Comment: We think violence is okay

This government clearly has every kind of trouble imaginable when it comes to the religious front. We have extremists, conservatives, suspected missionaries, Taliban freedom fighters, Afghan parliamentarians, jihadists, and zealots of every denomination. So what is the government doing about it?

This government is led by some of the most liberal minds in the country. But that is to their detriment. They cannot make liberal policies because they will be attacked for it. They are constantly threatened, warned, and then shunned by the conservative community. The only reason Adhaalath tolerates MDP is because MDP has fundamentalists like Fareed, and Adhaalath is getting their own ministry as a result of that tolerance.

But that does not seem to be enough. So now, the only way to get these people (meaning conservatives and not just Adhaalath) on our side seems to be to ensure that there is no doubt as to the fact that we will not unduly prosecute them – even if justice demands it.


When the Himandhoo residents attacked the police with knives, batons, and rocks they crossed the line. They chose violence. We cannot tolerate violence in any form. If they had blocked entry and sat in front of the mosque in non-violent protest, then this would be a different story. But that was not the case.

I’ve written about the human rights which must be afforded prisoners and today I want to remind everyone that these rights apply to our police officers as well. We all know members of the armed services, and we know them to be diligent, caring and disciplined citizens. And though there are institutional problems, they deserve to have the support of the people for working towards the lawful protection of the nation. When the Himandhoo residents attacked them, they crossed the line.

Mr President, I have a tremendous amount of love and respect for you, but this is not something that members of the liberal community can find acceptable. Even though we understand the reasons for it, there needs to be more due process, if for no other reason than to honor the policemen who were forced to go up against them.

How can the Himandhoo residents just be released again? These are residents from an island which has been heavily influenced by Lashkar-e-Taiba, the largest terrorist group in our region. They constantly violate human rights, create a repressive environment, and allow child abuse in the form of underage marriage. They actually picked up arms against the government in defense of a radical and conservative ideology. Will a simple workshop convince them of the error of their ways? No.

Violence is okay

Instead we will send a message to the conservative community that their actions were okay. That it was understandable. I mean, they were only defending a mosque right? Only defending their holy place. So it is okay right? No. It is not okay. They blocked entry and threatened other Muslims. The police could have easily taken off their shoes and entered the premises in a respectful manner, but instead the Himandhoo residents chose violent confrontation.

Many specific mosques are becoming places that are forbidden to many of us now. Even in Male’ – many mosques are hostile to certain people praying in them and all forbid women from the main spaces. One of the first moves the Islamic Ministry made was to shut down all women’s mosques. And where was the backlash?

Those of us who do nothing are sending the message that this kind of action is okay. And this message is being spearheaded by government policy. Recently we released nine Maldivians who were arrested on the Waziristan-Afghanistan border.

When the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was questioned about this, Shaheed said that “if we release anybody, it is because our laws require them to be released.” So then why were these people repatriated in the first place without any accompanying documentation of charges? If they have not been tried or convicted, then why are they not formally charged before being released? Why did Shaheed allow them to be brought to the Maldives without any investigation in their actions or collaboration with the Pakistani government? Why did he not seek information about the three Maldivians who died in Pakistani custody? And finally, why did he pass the buck to the Maldivian Police Service saying that the Maldives Police Service had determined that “the best thing to do was to release them to their families and put them under surveillance”, while their activities abroad were investigated?

So do the Police now have an international investigative unit? Do they have the money and capacity to pull off this kind of investigation? No. These people are the rest of our problem now. That we are repatriating our would-be jihadists is apparently of no concern. That Lashkar-e-Taiba is active in Himandhoo (and anywhere else in Maldives) is also apparently no big deal.

Against extremism

Though appeasement does seem to be rampant, at least we have been making some headway against fundamentalism. The rapidly formalised defense agreement with India was aimed at protecting our boarders from terrorism. The Maldives was a focus because Lashkar-e-Tabia, who was responsible for the Mumbai Terrorist attacks, as well as being linked to the Sultan Park Bombing and Himandhoo, is obviously active in our country. We have also objected, very mildly, to having Afghans come for official negotiations without informing the government beforehand.

