Government will not allow religion to be used as a weapon for political purposes: Home Minister

Council members of the minority opposition Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) questioned by police were unable to substantiate “slanderous allegations” that the government was working with “Jews and Christian priests” to undermine Islam in the Maldives, Home Minister Hassan Afeef said today.

Briefing press at the police headquarters, Afeef criticised Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed and ‘Sandhaanu’ Ahmed Ibrahim Didi for exercising the right to remain silent when they were summoned for a second time last night and challenged the DQP leaders to point out or provide evidence of “the government’s efforts to wipe out Islam.”

“Where is that priest? Where is the money that priest gave? When was it given? Which account was it deposited to?” Afeef asked.

Dr Jameel told police interrogators that his claims were based on “rumours circulating in the island,” Afeef revealed, criticising the former Justice Minister for not realising the gravity of the allegations when repeating it without proof.

Sandhaanu Didi’s statement to police was meanwhile “useless chatter” claiming the President was “a madman and a Christian,” he added.

“We cannot allow such claims to cause unrest among the public, incite hatred towards the government and lead to discord,” Afeef asserted.

He reiterated that opposition leaders had a responsibility to substantiate “atrocious” allegations that the MDP government was intent on “wiping away Islam” to introduce religious freedom and the practice of other religions.

“This government will not allow anyone to use religion as a weapon for political purposes,” he continued. “Therefore, I would like to remind [journalists] that these actions are an atrocity. The government is not going to allow such atrocities to be committed. I urge you to be mindful of this when the media reports such news.”

Afeef also suggested that the Media Council and Maldives Broadcasting Commission were failing to fulfill their mandate by not objecting to religiously-based allegations by opposition politicians on privately-owned media outlets.

Asked why the police were not investigating cases filed by the opposition against President Mohamed Nasheed, Afeef insisted that the complaints were “baseless” and that police “would investigate if there was any truth to it.”

Among the cases filed with police include a request by PPM Deputy Leader Umar Naseer to investigate President Nasheed’s remarks allegedly “encouraging drug use”.

Calling for compassion towards heroin addicts, Nasheed said in June 2011: “When we don’t provide care for them, they take off with the box cutter and steal money from the mother’s drawers. [They] need it. They need to use. They must use. We have to come to know and understand this. We shouldn’t try talking about this politically or with the intention of hiding behind a nice veil, without using the real terms and words.”

The falsehood of such claims by Umar Naseer and others was evident and “clear as night and day,” Afeef argued.

Asked about DQP’s request for police to investigate President Nasheed’s claims to foreign media that islands in the Maldives were sinking, Afeef said the President was referring to beach erosion in recent interviews and not submersion by sea level rise.

DQP also requested police investigate Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair for allegedly “threatening the media.”

Meanwhile, according to his twitter page, Dr Jameel revealed that he and Sandhaanu Didi have been summoned to the police station tonight for a third time.

The pair were questioned by police for a second time Saturday night, but both exercised the right to remain silent. After the initial interrogation Thursday night, Did was detained for almost 24 hours and released around 7:00pm Friday night.

Sandhaanu Didi appeared outside the police headquarters with a mask and fins last night, explaining that he had cooperated with police for 30 minutes on Thursday night and intended to “go snorkeling with the police boys tonight.”


15 thoughts on “Government will not allow religion to be used as a weapon for political purposes: Home Minister”

  1. Then they have lost all legitimacy, for there must never be a distinction made between dheen and politics!

    And let it be known that religion is a great weapon in the hands of pious men, and when they wield that great sword, they shall become invincible.

    Not even the powerful Shah of Iran (may his testicles burn in agony) could withstand its might, and lo and behold, the mighty people of Persia freed themselves from the machinations of the imperialists and the Jews; and they have cured their nation of pseudo-science, homosexuality, and heresy under the lofty guidance of the Ayatu'llah Khomeini, may his name be ever praised!

    The atheism that plagues us now should have been garroted while it was still an infant.

  2. Jameel was saying its good he was being summoned, that the truth would finally come out. The public has a right to know which priest, which jew and which coffer the money is going to. and yet these two esteemed men choose to remain silent.

  3. The government's statement that religion must not be used as a political weapon is a highly idealistic and utopian statement although it is a noble aspiration that more developed civilizations in the world have yet failed to achieve.

    Religion should of course remain a personal matter in a perfect world where everyone's IQ is at the level of the political class or higher.

    However, the masses are moved by sermons and influenced by preachers in just about every nation across the globe. Look at the U.S., look at Israel, look at the U.K., look at neighboring India. Has there never been sectarian violence? Has there never been religious legitimation of a political issue?

    You cannot put a cap on politico-religious rhetoric. That would just further fuel the fires. I am not supporting the use of religion as a political tool, I am just saying that any realist would know that this tool can and will be used regardless of how many aspirational statements and platitudes are issued by the government.

    Also, Hassan Afeef's defense of President Nasheed's statements to the media is a blatant lie. In this day and age where the young and old alike have access to the internet, we find that such manipulations are impossible. Several media outlets cite Nasheed claiming that the Maldives is soon to sink and our population might need to move to Australia or god knows where else. I agree that this is the latest direction of Maldivian foreign policy and that some believe that the ends justify the means (the ends being securing of financial assistance for the Maldives through the climate change adaptation funds proposed by certain nations).

