Islamic minister defends government policy on extremism

Defending the government’s stance on extremism and the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS), Islamic Minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed has told the Majlis the “Maldives will not allow Maldivians to go and fight in foreign wars.”

Shaheem told MPs today that Islamic scholars have criticised and expressed concern over ISIS policies, and stressed that Western powers also faced the challenge in preventing their citizens from joining ISIS.

He did not provide specifics on preventive mechanisms, and declined to respond to a question by MP Ibrahim Mohamed Didi on whether ISIS constituted a threat to Maldives national security.

According to Jihadist media groups, at least four Maldivians have been killed while fighting in the Syrian civil war. Meanwhile, reports of Maldivians travelling abroad to Syria have increased this year.

In October, 23-year-old Ibrahim Ahsan departed to Syria with his wife, mother and 10-year-old sister, telling his father that the Maldives was a “land of sin”. On November 6, the Maldives Police Services and Sri Lankan police apprehended three Maldivians at the airport, on their way to Syria via Turkey.

“We do not support their [ISIS] extremist policies. We have repeatedly appealed to our beloved youth to refrain from falling prey to these ideologies,” he said.

The government had taken action to stop Maldivians from praying in independent congregations, he said.

The ministry first advises individuals who take part in authorised prayer congregations, and only takes action against their leaders if the congregations do not stop, he said.

The Imam of an unauthorised independent prayer congregation in Malé was arrested in early October after he prayed for God to destroy the government and for victory against the “irreligious” administration that was attempting to “obstruct the spreading of Allah’s message”.

Under the Religious Unity Act, permission and written approval must be sought from the Islamic Ministry to preach, give sermons, and issue religious edicts.

Shaheem said the Islamic Ministry has also received reports of unauthorised prayer congregations in island communities and reports of illegal out-of-court marriages.

“From our side, Islamic scholars and ministry’s scholars have been sent to meet these communities and religious advice programmes are ongoing,” he said.

The programme has been successful, he claimed, adding that religious advice had stopped several young people from participating in unauthorised congregations.

The Islamic ministry has also blocked several websites that published offensive cartoons or articles that harass the Qur’an and Prophet Mohamed in order to strengthen religious unity, he said.

The ministry has facilitated opportunity for those who wanted to commit the Qur’an to memory, and is planning videoconferencing lessons to students who want to study the Qur’an in the atolls.

Shaheem said he is “satisfied” with the government’s religious policy and appealed to the public for support.

“President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s administration is doing tremendous work to revive religious unity in the Maldives, uphold Islamic identity and strengthen faith.”

Related to this story

Maldivian jihadist fighter dies in Syria

Islamic Minister advises Maldivians against participating in foreign wars

Police arrest Imam of unauthorised independent prayer congregation

MDP questions sincerity of Islamic minister’s stance on ISIS


14 thoughts on “Islamic minister defends government policy on extremism”

  1. Is there a Culture Minister in Maldives and why isn't he speaking up when people like Shaheem makes what ever statements he likes...

  2. In a while ago, Ali Waheed, Chairperson of MDP, have demanded the government to release the "Dharumavaththa Mosque" Imam, who had been jailed upon confessin the charges filed against him.
    What are we heading to?

  3. @culture

    There has to be an equally strong Culture Ministery with resources and status on par with the Islamic Minister.

    The national identity of Maldives is being ripped apart in 2 parts by those who are extreme Western leaning (in one part) and those who wants Wahabism (in the other part)

  4. Long story short, the PPM used a bunch of 'religious nutters' to come to power. Now that they're no longer of use to a gang who loves regular pleasure trips to the red light district of the world, they're being disposed of.

    At least the thugs at #wakeupnow had the idea of sucking up to ishit in the hopes they'll get diplomatic immunity.

  5. Can Shaheem tell the people one thing this government have done to revive religious unity!

    Ok! Agree that the government spoke to the people who were praying in an unorderly congregation which was different from what is followed by the majority of the country!

    But instead of coming to agreeable terms or understanding, the Imam was arrested, condemned, found guilty and put behind bars!

    If this is revival and coming to terms; Allah! Have mercy!

  6. Nasheed is his Gangs are the people who are supporting these extreme faction and Nasheed is the man who support them to perform friday prayer in Dharumavanath mosque.

    Reason is very simple. He want to divide the nation and push those extremist and show the internatioanl community that it is dangerous in Maldives with these Wahhabis and then International community will implant him as a Pressident of the country as a they did in Iraq and Afghan .

  7. What is the use of committing the Quran to memory without understanding its meaning? The best thing the Minister can do is teach people its meaning and moreover teach all Maldivians to respect people of ALL cultures and faiths equally.

    Maldivians are very good at "keeping appearances". Most women who wear the Burqa do that, not because of a deep religious belief, but to be seen as being religious. There's a word for that in Arabic, of course: Munafiq. I wonder how small the population of non-Munafiq are in this country.

  8. Islam will never know anyone elses policies other than that of Its Creator! Very simple! No need for a rattle to tell!
    No government can have its policies ruling Islam, be it extremism or hypocritism or whatever!
    It is governments or individuals who will have to accept it the way it is!
    Extremism is self made, and by scholars who portray nothing of Islam other than their version of it, which is not called for in Islam!
    Commandments of Allah SWA is been always there since day one, and it will remain as it is until doomed!
    No extremism or neglect can be enforced into it or taken out of it!
    We have seen who went extreme!
    We have seen people who go against the will of Allah for their personal gain!!

  9. The recent research explains why people are stupid; it seems there is a virus that makes people stupid. It is obvious that the religious scholars are stupid people who are weak in cognition and less intelligent. Probably such people have no capacity to peruse a professional career and opt to go behind religion to have a career and of course to be a master in religion you need to be super stupid. This explains everything what research has found, we have proof that these religious scholars are deficient in intelligence; these people have very short span of memory and don’t remember what they have talked few months before and completely lack in solving problems and are extremely irrational. Hope one day there will be a vaccine for this virus and people like Shaheem will be cured.

  10. Have we forgotten about the devil.. put on this earth to annihilate human beings. Last thing I remember was it disguises as a man & have many followers.

  11. @golha

    We've already developed a vaccine. A sub-cranial injection of solid steel with a tungsten lining. Trial tests in Iraq proved this new vaccine to be very effective in curing the disease - with a 99.812% effectiveness on the first dose.

  12. The best way to tackle islamic extremism in the Maldives is to disband the Islamic Ministry and force these loonies to get proper jobs. What exactly is their job description and their contribution to society?
    Why do muslim countries feel it necessary to have an Islamic Ministry in the first place?
    India does not have a Hindu Ministry with so called religious scholars interfering in the political, social and cultural life of the country.....and we are doing much better than you!!
    Time to pension off the Islamic Minister and turn his HQ into a spa.

  13. @MissIndia

    Information we've received by advanced interrogation of captured POWs indicates that the Ministry of Islamic Affairs is used as a meeting place for gangs and a storage area for large amounts of heroin, pending release to dealers affiliated with the government. This information has been verified by double agents who have infiltrated the facility. Better to leave nothing but a crater of the whole filthy place.


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