Opposition suggests inconsistent policies, while Islamic ministry lecture slams tourism promotion show

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Chairperson Ali Waheed has suggested that the government’s contradictory religious policies are damaging the nation.

“While the Maldives is celebrating its adherence to Islam, the religious structure of the government is as such – from the right, shows being organised,” said Waheed. “From the left, religious lectures are being convened.”

Waheed’s comments – referring to the New Year’s ‘Tourist Arrival Countdown’ music shows and the Islamic ministry’s ‘The Message’ lecture series – came at the conclusion of a party rally in the capital Malé yesterday.

Later in the day, in the first of ‘The Message’ lectures, Sheikh Adam Shameem condemned the tourism promotion concerts, which were organised and promoted by tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb.

Drugs, sex, and rock and roll will destroy the nation, argued Shameem, suggesting that the government’s role was to lead the youth away from shameful deeds, but that such sinful activities were irresistible when handed down to them “on a platter”.

“What will happen when [they organize] sinful activities and invite the youth? Then, youth cannot be stopped,” he told approximately 1,500 attendees at the Alimas Carnival area in Malé.

The original New Year’s concert was set to feature dancehall singer Sean Paul until an online death threat prompted the artist to cancel the day before the show.

While the government later denounced the threat as a “hoax” designed to create an atmosphere of fear, religious groups united in condemnation of the event.

Islamic NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf called on the government cancel the concert, while Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed described the invitation of foreign performers for such shows as “unnacceptable”.

Minister for tourism Adeeb later explained that the Islamic minister’s words were his own personal opinion, and that the concert had been discussed at cabinet level.

The Islamic minister’s own Adhaalath Party subsequently expressed concern at what it described as “horrifying acts that defy Islamic teachings and social convention” taking place in the country.

After Sean Paul’s cancellation, Indian duo Salim and Sulaiman Merchant appeared on December 31, before a second concert was arranged featuring US R&B singer Akon on January 8. Akon himself had previously cancelled a 2010 show in the Maldives after opposition from religious groups.

Sheikh Shameem yesterday described Akon – a practising Muslim – as an “infidel negro”, expressing disappointment than more young persons had attended the music shows rather than attending Ishaa prayers.

Sheikh Shameem first came to public attention following his ‘mega-lecture’ ‘Andalus‘, during the 2013 presidential elections.

Live broadcasts of this lecture were interrupted by authorities for violating state broadcaster’s guideline, while the MDP condemned the lecture accusing Shameem of inciting hatred in order to sway the electorate. More recently, he was invited to speak to police during the celebration of Martyr’s Day last year.

Yesterday’s sermon was titled ‘Our Responsibilities towards the Nation’. The lecture series will also feature Dutch convert Arnoud Van Doorn on February 20.

President Abdulla Yameen – who last night attended to opening of the Maldives’ first fully solar powered resort, Club Med Finolhu Villa – marked the celebration of the country’s conversion to Islam by telling citizens to be wary of outside influences that could weaken the Islamic faith, reported Sun Online.

At the opening of the new resort, Yameen said that it was a combination of tourism and Islam that had taught Maldivians to co-exist with different cultures.

During yesterday’s MDP rally, both Ali Waheed and former President Mohamed Nasheed vowed to change Yameen’s government, with the latter suggesting the country’s troubles’ were partly caused by divisions between Yameen and former President and Progressive Party of Maldives leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

When calling for all-party talks last week, Nasheed made special mention of the former thirty-year ruler.

“I urge President Yameen to hold discussions with President Maumoon, Honourable Gasim, even us and leaders of Adhaalath Party. Also to move away from actions that will push Maldives into chaos,” said Nasheed on Thursday (January 22).

Yesterday’s ‘Maldivians stand to defend the Constitution’ rally saw over more than 1000 people march around the southern half of the capital to protest a series of decisions by the government and the Supreme Court which have been questioned on constitutional grounds.

*The original version of this article incorrectly translated Sheikh Shameem as describing Akon as an “infidel nigger”.

Minivan News would like to apologise for this error and will endeavour to make sure this type of error is not repeated.

