of the sheiks are product of Qasim Ibraahim, they work for money and they always play huge roll to change the government. they use to sell islamic words for the benefit of their personal life. specially Terrorist Imraan is the most fake extremist, i hate him.

  23. @basher

    shows ur intellectual level,'read the heading'..the article is potraying Nasheed as a moderate islamist and host of many other maldivian civilians as people who side with extremists....fundamentals may be taking over by the exterior projections of men and women in the society but fundamentalism in islam is a matter of opinion which i am sure u wont be the best judge of.What i suggested is that these people watever is their beleif are not radicals as in Pakistan promoting violence and terrorism for the international community to be concerned and without any basis to that you can't go about making allegations about ur next door neighbour's because they have a beard!....However they form a significant portion of a '100% islamic state' according to the constitution...Nasheed had no mandate to engage with israel and refuse a vote for Palestine which all Maldivians would have wanted..The maldivains' support for palestine is just as a fan supports his favorite football team and they have no power or intention to challenege the authority of israel but by expressing their opinion in a vote as a soverign state in the for businessmen rising against nasheed, the economic state of affairs of the country was apparent to all with MDP thugs personally making radical threats inclduing the presidents spokesperson against established individuals.Nasheed was acting against the electorate who in the first place voted for him to get equality and freedom for their choice of life,thus he got what he deserved,which would have happened in any democratic country as you can't act against the people for the benefit of a group of people...As for Dr.Azra, it is good a Maldivian is taking the pains to research the spread of Saudi desert culture but wil only help if the bias is removed otherwise she wil end up only going about in circles and challenging democracy at the end of the day.

  24. Ms. Azra. Could this be a stunt competition..?

    Nasheed has been doing political stunts (mass cabinet cabinet resignations, under water meetings, first carbon state, film on climate change, notice of moving Maldivians to Australia etc, to name a few...)

    To match the stunt challenge became a tall order for opposition in the end.

    So they had to bring a military coup and market it abroad as a resignation. Opposition just topped Nasheed in PR stunts. Now it is up to Nasheed.

  25. MDP needs Adhaalath more than they need MDP now. Try villifying the shuyookh and the ulema of islam and see how you fair in elections.

    My own personal opinion is that minivan contributed a great deal to the downfall of Anni by helping the kuffar villify islam on this platform. Anni was cozy to atheists and kaafirs for respecting freedom of expression and he lost the track. More rounds of bashing islam will not increase MDP voter base. IT will decrease.

  26. is whaheed making fun of Anni. This is from Presidents website.

    I can understand whilst it is easy to march your forces to the top of the hill, it is much harder to march them down again. I also understand that at this critical juncture in our country's history that showing strong leadership can be challenge.

  27. Great article, eye opening. Ignorant nonsense spreading mullahs go away.please Let people live in message Specially to that imran moron and kinky shuaib is "go away". Can we ship these freaks in a jumbo box to vaziristan.

    Shamless creatures..

  28. why you guys so hat about Muslims ? All Muslims are not extremist and all Jeweish are not bad either . Whether Jeweish, Christian or Musilims, you all need to respect each other and do not try to banned Muslims and this will never happen even if you want.

  29. ey idrees. Islam doesnt need your priests (shuyookh) and clergy(ulema). Go back to Saudi Arabia. Islam is between Man and Allah - we dont need your priests and mullahs to serve as intermediaries. That is shirk.

  30. Digest it now, all these headless people will try to open their freaking mouth but no one will listen to any of them.
    We will deliver our promises as you all can see .Believe in your eyes all the shaitans!.
    We will put all of them behind bars that’s where they belongs! Had enough from all those terror organization idiots. No terrorist will flourish on the face of earth.They will be squeezed from all sides.

  31. @ Sheikh Imran Abdullah (Is this really you? Your name is linked to Adaalath website so I am assuming this is you.)

    In the Adaalath Website it states that the only condition under which Muslims can come out against their leader is if he leaves the religion.
    So are you essentially saying that President Mohamed Nasheed is an apostate?
    Do please enlighten us with your great wisdom as to why you say so.

    As far as I can see you have been spreading more hatred and division among Maldivians than preaching religion. Don't be so arrogant as to assume that you are a better muslim than Nasheed when you have been spreading such hatred among us and is acting deaf, dumb and blind when your fellow Muslim sisters and brothers were brutally beaten on the streets. You are still backing a government that would not even admit to their atrocities committed in broad daylight, infront of thousands. And you equate burning buildings to spilling Muslim blood so casually on your website it is completely unacceptable.

    In the current situation we have absolutely no one to turn to apart from President Nasheed to seek justice and put a stop to this.

    Sure Nasheed is ignorant when it comes to religion, but your knowledge in religion is being abused to justify your intolerance, hatred and jealousy towards Nasheed and others as far as I can see.
    I fear that your actions are actually pushing more people away from seeking religious knowledge as you act like as though your view and that of Adaalath scholars are the only true interpretation of Islam. There are many scholars in Maldives who does not share your harsh views of President Nasheed but as your voice seems to be the loudest at the moment even they are being muddied in the process.
    Take Dr. Bari as an example and act with more humility. What ever people seem to think of him, I bet no one can say they have been badmouthed or slandered by him and he speaks with humility and sincerity.

