Hithadhoo Court orders removal of SAARC monuments on religious grounds

Following two months of theft and vandalism, Hithadhoo Court Magistrate Abdullah Farooq has ordered the removal of monuments gifted by the SAARC nations at the 2011 SAARC Summit “Building Bridges” held in Addu City.

This week, Addu City Council removed Bhutan’s monument – a wooden sign – following a demand from demonstrators at the nation-wide opposition-sponsored ‘Defend Islam’ protest on December 23 to that effect.

The council reported that the police surveillance necessary to preserve the monuments  in the current political climate had become unreasonable.

Certain interpretations of the Quran prohibit images of living beings. The Maldives Constitution, itself based on Islamic Shariah, states that no action which violates Islam can be upheld by the courts.

Farooq identified the monuments as “idols of worship” used by non- Muslims which could allow for the growth of other religions in the Maldives.

Farooq further argued that the monuments conflict with the regulations within the Religious Unity Act and were accepted into the country unlawfully according to the Contraband Act.

“No one has the authority to import anything prohibited under the law”, he said in the court ruling. Farooq has requested the Prosecutor General to take legal action against those responsible for setting up the monuments in Addu.

The monuments were unveiled by the leaders of Bangladesh, Pakistian, India, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka to commemorate the Maldives’ hosting of the SAARC Summit. The evening prior to Pakistan’s unveiling ceremony, its monument was knocked from its pedestal by protestors.

Although individuals were not detained over the matter the Islamic Ministry issued statements claiming that the monument’s illustration of the history of the Indus valley civilisation and a bust of Pakistan’s founder Mohamed Ali Jinah were idolatrous, and requested the government to remove those SAARC monuments which conflicted with Islam.

Addu City Council returned the monument to its mount prior to the ceremony, however it was subsequently set on fire by demonstrators when religious Adhaalath Party issued a statement claiming that “no Maldivian of sound mind” would allow idols or iconography of other religions to be erected in the country.

Opposition parties including Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) voiced their support for the vandals, and the ensuing months Sri Lanka’s monument of its national lion was decapitated, Nepal’s monument stolen and Afghanistan’s miniature minaret of Jam was sunk in a nearby harbor.

The Pakistani monument was “part of efforts by adversaries of Islam to turn the faith that Maldivians embraced 900 years ago upside down,” the party said at the time.

Meanwhile, State Minister for Islamic Affairs Sheikh Hussein Rasheed pointed public opinion to the historical value of Pakistan’s monument.

“The Pakistan monument showed how Pakistan became an Islamic country from its Buddhist origins,’’ Rasheed has previously stated, noting that, ‘’Although the monument does not contradict Islam, it should not be kept there if Maldivian citizens do not want it to be there.’’

Removal of the contentious monuments was one of the five demands of the December 23 protesters, who also demanded that the government prohibit Israeli airlines from operating in the Maldives.

Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair observed at the time that taking down the monuments would diplomatically be very difficult for the government, “especially when it was handed to us by another Islamic country”, however he said the decision belonged to Addu City Council.

Following the removal of Bhutan’s monument three days ago, Addu City Councillor Hussein Hilmee said the council had sent a letter to the Foreign Ministry requesting that it inform SAARC member countries that it was taking the monuments down.

Deputy Sri Lankan High Commissioner Shaanthi Sudusinghe said at the time, “We have requested that if [the government] is unable to preserve the monument that they hand it over to us.”


13 thoughts on “Hithadhoo Court orders removal of SAARC monuments on religious grounds”

  1. "Farooq identified the monuments as “idols of worship” used by non- Muslims which could allow for the growth of other religions in the Maldives."

    Uh oh, we've got another idiot who has never understood what he read of the Quran! Shame on you, Farooq. Go on, do show me the lion worshippers of this world, please. I really would like to know!

    The Sri Lankan monument pictured here is a national symbol of that country. It is proudly depicted on their flag. If we let Sri Lankans fly their flag here, then we can show their symbol too! Otherwise, cut off diplomatic relations with that country!

    People like Farooq are THE problem facing us today.

  2. Finally, the madness revolving around these Jewish presents is settled! These idols are nothing but the devious plans of the Jews, to make us pious Muslim Maldivians worship something made out of stone! Plus, just like how the Jewish beverage of alcohol, and the Jewish food-of-choice pork isn't allowed for consumption by the good Muslims of this country, such idols are banned by the constitution, even if it isn't the Islamic Shariah in it's complete form (mashallah one day even that shall be achieved!)

    The Jews are being defeated, my dear Muslim Maldivian brothers and non-fornicating sisters! Allahu Akbaru!

  3. Pathetic and ridiculous!!! Ignorant vandals destroy a piece of art, offend a neighbouring country, namely the donor of such, and demand to be taken serious as the right followers of Islam! Takes more than destruction to create! Before you want to teach the rest of the peaceful population what true Islam means, learn the basic code of good behaviour! An intensive course in culture would brighten up your dark hearts and feeble brains.