Related to this story

Nasheed urges President Yameen to convene all-party talks

Adhaalath Party concerned that concerts are defying Islamic teachings

Jamiyyathul Salaf calls on government to cancel “sinful” Sean Paul concert


14 thoughts on “Opposition suggests inconsistent policies, while Islamic ministry lecture slams tourism promotion show”

  1. Coconuts are white inside, black outside. When Sheikh Adam Shaheem (a black man by most standards), calls an African American and use the 'N' word, that alone shows that this so called self appointed Sheik is a fake..

    This is the guy who appears from nowhere, when politicians take to podiums. Look at his style, the cap, the beard, the sly timing he chooses to deliver his rap…

  2. there is nothing wrong with having religious talks and giving lecture and other form of educating people on our religion.

    Islam is not prohibiting to bring the tourist to our nation . True islam advocates the right of people and teaches all nice things and gives a very high priority towards hospitality.

    Unlike Nasheed, who is then one who is always trying to screw our tourism industry which is the backbone our economy now.

    Nasheed and his Gangs will try to relate things to tourism to startup chaos in the country . But i doubt that he can do it any longer and people are sick of Naheed now.

  3. Can minivan news please explain how you translated the word "baburu" of his sermon to "nigger"? Which linguistic expert did you consult?

  4. and please tell me how Akon is a "practicing muslim?" In what way is he practicing Islam?

  5. @Hero: Your religion can be changed for a gram of heroin or a 100Rf note. Please do not call your religion Islam, or consider Shameem "Andalooser" to be a scholar.

    You're insulting Islam.

  6. @Maldivian

    Any scholar who raises his voice against "laadheeniyyath" or "secularism" would not be liked by the laadhee/secular promoters. The scholars went against MAG when he was proved wrong, they went against MN when he was proved wrong, they are warning/advising YAG as he is following the other two. This proves they are not going after money. If scholars like Shkh Ilyas keep their mouth shut/talk what the governments like MN also would have kept him.. having anger towards scholars can be considered as a sign of supporting laadheeniyyath/secularism.

  7. @Maldivian. We are not afraid of you and Nasheed Gangs.

    Majority of people are well aware of what is the real agenda of Nasheed.

    Majority will prevail in a democratic society and u need to learn to digest this.

    You and Nasheed Gangs try to your best to damage this country and even can keep on promising GMR wonders. But that will be only in your dream and GMR will not be able to set their feet on this soil ever.

    Stop dreaming and give back the millions of dollars you and Nasheed had taken from GMR and let corrupt GMR clean thier own backyard

  8. For a dark skinned Maldivian man to describe Akon in vile racist terms is rich indeed. At least Akon is talented and good looking.....which is more than you can say for this self appointed 'sheik'. Maldives seems to have a lot of these mad mullahs. Too much Islam rots the brain.....and Sheik Shameem is a good example.
    I can't wait to hear the pearls of wisdom that will no doubt emanate from the mouth of Dutch apostate Arnoud van Doorn next month. Is nobody else available on the islamic lecture circuit other than these christian apostates from the US and Europe?
    BTW, I am not a practising muslim or even a non practising one. Lucky me.

  9. @Hero: I'm not an MDP member. HA!

    @Mohamed: Here's the punchline; your 'dheenee' government is the one with porn stars as judges, thailand hoppers as coordinators and rapists, murderers and heroin slangers as enforcers. And if you're gonna label anyone with the guts to speak against your regime as 'laadheenee', it speaks much about how truly shallow your grasp on religion is.

    That's why, I ask you to stop calling yourselves muslims. Why? Because that is the ultimate insult to Islam.

  10. Dhivehi language is full of disguised racist words.
    Baburu vas: means very bad body odor.
    Iyahoodhi: means dubious to refer Jews.
    Alhugandu: means slave thing to refer themselves.

  11. So, minivan news, you have silently changed the word "nigger" to "nigro".
    You people have deliberately mistranslated the sermon and selectively quoted from it so that your readers get a completely different picture. That is always your tactic. Lies and one sided propaganda.

    1. @ainth In response to your earlier comment, we re-checked the translation (using Christopher Reynolds' Maldivian Dictionary) and amended the article. Thanks for drawing our attention to this.

  12. @ Daniel Bosley

    Have to appreciate DB for doing the decent thing and amending the write up and acknowledging it, even though it falls short of a formal apology.

    Indeed, its a grave error to mis translate Dhivehi words into inflammatory language.

    Fact of the matter is there is no Dhivehi word for American word 'Nigger'..

    The word Baburu may have roots with Berber people of North Africa.


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