“I cannot speak against music. I cannot stand against cheerfulness”: President Nasheed

The following is a translation of a speech given by President Mohamed Nasheed on December 17.

“When I spoke in Maafannu [on December 15], I said that we have been somewhat contemplating on what everyone is talking about in the Maldives today. This party or the government is, in no way, worried about the instigation of a mega protest [on December 23].

However, if any of the citizens spread fatwa, or talk about beheading or killing other citizens, I see it as a severe disruption of our social stature.

We all have been accustomed and have accepted moderate policies for our daily lives. I see that it is time for all those who support our traditional methods and believe that those methods are not wrong, to come out for its defense.

Lately some people, including political parties and NGOs, have been very vocal about the implementation of specific verdicts. Those that they identify include harsh religious verdicts which we don’t practice today, such as half-buried stoning, beheading and killing.

From the beginning, this government has been seeking and following the advice of religious scholars.

Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari is the Minister of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, the institution responsible for disclosing and implementing the government’s religious policies. Dr Majeed would agree that the government has always respected their decisions on religious matters, and has in no way attempted any reservations or objections on such decisions, even in my own capacity.

And Dr Majeed clearly knows that, quite often, I accept his word as the final word on certain type of matters, even at Cabinet discussions.

We have been able to hold our religious identity and its values at a par, for hundreds and hundreds of years. I don’t see a reason for us to get ourselves drenched arguing over different sectarian perspectives and intricate religious vocabulary today. Since ancient times we have been living in a harmonious Islamic culture, unlike those Islamic nations who are known for defending specific religious perspectives. I would rather stand up and show Maldives’ Islam as an example for them to follow.

We Maldivians are a nice lot. And we love Islam. Not this government, nor the people, nor myself, would allow room for the spread of another religion in the Maldives.

We or the government have never – never – endorsed for such. If some are of the view that the current religious situation is not better than before, I wonder where are all the scholars who were in the cells that surrounded mine?

They are here: because they pray; because they preach; because they clarify religious matters. Today, our people have the blessings of God, for all scholars to speak their will, and guide the public, within the rightful boundaries of religion.

Using [religion] to deceive as such, I believe, could be very perilous to the people. It could be very perilous to the Maldives.

While harsh religious policies are being defended; in reality, they can only be implemented through the Constitution.

To conduct half-buried stoning, cutting off limbs, beheading, flogging or to implement any other such verdict, it can only be done when it is deemed so in the Penal Code. Those responsible for doing this are the parliament members.

I always prefer to seek religious advice from religious scholars. They need to clarify it plainly to the public. What is it that they are so vocal about? What is it that they are seeking? Is it the same as what we have been practicing so far? I feel that we need to speak about these matters very clearly. All political parties need to spell out clearly what they prefer to include in the Penal Code.

What verdicts do they want to include? We also have many other not-so-clear matters in addition to these verdicts. And many other matters of dispute among the people. One such dispute would be about music. Many of us has a passion for music. Many of us Maldivians listen to music and like to play too. When some start to preach against it, we the people, need to know what the actual truth is.

Traditionally, Maldivian women have strongly participated equally both at work and at home, similar to its male counterpart, in raising children, in social and economic activities. We need to know what the social role of women is. Are we asking to change what we have been practicing for so long? Or are we only hearing from the loudest? Is this from the opposition’s TV and radio channels, trying all that they can to promote anti-government sentiment, in the heated political atmosphere? I believe that the public needs to have clarity.

We are the leaders of the people. We are elected by the people. According to this political system embedded in our constitution, we cannot part away from the people. We brought in this system, because we wanted to execute it. By God’s virtue, we are doing it. While we are at this, most political leaders would be swindling to comment or not to comment on my words here tonight, basically without expressing their perspectives at all, and remain deceitful to the public. They need to express, to the public, very clearly and specifically their views and perspectives on relevant matters. If the public don’t agree, it is their right to seek other leaders. We will continue to conduct free and fair elections.

