Hilath Rasheed attack “nothing to do with religious extremism”, government claims

The Maldives government has told international media that an attack last month on prominent blogger Ismail ‘Hilath’ Rasheed was the work of “rival gang members”and not religious extremists as alleged by the victim.

Rasheed – a controversial figure in the Maldives for his willingness to tackle taboo subjects, particularly religious tolerance – was left in a critical condition after being stabbed in the neck near his home in Male’ last month.

Having since fled the country, Rasheed has told the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news service that he believed the attack, which literally silenced him temporarily after his trachea was sliced clean through, was conducted by extreme religous elements in the country.

“I was attacked because I advocate secularism. The Islamists want Maldives to remain a 100-percent Islamic country,” he stated in an interview the AFP said was conducted through Twitter and email.

However, the government hit out at the blogger’s accusations when contacted by the AFP, claiming Rasheed was targeted for an attack due to gang rivalry, not because of “religious extremism” or the focus of his blog and journalism.

“He is a member of a gang and had been attacked by rival gang members in the past too. It is unfair to blame this attack on anything else,” President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad told the news service.

When contacted by Minivan News today the Maldives Police Service said that investigations were continuing into the case and it was therefore unable to say if there was a specific motive behind the attack.

“So far we do not have a suspect,” Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef said.  “We are continuing to investigate and are tracing CCTV camera footage in attempts to locate the culprit.”

Despite the government’s insistence that there was no religious motivation behind the attack on Hilath, in a previous interview with the AFP, the recently appointed Minister for Human Resources Mohamed ‘Mundhu’ Shareef said that, “Hilath must have known that he had become a target of a few extremists.”

“We are not a secular country. When you talk about religion there will always be a few people who do not agree,” Shareef said whilst condemning the attack.

“Idealogical problems”

Speaking to Minivan News in June, Maldives Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed said the current government was seeking to counter the “ideological problems” of extremism in the country.

Shaheem claimed that the threat of home-grown terrorism was a key issue needing to be addressed in the Maldives – something he alleged the previous government had neglected to assist with through proper funding.

Rasheed himself has contended that both the administrations of former President Mohamed Nasheed and serving President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan have shown little interest in prosecuting figures alleged to have conducted religious threats and attacks in recent months – regardless of the number of photos and witnesses.

Aside from last month’s attack, on December 14 Rasheed was taken to hospital with a fractured skull after being attacked during a ‘silent protest’ advocating religious tolerance in the Maldives held to coincide with Human Rights Day.

He was subsequently arrested for questioning over his involvement in the silent gathering, and the Criminal Court granted police a 10 day extension of detention for the investigation.

Later that month, Amnesty International declared Rasheed a prisoner of conscience, and called for his “immediate and unconditional” release, which was granted in January.


27 thoughts on “Hilath Rasheed attack “nothing to do with religious extremism”, government claims”

  1. Hilath is a drug addict who has abused a lot of under age boys! Its a simple matter. If some secular elements in Maldives and abroad want to protect these elements in the name of democracy and openness, its a shame!

  2. It all boils down to speculation folks. And that can be a dangerous game.

    Assertions that communities identifiable by their beards and clothing preferences are collectively guilty of a specific act perpetrated by a specific group is a malevolent and bigoted point of view. That is not how proper democracy and criminal justice should function.

    Let the individuals who are actually guilty be punished. Not innocent, benign groups of what are essentially nomads and evangelists whose only "crime" has been adopting aesthetic preferences and preaching religious principles that some of our countrymen find odd. They harm no one.

  3. yes, hilath is a boss of a drug gang. he has boasted this in his blog as well. he has written "i will send my partey friends to the houses of these religous "fundamentalists" and will teach them lessons with their blood".
    this is a serious terror threat that must be investigated.
    when an accidental comment was uploaded to 23rd december website, it became a huge issue. but when gang gundas like hilath quite frankly threaten bloodshead he gets away without an eyebrow raised..

  4. @nazeef; you are a liar. other than this, Hilath one of the best writers and journalists to have emerged from the Maldives in the entire era spanning from early eighties to the 21st century and is fluent in both dhivehi and english. He was one of the first Maldivians to hold a degree in journalism and was editor of Haveeru while Hiriga Ahmed Zahir, now president of the so-called Maldives Journalists Association worked under HIlath. He reigned from Haveeru when owner Zahir Hussain refused to publish news of Evan Naseem and other inmates' deaths' at Maafushi jail in 2003 September. He announced this in his blog and Haveeru since then started a campaign to smear Hilath as a gay and everything else... He is a human and kind Maldivian. A Brilliant mind and a rare Maldivian too.