All in all, we release violent jihadists and the Himandhoo residents. With Shaheem, from the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, on the delegation who visited them, it’s quite obvious that this is a religious issue and not just a matter of the previous government “treating them unfairly.” It is an active policy of appeasement towards the conservative religious community. But toward what end? Maybe it is because there are so many of them that we can no longer stand against them. Maybe we are finally giving in to the threats and warnings. Maybe it is just so we have a little bit of support and cooperation. Or maybe it is so they don’t blow up the Holiday Inn once it finally gets issued its liquor license.

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22 thoughts on “Comment: We think violence is okay”

  1. "Extremism" is a word cut and placed into your head when you were growing up. It is hard for people who have grown up in western minded ways to think rationally. Rather than attacking the people, its hard for western minds to attack the roots of a problem which in many cases are they themselves..

  2. Our president has endless courage when it comes to global warming and making a general fuss about how "free" the country is now a days. When it comes to dealing with inconsistencies within his own regime; he acts like a powerless child. For some reason it has gotten into his head that he must suck up to Adhaalath; no matter what they do.

    I believe the current mentality of the government is "we'll get to it tomorrow, it doesn't really effect us higher ups anyways". This isn't enough as those extremist forces are getting stronger and stronger each day.

    The truth of "Aneh Dhivehi Raajje" / "Another Maldives" is becoming true.

    On one had we have what the government shows the outside world. A liberal, peace loving country, blessed with moderate, tolerant, accepting and kind hearted individuals. A place where freedom exists and opinions can be expressed.

    The reality though isn't that Utopian. The biggest problem I have with the extremists is that they're in the government. Their word has the potential to become law.

    In other words, forced religion. A version of Islam twisted to their own liking. Choice will no longer exist to choose a more moderate path. What people believe in the privacy of their own homes is no ones business; but once you try to force a set of rigid beliefs on an entire nation, I believe that is crossing the line.

    If we continue down this path,in the end we'll all either act like them; or carry the labels and penalties of infidels.

  3. At least Salim has the guts to stand against these arab invaders. nobody else stands up to them or will do so until they're chopping off hands in majeedhee magu. by then it will be too late and maldives will be a colonial outpost of saudi arabia

  4. Jeff,

    Firstly, I admire your courage and your conviction to write about this issue so passionately. On the basic issue of the dangers of rising extremism in the country, I whole heartedly agree with you, but I fear that you have overlooked certain things in your latest piece. Forgive me, this is going to be very fragmented.

    From what I know, the reason why the 9 Maldivians detained in Waziristan were not charged when they were brought back to Maldives is because there is no legislation to charge them with. The only terrorism act we have is the one pager that was used in the last 20 years or so to convict political prisoners of treason for acting out against the former government. We wanted democracy, separation of powers, rule of law, unfortunately we still dont have enough of it! No penal code, evidence act, etc. Legislation is the priority.

    I too was shocked when I read about the President's plans to give clemency/reduce the sentences of the Himandhoo convicts. His reasoning that they were young men, who were needed in their communities, was not good enough for me. In fact, I fear that they may be more extremist now that they were when first convicted, but it is true that they didnt get a free trial, and were abused. So my liberal compass is confused on this one. Is there a possibility of religious rehabilitation? Let hope so. It is definitely not about giving appeasing the conservatives. Himandhoo was a bad incident for them, that type of violence reinforced the Talbian like qualities people like us like to associate with every other long bearded short trousered Sheikh around, and that doesnt bode well with the actual non-violent/non extreme conservatives, because lets be fair, there are some of those too.

    To my knowledge Sheikh Fareed is not MDP any longer, but he was one of those individuals that rose to prominence during the height of the reform process in 2004. He was one of those voices who spoke out against the former government and used religion to do it. At that time, no one was differentiating between the length of his trousers or the length of his beard, as long as he was shouting Maumoon Isthiufaa along with everyone else. Maybe that was a mistake. Admittedly the freedoms that came about from the reform process have given extremists more space to disseminate their ideas, but that wasnt the battle of the day. It may be now.