I will say, I have been raised by my parents on the principles of Islam since childhood. I dearly believe the principles of Islam. I shall not let my conscience be affected by the worldly waves, or breach my own ways: the ways my teachers and my parents taught me.

I don’t see why some people should disapprove me for this reason. We all should be able to live together. We have spelt out the constitution for different circumstances.

Some people raised concern about the monuments placed by the SAARC countries in the city and the atoll, when Addu transferred into a city. We find a lot of commemorative monuments in Maldives. Male also has such monuments. This time, when it was requested to send in their country’s monument, the specifics had probably been subject to miscommunication.

I don’t think, under any circumstances, any of us intended to place an idol of worship, when it was placed there. It was only a commemorative monument sent in by the leaders of SAARC countries, placed by the mayor with the workmen from the islands. I only saw it when I was told that it had been vandalised.

This is not a government who will try to do anything that hasn’t been done before as far as religion goes. What we are trying to change are the social standards, economic policies and political philosophies.

We shall never denounce the religious policies and standards accepted by the people. We shall neither provide space for such a spirit to infiltrate into Maldives. But I shall repeat, I cannot speak against music. I cannot stand against cheerfulness. We require them as part of our daily needs, to sooth and calm our souls. I am sure; our youth population is not tiny. We cannot let them be demoralised or leave them to become useless. We need to provide them with modes of entertainment and other activities to fill their time, for if not, the outcome would be devastating.

When we rolled over in 2008, I myself was witness to the youth in street corners, being victims of strong addictive drugs. Some would say that I don’t see them now because I am not out there on the streets. I am actually looking for them now. We are implementing and managing different activities. We are taking care of them. When we took over the government, not a single month passed when there had not been a fire attack in a jail or vandalising of property. However, today they know they have the opportunity to come out on parole with an effort on their side. They know that this government is working on it. That is the society we want to establish. To find a way to bring them back in to their families and the society as productive good citizens.

We need shelter. We all know the obstacles we face in the Maldives. We know them now. I still remember around one and half years ago, what someone had told after some calculations. That if we were to build the number of flats that we promised, we were to erect a specific number of flats per minute. And that is exactly what we do: we erect a number of flats per minute. The waiting time, planning time, designing time is sometimes not considered as part of the project implementation time. During my visits some would ask when the physical implementation work would start. Physical work is considered only that from which you sweat. Or which can be physically seen on site. With God’s grace, we shall deliver our ‘shelter’ campaign pledge. We shall deliver our ‘health’ pledge. We shall deliver our ‘anti-drugs’ pledge.

The only one we would question would be the ‘price’ pledge, understanding exactly how much we can reduce the prices. Prices will reduce somewhat on January 1. However, we should consider giving serious thought as to whether it is possible to reduce the prices to match the levels that we initially wanted.

We shall not stop. We shall try all possible methods. We shall twist and tweak all possible economic options to find a balance. With God’s blessing, we are trying to achieve our goals of a ‘neater’ life, beautiful and happy: without serious worries; not having to beg for medical assistance or text books for school children; not having to worry about red notices. We are seeking to get beyond these. All the same, I would like to tell you, I shall not let go of any of these beliefs for any political reasons, and I will not keep quiet about them.

I believe that our citizens are very much aware. Misconceptions shall dissolve. And they know how things are moving ahead. What is being spoken about on a regular basis would be clear to all. However, some of us are concerned, that there are those citizens who only believe what they are made to hear and see by specific radio and TV stations. Not me. I know they are not misguided. I am leading a people that I know about. They are not strangers to me.

Most time, I would know. Those issues that aren’t rectified for you, are not unknown and not left without attendance. It is the current situation that is not allowing us to get in it on the right track. I believe we have achieved several objectives during the past three years.

Before I end my words, I would like to stress that, on December 23, as many of citizens as possible should come out to express themselves and to take a stand. This is the purpose of rallies under a democracy. To express your view and to show which views you stand by.

Some keep asking me why we should stand up.

We have to. Let me tell you this. On that day, when you happen to see a group of people on Male’ streets, who keeps a certain look, dresses in a certain way, and calls for certain calling, you will ask me where I was, if I wouldn’t be there. By God’s grace, I shan’t be lost. I shall be there where I should be.

