MDP questions sincerity of Islamic minister’s stance on ISIS

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has questioned the sincerity of Islamic Minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed’s declaration that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) would not be allowed to operate in the Maldives.

“ISIS is an extremist group. No space will be given for their ideology and activities in the Maldives,” Shaheem tweeted on Sunday night (August 24).

The main opposition party contended in a press release yesterday that Shaheem’s statement was “duplicitous” and “insincere” as it was not backed up with concrete action by the government.

“We note with concern that neither the Islamic minister nor the government has taken any action while activities related to terrorism in different forms as well as extremism are carried out in the Maldives, religious strife and hatred is incited widely, and death threats are being made against various people over religious matters,” the statement read.

The party noted that the ISIS flag was used in recent protests in Malé calling for a boycott of Israeli tourists. While the protesters had gathered outside the residence of the Islamic minister in violation of freedom of assembly laws, the MDP noted that the government had not taken any action.

The Islamic ministry has also provided a meeting hall of the Islamic centre for a religious sermon which was advertised with the ISIS logo, the MDP claimed.

The party claimed to have learned that police and army officers were involved in putting up the banners across the capital.

Dr Afrasheem

The MDP also accused the government of not attempting to find the “real killers” of murdered MP Dr Afrasheem Ali, noting that the moderate religious scholar had faced harassment over his liberal views.

Referring to his last television appearance, the party said Dr Afrasheem’s remarks suggested he was “forced” to support radical religious ideology.

Appearing on a live talk show on state broadcaster Television Maldives, Dr Afrasheem had said he was deeply saddened and asked for forgiveness if he had created a misconception due to his inability to express himself in the right manner.

Islamic Minister Shahaeem was quoted in local media at the time as saying that his ministry had not forced Dr Afrasheem to offer a public apology in his last television appearance.

Dr Afrasheem’s moderate positions on subjects such as music had drawn stringent criticism from more conservative religious elements, who dubbed him “Dr Ibilees” (“Dr Satan”).

In 2008, the scholar was kicked and chased outside a mosque after Friday prayers, while in May 2012, the religious Adhaalath Party released a statement condemning Afrasheem for allegedly “mocking the Sunnah”.

NGO Salaf had meanwhile released at least a dozen statements against the late Dr Afrasheem at the time of his death. In a three-page press release (Dhivehi) on July 10, 2008, Salaf listed Dr Afrasheem’s alleged transgressions and advised him to “fear Allah, stop talking any way you please of things you do not know of in the name of religion and [stop] twisting [Islamic] judgments to suit your personal wishes”.

The NGO also called on the public not to listen to “any religious fatwa or any religious talk” from the scholar.

Extremist ideology

The MDP statement meanwhile noted that the US State Department’s 2013 country report on terrorism had stated that “Maldivian authorities believe that funds are currently being raised in Maldives to support terrorism abroad”.

While the report observed that “the Maldivian Central Bank believes that criminal proceeds mainly come from domestic sources, as a large percentage of Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) are related to Maldivians,” the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) denied it had any knowledge of such activities.

“The MMA has neither received nor communicated any information regarding confirmed operation of terrorist financing activities,” the central bank insisted in a statement.

The MDP said it believes such activities were aided and abetted by both foreign groups and Maldivians, adding that the activities were “well organised” and carried out with “funding and training”.

“There has been particular concern that young Maldivians, including those within the penal system, may be at risk of becoming radicalised and joining violent Islamist extremist groups. Links have been made between Maldivians and violent extremists throughout the world,” the US report stated.

The party also argued that extremism in the Maldives was encouraged by the mass gathering held on December 23, 2011 to “defend Islam” against the allegedly secularist policies of former President Mohamed Nasheed as well as a pamphlet issued by the party of current Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed.

Dr Jameel’s Dhivehi Qaumee Party had issued a pamphlet titled “President Nasheed’s devious plot to destroy the Islamic faith of Maldivians.”

Both the December 23 demonstration and the pamphlet were intended to sow discord and strife for political purposes, the party contended, and reiterated its claim that extremist ideologies were prevalent in the security services.

The party also referred to President Abdulla Yameen’s response when asked about Maldivians leaving to fight in the Syrian civil war following the death of a Maldivian militant in a suicide attack.

President Yameen’s remarks about the government not being involved in sending Maldivians to join militant organisations were “extremely irresponsible,” the MDP said.


13 thoughts on “MDP questions sincerity of Islamic minister’s stance on ISIS”

  1. this extreme ideology was promoted during Nasheed regime and he is the one who let go them in the first place under the democracy name.

    Today what is happening is the result of the power and freedom that was given to the extremism by Nasheed.