    I also dont believe that it is Adhaalath tolerating MDP. The only reason MDP tolerates Adhaalath is because they genuinely believe their extremism will be harder to monitor if they are working outside of government. I dont know how true this is, maybe the government are being naive as you say, or maybe this is not a fight they feel they have to fight. Have enough people voiced their concerns? Has anyone publicly protested against Adhaalath, Salaf? I've heard the reasons for why it doesnt happen- they are violent, they are threatening, no one wants to seem like they are against 'Islam'. The last reason, for Maldivian politicians, extremely valid, and if people dont explicitly ask their politicians to question these policies, why should they? So the debates, and the discussions are run by us armchair critics on the pages of Minivan News/Facebook/Mvblogs, while Ali Rameez releases another Madaha album and converts another gaggle of giggling girls into a kalhu buruga brigade.

    Ultimately the issue of extremism in Maldives, comes down to the unfortunate use of a Bush/Blair era cliche - 'the struggle for values'. There are those of us, who are vehemently against the Salafi ideologies of Shaheem, Fareed et al, but we dont have the religious clout or the organisation to back it up or counter it, and whether you like it or not, you need that to assure people that you are genuine.

  5. This is an ideological issue. Aggression and military methods are historically proven to be counter productive. The Islamist Extreme ideas only flourish in crisis times. Maldives is largely transitioning to a peaceful place from dictatorship.
    The best way to tackle the extremism is through soft approaches. I support President Nasheed and Islamic Ministry policy on this.

  6. Thanks to "Loamaafaanu" for providing some perspective to most of the issues in the article.

    In the current political climate, the actions that the government could take against extremists are quite limited.

    More could come with laws and awareness and a common will by all liberal-minded individuals across political parties to address it.

    I believe President Nasheed is addressing it as much as he can within the law.

    However, there are few times when some of those non-MDP members in Nasheed's cabinet have let the extremists carry on their agendas.

    I believe extremism in Maldives can only be tackled by a collective voice - such as an NGO, a movement, etc.

    But it seems we lack people who have the required information and the strength to come out and speak out openly against the nonsense these extremists preach.

    Opinions, blogs, facebook, etc., are not enough as said before.

    And I believe this is a fact that the extremists and we all know.

  7. fundamentalism is not the problem. but the problem is, in which area you are becoming a fundamentalist.
    fundamentalism means a person who adhere to the fundamentals of a particular subject. A mathematician can't become a good mathematician without practicing the fundamentals of maths.
    so if we want to judge a person we have to check in which field he is a fundamentalist.
    suppose we had a fundamentalist doctor, whose profession is to save life and on the other hand we had a fundamentalist robber, whose profession is to robe.............
    usually in political science "fundamentalism in religion" is thought. even the authors like Andrew Heywood talks about fundamentalism in his book "politics" .
    these people who talk and write about Islam doesn't know Islam. they had very little knowledge about Islam......... they authors book about Islam only by studying some Islamic societies which really are not.
    for example they say that Islam prohibits women being given education.
    but the fact is that people are being diverted from Islam. cox Islam says gain knowledge, in the very first revelation to prophet "ikrau" means "read and recite", so for both men and women should gain knowledge, so it is obligatory in Islam to gain knowledge.
    Islam means peace. it does not promote violence and even doesn't support violence.
    the problems is that we are afraid to be fundamentalist and to be called as fundamentalist even though the fundamentals of Islam promote peace and serenity. it doesn't say that go and kill the innocent Human being so that you could go to heaven. but it says that if you kill an innocent person you have killed the whole of humanity.
    but we refuse to believe this facts or these principle of Islam. otherwise why we are not following it.
    in reality we are away from fundamentalism of Islam.

