“No Islamic fundamentalism in the Maldives”: Foreign Minister

The Indian government’s biggest concern is the internal stability of the Maldives,  Foreign Minister Abdul Samad Abdulla said today.

In a press briefing to brief media about his official visit to neighboring India, and his recent meeting with Sri Lanka’s Minister of External Affairs, Dr Samad, said the Indian government was eager to know how the Maldives had been progressing after the transfer of power that took place on February 7.

“The officials of the Indian government were concerned with the country’s internal stability after the events that unfolded on February 7,” he said.

Samad also said that India was concerned about whether the events that unfolded on February 7 involved Islamic fundamentalists, but he said he assured them that Islamic fundamentalism had no part to play in the events.

He expressed disappointment over statements made by officials of Nasheed’s government that the Maldives had a growing issue with Islamic radicalism and fundamentalism.

Samad further went onto dismiss such claims and said that religious fundamentalism did not exist in the country, and said he had assured Indian authorities that neither the transfer of power nor the vandalism of Buddhist relics in the National Museum on February 7 had involved any religious sentiment.

Speaking to Minivan News at the time, a museum official said that a group of five to six men stormed into the building twice, and “deliberately targeted the Buddhist relics and ruins of monasteries exhibited in the pre-Islamic collection”, destroying most items “beyond repair”.

A journalist asked Samad about the 2007 bombing of Sultan Park and the government’s subsequent clash with radical Islamists on the island of Himandhoo – footage of which later appeared in an Al Qaeda training video – to which the foreign minister replied “That was in the past.”

Dr Samad stated that he had met all key officials of Indian foreign affairs including the Minister of External Affairs, S M Krishna, and Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai. Samad said he briefed them about the events of February 7, the works of the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI), and the all party talks.

Samad also acknowledged support from Indian High Commissioner to the Maldives, Dnyaneshwar Mulay.

“I especially thank Indian High Commissioner Mulay for briefing them about what happened in Maldives. Mulay, who was there during my meetings with Indian officials, observed the events very closely and even former President Nasheed was talking to him,” Samad said.

Samad also stressed that the Indian government was a “reliable and loyal” neighbor which had always been there for the Maldives, regardless of which government was in power.

He said that the main purpose of the trip was to get assurance of Indian support for the current government, which he claimed had been “very positive”.

India was initially concerned of the safety of Indian investments in the country, Samad said – Indian infrastructure giant GMR is currently redeveloping Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA), the single largest foreign investment in the Maldives. Samad  said he had assured Indian officials that the current government of the Maldives will give the “utmost priority” in protecting Indian investments.

“Several Indian companies have huge investments in the Maldives. They have been involved in housing projects and as well as the privatisation agreement of INIA with GMR. The Indian government was concerned about these investments and we assured them that it remains safe,” Samad added.

Last week, Finance Minister Abdulla Jihad declared that the Maldives Airport Company Limited (MACL) would be unable to pay the disputed airport development tax (ADC) without risking bankruptcy – a US$25 fee that was to be charged to outgoing passengers, as stipulated in the contract signed with in GMR in 2010. The government was to pay the fee from airport revenues after its collection was blocked by the Civil Court.

Samad also said that the safety of the Indian ocean was a priority for India.

“We are at the center of a very internationally strategic area and the Indian Ocean is a huge shipping lane as well.  The recent hijacking of a foreign vessel by Somalia pirates is a concern as well. India is highly concerned about the security of the Indian Ocean.”

Samad said he had discussed strengthening bilateral relations with India and had discussed in finding solutions the difficulty in obtaining visas for Maldivians travelling to India.

He also claimed that India would soon provide the Maldives government with land in Delhi to build a Maldivian Embassy, in the heart of diplomatic area.

Sri Lanka

Regarding the meeting held with the Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka, Professor GL Peiris, Samad said that he had briefed the Sri Lankan minister regarding the events of February 7.

He also said that the ministers had discussed resolving visa issues and complications faced by Maldivians travelling to Sri Lanka, particularly students, to which he said the Sri Lankan minister had been very positive.

Regarding the transfer of power in February 7, Samad claimed that the government had not changed on February 7 and that “technically” it was the same government and that only the president had changed.

“If you look at our constitution, we have a presidential system. This is not a parliamentary system to say that the government belonged to the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). People voted both Nasheed and Waheed in the elections. Nasheed did not win the election on his own. Nasheed and Waheed got less than 25 percent of the votes in the first round [of the presidential elections 2008]. He won the presidency with the support of Gasim Ibrahim and Dr Hassan Saeed,” Samad contended.