My prayer is that we are blessed with a better tomorrow.”


29 thoughts on ““I cannot speak against music. I cannot stand against cheerfulness”: President Nasheed”

  1. "and i only saw the monuments after it was destroyed" coming from someone who participated in the unveiling ceremonies of the monuments. just a glimpse of how much lies he is telling.

  2. So why don't you speak against the heinous crimes that take place everyday on the streets, from abductions, mugging, raping and murder? By being silent on these things are speaking 'for' them? Looks like so, because each time something happens that you do not like you have instantly voiced your opinions. It doesn't seem like your place to speak about tolerance and 'good manners' and tradition because you have shown none so far. Each time you are seen laughing and enjoying the puns aimed at ridiculing and scorning Maldivian citizens sitting amongst your party greats you are doing a lot of harm. You may not be breaking the law but you are breaking a much more valuable thing... you are manifesting a breeding ground for regressive behaviour. So when you begin speaking of these things it is a farce.

  3. "This is not a government who will try to do anything that hasn’t been done before as far as religion goes. What we are trying to change are the social standards, economic policies and political philosophies"

    What president need to realize is that in today's Maldives, with the all free (even within your cabinet) scholars educated in Madrasas preaching wahhabism, ISLAM is not just a religion for spirituality, morality etc. With the calls to follow the exact path of Prophet Mohamed (PBUH), the religion of Islam is a political one, ONE that encopasses everything.

    the social standards, economic policies and political philosophies are all Islam, especially when our constitution so vaguely yet strongly mentions all laws should be within islamic rulings and all freedom as long as long it does not contradict tenets of islam. NO one cares to eloborate on the rulings or tenets of islam except the self proclaimed scholars (recently salafists and Adalaths). The MPs who passed the constitution put those clauses there to use religion as a tool on their convenience, not because they themselves know anything about tenets of islam..

  4. I feel sorry for this man. He's trying to peddle sophisticated modern principles to a pre-Mediaeval people. All they are interested in is to preserve a backward cult. He should pack up and leave this lot to their own primitive devices.

  5. Mr . President .! we demand freedom of religion. we shall not stop unless we do so. everyone has the right to believe in god /and a religion they see appropriate. we refuse to submerge into deception of the so called Islamic scholars. we will bring this sweet freedom sooner than later with or without gods will.

    i have never witnessed a religion where god demands constant praise and threatens 24/7 with fire if we refuse to accept his ways other than islam. my moral tells me this is complete rubbish.

  6. Mr President, it is pointless arguing semantics you will receive criticism from people who will attack you for whatever you say or wish to do. Ignore them, we are with you!

  7. Remembering and praising Allah throughout the day cleans the heart and promotes tranquility of the mind and being reminded of hell fire makes us refrain from evil. Allah knows best.

  8. At last the president and the government has come out against these extremists. This country will go back to stone age, if we don't put a stop to these radicals who seem hell bent on taking us back a couple of centuries, all in the name of religion. Like the President also said, we have been practicing Islam for the last 800 years, we don't need some newcomers with beards to teach us about religion that our ancestors had practiced.

  9. "It was only a commemorative monument sent in by the leaders of SAARC countries, placed by the mayor with the workmen from the islands. I only saw it when I was told that it had been vandalised."

    One of Anni's body doubles attended the
    SAARC monument unveiling ceremonies.

  10. President must say :" I cannot say no to the alcohol drinkers in the country which is power circle ...no can I say no to same sex which is widely practice among this elite group and previous"!! I must say Gayoom and Nasheed are both alike in religious stand to obey satanism and invisible "new world order"!! Both are slaves!!

