Radicalisation threatens tourism, Nasheed tells UK press

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has told UK media that growing concessions towards Islamic radicalisation in the Maldives could threaten the country’s upmarket tourism industry.

“I think that is the direction we are going. They are talking about alcohol-free resorts, about getting non-drinking tourists to come in from Iran. I can easily imagine holidaymakers being prosecuted for kissing in public, as in some Muslim countries,” Nasheed told the UK’s Telegraph newspaper.  The former president also noted recent calls from the country’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs to ban mixed-gender dancing, and dancing by adolescent girls.

“If the country is being radicalised every day, then the staff in the resorts, and their families, are being radicalised also. That must have some impact on the resorts in the medium and long term,” Nasheed warned.

The current government this week said it would reject any such proposed ban on mixed-gender dancing, telling international media that the Maldives remained a “very tolerant society”.

Speaking to the UK’s Independent newspaper, Nasheed said he “feared that anti-Western feeling had dramatically increased recently within the country – fuelled by political instability – with the potential for attacks.”

“I don’t know why they haven’t blown up anything in the Maldives,” Nasheed told the paper. “Right now [maybe] they are thinking that strategically it isn’t good for them to do anything in the Maldives. Maybe they are using our national accounts. Maybe they are using our banks. Maybe it is a good place for recruitment.”

Nasheed observed that Maldivian nationals had been found to have been connected with al-Qa’ida attacks in Pakistan and India, and said he had had regular meetings with Western intelligence agencies during his time in office.

The international community had, he said, “thought that the game was over as soon as [the former president, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom] was gone. But there is such a great need to build political parties, to support an independent judiciary, to install more liberal ideas.”

“We need to come up with a narrative other than the radical Islamic narrative because that is the only one there is at the moment. Unless we are able to understand the mistakes that have been made in the Maldives, we are bound to see the same thing happening elsewhere in Arab Spring countries.”

President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad and Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb were not responding to calls at time of press regarding the comments.

Religious rhetoric has a become a fixture of the Maldives’ political landscape, most significantly when the disparate former opposition last year found common cause on December 23 by holding a mass rally against Nasheed’s perceived liberalism.

During President Mohamed Waheed’s first public rally as leader in late February, he declared: “Be courageous. Today you are all mujaheddin [those who fight jihad] who love the nation. We will overcome all dangers faced by the nation with steadfastness.”

“We will not back down an inch. Today, the change [in power] in the Maldives is what Allah has willed. This did not happen because of one or two people coming out into the streets. Nobody had been waiting for this. Nobody even saw this day. This change came because Allah willed to protect Islam and the decent Maldivian norms,” Waheed stated.

Earlier this week the religious Adhaalath party added to the coalition government’s rhetoric against Indian infrastructure giant GMR, calling for a “national jihad” to take back the airport from the developer.

The resort industry, famed and marketed for idealising Western hedonistic excess, has traditionally kept a safe distance from religion and politics. Technically under the Constitution, no law can be enacted against a tenet of Islam, which potentially affects those relevant to the import, sale and service of products such as pork and alcohol. The resort islands are classified as ‘uninhabited’ under Maldivian law.

Following the December 23 rally, Nasheed temporarily met one of the gatherings’ demands – the closure of spas – and applied it to the entire country, not just its inhabited islands.

While the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) began legal action, Nasheed demanded the Supreme Court decisively state once and for all whether the Maldives could import pork and alcohol without violating the nation’s Shariah-based constitution. It declined to do so.

Following the transfer of power on Feburary 7, Nasheed’s opponents – some of them resort owners – continued to challenge him on religious grounds.

Leader of the Jumhoree Party (JP) Gasim Ibrahim, a local resort tycoon, in August reportedly called for a “jihad” to protect Maldivian society from “Nasheed’s antics”.

“The time has come to undertake a Jihad in the name of Allah to protect our religion, culture and nation. Such a sacrifice must be made to restore peace and stability in the nation,” Gasim declared.

Meanwhile, according to 2011 customs records, Gasim’s Villa Hotels chain – including the Royal, Paradise, Sun, and Holiday Island resorts, that year imported 121,234.51 litres of beer, 2048 litres of whiskey, 3684 litres of vodka and 219.96 kilograms of pork sausages, among other commodities considered haram (prohibited) under Islamic law.

“Un-Islamic behaviour is un-Islamic behaviour whether it is in Malé or in a resort,” Nasheed observed to the Telegraph.


33 thoughts on “Radicalisation threatens tourism, Nasheed tells UK press”

  1. Actually it is greed and kickbacks in GMR privatization that threatens tourism.

    Maldives is suffering 2 forms of extreme radicalization. Salafists on the one hand and libertarians of MDP who wants religious freedom.