“So if you say its Nasheed’s government that means its Gasim’s government as well, it’s even Umar Naseer’s government,” he claimed.

The MDP has contended that nearly all political appointments have been replaced with supporters of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who was voted out in 2008.

He also revealed that former government had not built any ‘special’ diplomatic relations with Israel.

“I don’t think what some people speak on political podiums is the real foreign policy. From the documents that I have, Naseem [referring to former Minister of Foreign affairs, Ahmed Naseem] did not build any special diplomatic relations with Israel like he has been saying,” Samad claimed.


34 thoughts on ““No Islamic fundamentalism in the Maldives”: Foreign Minister”

  1. "Samad claimed that the government had not change on February 7 and that “technically” it was the same government and that only the president had changed."

    This is tantamount to saying that black is white! It's about as much the same government as oil and water. Now, imagine the lies he fabriacted to the Indians.

    Every peace loving Maldivian knows about the rising role of Islamic fundamentalism in this country and its dangers. The fundamentalists played a key role in bringing down the government as well as the events that lead to it. What does Samad say about the fundamentalist's role in destroying the SAARC monuments in Addu City?

    The growing intolerance towards foreigners and locals for that matter should be a concern to not only India, but every sane person in this country too. India should and will keep a keen eye on the role of fundamentalist Islam in this country.

    Imagine the Maldives becoming a lawless state like Somalia. We sit astride one of the busiests shipping lanes in the world. The dangers are clear!

  2. Lack of islamic fundamentalism was one major reason for outsing president Nasheed. They were calling Allah Akbar even when they attacked people on 7th February 2012. Just like in the middle east. and it IS a serious and major growing issue in Maldives and some political parties, all in the coup coalition government, support islamic fundamentalism and radicalism to win the support of the people. India and Sri Lankan government had been lied to by this unconstitutional government. and Its mostly an Islamist Coup!

  3. The vandalism of Buddhist relics in the National Museum on February 7 was done by an Islamic extremist (a youth of Salafi / Wahhabi extremist belief, the same of most in Al Qaida and flourishing in Pakistan), which is new to Maldives. Hiding facts does not help.

  4. "Samad claimed that the government had not changed on February 7 and that “technically” it was the same government and that only the president had changed."

    Just like his boss, Samad is lying to the international community! Waheed's "advisor", Hassan Saeed has publicly said that this regime comprises of 7 parties and a coalition, compared to the single party representing the former government.

    Two people at cabinet level from Waheed's regime are claiming completely different stories. Both of them cannot be the truth!

  5. Please draw the distinction between "fundamentalists" in the Western-media sense of the word and the sentiments of our own people. Maldivians since before the introduction of various schools of thought in Islam have not taken a positive view of statues and statuettes.

    Traditional convention among some families is to refrain from providing children with dolls. Such oddities and eccentricities exist everywhere. Add politics, poor awareness and growing polarization to the mix and you get violence and vandalism.

    Have there been isolated incidents of Maldivians getting tied up in organizations with ties to terrorist groups labelled as "Islamic"? Yes. But is there a large and pressing problem? No. Do some Maldivians display certain psychosocial characteristics that might make them vulnerable to exploitation at the hands of fanatical organizations? Yes. Has that exploitation happened on a large scale? Not with regards to violent religious fanaticism but with regards to politics yes. But once again not on the scale that some politicians claim.

  6. Why should we and they all be concerned with ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM while most of them, non Muslims, and some of us are relaxed and comfortable with, ZIONIST FUNDAMENTALISM, CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISM, HINDU FUNDAMENTALISM and so on. What a joke is this???

  7. I suggest the honorable minister to go for a medical, as I suspect he is both blind and deaf. Islamic and other fundamentalist ideologies are so blatantly evident in everyday Maldives only someone who never leaves the comfort of his office and home wouldnt have noticed.

  8. Freedom to practice religion is important, but the Quran is a book which is open to interpretation, which is fine as long as the interpretation is not enforced on other people.

    The problem lies not with fundamentalism, it lies with some people insisting that we are in the midst of some medieval war and it has become the duty of Muslims to explode themselves along with innocents in order to fulfill their religious duties and be accepted in Paradise. Therein lies the danger.

    When people say we have a few issues but not that big of a deal, I'd like to know if the Sultan Park bomb was not big enough to admit that we have a problem?