    It is not wise MDP to talk about this when they are the people who should be taking responsibility of thier action now today.

    Should they have not allowed those extremist to do what ever they wish in this country, we would not have this problem today.

  2. The only solution for extreme beliefs is to give freedom for critical thinking where science and reasoning has upper hand to explain the world and its existence. ISIS and those who follows them believe that the only truth on this planet is their doctrine and they have firm belief that the world is controlled by their nonexistent superman and that they are the deputies of him. There is no harm believing in their superman but becoming his deputies in a complicated world where it is easy to mess-up thing than untangle the mess, maybe it is because the brain itself is a mess, definitely was not wired with any purpose by any intelligent design. And surely the majority of world population will never travel back to 7th century Arabia so why you are wasting your life for such unworthy cause. Let Maldives be a Muslim country but give time for its people to grasp the world through knowledge and education in science and reasoning without politicizing the education.

  3. ISIS is a project titled 'hornet's nest' engineered by Israeli intelligence.

  4. Even though MDP has fallen out favour with Islamists, the fact of the matter is that it is MDP who encourgaed Islamic extremists to come to power.

    MDP is right to question Islamic Ministers stance on radical Islam. However, it is also wrong for others notto question MDPs own record and intentions.

    Fact of the matter is both are not sincere

  5. Shame on minivan for publishing isis supporters nonsense, but bar comments against isis

  6. How easy to make any story to suit to anyone’s ear. ISIS is project of Israel…? Trapped in the net are Muslims establishing Khalifa to implement sharia severing heads with Allah Akbar . I am sure one day these morons will say that even those people are Jewish people acting like Muslims.

    ISIS is a mistake of Western policy makers who financed and equipped Jihadist to fight against Asad of Syria, the same way they supported Afghan Mujahideen to fight against Soviet Unions, but Jihadist don’t fight for liberation they fight to go back in time 7th century Arabia.

  7. Hero,

    The values of freedom of expression fought for and delivered by Nasheed and the MDP were the very tools used to bring about their demise. Ironic isn't it?

    Today there was a headline in the pro gov mouthpiece "Vaguthu", saying that MDP has expressed "concern" over a flag displaying the "Muslim Shahadah" - implying that MDP does not want the Shahadhah displayed.

    Now, a sane person with 4 functioning brain cells can understand that the concern MDP expressed was for the blatant display of he terrorist ISIS flag. But our government and the wannabe Jihadists do not need a better more sophisticated propaganda message, because their target audience is the likes of you, who seem to have just enough mental activity just to stay alive and cause harm.

    Show me a stupid follower of any cause, and I will show you a dangerous person.

  8. What is the big deal? The world should just embrace isis and sharia already. Think of how beautiful life could be for all of humanity. I'm ready to head on down to the stadium, buy some popcorn and watch a good old fashioned stoning. No better family entertainment on a Friday afternoon.

  9. Maldives isn't Iraq or Syria. A word of advice to Dhivehin who wants to go there is that Iraq Syria or Jundu Al-Sham is much more tribal clan oriented and they are much more nationalistic. Assabiyya.

    ISIS may be funded group to actually weaken a strong Syrian state arising.

  10. Religious extremism has become the biggest source of conflict around the world, and evidently the acts of terrorism are perpetrated by people motivated by an abuse of religion. It is a perversion of faith. A previous aspiration to make liberal democracy that has focused too much on political objectives. The sometime ridicules accusations that other powers, foreigners and the police are behind this, is a schizophrenia phenomenon in the Maldives, where the fantasy have now border. The government should take a hard stand to stop stupid rumors where the populations exist in a haze of fantasy.

  11. I would like to ask the sincerity of minivannews to write on the question of sincerity of mdp to question about sincerity of shaheem. There are various levels of beliefs in Maldives, but ISIS is not like something that have been in Maldives. ISIS say it want to destroy Kaaba also. Did anyone here a Maldivian say such a thing? Why even relate it? Unless the motive is to humiliate or accuse. Let me call nasheed, an opportunist. he is like someone who would say this in this opportunity, and that at that opportunity, depending on whom he is with, where he is. I dont like this.

  12. ISIS does indeed operate in Maldives. They're more of a mercenary organization; a gang of international rapists, murderers, invaders and thugs whose services are for sale to the highest bidder - and today, they serve as a secret police for the Mordisian state. Because using the police and army to carry out the regime's manifesto of terror will make it very hard for them to enjoy their 'hajj' to Singapore/Thailand/etc to enjoy their illicit wealth in this day and age.

    And if anyone who dares to speak against such a pack of savages, brutes and sub-animal cretins is an opportunist, then we must embrace that title with joy.


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