    Both are extremists but on the opposite ends of the argument.

  2. Nasheed also told that he was ousted in a coup. But there is no proof. So The Telegraph or anyone else will know better.

  3. Anni wants to destroy the Maldivian economy by casting doubts on the tourism industry, the life-blood of the Maldives. Shame on you Anni.

  4. Anni is the man who is behind all these extremism and he is the most extremist person in this country.

    Anni want the power at any cost and he will go any further in telling lies fabricating any stories to favor and get his power back.

    Anni is the biggest threat to the democracy and both Maumoon and Anni need to rest and see how the countries move forward without them.

  5. @Patriot

    The actions of the Maldivian people filmed protesting outside the UN building, the punishment of females by flogging, the destruction of visiting countries national emblems, the calls for Jihad against foreign investors, the calls for beheading any Maldivian who doesn't wish to follow Islamis the cause casting doubts on the countries ability to remain a tourist destination.

    The Maldivian people need to wake up and shake up and stop blaming others for their own inactivity or face returning to the 15th Century that the radicals dream of.

  6. Have you no shame Nasheed?

    Why don't you blow up our entire country then? What you're doing right now amounts to the same thing.

    No wonder your popularity has plummeted below 2008 levels.

    Insulting Islam and casting doubt over the future of our tourism industry is not the solution to combating religious conservatism. Dedication and commitment to facilitating education and entertainment is key.

    Nasheed failed in both aspects. During his term as President poorly-educated individuals with ultra-conservative ideas took over the curriculum-setting department of the Education Ministry. Nasheed also gave into pressure from Islamists within his party to outlaw dancing parties held in Male on New Year's eve. Now he has allowed former Gitmo prisoner Ibrahim Fauzy, Fayyaz Ali Manik, Dr. Abdul Majeed Abdul Baaree and Hussein Rasheed Ahmed free rein within his party in a bid to attract rural voters.

    However his strategies seem to be failing as is evident from MDPs failure to secure a local council seat in their former stronghold of R. Alifushi. The seat actually went to MDP's biggest rival PPM!

    MDP should seriously consider banking on someone else other than Nasheed if they plan to keep their party afloat. MDP is sinking - somebody grab the oars from Nasheed fast.

  7. Just read again and start understanding:

    Leader of the Jumhoree Party (JP) Gasim Ibrahim, a local resort tycoon, in August reportedly called for a “jihad” to protect Maldivian society from “Nasheed’s antics”.

    “The time has come to undertake a Jihad in the name of Allah to protect our religion, culture and nation. Such a sacrifice must be made to restore peace and stability in the nation,” Gasim declared.

    Meanwhile, according to 2011 customs records, Gasim’s Villa Hotels chain – including the Royal, Paradise, Sun, and Holiday Island resorts, that year imported 121,234.51 litres of beer, 2048 litres of whiskey, 3684 litres of vodka and 219.96 kilograms of pork sausages, among other commodities considered haram (prohibited) under Islamic law.

    “Un-Islamic behaviour is un-Islamic behaviour whether it is in Malé or in a resort,” Nasheed observed to the Telegraph.

    Your fellows with the beards will destruct tourism from the west not Anni!

    If you are happy with "halal-tourism" from Iran, Pakistan or similar: Say that in clear and the rest of the world will react.

  8. Nasheed is the only one who talks sense and he seems worried about the Maldives future survival, Maldives is threatened by two evils, radical Islam and global warming, the survival of Maldives will only be possible if these two cancers are treated. He is on forefront to fight them at any cost and has gone to an extent; some people may get disturbed from his talk shows.

    Some people want put their garbage under the carpet and want to hide the dirty face of Maldives. If radical Islam kept unchecked it can infest dangerously in a poor nation like Maldives where ignorance is bliss, and radical Islam’s only host is ignorance. It can multiply dangerously, once the radicalized young minds who have nothing to lose in this world, can do anything to die for the promises they will get only after death. This might not happen today or tomorrow but it is not impossible in ten years time.

    Someone has to fight against this evil and Anni is the only politician we see who can risk his political career in this fight because touching the central nerve is like a suicide. Those who want Maldives to survive the challenges of the 21 century should rally behind Anni to eradicate Jihad in all forms. Tourism is bloodline of Maldives, Maldives can attract only those who are not religious crazy industrial people who want do crazy things and if Maldives cannot offer them these crazy things, Maldives will be forgotten for Tourist.