  11. I totally agree that Anni is the best text book liberal in practice. He is not like some that calls themselves liberals but takes on the new western neo conservative stand of liberalism which is not written in textbooks in college. So in that way I totally respect him. Yes, good has been done during past years, no one is saying that Anni and his government is a complete waste. But where you have gone wrong is by putting non-religious figures close to you and have gone along with their anti-Islamic agendas. Opposition parties and NGOs sent official complaint letters to you and you just ignored it on the advise of you know it all advisers. But now you bring out this big speech where you talk about defending our country's Islamic identity is your big thing? Was this speech written or edited by someone who has not been listening to the people's anger this past year? Did you not blame the people for getting angry at the UN Human Rights chief when she insulted out constitution, instead of asking her to respect Maldivian law? On the case of Israel, instead of referring to the thousands of Muslims Israel has killed in Palestine, Lebanon and elsewhere, you talk about having to be open with Israel like other Arab doctator states. Did you not see in Egypt and in Tunisia that with true democracy, Muslims are chosen and they do not want to have anything to do with the state of Israel. Any Israeli that comes to Maldives, should be arrested for war crimes. I'm not asking to shoot them or chase them around the streets. Arrest them and give them a fair trial which our brothers and sisters in Palestine has to this date not received from your beloved UN Human Rights. Instead, you and your close allies in government keeps finding excuses for Israel and just expect Maldivians to sit and watch as a hostile enemy of Islam is asked to come for holiday to our country after killing a few Muslims. This is how you reward terrorists? Or have you started to call only Muslims terrorist as the West would like you to?

    If you are so into Human Rights and Islam, should you not be the first one to go against Israel? Not just by sending a polite letter. No on TV to show the world that we are a proud Muslim country and if we get a hold of an Israeli, they will be arrested and will be given a fair trial under Maldivian law. Or are you scared to pick on Israel? If your heart is there to speak for the oppressed, you should have no problem in calling Israeli killing of Muslims a war crime on national TV. We Maldivians are sick of politicians that tries to be diplomatic with Israel. Our grandfathers hated Israel, our Parents and family hate Israel, we hate Israel and our children will hate Israel. So live with that fact and tell your government to live with it!

    Your scare tactics will not work on the people. I am sure that this idea to scare people is not from you because I know how you think and your not an accuser. But when we have a president who listens to his advisers too much, that is where everything goes wrong. All your talk about the opposition and Islamic NGOs protest being about beheading and stonning peope are crazy. These are all propaganda and you know it. Your advisers are smart because they know there will always be a small number that will be tricked into this. But this is a dangerous game your playing.

    The opposition and Islamic NGOs are not a bunch of fanatics as you claim. We will have people with beards and women with headscarfs, yes. But! We will sure have people that also don't cover and don't have beards because if you have not realized, we don't have to have a beard or cover our hair to love our Creator. We all get religious and become better with the will of Allah (swt). We Maldivians don't force each other to do anything. So far it's only been the government that has been trying to force us to debate about freedom of religion in the Maldives, Apostates and Israel. So why are you playing this dirty game and misinforming Maldivians about the protest?

    For you to have come up with such a dirty counter campaign to try and weaken the protest shows how you have changed. If you were still as liberal as you were when you first came into office, you would not have made such a big deal about it. But I am sure you listened to your advisers and now you have no way back.

    Does the government this the people working for the Maldivian civil service supports their agendas to open the country for immoral things like Gay rights? Have you condemned the ones that protested in favour of this recently and asked the courts to punish them?

    I don't know.. I think your in the middle of big trouble with your people. All we want is to peacefully protest, so don't try to be like Hosni Mubarak and cause trouble in order to give an excuse to crack down on it.

    This is an important time for us Maldivians to give a strong message to the President and Government to stop it's dealing with Israel and if you love our Islamic Identity, tell your foreign visitors that our constitution needs no changing and they better respect our constitution as we Maldivians do when we visit their countries. It's a two way friendship in politics and we don't like non-Muslims coming to our country and insulting our constitution.

    People should go out and even those with MDP should join the ones supporting Islam and not the one which Anni is trying to bring as they obviously have a hidden agenda to support freedom of religion in our country. Why else would Anni call for a counter protest to challenge the peaceful one which is already planned. It just does not make sense. He is acting like a dictator which is why I feel he is listening to others too much. Its not like him to be autocratic.