  8. anybody who wrote this article, don't you remember how many times MDP terrorist .. sorry activists attacked police officers in everywhere in this country with anything they can but you call them human rights activists and when it comes to religion you call them terrorists .. you know the difference with religious people is that they are not coward as these political fundamentalist or rather terrorists, if they go they will fight for the course, and why did maumoon send police and army there? for me this issue could have been resolved the ministries by dialogue .. yes there might be people who should be behind bars even in that community but for me there much great danger in this country from these gang violence and killings, these gangs have at least killed 7 or 8 children .. so please don't twist and turn the public from the real picture , even though your are a good writer

  9. Firstly I have to start with agreeing with Hambi in regards to the misunderstanding of the English word fundamentalism. Many who speak english and learn liberal thinking from english text books seems to not have had any time to look at a dictionary for a detailed meaning of the word. Hence, again it atleast shows me that their arguments and accusations are publicized without any research into a subject. When people have open debates, they usually do research right? But it seems that there are some that feels that as long as they believe their way of thinking is correct, they do not have to explain anything to anyone with facts. Instead their opinions and words should be taken as facts. Mostly I see this from the liberal minds, which is a disadvantage to them since most of the articles and accusations are from them.

    In the article above, on the third paragraph - it seems to suggest that there is a "justice" which clearly demands the imprisonment or restrictions on conservatives, be it a party or individual. However, no sources are given to proof that this form of "justice" exist since if it does, surely it should be written somewhere since laws that represent the justice system are approved and written in each country's justice system. If the source if from an ideology such as liberalism, secularism or communism, a source would still make the argument placed by the writer as more solid. Hope the writer can assist on this so that people can learn more on his view and judge if it is sound or questionable.

    In the idea that Muslims should follow Ghandi's non-violence move when it comes to challenging an army sent by a Dictator is disturbing at least to me. Firstly Ghandi was not a Muslim, nor a Prophet. Hence I he would be last on my list.

    If taken in ideological and geographical view, political activists who have studied different movements of various types in countries and regions around the world and in time, would understand that one type of movement might not necessarily fit another, nor conform to the teachings of another, nor be appropriate depending on the level of tension, etc.

    Ghandi might have had some effect in India during his time and situation, however again in my opinion from what I have read, did not his actions also inevitably split the country into two, whereby the Muslims had to leave their homes which they grew up in and belonged to for years before, in order to create a new country called Pakistan. Not to mention that these two countries have been fighting ever since which includes killings on both sides till today. So I do not know why people consider it successful.

    I do agree that non-violence demonstrations can be used in some circumstances and I have taken part in many while studying in UK, but again it depends on the situation. It is not for me to say if the actions taken should be non-violence or not. It is the decision of the organizers of the demonstration or the movement. At the G8 demonstrators many of us would join the more aggressive demos because fact is non-violent demos do not scare politician these days. Especially the democratic ones.

    I personally like the Civil Rights activist Malcolm X who is a Muslim convert and had a big impact in US eventhough western media were more likely to show the successes of the non-muslim activist martin luther.

    "Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery."
    -Malcolm X, Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    "There is nothing in our book, the Koran, that teaches us to suffer peacefully. Our religion teaches us to be intelligent. Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery. That’s a good religion."

    -"Message to the Grass Roots," speech, Nov. 1963, Detroit (published in Malcolm X Speaks, ch. 1, 1965).

    Lastly before finishing on this comment, I would like to address the misconception again due to the lack of research on the topic by Mariyam on her comment which seems to indicate that when conervative Islam grows it means the Arabs are going to invade, etc. This misunderstanding which ties the Arabs as the superiority of our religion. Did you know that there are more Muslims in China then in Saudi Arabia. Also there are more Muslims in Indonesia compared to the whole of Middle East. These are just some interesting facts which questions why you have connected being Arab so closely with Islam, when our religion was made for all tribes and colours. Below is one source, but pls do give some time to look for your own sources.

    In addition, if you look at the news and middle east history or more specifically, Arab history, you will see that majority of Arabs sadly takes nationalism before Islam due to the spread of Nationalism after the end of colonialism in the region. Ofcourse Islam prohibits nationalism since it considers all Muslims as brothers and not by nation, race or language.