    Your actions so far certainly does not reflect that of our beloved Prophet(SAW)as he was known to even show respect to disbelievers. Which you can't seem to do even for a fellow misguided brother in Islam. As far as I can see President Nasheed has never spoken so harshly against you publicly so the least you can do is show the same curtsey.

    None of us knows what are fate is going to be, so don't pass judgement on others. If you feel that Nasheed lacks knowledge then enlighten him respectfully and pray for him instead of joining people like Gasim, Yameen and Gayyoom who seem to be equally if not more, ignorant as Nasheed is about religion.
    Anyways Nasheeds actions so far has shown that he certainly has more humanity and empathy for others than the rest of you.

    Allah knows best.
    I pray for you, President Nasheed and all of us that we be guided to the true path and our hearts be united.

  32. @Basher

    Shows the level of journalism in the article, just like 'beauty lies in the eyes of the person who see's' any international investigation this article itself would provide enough evidence that Nasheed had lost people's support n resigned and coup could be re-named people's revolution for all u knw....i rest my case...ciao

  33. Brother Imran, please do not drink and post. You make us look even worse!

  34. Again a great article by Azra and I am really proud of her having the courage in writing such article. I with full enthusiasm read every single word because it is based on true facts. Thanks so much Azra writing such article

  35. To put it as simply as possible: I am not a Muslim.[...] I do not accept the charge of apostacy, because I have never in my adult life affirmed any belief, and what one has not affirmed one can not be said to have apostasized from. The Islam I know states clearly that 'there can be no coercion in matters of religion'. The many Muslims I respect would be horrified by the idea that they belong to their faith purely by virtue of birth, and that a person who freely chose not to be a Muslim could therefore be put to death. [Salman Rushdie, "In Good Faith", 1990]

  36. Great article. Thank you Azra for your unbiased, well researched & clear writing. We need more voices like yours.

  37. On 7 February 2012 democratically elected government of the Maldives were brought down by a coup d’tat. After realizing the gravity of what they have done, the coup leaders are maintaining two contradictory arguments.

    The arguments
    1. “It was not a coup. He resigned on his own will through people’s pressure. “
    A picture of Anni signing the resignation letter and audios of his last commands doesn’t mean it was not a coup. I think it was his good thinking even in the last moment that saved his life. That is to announce his resignation in the president’s office.
    If there were so much people pressure for him to resign, why didn’t we see so many people on the streets rejoicing? In fact it was the other way round. People came out against the coup.

    2. “ The government is corrupt, He is incompetent, uses alcohol and drugs, does not respect Islam, respects other religions etc. “
    If people believed so, they should have waited for 2013 elections to defeat MDP or impeached Anni in the parliament. Whether Anni wins or is beaten in the next election, the fact remains that he was forced to resign.

    Coup leaders and Sponsors
    If the coup leaders, sponsors and participants thought they could get away with it they were wrong. They left evidence everywhere.
    • The not so clever ones - Nazim, Abdulla Riyaz and Fairooz were out the very day.
    • The National Broad Casting Center was taken over by the police and handed over to VTV as the coup unfolded.
    • Next day Gasim bragged that he spent 60 out of the 80 million to sponsor the coup.
    • Two days later Umar Naseer said he was in the command center.
    • Five days later one more of the sponsors, Waheedhudeen agreed to be the Vice President.
    • Yamin controls MNDF and Police. He takes the final decision.
    • Hassan Saeedh became the advisor for Baghee President.
    • Jameel is the Baaghee Home Minister.
    • Thasmeen as always lying low.
    • Imran and Adhalath still fighting for Ministry of Education, Foreign Affairs and Finance. They think Islamic Ministry is only to read sermons.
    • Jamir has not allowed to Dhiyana to accept a post because he did not get Home Affairs.
    • The rest of the main sponsors, Champa brothers, Crown Saleem and Nazeer are believed to be very afraid.

    People who knew and did nothing to save the nation.
    • Some of the top officers of the MNDF and police.
    • Speaker of the people’s majlis
    • Senior people at president’s office
    • Prominent lawyers and judges
    • Leaders of small political parties.
    • Bribed Indian High Commissioner Mr. Mulay.

    This is not about Anni or the MDP. This is about robbing the people of this nation of their constitutional rights. I pray to Allah that someday these traitors will face justice.

  38. guiding principle for Muslims are Quran and Sunnah, not just Quran alone. Only Sunnah guides us to put Quran into practice. A perfect code for personal life, cohesion of community and nation building and international development and collaboration.Shed ignorance and understand Islam. Quran and Sunnah are being protected by Allah as proclaimed by Quran itself. Means something to people free from illusions and those who embrace reason.

  39. @ The Crime of the Century

    Thanks for this inside information. So the Indian HC Mr. Mulay was bribed. You missed to mention the US Government and the UN too. Qasim must have paid them too, say a couple of Millions.


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