“Kill me before you kill a fellow Maldivian,” President Mohamed Nasheed has said, after several slogans calling for the “slaughter of anyone against Islam” were published yesterday on a website calling for a religious protest on December 23.
The organisers of the protest yesterday removed the slogans calling for murder, attributing them to “a mistake on the technical teams’ side.”
The website, 23December.com, this morning appeared to have been targeted by hackers, replaced with green skulls and the statement “We’ll come out against you with machetes if you protest.”
The original site promoting the protest is now back up at the domain.
Speaking at a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) rally last night, President Nasheed promised that should the protests target Maldivians, “The government and MDP will come out in defence of the people. We’ll not come out on the streets with the defence forces but with bare hands. No one can confront us on these streets,” Nasheed was reported as saying.
His statements followed an attack on Saturday against a group of ‘silent protesters’ on the Artificial Beach calling for religious tolerance. Several people were injured in the skirmish, including controversial blogger Ismail ‘Khilath’ Rasheed who’s website was last month blocked on the order of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.
That evening, Nasheed gave an address at a function marking International Human Rights Day, in which he said that “Islam stands for the dignity, honour, and nobility of mankind, on which Islamic Sharia is based”, and contended that those who claimed Sharia conflicts with fundamental human rights “are clearly unable to comprehend or accept Sharia verdicts.”
The explosive reaction against UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, following her recent call for a moratorium and debate on the practice of flogging for extramarital sex, and an amendment to the “discriminatory” constitutional provision that all Maldivians be Muslim, was a lost opportunity to showcase Sharia’s compatability with human rights, he said.
“Our scholars lost the chance by reacting in a provocative and ‘Jihadi’ manner, even calling to harm the High Commissioner,” Nasheed said.
Religious figures were yesterday quick to publicly condemn the calls for violence.
Speaking to Minivan News, Former State Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed said that the slogan calling for murder was “not good”, adding that “Islam is a religion of peace, not of violence”.