  10. Jeff - might be worth researching the appeal of what you call 'extremism'. Firstly, what is the definition of 'extremism' as it relates to Islam? Is this different from 'militancy'? And who is a 'liberal'? In order to address a problem it is the root or cause that needs to be found and neutralised, wouldn't you agree?

    If memory serves well, Himandhoo residents had been complaining for a while that the official mosque in the island was build over a burial site. Also, a year before the incident that you write about, government forces had torn down a mosque that the some residents had built on an alternative site. Not to mention that there was a lot of oppression and ill treatment of men of peace and education over many years, all in an effort to bring the threat of 'extremism' under control.

    Perhaps the government is attempting to address the issue holistically under the prevailing status quo.

  11. Salim and men in particular,

    You could probably gage the pulse of a nation by interacting with its women. If they are fundamentally what they were; even within the buruga; all is probably well with the world.

  12. great article.....
    the extemists will use democracy as a tool to establish the worst form of government imaginable...
    thought this government if not the democratic party would be promoting human values,liberty and democracy...I was dead wrong...

  13. so ur daddy should be the prez & u can be pretend ghassan... then u can arrest and send all the bad mullahs to guantanamo for daddy's american friends to take care of them properly, unlike the weak & appeasing govt of maldives... then you & daddy can open the new vatican embassy in the maldives... maybe we could change back to a kingdom like golhaa tried & u can be the crown prince?
    however nicely put... bull shit is bull shit... first learn about the country and its history before just writing shit...

  14. Dear everyone,

    Thank you for commenting. Firstly, to one of the most recent comments, I would like to say that, no - I'm not trying to be Ghassan. I'm not trying to be anything. My father is already the Vice-President, and when I criticize the government, a portion of that blame falls on him as well. I also can have no official place in Maldives, as explained here: - To criticize religious issues at all is one of the most dangerous things a a politician can do and does not reflect well on my father's politics. So none of this is for gain. I speak knowing full well how people will use it against him, because somethings just needs to be said. Silence in our nation is not something that can continue.

    I know our history and our politics and how people manage politics. But this is not about just manging things. There comes a time when people need to stand up for what is just and right. And I am trying to protect our history, our culture and our heritage. Salafism is against all of this. I stand against all conservative religious establishments, including the Vatican. And I am not on the Former President's side. My family has bled for the democratic movement, and I will do what I can to protect it.

    I'm not here to argue about the nuances of the word fundamentalism. I do differentiate between Fundamentalism (which i equate with Extremism) and conservatism. I believe that the latter leads to the former, and therefore those of us who advocate a just, democratic, free, and fair society would do well to taken notice and action against the conservative trends in our nation.

    Dear Nuzhath, our culture makes having platonic friendships between sexes extremely difficult. Women and men in our nation are no longer taught to respect each other, to form bonds based on equal relationships, and engage with each other in progressive ways. We don't have a culture of dating, which i would advocate in order to address all the reasons why we have the HIGHEST DIVORCE RATE IN THE WORLD. All this is exacerbated by conservative thought and ideology.

    Dear Shaya Ali, you are absolutely right. We do need a collective movement. We need people to stop being afraid of speaking up against conservatism. That what these articles are all about. The President is not doing all he can "within the law." He's doing all he can in the context of his place in Maldivian politics - namely, that he is the most liberal politician in the nation. Because of this he actively avoids religious issues, and our government has adopted an active policy of appeasement. I understand his reasons, but do not accept them. The issues outlined is simply not acceptable. (Lomaafaanu's "context" is addressed below)

    Dear Lomaafaanu,

    Firslty, if Fareed has left MDP, let me apologize profusely for associating him with MDP. Though I'm a member of GIP (Gaumee Itthihaad Party) I support MDP's overarching philosophies and what it represents whole heartedly.

