An invisible war is being waged against the Maldives’ nationalism, claimed Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer when commemorating Martyr’s Day last Thursday (May 29).
“We are under attack even today, at this very moment, and this minute and second – but in a different way. Today the targets are our thinking, creed, the good views we hold of our nation – the love for the nation, the respect for national history.”
“Today there are great efforts destroy these. This is an invisible war, weapons that cannot be touched,” said Naseer during an event held at the Olympus Theater in Malé.
Martyr’s day has been officially commemorated since 1979, in remembrance of Sultan Ali VI – commonly known as Ali Rasgefaanu – who is said to have died fighting Portuguese invaders in 1558.
The occasion was also observed by the police service, with the controversial Sheikh Adam Shameem Ibrahim advising officers of the importance of martyrdom in Islam.
Additionally, Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon warned of attempts by outside actors to enslave the nations politically and economically.
Beware of hidden enemies: home minister
The four pillars on which the Maldives stands are the Dhivehi language, Islam, the Dhivehi culture, and independence said the home minister.
Naseer stated that the foundation of Maldivian culture was Islam alongside social values such as respecting elders and women, and showing kindness towards one another.
Naseer requested people be vigilant of anyone who “casts a gaze filled with hatred” towards national properties, land, religion, and peace.
“Today we will have to face such experiences within the Maldives and from abroad. This is today’s war. You will not be martyred in this war, instead you will face death. Thinking and ideologies will be corrupted. The result would be unhappiness in both worlds,” said Naseer.
The home minister’s sentiments were also reflected in Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon’s statements on the occasion.
Recalling the sacrifices of various national heroes Dunya said that today’s globalised attacks were not waged with guns.
“In today’s world, most of the time we are uncertain about how or from where the enemies attack [us]. Attacks indented to enslave [us] come in many different forms,” said Dunya.
“In today’s world, instead of colonisation countries are being enslaved economically and politically.”
Asking whether a nation dependent on others for its basic needs can be considered independent, Dunya noted the importance of an economically independent Maldives that can protect its religion and identity.
The Maldives Police Service also held a special parade at Iskandar Koshi on Thursday in order to mark the day.
Chief Guest at the ceremony, attended by Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed and Deputy Commissioner of Police Ahmed Saudi, was the controversial preacher Sheikh Adam Shameem Ibrahim.
Addressing the police parade, Sheikh Shameem said police officers should always posses the will to be martyred in defending the people and the nation.
Remarking that the country was passed onto the present generation with the hard work of Mujahidin who were martyred in defending Islam and the nation, the sheikh explained the high regard for martyrdom in Islam.
Shameem has recently prayed for the acceptance of the martyrdom of Maldivians killed in the Syrian civil war, stating that anyone who fights to glorify Islam against disbelievers are Mujahideen (Holy warriors).
He also said on his Facebook page that Nusayri (Shiah Muslims) of Syria are disbelievers “worse than Christians and Jews”.
Sheikh Shameem first came to public attention following his ‘mega-lecture’ ‘Andalus‘, during the 2013 presidential elections.
Live broadcasts of this lecture were interrupted by authorities for violating state broadcaster’s guideline, while the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party condemned the lecture accusing Shameem of inciting hatred in order to sway the electorate.