  5. Cannot agree more with Masood Imad that attack on Hillath was nothing more than gang rivalry. Hillath is indeed a member of gang that is increasing in number in the Maldives- a gang that promotes freedom, tolerance and peace. The rival gang that attacked him originated from Pakistani Madrasas and spread worldwide like wildfire preaching hate and intolerance.The gang have now infiltrated the power corridors of Maldives too and probably they can get away with anything.

  6. Nazeef thanks for the information. Before I don't know that Our 'Firihen kulih ' activist was a drug addict.

  7. This is hardly surprising from a government which came to power partly by exploiting religious bigotry.

    It is a dangerous game which they play, although it's pretty clear that those at the helm themselves, neither personally practice or condone extremism. Religious fervor pays politically in the short term. But I wonder if they have a plan when school girls get attacked or when militant "jihad" gets here.

    It's quite worrying, maybe I just need to get whatever tsk tsk smokes to clear my head. He seems to have a lucid erudite explantation for whatever shit that is perpetrated by the current government.

  8. @tsk tsk

    Why does your narcissist self aspire to become Dr. Hassan Saeed as your alter ego?

    Your style of writing is what gives you away as you write exactly in the same "argumentative" language as in your (earlier) English language blogging days.

    So don't pretend to be anything other than your true self, Kutti Nasheed!

  9. Obviously this is a lie. The Nasheed government failed to prosecute the terrorists but they didn't deny the problem. This government has lied everyday since it came to power and they are lying again to deny that there are terrorists willing to kill people in our country. Hilath is not a member of any gang.

    PS. Kutti Nasheed lies too. "they harm no one?"

  10. Just four years after being lauded by the international community as a paradigm of political pluralism and progress, the Maldives has now become an international pariah, an Afghanistan of the atolls.

    Civil war may destroy the country before rising sea levels make you move to a new homeland. And if civil instability increases causing tourism to decline further, the social unrest will be exacerbated by rising unemployment.

    The future looks very bleak indeed.

  11. http://img266.imageshack.us/img266/655/0099763674894599.jpg

    That is his first attacker. Some say that it was the same guy who came back to do nothing but to kill him in the name of God! Does this guy look more like a Wahhabi or a thug ? I just saw his trousers were cut!

  12. @Tsk Tsk Tsk

    Keep on writing, you remind us with every word you write just why we voted for President Nasheed and why we must do everything we can possibly do to make sure Gayoom and his Mafia never ever rule this land again.

    Thank you for your contribution to the People's Revolution.

  13. Ironically (or not), the article on Hilath's arrest in relation to drug use in an uninhabited island was in fact published on this blog too.

    I just used the search function on this site but couldn't find the article. I'm 100% sure I read it on this blog.

    I guess removed...

  14. More and more lies. We all know for a FACT that it was done by wahhabees. They have posted on facebook groups celebrating the attacks. The guy who stoned hilath commented on the facebook group 'Ban the Adhaalath' shortly after the attack. He was involved in this one too.

    The government is doing this just to avoid the whole religion debate.

  15. Masood Imad lies as if there is no tomorrow. hehe.. hillath a gang member. This guy is going nuts, whitewashing the black face of waheed and the baghee government

    Masood Imad's grand ma is the gangster Al Capone

  16. Dear deranged Nasheed supporters,

    I think you need to learn sarcasm. Blind followers of any cult leader often find it hard to understand the concept.

    Look above and re-read the comment which is posted under the same name that I use. Its clearly not mine but patches together some of the sentiments I've expressed and rendered it as a joke by exaggerating the use of language that some people think is my trademark.

    I think I need to dumb things down for you.

    Me think Anni not good. You think Anni god. Me disagree. You get angry. Getting angry not good. We now democracy. In democracy everyone disagree with everyone else. Thanking you lots. Love you loads. xxx-tsk tsk-xxx

  17. @Tsk tsk

    We never thought otherwise. Since when have you not dumbed down things for "us". It is clear to us even if it is not for you that your narcissism brings you the delusions that you write with such sarcasm and humourless wit.

    It is sad that someone who could have been a leader of note just could not lift his game to be one. Opportunity lost.

    But take some comfort. You are among the many in the corridors of power today who suffer from the self absorbed fantasies of grandiose and who live exploiting others for self gratification.

