Letter on hypocrisy

Dear Editor,
I find all this political rhetoric being promulgated about Islam extremely disturbing. In my view, Islam is about personal faith and spirituality, about individual closeness with Allah, about a way of life that is honest, decent, clean and tolerant. Whether it is the DRP or the MDP or the IDP or Adhaalath or whoever that uses Islam as a political tool, it is a gross insult to the beauty and sacred nature of religion. Even in the last presidential election entire campaigns were run on creating fear using the name Islam as a political tool – that people will lose their faith if a particular party comes in, etc etc. Islam forbids not just alcohol, but corruption, greed, opulence and dishonesty. Islam forbids sex outside of marriage and many other things that are harmful to individuals and society. Yet these are all things that are endemic in the Maldivian society. These are all traits that many of these politicians themselves seem to overtly display. My understanding of Islam is that it is only Allah who would know what is in our hearts, and what our intentions are – and yet many of these politicians run around claiming each other as infidels and non-Muslims, and harbingers of other religions or atheism and whatnot.
Having lived overseas, in multicultural societies, within multi-religious households, having attended ceremonies of various religions numerous times, having lived in environments where alcohol and other things were freely available, I personally believe that today I am more confident in my faith and my belief in Allah and the values of Islam. Many of my friends from outside Maldives are non-Muslim, yet none of them try to convert me or I them. Most of them, whether they practice any religion or not, live decent lives, earn an honest living, and are neither alcoholics nor sex maniacs nor axe murderers.
Many of today’s Maldivian politicians have themselves lived overseas, studied overseas in multi-religious societies, and just like me, I am sure would have friends from various ethnic and religious groups. So unless they believe themselves to have lost their faith as a result, I cannot understand how they can assume that their compatriots would lose their personal faith at the sight of a bottle of alcohol or a non-Muslim or a place of worship of another religion.
Having said that, I feel that over protection and over regulation in religion as in many other things has created a population in the Maldives that has lost the confidence to believe in themselves, or their direct access to Allah, that has lost their resilience and become dependent on others and external factors to meet many of their needs. This is the reason that people are so easily led, whether it be by politicians, religious extremists, gangsters or others. Politicians so often exploit this weakness in the name of religion, which to my mind cannot be anything but irreligious in itself.
I am not advocating for setting up churches or temples or kovils, I am not advocating for legalising alcohol; I am expressing my absolute disgust with the antics of politicians with double standards. My hope and prayer is that Allah will open the hearts and minds of my countrymen and women, strengthen our Iman, Ihsan and Islam, enable us to think for ourselves and not be exploited by those seeking to make sheep of us.
As Rabindranath Tagore so eloquently worded it:
“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls
Where words come from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward into ever widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, let my country awake”