  9. Why don't we have a poll to findout how many zombies actually agree with Anni about his usual scare tactics. For the xth time I say, there is no religious extremism here in Maldives. A few kids burning US flag is terrorism? What else we have here? Can Anni or somebody tell me what terror we have waiting in the resorts?
    Disgusted with this so called father of democracy! He will go to any lengths to get to top chair.

  10. Zakir Naik said that the Maldives can survive on halal-tourism. This idea even got a lot of support from the beardees and their black tent wives.

    But Nasheed is a hypocrite because the main reason why adhaalath aka the Maldivian al qaeda has so much power right now is because he gave them power while he was president. He sold out to the very terrorists that he's talking about now with the english media. But there is no need to take any action now. Maldives is headed towards becoming the next afghanistan. Failure by people who claim to be moderate to speak up against true muslims ie the 'radicals' will lead to this conclusion. Maybe then Shaheem or some one from J.Salaf will be president, and the government will be controlled by the taliban. 🙂

  11. @ wives and concubines
    Nasheed is a hypocrite or not can only be judged by god. Are you that pious yourself to judge someone else? And we arent heading but we already are an afghanistan coz of pretentious idiots like you are the lot in this country.

  12. Those who say there is no religious extremism here in maldives are blind. Calling for jihad every other day,Flogging,burning the flags of countries. If that is not start to extremism then what is...? @moosa rasheed your comment abt a few kids burning The US flag, pls look at the pics and videos again, then u might see it was more than a few kids.

  13. it was during nasheed's presidency that spas in resorts were shut down, not waheed's. nasheed is an extremist. he's going to extreme lengths to try to get back in power now, lying about the circumstances of his resignation, metaphorical guns and what not, to trashing the image of the country as a place of radical islam that is not safe for tourists.he's more of an extremist than anybody else in maldives

  14. What's the matter, imperialist maggots? Afraid of the most powerful war weapon in the world being directed against your beloved wallets and your measly US$?

    Watch and experience, suffer, and face starvation and death from above, below and from all sides for your unprovoked attack against the People of Maldives.

  15. Why is everybody lying about this so called powerful religious parties in Maldives? The latest figures puts 5000 as the strength of the only islamic party which is also very moderate in views; compare this to 50000 strong secular mdp and 45000 ppm. so why is everybody lying? These dimwits will lie to western media to get attention anyhow. if they can sell their parents to get an interview, they will do so.

  16. Anni will go down in history as a corrupt dictator who awarded millions to his associates and family members. He is now trying to get international support once again using the islamic card to come to power.

  17. Anni's warning about the radicalization of the waheed regime, sadly, seems to fall on deaf ears as the International Community seems not to care. Until there is an incident involving tourists, this story wont get much traction outside the Maldives.

  18. Until one resort blows up with hundreds killed, there is no threat from the extremists in the maldives. Then again how many extremists are already employed in the resorts?

  19. I hope he is well aware of what he is talking about regarding the religion and our country. now it is time for us to stop him from destroying our country ,economy and most of all out religion. He must not forget he should return to Maldives. he is such an idiot that he doesn't know that international medias are also making fun out of him with his useless talks after all they know exactly what is going on in Maldives..

  20. Anni is the man behind the gathering near Un building in male' . Anni had tweeted just when the incident started /

    Anni is the one who is behind all these radical Islam and Anni is the man who brought them to his cabinet and gave freedom to do what ever they want to do.

    Anni will do anything to come back to power and this power hunger man will go any miles to gain the power.

    After seen what a luxury life and what amount of money he managed to rob in three years, he will nerve give up and he will continue to ruin this country.

    This idiot Anni never realized that without tourism, this idiot can not even rule the country .

    Anni , the majority of Maldivian do not want you back and only few hardline MDP activists are behind you.

    This is proven in all election that had happened after step down and that is fact .

    Man you go to see the reality and not only hear few thugs stories around you . We know you have huge amount of money in your accounts and you can use those money to do anything to take the country to hell.

  21. No Islamic extremism in Maldives huh. Yet every weekend we see these bearded islamists recruiters jump on speed boats to give lectures and find new recruitment in the surrounding Island. Chant Arabic words to the uneducated masses (Arabic illiterate) trying to brainwash them continuously.

    The islasmist recruiter tells you son to fight jihad in Pakistan/Afganistan on the pretext of studying abroad. If they die as a martyr or shaheed then 70 members of his family gets thawab (positive points) to get to heaven.
    Once the boy and his parents agree, the islamist recruiter takes the boy to Pakistan and hand over the boy to the Islamist agent, the recruiter then collects his reward money for recruitment and comes back to the Maldives.

