Protestors continue call for Israeli tourism ban

With additional reporting by Ahmed Rilwan

A group of 30 people have held a motorbike rally for the fourth consecutive night in Malé urging the government to ban tourists from Israel.

The group – consisting mostly of men – set off from the Social Center on Majeedhee Magu at 11:00 pm on Thursday night. They carried megaphones and black flags with the Shahadha or the Islamic creed declaring the oneness of Allah and the acceptance of Mohamed as Allah’s prophet.

“Expel Israeli tourists!” they chanted and also called for the expulsion of anyone who assists Israel.

The serial protests come in the aftermath of a tourist vandalizing an anti-Israeli placard featuring the swastika along with the Israeli flag on the island of Thulusdhoo on Monday night.

A few hours later, a group of men from from Malé went to Thulusdhoo to demand Israelis be expelled from the country. Subsequently, the Maldives Police Services had to evacuate 34 tourists from the island.

Anti Israeli sentiment has been growing in the Maldives with the mounting death toll in Gaza. Over 1400 people have been killed in the war, Palestinian officials have said.

Protestors in Malé have vowed to continue rallying until the government bans tourists from Israel.

Rally organizer and religious NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf’s President Sheikh Abdulla bin Muhammad refused to speak to Minivan News, alleging irreligious content on the website – a claim Minivan News has consistently denied.

On previous nights, Israeli flags were burnt and protestors gathered in front of Islamic Minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed’s residence. However, police have now set up barricades infront of the minister’s house and protestors were prevented from accessing the area on Thursday.

The police, in a statement on Wednesday, called on the public to refrain from any acts that may cause anxiety to tourists.

Noting the growth of guesthouse tourism on Thulusdhoo, police said any unrest on the island will affect local businesses. Tourists’ safety must be assured, the police said, adding that unrest may cause irreparable damage to the country’s economic mainstay.

Nine guesthouses have now been registered in the Thulusdhoo. The island – just forty minutes from Malé – is home to one of the countries’ top surf breaks, with a majority of bookings coming from Israeli surfer.s

Mohamed Hashim, a local guesthouse owner, said approximately 60 percent of his bookings came from Israelis.

“It is a big blow for our business. There are three months of surfing left. I don’t know what we will do now,” he told Minivan News on Tuesday.

President’s Office Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali was not responding at the time of press.

Minister at the President’s Office Mohamed ‘Mundhu’ Shareef told the AFP on Thursday that Israelis must remember they are visiting a 100 percent Muslim country.

“We have not banned them, but Israeli tourists must remember that they are visiting a 100% Muslim country,” Shareef said. “We unequivocally and unconditionally support the Palestinian cause.”

On July 21, the government announced a boycott – admittedly symbolic – of Israeli products and the annulment of all cooperation agreements signed since the resumption of diplomatic ties in 2009.

“I do not think Maldivians want any help from Israel or want to keep up relations with Israel,” said Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon who has described recent attacks on UN shelters in Gaza as “cowardly and shameful”.

During last week’s meeting of the UN Human Rights Council, the Maldives joined 28 other member states in calling for an independent inquiry into Israel’s violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws in Palestine.

An estimated 13,000 marching through the capital Malé in solidarity with Palestinians earlier in July. Smaller demonstrations were held throughout the country.

Maldivian citizens have also donated over MVR2million (US$130,000) to the Gaza Fund which will be distributed via the Qatari Red Crescent after August 17.


6 thoughts on “Protestors continue call for Israeli tourism ban”

  1. remember u 100%muslim country when u go abroad and forget u r muslim. israel good then?

  2. Funny thing is Hitler would have given muslims the same treatment, as his hatred was for "semites".

    So, breaking a nazi symbol makes you a jew, eh? 😛

    Stupid, ignorant thugs.

  3. 100% muslims they say but go to the resorts and you will find Maldivians drinking beer and wine... Sifting through with ladies in the resort and enjoying time while sitting at the bar... That is islamic restraint I guess...

  4. Drinking, gambling, unrestrained sex, sex with owns blood is not something Islam only proscribes. This is something evolved in the human brain and we call it morality. All the stories about righteous and evil were simply created stories by good parents to their kids, Adam and Eve, Abraham, Lut and all these are simply soothing stories came down from ancient time and such folklores are everywhere in different styles, the problem starts when you believe these stories are real stories narrated by a God and start to scarify your life for this God. Maldivian are misguided that Jews were against God, but the reality is the Jews were the first people who created stories to their children to differentiate righteous with evil, the same stories Muslims take very seriously as if they came down from heaven.
    It is true that majority of Jews who live in Israel are not originally from Palestine, but it is also true that Jews originated from Palestine and many Jews lived there from the time of known history. Since Jews have some rights on this territory why can’t it be accepted?, in America you have only migrants so let Israel be accepted with their migrant population. If you simply remove religious sentiments which is basically rubbish, and let your common sense rein in there is no way you can so much hate Israel. You can condemn Israel for using excessive force in which lot of innocent children are dead. Also in the meantime you have to see the ground reality that Hamas is bent to destroy Israel at any cost even with the expense of their brothers and sisters.

  5. Why only Boycott Israel

    Egypt, Jordan, Saudi and UAE view Hamas as worse enemy.

  6. Major Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Egypt are firmly against Hamas who is sponsored by Iran. Hamas and ISIS pose a direct threat to Arab countries while Taliban is an existential threat to Pakistan. This is why there is complete silence from Saudia Arabia, UAE and Egypt regarding the current conflict in Gaza. They would rather see Israel defeat Hamas.

    Political Islam aka. Radical Islam/Islamic Fundamentalism is a serious threat to peaceful, forward thinking muslim countries including Maldives.

    The so-called protestors who are burning Israeli and American flags and threatening Israeli tourists are not gathering daily to express their right to freedom of expression. Instead they are stirring up religious hatred and promoting their version of Islam and intolerance against people of other faith.

    These people pose a direct threat to our national security and peace. Under the guise of support for the civilians being killed in Gaza, Islamic radicals are whipping up a frenzy of hatred and religious intolerance which must not be tolerated.

    How can the government watch while they burn American flags and Israeli flags? I too deplore the violence in Gaza and condemn both Israeli military and Hamas for targeting civilians during this conflict. But I have nothing but loathing for the religious extremists amongst our midst who are destroying our society and working to drag this country to the MIddle Ages.


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