    Yes,I do know who you are.

  18. Hilath is not a gangster! His gangster talk was reactionary, no substance to it! He very quickly got over that little hiccup of gangster talk! Who the hell has not wanted to be a gangster when we feel so threatened!

    Hilath has proven to us that he is a man of non-violence! He is the opposite of a gangster.

    A man of non violent resistance is ten times braver, ten times stronger than a gangster.

    A man of non violent resistance is prepared to suffer for resistance, and use that suffering as a weapon. The offering of oneself as a suffering victim is a witness against the cruelty, injustice, and evil nature of the tyrants who inflict pain against innocence. It is a testimony against their right to rule, if not even the unthreatening are safe under them, no body is, such rule must be resisted!

    Suffering is a much more corageous, much greater and harder weapon to bear than the gun or the knife of the gangster. It takes ten times more guts to offer yourself unprotected, and take hurt in resistance, than to stab someone and inflict pain.

    Inflicting pain upon others is the action of a moral coward, afraid of suffering themself for the cause of good, because they do not have the guts to endure suffering, they do not have the strength to take it, so because they lack the courage to bear the pain of truth, they hide their soul away in a shield of hate and inflict harm on others to save thesmelves from being wounded.

    The capacity to suffer for the cause of justice and truth is what makes a man truly GREAT!

    We have an amoral environment (Amorality is Extremely different to immorality because the most powerful of the amoral normally act morally but for immoral motives.)

    The environment creates the need to project the perception that you have the power to do great harm. It is a survival mechanism resorted to by those who feel victimised, impoversihed, oppresssed, or threatened, and as their is strength and unity in numbers, it takes on the form of gangsterism - brotherhoods all of that.

    These are the alternatives to gangsterism. You can be a servant of some elite, living a life emotionally crippled by fear, which will make you physically sick, and mentally ill, and in the end, completely useless as fear restricts ones creative capacity. Or you can become morally strong enough to become a martyr for the cause of justice and humanity which in the end - Hilath did- but, very very few people are Given the Spiritual fortitude (Al-Sabr) to actually do this, the reaon the rest of us have to depend on Allah's Mercy for our entrance into jannah because we don't quite cut it in ourselves!

    When every value is exploited and degraded for the purpose of projecting power, in the end - nothing seems real, especially not Islam. This is the result of the misuse or religion for political gain. It turns many young people into atheists - and aggressive ones at that because Islam is - in their eyes, a weapon out to oppress them - where there is power there is resistance.) In the existential vaccuum created - in this dark reality - the ONLY thing that seems real is the need to be feared!

    Hence, gangster culture is, ultimately, a spill over effect of political oppression, which is born from a culture which puts face and power over truth and humanity.

  19. Hilath makes a good point regarding a secular Maldives. If we look around the world, all those states shackled with the irons of religion have not moved forward on any scale of human development. This is most pronounced in Islamic states, and includes even those with access to vast capital reserves (a prime example being Saudi Arabia).

    On the other hand, those who have managed to keep religion at bay have increased their spiritual and material development that cannot be matched by the lagards in the near future.

    Here's a small example of religious blindness. The Islamic Ministry has admittedly amassed 10 of millions of Rufiyaa in the name of mosque refurbishment. Does Allah really ask you to sit inside a gilded domed structure with strutting minarets and cooled by airconditioners while you pray to Him? For Allah's sake, Islam originated in the most hot and arid of places on earth and our Muslim forefathers had no such comforts. My point is that, religion has blinded us to the point where we have to build bigger and better mosques in some sort of Mosque Pageant! We have totally forgotten that most people do not even know how to pray properly. The rest are high on the most vicious cocktails of drugs that you can find on earth.

    Remove the shackles of religion, my friends. Let the country breath in that freedom.

  20. Thats really rich Ahmed. When Hilath got attacked back in December all you had was contempt and mockery for him. I remember this well.

    Now that his plight fits with your MDP political agenda, suddenly you think he makes a lucid point.

    Well, he had his throat slit and almost died and now has left our country, perhaps for good. I hope he finds friends and supporters more sincere and less hypocritical than you.

    I have never endorsed Hilaths tactics, which I think were too brash, but he is braver than any of us. He did not deserve this kind of treatment.

