The Maldives Police Service is investigating remarks made by Bilad Al Sham Media (BASM) in response to its investigation into the jihadist group.
“Whether threats are issued from within the Maldives or from outside, the police will remain confident in fulfilling our legal obligations,” police told CNM.
Responding to police attempts to locate the group, which recently reported the deaths of two Maldivians in Syria, a post on BASM’s Facebook page said they could be found at the Jabhat al-Nusra base in Idlib, northwestern Syria.
“Now lets see whether they can bring us back,” read the post.
“We will throw out the map and you shall go step by step just the way we want until you land in that pit of doom which you are headed to right now.”
Meanwhile, a former senior police officer questioned both the capacity and the desire or authorities to prosecute such activities.
The former officer pointed to the lack of comprehensive anti-terror laws in the country, as well as questioning the decision to have controversial Sheikh Adam Shameem speak at the police’s recent master parade.
“For the police to invite these people validates the accusations made by some that police and the security services are quite supportive of extremist elements and extremism in general,” said the former officer.
The jihadist BASM group’s members have claimed to be fighting with Jabhat al-Nusra – the Al Qaeda-affiliated group designated as a terrorist organisation by the UN and a number of leading western countries since its creation in 2012.
Investigations into the two men reported by BASM as having been killed – identified as Hassan Shifaz and Ali Adam from Malé and Shaviyani Feydhoo, respectively – also brought criticism from the group.
“When the Maldivian Police heard of the Maldivians being martyred in Syria, those half female creatures made sure they go enter upon their houses and question their women,” said BASM.
“If the Maldivian Police are investigating about us, then let them know that we too are investigating.”
“We cannot have another Sultan Park”
The former senior police officer, who spoke with Minivan News on condition of anonymity, suggested that current events represented the mismanagement of several governments.
Twelve tourists were among those injured in the September 2007 blast, which was followed by violent confrontations between authorities and a radical congregation on the island of Himandhoo during the police investigation.
In addition to “fast tracked” legislation, the source called for more serious efforts to analyse the root causes for the radicalisation of Maldivians – a problem he argues can no longer be denied.
“Our terrorism act – the legislation we have on terrorism, is from 1990 I think – is really irrelevant to the new age of violent extremist acts.”
“I think just mere investigation into something that has already happened will not do any good. There has to be some serious efforts to analyse this problem – what actually causes this problem.”
“In 2012 the government denied that Maldivians were involved in any level in violent extremism. Now the very people involved in it are very openly admitting to it,” he explained.
Identifying those involved in the financing, recruitment, and transportation of Maldivian extremists is relatively simple, he explained, while the preventive aspect is more difficult.
The officer believed that the neglect of the problem could perhaps be explained by preoccupation with the country’s turbulent domestic politics – suggesting that Sheikh Shameem’s “provocative” invitation to the Martyr’s Day parade may have been another symptom of this.
“The police have become very politicised, they make everything political,” the source told Minivan News today.
“Because someone whom they do not support – someone whom they hate – had openly claimed that Maldives is faced with this problem with violent extremism, people don’t like it.”
Sheikh Shameem told officers they should always possess the will to be martyred when defending the people and the nation. He also recently prayed for the acceptance of the martyrdom of Maldivians killed in Syria.
Shameem first came to public attention following his ‘mega-lecture’ ‘Andalus‘ last year, which was interrupted by authorities for violating state broadcaster’s guideline.
Last month, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) suggested that extremist ideologies were prevalent within the security services – accusations described as “baseless and untrue” by the MNDF.
The MDP also condemned Shameem’s ‘Andalus’ lecture last year, accusing him of inciting hatred in order to sway the electorate.