  12. Oh my effing God. he has said the unthinkable!

    He cannot speak against music. All imams and sheikhs had spoken in a collective YouTube video. Music is haram. Music is haram.

    And now the president is saying he cannot speak against music.

    Maldivians. Brace yourselves. The curse of God in the form of a huge tsunami will hit tomorrow. Or the day after? A month? Maybe a year? What the heck, next millennium then. but it will come for no other reason than Anni did not curse music.

    My country is doomed. How sad!

  13. Imran, the tsunamis you are talking about, have been taking place from the beginning of times, so why threaten with it saying that it will happen. we don't need your curse or the hadit of your prophet to know that. they are a consistent part of nature.

  14. As a diversionary tactic this is too little too late.

    However the translation of the speech to English and its publicization on Minivan hints that the intention is to glammer the foreign media and the international community regarding the actual goings on in the country.

    I urge the foreign media to look at facts and figures and commissioned reports. I urge the international community to refer to our economic situation. The impending riots are not even close to being religiously motivated. Islam is the language used to articulate the frustrations of the Maldivian people this time around. Human Rights was the fashionable one in 2008.

    The fact of the matter is since the 2004 Tsunami, the Maldivian people have been experiencing rising inflation and loss of spending power. This led to more introspection thereby hammering home the actual situation of the Maldives. Poor housing conditions, malnutrition, an education system with no connection to the job market and erratic consumer behavior coupled with an expanding government. These are the actual reasons behind the 2008 vote. NOT HUMAN RIGHTS and NOT THE MDP. What the people voted for was a chance to change their life for the better.

    Instead what we got was a whole lot of foreign policy tripe and further destabilization of the economy. THIS IS WHAT THE MALDIVIAN PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY TALKING ABOUT. They do not want President Nasheed a leader and religion coincidentally justifies their sentiments this time around.

  15. Saudi is the only country that tried Amputations,executions and stoning but WAIT,All these deterrent punishments are not used against their own citizens but only against the poor expatriate population from developing countries.
    Believe me present day wahhabi Saudis are Barbarians.
    They promote but never practised what they preached against their own people.What an hypocrite

  16. One of the promise Anni made during run up to the last election was that he will step down as president within two years of he being elected a president.
    Has he kept his word? or he wants to contest for second term.
    Yeah i agree once u taste power u cannot live without it

  17. @bodey

    i ll have to agree with you. why the hell do we have to conform to ideas that we dont believe in. a belief system is something you develop over time. it cant be done right if your forcing people to let go of their own beliefs. if you believe in allah and in hell fire i d have to say your already there. lets be honest, maldives is no longer the heavenly paradise it used to be.

  18. Everybody is using religion for their personal and party gain. Even the self professed scholars. This is extremely anti-Islamic and they probably don't even know it. So should we really be taking religious advise from this lot or should we look overseas for any credible religious advise now...?

  19. susan.

    we have separation of powers. Justice is the job of the judiciary. passing bills to bring justice to our people and to bring the long overdue legal reform of the penal Code is the job of the parliament. The parliament has been sitting on these bills for three years.

    We condemn the President whenever he says something about the judiciary and yet we expect him to cut into their work. I know its early days into democracy and we are still programmed to think we are in a dictatorship. It is not. The constitution passed in 2008 separated the powers of the Presdient, the Legislature and the Juciciary.

    There is nothing the President can do when our judges free the criminals that the PGs office send to the courts. It is the Judiciary Commission that has to look into this. Not the executive.

  20. Beheading, amputation, chopping of limbs.. these phrases are used to cause maximum shock value to the reader/listener and to cause discomfort to the listener before the issue is presented. its like describing the process of reliving oneself without shortening it up by saying i went to loo!

    Islamic sharia prescribes all these harsh forms of punishment but for the ppl who deserve it. You will only deserve death for a person if that person raped your mom or child (use of 1st person deliberate.. to cause shock value!)
    so from a victims point of view, islamic sharia is the best and closest you can get to justice on earth.

