The Islamic Foundation of the Maldives has reiterated calls to the Maldives government to “shun all medical aid from the Zionist regime” with a team of seven Israeli eye surgeons due to arrive in the country next month, claiming that Isreali doctors and surgeons “have become notorious for illegally harvesting organs from non-Jews around the world.”
An article on the Foundation’s website titled “Beware of Israeli eye surgeons” claims Israeli medical teams have harvested organs from dead Haitians after the devastating earthquake that struck country as well as from Palestinians killed in fighting in the longstanding Arab-Isreali conflict.
“The health authorities in Maldives have to take utmost caution in allowing Israeli medical surgeons into this country and Maldivians who apply for treatment from these doctors have to take precautionary measures to avoid any foul play,” it reads.
A day after the government-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) announced the imminent arrival of the Israeli doctors, the Islamic Foundation called on the government not to normalise relations with the Jewish state or “accept any sort of assistance from Israel as long as they are in the lands of Palestine.”
President of Islamic Foundation Ibrahim Fauzy told Minivan News last week that the Foundation does not recognise Israel as a state, asserting that “it is also against our religion to have relationships with Jews.”
IGMH has meanwhile invited interested patients to register before December 2 for a screening process before treatment.
In November last year, Foreign Minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed narrowly survived a vote of no-confidence forwarded by the opposition for his role in the government’s plans to normalise relations with Israel.
Dr Shaheed has stressed that the government has not signed an agreement to establish diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Speaking to Minivan News today, Political Counsellor at the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, Itay Tagner, stressed that the delegation was coming to the Maldives “on a purely humanitarian mission”.
“Top eye doctors from Israel are coming voluntarily with the full cooperation of the government, the Health Ministry and the Disaster Management Centre,” he said, adding that the delegation will operate “under guidance of the relevant authorities.”
The team of surgeons will conduct eye camps in Male’, Gaaf Dhaal Thinadhoo and Addu Atoll Gan “for free, for no cost”, Tagner explained, and will bring surgical equipment, including a mobile surgery unit.
He dismissed the claims by the Islamic Foundation as “ridiculous and outrageous” with “not one gram of truth to it”.
“They are just trying to spread hatred,” he said. “This is a beautiful partnership between two peoples. It is nothing political. It’s just doctors from one country coming to another to build bridges between people.”
Tagner argued that Isreal “has no problem with Islam”, pointing out that 20 percent of its population were Muslims “who enjoy full rights as citizens”.
Asked if the Embassy was concerned about opposition from some segments of society, Tagner said that “the camps will be taking place with the full cooperation, assistance and sponsorship of the Maldivian government,” he said.
“It has been coordinated for a long time. I have been to the Maldives recently and I saw nothing but preparations. Everybody was very excited.”
He added that a 10 to 15 minute procedure performed by the eye surgeon could restore eyesight to the blind: “Once you see a person come out after 15 minutes and his whole life has changed, that picture is worth more than ten thousand words.”
“A doorway for Jews”
Addressing supporters at a rally Thursday night, opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Afrashim Ali claimed that Israelis and other foreign elements that “should not be allowed to enter a 100 percent Muslim country” will gain a foothold in the Maldives as a result of handing over management of the Male’ International Airport to Indian infrastructure giant GMR.
“[The airport deal with GMR] will open a big doorway for the people of Israel, who are brutalising Palestinians without any justification, to come to the Maldives and take over,” he said.
The leader of DRP’s religious wing asserted that it is “expressly forbidden” to give any assistance to Israel as “they forced Palestinians out of their homes and brutalised them only because they say ‘We are Muslims’.”
He added that “the loss of this airport from Muslim hands” would open “a huge door to help those who deliberately, antagonistically torture Muslims.”
Warning of the consequence of foreigners exerting influence on domestic affairs, Dr Afrashim said that “when foreign kings and businessmen and company heads get a foothold in a small country like the Maldives, the result will be that they will never leave.”
He added that the second step of the foreign invasion would be to “sow discord” and ferment chaos “to destroy the country”.
To back his assertion, Afrashim quoted from the Quran 27:34: “She said: ‘Verily! Kings, when they enter a town (country), they despoil it, and make the most honourable amongst its people low. And thus they do.’”
“They will destroy Islam in the Maldives,” he warned.
Meanwhile, speaking at a press conference today, Foreign Minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed said that the Maldivian government and people wished to declare its “support and cooperation” to the Palestinian people on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinians.
“The Maldives is a country that has always been with the Palestinian people,” he said. “We have always called for the freedom of the Palestinian people and advocated for their rights.”
Moreover, the government was trying to establish stronger ties with Palestine, said Shaheed, noting that President Mohamed Nasheed has had phone conversations with Palestinian leaders and had appointed an ambassador to Palestine.