  4. All SAARC monuments must be withdrawn forthwith from the Maldives on religious grounds................and by the same token all Maldivians (100% sunni muslims no less) should be thrown out of all SAARC countries on religious grounds........... you people are so backward and intolerant its embarrassing.
    As a secular Indian I would like the Indian government to slam the door shut on Maldives........maybe then you will realise how small, insignificant and strategically unimportant you really are.

  5. It will be funny when these countries stop sending tourists to the Maldives and the governments stop giving the Maldivian government very large monetary donations... then you truly can say "blame the idols" lol...

  6. @Indira NewDelhi on Fri, 20th Jan 2012 12:16 AM

    "As a secular Indian I would like the Indian government to slam the door shut on Maldives……..maybe then you will realise how small, insignificant and strategically unimportant you really are."

    With due respect, India will do no such thing. After all, the relationship between Maldives and India benefits both parties. Maldives is strategically very important to India. Just ask the Chinese about that!

    Maldives sits astride some of the most important trade routes in this part of the world. An insignificant group of Islamic extremists cannot jeopardise the importance of that. At the same time, we should be mindful of the same extremists elements who are hell bent on creating mayhem here.

    The irony of all this is that Addu was full of more pious Muslims 60 or 70 years ago than today. The likes of Sheikh Hussain Raha have yet to appear on these soils. These great men welcomed and mingled with people of all faiths. Adduans travelled directly to many parts of South Asia for trade and commerce. British forces stayed here for over 20 years. We lived harmoniously with them. They had their Church and monuments. We had our mosques. There were no issues.

    What I am saying is; despite not having the same level of religious awareness of our forefathers, some elements in Addu have gone down the road of extremism. The blame lies partly with the hate mongering Madhrasas of certain South Asian countries and the Middle East. We should stop exposing our children to these places.

  7. Tourists from SAARC??? Yes it would be funny because their contribution is minimal to tourism.

    However all SAARC nations would be aware that it was the government who designed and engineered the whole monument fiasco. SAARC nations have long respected and accepted the cultural uniqueness of each individual sovereign SAARC nation. Unlike the EU, which some gung-ho fake human rights experts in the MDPs front-line of paid young know-nothings may be confusing SAARC with, we do not have human rights instruments demanding that all SAARC nations behave in the same way and we do not have a long-standing history of enforcing multiculturalism on our people.

    Why certain villages in India would be right gussied if cultural symbols they would not tolerate would be brought in their midst. No government would ever think to spark public unrest by bringing in such items to such a location. Tolerance is not a value that is shoved down the throats of a neglected and struggling populace, it is taught through education, awareness and better living standards. President Nasheed is the most inept, impatient and immature administrator this country has ever seen after Mohamed Ameen.

  8. I never knew there are that dumb/uneducated/ignorant people in Maldives who can be easily convinced to believe Sri Lankans worship lions. It seems another "Middle East" is on it's way to South Asia where there is no tolerance toward "non-Muslims". If all the Maldivians are really into their religion why do they need these extreme measures? Why don't "non-Muslims" destroy/vandalize mosques?

  9. Really, how can Maldivians be so retarded? I am so ashamed to be a Maldivian.

    What the hell is that lion-statue got to do with God???

    To top the shamelessness, Maldivians would not hesitate to open our mouths gaping wide, when we beg these neighboring countries for basic staple foods.

  10. @Ahmed Asim:

    Excuse me sir, but the good Maldivian people have never begged our neighbors for food. The Maldivian people have willingly allowed successive governments to tax them through customs duties and various other shares from industries such as tourism and the like.

    Each government that ruled the Maldives has had every chance to cater to the needs of the people without resorting to begging or shameless loan-taking.

    However each government has found it more important to consolidate their rule through wastage and misappropriation.

    President Nasir came the closest to maintaining our dignity. We, the Maldivian people are not the ones who are debasing ourselves for sustenance. Our governments are doing that for us.

    Get your facts straight and learn the basics of governance.

  11. In view of the hysteria over the 'idolatrous' SAARC monuments, can the government of Maldives PUHLEEEEEASE refrain from holding any more international conferences in the Maldives?
    Clearly you cannot hold these conferences in a country with such an uneducated, unsophisticated and intolerant population..........the reaction to the 'unislamic' monuments and symbols is laughable to an outsider like me.
    Just stick to the islamic conferences and PLEASE DO NOT TRAVEL ABROAD............especially to India.

  12. It's time to stop all relations with the Maldives. This country has become a bastion of intolerance and fundamentalism. For people to destroy ancient pieces of art in he name of religion shows they have no place in the modern world. The world sees what is going on in the Maldives. How will you keep your motorbikes and cigarettes with no economy.

  13. The comment of Sheikh Imran Abdullah is pathetic, and obviously, he should learn more about Jews !
    The Muslim rule of not eating pork was taken from the Jews, for whom pork is forbidden.
    Pious Jews do not drink alcohol either....


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