  21. Hey,what else do we want freedom from.We are entitled to say what ever we want, on who ever we want,at anytime we want.We are free to select any person to the presidential position(sadly the person can also resign and give depression shocks to the yellow coloured bellies,on his own will, thats also freedom ,isn't it? kekeke).We have the freedom to live under the same roof with our families, we have the freedom to talk to whomever we want,our religion preaches us to be like brothers and sisters and we have been living like this for centuries.And along comes a pitiful looking gay fellow called Hilath, announces that religious freedom should also be there in this country and what are we suppose to do and say.Next day he will announce that the act of homosexuality should be given freedom.later he will pressure the people to stand against anyone who disagree with his thoughts, be it bringing a new type of cult, sexual act or whatever that goes on his pitiful mind. By the time we realize what we are doing, our children would announce that they are gays or lesbians or have left our religion and embraced a goofy religion made by humans called Scientology or embraced gullible Hinduism, which makes the person pray to a stone made by humans in different horrendous shapes or a religion that prohibits marriage if you are a person of faith etc etc. And what are we supposed to do. This is why our religion limits the freedom given to any humanbeing so that they do not go astray and abuse the freedom given. we need strong faith and rules(unfortunately which we do not have )to prosper and what Hilath is doing is no more than what the devil does? say whatever you want you insolent fool but we do not want to see our children in a state orchestrated by you or Ben(by the way,i think this so called ben is a person from minivan, his comments so very much levels with aniya, the witch.

  22. @Shimy

    You are such an idiot. We are not entitled to say whatever we want. Evidence of that is the number of blogs and websites being censored by the Maldivian government. Apostates do not have the right to say anything criticizing Islam or expressing their views. Freedom of religion is one of the most important rights given to humans, and the Maldives does not do this. Most apostates don't believe in any religion for your kind information. And homosexuality is very much genetic and not something a person chooses to become so children can't suddenly wake up one morning and decide they are lesbian. Hindus do worship idols but you fail to see their religion beyond anything but that. Islam also prevents marriage to anybody from another faith if you are a woman. Your ignorance really shows here. Must be the daily dose of Shaheem and Fareed you get on TVM.

    PS: Ben is very much a real person.

  23. Regardless of whether Hilath is a gang member or not, this investigation cannot be dismissed just like that.

    The Maldives Government is very lucky that Hilath is still alive, or the international community wouldn't be as complacent as now.

  24. @Wives and concubines
    Hey,don't get frustrated.God hears your thoughts too.hope that you'll come to your senses soon.i still don't understand why you want freedom from religion as you don't have one and nothing is binding you to be a muslim.

    your ignorance also shows here as you do not believe that god exists and by the way i know apostates do exist, they are the more foolish ones; becoming all mighty and "god" like.

    dear, you need to learn about our religion before criticizing. on what terms are you saying this and who's daily dose are you taking? In Islam for every action there is always a reason behind it.

    as for the govt censoring blogs and webcasts, certainly your comments and minivans campaign to disregard Islam would not appear on this site, if they are doing so.

    And for your information, the youth who killed himself by hanging in the airport terminal killed himself on his own terms. nobody demanded him to choose death except his conscience and he had the freedom to tell people he was an apostate. i didn't see the govt going after him.

    in addition, who said Homosexuality is genetic all around. Mind you, people and the media advocating this disgusting act can brainwash you to think its genetic and that it is 'A OK" to be one even if you are not, so the youth, for the fun of it do whatever is possible to rid their boredom. Moreover,sexually abused children when they grow up tend to like the same sex as the opposite has abused them.
    i guess Next thing we'll here from you is that it's A OK to marry animals, A OK to be a Psychopath killer because genetically it passed from his parents, A OK to be a hippie and take drugs, A OK to walk on the road; naked, A OK to show children in action in adult films, A OK to have alcohol cause it relaxes your mind, A OK to have sex with your mother or father etc etc. mind you, all of this is going on freely in the west and nobody cares but we do. How can humans stoop so low and how can you defend this disturbing act.

    what you people do not have is the tolerance to understand and learn religion especially Islam, as it limits human freedom to a certain extent. Certain humans can't digest this thus want to show their might and gut to anyone including "God".They, in their minds scheme up a number of ways to defy god.

    this is why we are so pathetic, we can't agree on anything, we can't solve our own problems,we envy anyone who is better than us, we always admire and wish for things which we do not have and so forth.Unfortunately, as humans are pathetic, this is how it's meant to be so i can't blame you for your thoughts.


    PS; and i like Shaheem unlike Fareed who is an MDP extremist

  25. BBC listened to Hilath however



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