Islamic Ministry to seek opinion of religious scholars on Maldivians joining Syrian civil war

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs has decided to hold a forum on Tuesday night (June 17) for local religious scholars to discuss Maldivians leaving to fight in the Syrian civil war.

Islamic Minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed revealed on social media yesterday that the ministry decided to consult scholars following inquiries and concern from the public regarding the issue of jihad.

“The ministry’s opinion will be shared with the public after consulting scholars. Insha Allah,” he tweeted.

Shaheem told local media that discussions at the forum – which will take place at the Islamic Centre – will focus on the question of jihad from a Shariah perspective.

Scholars are expected to determine whether fighting in Syria could be considered a religious obligation or jihad.

In May, an online media group called Bilad Al Sham Media (BASM) ostensibly run by Maldivians in Syria – revealed that two Maldivians had been killed in the war-torn Arab nation.

While the first Maldivian was killed in a suicide attack, the group claimed a second Maldivian was killed shortly thereafter in a gunfight with soldiers loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.

Moreover, in October 2013, local media reported that two Maldivian men – aged 25 and 35 years – were apprehended from Ibrahim Nasir International Airport on suspicion that they were leaving to join the Syrian civil war.

The reported deaths of two Maldivian militants last month prompted investigations by both the Maldives Police Service (MPS) and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF).

Responding to police attempts to locate the group last week, BASM stated in a Facebook post that they could be found at the Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Qaeda in Syria) base in Idlib, northwestern Syria.

“Now lets see whether they can bring us back,” read the post.

Government stance

Islamic Minister Shaheem had previously stated that he personally did not believe it was right for “any Maldivian youth to join another country’s war in the name of Islam.”

Vice President of the Fiqh Academy Sheikh Iyaz Abdul Latheef meanwhile told Minivan News that the academy has no official view on the matter. Iyaz has however blogged about the issue in his personal capacity.

Writing on ‘MV Islam Q&A’ last month, Iyaz contended that it was unacceptable ‘jihad’ to fight in a war without seeking prior permission from the leader of the nation and from one’s parents.

He also said that another issue arising from such ‘jihad’ is the unforgivable error of killing another Muslim.

Asked by reporters about Maldivian militants in Syria, President Yameen said Maldivians were not departing to Syria with either the government’s knowledge or consent.

Responsibility for criminal activity must be borne by the individual who committed the crime, Yameen said.

“If any Maldivian – regardless of where they are, or for what reason, even if not for war – notifies us that they are unable to come back to the Maldives, the government will offer any possible financial assistance to them. However, there is no way we can bring back anyone forcefully against their will,” Yameen told the press on his return to an official visit to India last month.

A former senior police officer who spoke to Minivan News at the time on condition of anonymity described  the government’s response as “highly irresponsible” and called for immediate preventive measures.

“It has previously been alleged that there are terror cells here, and that the Maldives is also somehow involved in financing terrorism activities,” he noted.

“In fact, the government must have been aware of this way before it was discussed in mainstream media. In light of these events, it is a likely danger – and a far more serious threat – that such actions may start operating here on our own land.”

Speaking to Minivan News following BASM’s threats against the police, the ex-officer questioned both the capacity and the desire of authorities to prosecute such activities.

The former officer pointed to the lack of comprehensive anti-terror laws in the country and questioned the decision to have controversial Sheikh Adam Shameem speak at the police’s recent master parade.

“For the police to invite these people validates the accusations made by some that police and the security services are quite supportive of extremist elements and extremism in general,” said the former officer.

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has also claimed there is a prevalence of extremist ideologies within the Maldives security forces.


11 thoughts on “Islamic Ministry to seek opinion of religious scholars on Maldivians joining Syrian civil war”

  1. Here's what bothers me. Government and sheiks are hellbent on everyone following their belief version. They are so concerned about everyone that they are going out of their way just to make sure everyone gets to heaven. No man will be left behind.

    What lovely and kind hearted people. God bless them. That's the premise atleast.

    In reality, one half of the country would tear apart the other, given the chance. Steal when they can. Slander when they can. Sleep with friends wives when they can.

    They premise and reality don't tally.

    With base premises like above, there is no end to the extremes ignorants and less-fortunate would go, or do; after all in their minds, the end is what they dream of everyday, the very thing, the politicians enjoy daily. Money power ans sex.

  2. What a joke. So you need religious scholars to decide whether murder in the name of religion is a crime.

    Be careful what you wish for as these same people and their fellow fighters could come back with the same intent to overthrow the Maldives government if the scholars side with their twisted views.

    Remember these people want an Islamic state, which would end your tourism and put you all in the dark ages.

  3. @Andrew

    Welcome to the so-called 100% muslim Maldives.

    ... I'd say its 10% muslim, though.

  4. Islam brings peace to this World everyday and it has already started happening in the Maldives. There is no need to see whether it is halal or not, Jihad is going on regardless of what Maldivian scholars say and it will come to the Maldives soon.

  5. well well , In reality US soldiers who went to Iraq and Afghanistan went for Jihad .Thousands of Americans and British soldiers got killed (suicidal) .

    Russians and Americans interfered and directly participated during Afghan War.

    In the name of terrorism the western & American community is able to carryout Nazism . is this fair? why all influential media channels not addressing this issue ?

  6. santana on Sun, 15th Jun 2014 10:58 AM

    You really need a history lesson in factual events and not a perverted twisted view expressed in your comment.

    US and British forces went to Afghan to fight against a terrorist group being given safe haven after they admitted carrying out 9/11.

    They also went to Iraq because Saddam Hussein failed to comply with international weapon inspectors requirements and was deemed to be a threat to the rest of the Middle East.

    Russia invaded Afghan decades ago whilst still a communist country, communism does not acknowledge religion, therefore not Jihad. You should also note that the international community helped the Afghan people to drive out the Russian forces.

    It is a major insult to suggest US and Western communities fight against terrorism as Nazism. Billions of people died in the fight against the Nazi party 70 years ago, a war that was fought for survival and freedom. The war on terror is to prevent the situation from returning to days when fear is used to rule people and nations.

    The media is addressing the issue, it seems you don't understand the issue concerned.

  7. I can't understand what the big fuss is about? It is a Civil war in a foreign Country (and between Muslims)! We can mediate between the warring parties but it is not a religious obligation to kill for one side! Is the Government afraid to rule on this?

  8. It’s obviously some Boko Haram fractions in the Maldives, hope for the Maldives population sake that they are able to see it and handle accordingly.

  9. Dear Muslims with a population almost 3 Lakh ??how many wish to die in Syria ???jihad is to save religion if somebody attacks on Muslims please Learn meaning of jihad and Islam .islam means peace not war and killings.

  10. @Omar. Islam means peace or pieces. We see how peaceful it is everyday. Please stop using your Taqiyya, no body is going to listen to you. You can say whatever you want but if you are able to show peace, then you are failed. Muslims are killing each other everyday, if not, they start blaming each other by calling infidels.

  11. Extremists, Jihadists & suicide bombers are bread from desperate societies.


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