  9. This is THE problem with Maldives. Denial.

    Fundamentalism, comes in many forms. Fundamentalist views are harbored, nurtured and cultivated among the uneducated. By the so-called Sheikhs.

    And ignorant, hard headed, want-to-fast-track-to-heaven idiots are the worst kind of them all.

    And yes. we have got lots of them.

  10. Samad is Russian trained version of Dr. Mengele'. He had done those experiments, albeit on a smaller scale, on people jailed by Gayoom early in his career. And, the truth is Gayoom himself is closet harbie, whose only sin and weakness were for suckling balloon sized knockers. Incidentally, he was the one who advised Gayoom to give the Baagee Gasim Sodium pentathol..His other buddy doing his bidding had slightly upped the dose, thereby making the Baagee Dada to froth at the mouth...The upshot was that nobody noticed anything unfamiliar as the Baagee Dada usually does froth at the mouth. And theres this juicy story about a German lady named Dagumaa..well some other time...I guess. Oh and the Fenfulhi thing was originally done by the Baagee Dada to lure Indian actress Susmeethaa Hussain. Shahuvanee Shaheem was only copying his boss, with little regard for copyright...

  11. Both India and Sri Lanka are worried about several national security problems that endanger their very existence. In the case of India, the security issues are a lot connected with Islamic extremism. Both India and Sri Lanka better watch neighbouring Maldives closely, for the sake of their own national security.

    Maldives is no longer a stable country. It is no longer a democracy. Fanactical Islam is an integral part of Maldivian national character.

    Scratch an average Maldivian, and you will see the awful thing like an eyesore.

  12. @Smoke Not on Mon, 9th Apr 2012 6:52 PM

    "Is this the new Comical Ali?"

    Yep! He goes yelling:

    "There are no fundamentalists in this country, I repeat, there are no fundamentalists in this country..."

  13. You don’t see fundamentalist in action when they believe they have upper hand. This doctor who may be good only to treat fish in the Maldives is one of them. We may have no fundamentalist Islam issue that can be a threat to India but surely we have these copy cat rabbi wacko known as Mullahs who can create havoc at home. These morons are quite now thinking they have won their fight by toppling Anni. These morons will be active again once moderate government comes to power with mandate to serve the people to give them a sense of life.

  14. He opened his mouth by thinking that other people don't know the game they have played.

  15. Samad's intellect is no where near what I thought it would be. He forgot a very important fact, i.e. India knows more about the Maldives than Maldivians do! India has an extensive intelligence capability.

    With that knowledge, telling the Indians that there are no fundamentalists here is just absurd. The Indians gave him the chance to come out clean with the facts; but he chose to lie. India, of course knows better than to believe the words of men like Samad.

  16. Adhaalath ( https://twitter.com/adhaalath ) apparently does not exist when it comes to foreign policy? These guys are calling for death of non-Muslims, for killing anyone who goes against their version of radicalized Islam. They are making Maldives into a Taliban with the full backing of Dr. B Waheed.

  17. IT might be difficult for mdp folks to digest, but a foreign minister's job is to portray his country in positive light. MDP this mistake of blackmailing the country to gain their seats. No country on earth blackmail their own country to gain political seats. Grow up MDP.

  18. @police guy, an irresponsible foreign minister you mean. By denying islamic extremists existence he is putting Maldivians as well as other nationalities lives at risk. The way to keep an eye on extremists is to share intelligence. When a Maldivian goes and blows up himself or kills a couple of people in Afghanistan or god knows where Dr Samad can twiddle his thumbs and say oops sorry i just wanted to preserve the countries image by lying.

  19. Today the biggest threat and danger to our nation is not about Islamic fundamentalist. Ifact compared to other arab countries it cannot consider as a security threat. It is only Nasheed who labelled our own people as islamic terrorists just to gain his popularity.

    Our biggest threat is Nasheed.His mind more extremist than any thing else. He is in a very confused state of mind and is suffering from Antisocial personality disorder. Antisocial personality disorder is a mental health condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others. This behavior is often criminal.

  20. That is an utter and blatant lie. There are Maldivian fundamentalists preaching hate everyday. How could you not notice them? I suppose if you didn't notice the coup...

  21. Has the honorable minister been living in a cave for the last couple of years? Islamic fundamentalism was the main reason this happened. Minivan had a brilliant article on this, about the events leading up to the December 23rd protests and how Islam played a major role in what unfolded in the country.

    Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise, mostly amongst the uneducated and poor. It is especially high in isolated islands where Adhaalath party and other extreme groups like Salaf constantly send their 'sheikhs' to preach. Most of these sheikhs are trained in military camps in Pakistan or Afghanistan, and then come to the Maldives hoping they could encourage our youth to go for Jihad. This is the absolute truth, and everyone knows it. The sultan park bombings, the bombings in Pakistan done by Maldivians, terror cells operating in certain mosques and the enforcing of wearing a black tent over women.

    It wouldn't take long before honour killings, child brides, amputation for crimes and female genital mutilation become common practice in the Maldives. Here's a message to India. Be wary of Maldivian terror cells, because they do pose a serious threat to your national security.

  22. Is the new regime re thinking their position, or realigning their prejudices'..?

  23. Dr. Samad (Comical Ali! Heh heh!) yelling “There are no fundamentalists in this country, I repeat, there are no fundamentalists in this country…”. What a game!

    This doc is no unaware of the reality!

    He is very much aware that Adhaalath Party already have exported one of their long beards, who speak holy, smell sweet, throw venom and deliver hate filled speeches to India!

    This shaikh along with his colleagues had been delivering speech after speech, night after night as decoy for the plot to overthrow the democratic government of the people!

    Seems this doc is out to do better than his old-man!

  24. Abdul Samad Abdulla, have you not been into the Mosques and had your legs virtually kicked in for not linking your feet up with the feet of others performing Jamaat Salat?

    Fundamentalist Islam does not need to imply a violent form of Islam for it to still have a negative impact on Maldivian culture.

    Before say, thirty five years ago, only the educated, elite Religious scholars and Qadi's really knew the Sunnah deeply enough to even know what aspects of Dhivehi culture would have been consdiered Bid'a by fundamentalists.

    Anyway, my feeling is that, fundamentalism is reactionary. That reaction, however, is then exploited by the very same people who create the selfish, hedonistic, unequal social-structure and materialistic culture which fundamentalism is a reaction against.

    I feel that Fundamentalism is a proud, spiritual defiance of the hedonistic selfishness of Maldives nouve' rich, which includes many politicians. Yet, as an agressive defiance, it becomes a form of self righteouss aggression in itself. It therefore also assumes a selfish, uncomfortably assertive if not outrightly aggressive, hedonistic character in its own way.

    Let's not forget something. Those that would react to greed in the jealous manner of fundamentalism are not those oppressed who have never hoped, but are those whose ambition had once been high, yet thwarted. Maldivian islandershave been arriving in Male' expecting big things, many had been dissapointed.

    Yes fundamentalism is a natural reaction to the anomie (normelessness) and inequity which is a consequence of capitalism and the subsequent breakdown of traditionally defined norms and roles.

    As tsk tsk observed, the most capitalist, scientifically advanced nation in the world, USA, is also home to the most science rejecting fundamentalists.

    Just as I hate to see fundamentalism, I also hate to see selfishness, hedonism disguised as 'liberty...' which I see both in the West and in Maldives.

    Liberals need to remember that the original meaning of the word liberal is generous, and only this spirit of generosity can truly liberate any nation from the fundamentalism and selfish hedonism which no doubt fuel each other. Cruel Fundamentalism, cruel unjust hedonism disguised as liberty, are two opposite expressions of the same route cause, a social attitude where the will to power overrides the will to love and create a better humanity.

  25. So the religious lecturers in the Police building, what was that? State sponsored terrorism, really.

  26. RE police guy

    it is indigestible when government officials try to lie to the public. don't think it has anything to do with your political belief

  27. This is almost true. There are very few people in our country that follow the fundementals of Islam. Most of them are heretics, deviants and harlots; and should be garrotted on the spot!

  28. police guy was actually right.
    Remember the himandhoo scandal? That happened because the govt at the time did not try to understand the situation. they sent conventional forces to battle a people with ideology. when Dr. Baree and Shaheem later met them, they were in peace.

    Remember the jaariya kanbulo Hillath had in his closet? That was also a figment of his imagination. But look how much damage it cost to the country's reputation.

    Remember the sultan park 'bomb'? two british tourists were injured in that contraption. But the UK govt and UK media never called it a bomb. they called it ied, we called it bomb and we had a small gif image of that explosion in minivian or DO for a few years. Does anybody know how much harm we inflicted on ousrselves? the ied is inexcusable but using that situation to blacken the country's image is also not.

    So there is no extremism in Maldives and shaeem said it right this time.


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