    As for music, ppl can live without it. its an excess, a form of diversion we can do without and still make an A+ living. Same like most forms of art. Islam is a pragmatic religion which forbids excess and wasteful practices only for the betterment of human life.

  21. What a piece of garbage we have voted in! Sad is the day that I voted you Mr President!!!

  22. Muslim Girl, remembering and praising your Allah is your right and no one will take that away from you, as long as you don't kill anyone or destroy property while doing so. You cannot expect everyone to subscribe to your religion. Just as you have your right to believe in your god, others have a right to believe in another God or gods, or hold no belief in a god. Why can't you live and let live?

  23. Why cannot be truthful to our own conscience. Music haram. We can't accept that.
    Television and cinemas are haram. We can't accept that.
    Photography is pure evil. What?
    Beheading is mandatory. We can't fathom the brutality. We do not want our kids to see the brutality, but it must be a publicized fiasco.
    Chopping hands off is a must. But we cannot accept that.

    The reason we are so paranoid about other religions are precisely the contradictory beliefs to above and similar.

    The reasons why adaalath is so worried is because deep inside they know the effect it would have if some other religion is given the opportunity; it will smoothly and cleanly take over the majority of youth. It may not have so profound effect on elderly, because it would feel so stupid that they have been misled for so long. It's a matter of pride. Ever wonder why all those who could afford, most send their kids to educate to western universities?

    Saudis would their best to keep the religion live, because they make billions on tourism during hajj and umra

  24. Why cannot be truthful to our own conscience. Music haram. We can't accept that.
    Television and cinemas are haram. We can't accept that.
    Photography is pure evil. What?
    Beheading is mandatory. We can't fathom the brutality. We do not want our kids to see the brutality, but it must be a publicized fiasco.
    Chopping hands off is a must. But we cannot accept that.

    The reason we are so paranoid about other religions are precisely the contradictory beliefs to above and similar.

    The reasons why adaalath is so worried is because deep inside they know the effect it would have if some other religion is given the opportunity; it will smoothly and cleanly take over the majority of youth. It may not have so profound effect on elderly, because it would feel so stupid that they have been misled for so long. It's a matter of pride. Ever wonder why all those who could afford, most send their kids to educate to western universities?

    Ever wonder why a disastrous event, like a landfall, flooding, earthquake strike at places not necessarily religious biased? In Iran, Indonesia, Somalia, Haiti, turkey, etc. God does not favour any particular religion. Since we know he can pinpoint any sect if he wanted to.

    Saudis would their best to keep the religion live, because they make billions on tourism during hajj and umra?

    Yes. You should be worried. Adaalath. Very worried. You are going down the slide. Accelerating. In 20 years from now, most kids will be like open minded. Like the western kids. The percentage of zealots will reduce.


  25. @awlaki

    If that's what you claim, then show me a country or nation in the world today under shari'a law that is free from tyranny, injustice and despair.

  26. So what if you cannot speak against music Mr. President? Just be thankful for that and lets put things in perspective.

    * most western statesmen cannot talk against gays/lesbians. cos if they do they will not get the gay votes..

    * nor can most western and (Even) eastern politicians talk against Israel or its repressive policies, cos if they do they may as well forget about politics and high positions.

    * you can ridicule America, make fun of Obama, Jesus or even joke about great human tragedies like the Polpot's reign or terror, but you can not even a question single aspect holocaust, they money machine that pumps billions to the Israeli narrative!

    So there are things politicians cannot talk about if they care about their job.

    coming back down to our country ultimately Anni will need to get votes from simple people like us to get another term in office. The liberal west may support him but they cannot vote him in to Muleeaage. So Anni is playing the religion card at the wrong time for the wrong reason and definitely to his own disadvantage.

  27. I agree with awlaki. And such double standards. If he really cared about democracy and liberal islam and gender rights, his government would not have alllowed all the womens mosques to be declared null and void. The women themselves raised the financies for these, its a space created and widely used by the women of the islands as a social space, that they own. At the very least they should have asked the women why these spaces were so important to them.


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