    As for the repatriated Maldivians - we do have some legislation, as what was used for the Sultan Park Bombers. But yes, it is extremely lacking, and without a penal code, legislation, and the means to charge these people, they should have never been repatriated. We should ALL be outraged that these people were not charged, and while Parliamentarians might need to carry some of the blame for not passing the necessary legislation, the government is responsible for the protection of the citizenry and our image abroad. Releasing terrorists is not a good look.

    With the Himandhoo Residents, not being given a free trial is grounds for a re-trail. Not clemency. Yes they were abused in jail, but that means that the institutions which abused them needs to be brought to account. It does not mean that they are absolved of their abuses, of violently attacking the police services and the government by extension. Violence can never be tolerated.

    I believe that conservatives are nonviolent. If they advocate violence, than they are fundamentalists/extremists. But the release of all these prisoners are being praised and defended by the conservative community, and the interaction between the two groups (government and the conservative population) can only be defined as appeasement - at least in part.

    MDP and Adhaalath both tolerate each other. Yes, the government does believe that extremism would be harder to monitor when it is not institutionalized. However, is institutionalizing it - making it part of the system - the best response? Monitoring it - but not countering it is not okay. Not considering the current direction our nation is taking. I don't think they are naive. They are just picking and choosing their battles - and this is not one of the battles they chose. I understand that, and disagree profoundly.

    You are so right. You can see it in many of the posts in this website. Anyone who criticizes conservatism is seen to be "attacking Islam." The conversation about Islam in Maldives is dominated by the conservatives. So everyone is too scared to speak up against the new developing status quo. They are afraid of repercussions and being branded "unIslamic" the way many people are now branding me for refuting violence and linking violence with conservative philosophies.

    We do not have the organization to back up liberal and moderate values of Islam. We don't have the capacity to counter extremism. But we have scholars from around the world who do believe in liberal polices and values. Values that are more consistent with our traditionally liberal heritage and culture. Values that ensure we wont loose our musical and artistic heritage.

    But people like Salih Yucel tried to preach in Maldives, but was frustrated by the religious establishment, whose conservatism is so ingrained in our institutions (after less than a year) - that he did not feel safe in this country. This is very much a struggle for the values of our nation. For freedom, equality, justice, and true democratic development.

    Thanks again for the continued comments.

    ~ Salim Waheed

  15. Very well written Jeff. Any article related to religion is bound to create disagreement... I agree with you on every aspect and believe that this threat exists in Maldives (however you may wish to address it- extremism/ fundamentalism) and that if we do not voice against this now its going to create havoc for liberal minded FREE Maldivians as ourselves.

    Looking forward to more articles from you and their comments..

  16. What's in a name? Fundamentalists, Conservatives, Jihadists, Mullah's whatever. I think what Jeff (and most liberal Maldivians) are concerned about is the violence these men are preaching. Both in the form of formal war against firstly, American's Israeli's and (fill in the name of anyone you don't really agree with here)and secondly the less formal bullying kind of violence against women (who are not dressed as deemed appropriate by them, who's husbands hate them for random reasons etc), citizens considered to be lesser such as minorities who live in Muslim countries and any other person who can't stand up against their bullying and journalists who stand up against them(think Omidi).

    What I'm saying is that 'liberals' and 'westernised' people are not complaining about people who stick to the fundamentals of praying, fasting and living a generally pious lifestyle. What we are complaining about is people who preach and practice violence in the name of religion.

    I do not condone American occupation of Afghanistan nor Iran or the Israeli occupation of West Bank and Gaza for that matter and I'm not saying that Pacifism is the answer to all the worlds problems but neither is a senseless war where men (and I mean both Americans and the Mujahideen)keep on fighting to the point where they have forgotten why the fight. The Afghan's will take care of themselves and the Iraqi's will do their own fighting. You 'fundamentalists' need to sit back and get to the more mundane jihad of building your own lives and keeping your own family together. The government need to recognise these people who run off to commit violent acts in other countries as the delinquents they are and treat them that way. End of story.