    However what about short-term goals and protection of investments as well as future investment? There is a real concern about possible perception of the Maldives as an unsafe environment where any investment might disappear underwater any day now.

  4. this government is making all mistakes that Gayoom made!! behaviour is so irratic and irrational!! Afeef, Rekko, Sarangu, Mariya..etc are all power hungry and greedy for more money!

  5. What exactly is Afeef intending to do now? What is the "government" going to do about Jameel & Co.? Jameel is a political non-entity together with his mate Hassan Saeed. The Police action against them have gained them publicity which they'll never have been able to achieve on their own merits. This is largely what they always wanted.

    No one really took Did or Jameel with any seriousness. After all, they cry wolf every other day, so people have gotten used to them, and ignore them as they deserve.

    It's all changed, thanks to the bungling by the regime. The regime blinked, and reacted just as Didi and Jameel wanted. Arresting them and dragging them infront of the media are only giving these morons the opportunity to become false heroes. Well, done Afeef, your IQ is now beginning to show, for sure.

  6. Thats a laugh.
    Across the world, all muslim politicians used and continue to use the religion as the primary tool for their campaigns.

    There is nothing any government can do that fits exactly what happened in the deserts of Arabia. As such, religious stances and politics differ little or a lot. Which makes the religion automatically becomes the preferred choice for the deception and manipulation for all opposition parties.

    As for MDP, This is exactly the wand you used during the latter part of the 30y regime.

    Religion has the following facets for every body to exploit.
    1) Almost everybody, specially the weak minded and the deprived, buys into religion like hungry sharks on scent of blood.
    2) There is little in common with todays politics. Hence government actions differ from fundamentals a lot. These variances are fuel for fire.
    3) There are fanatics, who will fight to the death. All the manipulators need to do is, give a nudge every now and then.

  7. If the government does not want religion to be used as a weapon, the government should stop playing with it.

  8. Afeef is one person proven in the court of law talking baseless accusation against others.

  9. Of-course government will not allow Religion to use as weapons.

    Hon. Minister, can you tell us why is the Police allowing a few young guys hanging around, especially at Male' and Addu City riding on motor-bikes zigzag, using filthy words loudly in the presence of innocent young children, their mothers and sisters, smoking at public areas like bus stops making them passive smokers, moving around freely showing their pubes or private parts, the alarmingly huge number of unskilled and illegal expatriates spitting and throwing litter here and there without any hesitation?

    Isn't there a an Act or a law that the Police or the City Councils must implement or enforce?

    Is there any body who must be responsible or answerable for such irresponsibilities?

  10. If the president Mohamed Nasheed did say that some islands of the Maldives were sinking or sank it's not a criminal offence to make such a statement. The truth is that the sea level does rise and the Maldives islands are just a few centimeters above sea level. The reality is that if the sea level continues to rise, these islands will be the first to be submerged. No one can deny these facts, and, the president's statement acts as a forewarning of this reality.

    Therefore, the intention of anyone, incidentally, the president would have been to draw the attention of the international community to the risk we are to face sooner or later. This is in the interest of us all. There is nothing criminal about it.

  11. Religion or Islam is important to all citizens of the Maldives, but the faith of one cannot be the business of another. It is between the God and the man.

    The politicians know well how sensitive are issues of religion particularly if it is under attack by missionaries of other religions. More interesting, however, is that those who make all that noise about Islam are not as steadfast adherents to it as they claim others are not. The opposition politicians are so desperate as to make false allegations against the government and end up in police interrogations remaining silent on their own defence.

    The authorities cannot afford the opposition to be allowed to take advantage of such false statements as the government is intent on the introduction of other religions to the Maldives or undermining Islam. For long Islam has been used as an effective tool to influence the public opinion for or against the government. It's time that this practice is put to an end. The opposition must come out with better ways of serving the public instead of disrupting the peace of the mind of people for no good reason.

  12. Religion is used by all the countries in the world as a tool of politics, its not just the Maldives. So the government should back off tracking and harrasing these politicians. They won't gain anything by doing so, rather make people more aware and towards such politicians. The BJP of india won elections many times by playing the religious card, the chirtians just like the current Merkel government in Germany won the election by playing the religious card, the US democracy is heavily biased towards those candidates to play the religious card and wins vote by promising not to allow gay marriages, the arab spring brought back the religous groups like muslim brotherhood back to politics, the lukid party of israel plays the religious card and there are many many more like this. So why is our government so surprised. If you harm the politicians who use the religion, you harm the people and create more enemies towards you. If you want to win the people just play the game of mind and heart.

  13. All the Islamic relegious scholars agree that power, wealth and leadership are given by Allah Almighty. The dhivehi word "verikan" is something that is granted by the Allah.
    I agree with the scholars and view that Mohamed Nasheed's case is no different. So whats all this fuss.
    Mr. Adhaalath, Mr. Burumaa and Mr. Maumoon. Please dont tell me that there has been a mistake.


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