  17. Thanks for the response Jeff.

    I am a big fan of the government and what they stand up for, but the thing that frustrates me the most about them is their inability to explain themselves clearly (even when its in their own interest to do so!). For instance, re- Himandhoo convicts and clemency. What is the use of announcing that you're going to grant these guys clemency/reduce their sentences, if you dont already have a clear plan of how to do it. Or if you do have a clear plan of how to do it, why not give those details? In an effort to find out more about the Clemency Act - I looked it up online from the AGoffice website ( and there are certain crimes, which they say cant be awarded clemency. If I've interpreted it correctly, clemency cannot be awarded to those who have committed the following crimes: - Murder
    - Violations under Islamic Shari'a - Terrorism (Himandhoo, I would assume comes under this category)
    - Child sex offenders
    - Drug dealers
    - Those who engage in same sex relations

    But their sentences can be reduced. These guys were sentenced for what - 10 years? They've served about 3, except of course for the man who kept escaping!

    I'm also going to have to very cheekily disagree with your comment about the lack of dating in our society! Absolutely not true. 😉

  18. @ Anonymous - thank you for the clarity! We need to differentiate between preaching for (any form of) violence and preaching for a 'generally pious lifestyle', as you put it. Difficult to draw the line sometimes, but generalisations only create more conflict.

  19. Thank you Lomaafaanu. Delightfully thorough as always.

    Dear SS,

    Sorry for not responding to you directly in the last post. The appeal of extremism and conservatism (the former being more violent, the latter being a conservatively pious lifestyle - but not necessarily more pious in itself)is of great concern. The lines do blur between who is "conservative," "moderate," and "liberal." As for defining them more fully, that is exactly what we are doing. Together.

    Today, I believe that the face of Moderate and even Liberal Islam is Former President Gayoom. I do not like this thought at all. He is not liberal, and barely a moderate. So in introducing what is recognized globally as being liberal and moderate Islamic views, we shift the religious paradigm in Maldives, to something that is at least in-keeping with global contexts. We place Gayoom in the spectrum between moderate and conservative (where he would be from a global Islamic context) and start the process of changing value systems in our ever more-conservative society.

    In this case, returning our value systems to something that is consistent with our heritage - and not something that is Saudi influenced conservatism.

    I do not believe this approach is as holistic as it is simple appeasement.

    ~(Jeffrey) Salim Waheed

  20. I find long discussions on the meaning of "fundamentalism" counter productive and wastes time instead of dealing with the real issue.

    That is besides the point.

    Anyways, a person will not sacrifice his life to blow some place up if it isn't in his fundamental belief that he is truly doing the world some good.

    I don't think this issue will ever be solved unless Muslims are willing to come to terms with the fact that there are many versions of Islam. Islam is peaceful, Islam is this blah blah; but then why does someone who bombs a train also claims to be a Muslim? Why was the act done in the name of "Islam". It's because there are variations in our belief; some more dangerous than others. People seem terrified to admit this; as if it has some impact on your own Islamic faith to disagree with someones more extreme version. Adhaalath etc certainly don't have a problem disagreeing with moderation.

  21. I think the liberals like yourselves could do a great thing by having an open public debate in Maldives on religious issues like Jihaad, etc. Ofcourse beforehand, you should meet with the Islamic Ministry and try to get both sides to agree that views should be backed by facts and sound references, etc and people should be allowed to express freely without the fear of being labeled a terrorist also. I myself would love to visit one of this in the future. What is better then a place where people get to see the truth about both sides for themselves and judge.

    @Anonymous - "bullying type of violence against women" does not exist in Islam because it stated that a believing man should be patient with ones wife even if she does something he dislikes. Violence towards one's wife is very much disliked by the Prophet (pbuh). If anyone is bad to his wife, it is a problem with that person's weak faith. Most likely the majority are amongst those who mix with other females that are lawful for them to marry, unless someone can proof otherwise.

    The Quran states:

    "And among His signs is this: that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest and peace of mind in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy. Certainly, herein indeed are signs for people who reflect." [Noble Quran 30:21]

    Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

    "The most perfect in faith amongst believers is he who is best in manners and kindest to his wife." [Abu Dawud]

    So again, the problem with the Muslims that are not patient with their wives are that they lack knowledge about Islam and the words of their Creator. It is common sense, if someone does not know fully about liberalism, would you count that person as a true liberal? Or if someone calls himself a scientist, others would expect him to know in depth about science which a normal person would have a hard time knowing.

    It is very easy to blame religion when something goes wrong, but even I myself know that any wrong that I have done before was due to ignorance, not due to Islam which is perfect in every way possible. The ones that is mistreated by others, be it their husband, fathers, mothers, will have their fair share of punishment which they would fear much if they read more about it. So hope there is no connection between mistreatment of wives or divorces to Islam.

    Once Maldives has Islamic Law and people live by it, then people can point the statistics to Islam. That is why I have asked before for people to look at the statistics of countries like Saudi Arabia in terms of crimes and other social ills like prostitution and child abuse, etc. Then compare it with Western society and let me know what you find. Please accuse with facts to back any accusations, especially when dealing with religion because for many including me, Islam is very dear to me just as my daughter and wife is to me. Hence anyone accusing anything false on it, is offending me just as they would offend someone that love. Just trying to give you an idea of how important Islam is to many of us. To some it is just another subject and the Quran is just a book.

    Reason I criticize liberalism is simply because it has failed just as communism failed in the past. I have not found any liberal country which actually practices liberalism to the word and recently looking at statistics of social ills like rapes in liberal countries from the West, they were most of the time on the top 10 of the list. While ironically Saudi Arabia and other conservative Muslim countries which so many of you criticize are at the bottom 10 and sometimes right at the bottom or not even on the list.

    Try and look at the world rape statistics of the world. Try finding Saudi Arabia on the list:

    In regards to covering for Women:

    -The Qur'an:

    Qur'an (24:31) - Commands women to "draw their headscarves" over their neckline as well.

    Qur'an (33:59) - "Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them..."

    Qur'an (24:31) - "And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms, and not display their ornaments except to their husbands or their fathers, or the fathers of their husbands, or their sons, or the sons of their husbands, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or those whom their right hands possess, or the male servants not having need (of women), or the children who have not attained knowledge of what is hidden of women; and let them not strike their feet so that what they hide of their ornaments may be known." The woman is not only supposed to cover herself, except with relatives, but to look down, so as to avoid making eye-contact with men.

    -From the Hadith:

    Bukhari (6:321) - Muhammad is asked whether it is right for a young woman to leave her house without a veil. He replies, "She should cover herself with the veil of her companion."

    Bukhari (60:282) - After Muhammad issued the command (Qur'an 24:31) for women to cover themselves, the women responded by tearing up sheets to cover their faces.

    Abu Dawud (2:641) - The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Allah does not accept the prayer of a woman who has reached puberty unless she wears a veil.

    Bukhari (52:250) - [The Prophet said] "It is not permissible for a man to be alone with a woman, and no lady should travel except with a Muhram (i.e. her husband or a person whom she cannot marry in any case for ever; e.g. her father, brother, etc.)." - Neither is a woman allowed to travel by herself.

    I have many girls in my family that does not cover, I do not go around telling them that they should, but they know my belief on this issue because my part is to advise them, and it is their choice to follow up on it by researching through Quran and Sunnah instead of asking just another human being. We cannot blame others on the day of judgment for our mistakes, so better to do our own research always. Everyone will be judged according to his own deeds, so when I do give them my opinions its because I do not want them to be punished since they are good people with kind hearts. It is only in their faith which they are weak, which I was once. Hence I know that, it is only Allah (swt) who guides whom He wills and when He wills.

    To become a good student in maths, we have to constantly practice the subject right?.. but why do many not have the same concept with Islam.
    When we ask our children to study hard and get A's for other subjects, but as they grow older we do not teach them to keep trying to become the best Muslim possible by reading more about it, etc. Instead Islam is not as important or comes second or third in their daily life.


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