  22. Knowing what I know of the Maldives, I am surprised anybody would want to holiday there at all.
    You are an intolerant country that does not allow freedom of worship.
    You have just deposed a democratically elected leader.
    You still flog women in public.
    You have destroyed the traditional island culture of Maldives with your wahabi edits like the recent ban on 'mixed sex dancing'.
    You have a scary addiction to Class A drugs with an addict in every family.
    Very soon you will be another wahabi 'Jahannum' like Mogadishu and Karachi.....where mosques have 24/7 security to stop muslims killing other muslims.
    There are many thousands of educated and well travelled Indians like me who will avoid Maldives like the plague.....and believe me when I say we can afford to holiday in any 'high end' resort of our choosing.

  23. We are the worlds smallest nation but the worlds biggest hypocrites. Annie is right. You can not negotiate with these radical backward beardies. This is he worst image for the industry and MATI and coup regime are trying to air brush over it.

    MATI and alcohol and pork importer Gasim have to choose what they want, is it he money or religion????! They have made this mess by forming an unstable coalition with the beardies and religious totalitarism. Madness.

  24. @MissIndia:

    1. Sovereign countries have the power to deny certain freedoms. The Maldives does not provide the freedom of worship to practice religions other than Islam in public. BUT our country allows foreigners to conduct religious rituals inside the privacy of their homes. Also our people have never bothered anyone visiting our resorts where visitors can enjoy some of the most liberal environments found anywhere.

    2. Our democratically elected leader resigned! It is not a matter of opinion as he himself had agreed to be bound by CoNI's findings which concluded that he was not "deposed" but decided to resign voluntarily.

    3. We also flog men. In public is a strange add-on as we don't have a culture of going to the courts to watch such punishments as a spectacle. Also flogging in the Maldives involves a light slap on the bottom which often fails as a deterrent to prevent crime. We really must consider getting rid of the punishment altogether or make it harsher and more effective as a deterrent. Flogging is practiced in Malaysia as well - why don't you call your 'countrymen' (if indeed you are an Indian national) to leave the economic opportunities available there and come back home? Hmmm??

    4. I don't know about Wahhabi editing work BUT if you are referring to the Islamic Ministry circular requesting the public not to hold mixed-gender dances, it was flatly rejected by the government which held a show featuring mixed-gender dances the very night after the circular was released.

    5. Actually hashish oil use is rampant in the country. Class A drug use is relatively rare. Ask President Nasheed - he feels is constant hashish use is not that big a deal.

    Even if you were Indian, which I highly doubt you are, you appear to be poorly educated small-minded bigot who believes insulting others makes you special. So we would do well without visitors such as you. Our country hosts the upper crust and the civilized. Not foul-mouthed miscreants such as yourself.

  25. The real person who is trying to create a havoc in this country is Anni. MATI was fully backing Anni and tourism stakeholders are the people who brought him to power not knowing the hidden agenda this guy got.

    Anni had hidden agenda to bring Adalath into his coalition and then give extra authority for them to have thier voice and then split the public to create this mess.

    I urge all tourism stakeholders to stop giving money and funds to MDP until Anni is removed from MDP .

    Misindia. I know many foreigners practicing their religion peacefully in their house and apartment without making so much voice about that. Majority of Maldivian respect it and only few people may not like. But non of us want to have temple in this country.

    Our success of being a peaceful nation is of one religion and having multiple religion among 350,000 people will not be a good thing and that will ruin our nation and unity among ourselves.

  26. Destruction from within, a trait well honed and repeated since the start do humanity. Our god send religion is no exception.

    Maybe it's not a god send one at all.

    Hahahaaaa, deception at its peak?

  27. It was Burumaa Gasim who brought Adhalath Party into government.

    President invited Gasim to nominate people from his party to cabinet posts. he nominated Dhiyana Saeed for Attorney General, Dr Sawadh as Minisry for Tourism, Culture and Arts, Dr Abdul Bari as Minister of Islamic Affarts and Sheikh Shaheem as Minister of State for Islamic Affairs.
    Dr Sawadh was thrown out of cabinet by the parliament members representing the parties now running the country, Dr Abdul Bari stayed till the end along with the former head of Adhalath Partyand Sheikh Shaheem resigned of his own accord vowing never to work with President Nasheed. Well, why would he? he got what be wanted. Recognitiuon and status in the Arab world and a shot at the Presidency ij 2013/

    President Nasheed worked with those who wanted to work with him. Adaltha Party WANTED an agreement with President Nashed.

    It is Dr Waheed and his supporters who are going around calling for Jihaadh, and praising those who supported the coup as Mujaahudheen, and it is Dr Waheed who seems unable to complete a sentence these days with out Insha Allah.

    The hypocricy of this man Dr Waheed sickens me. But I guess this is what he has to do to become President... that lifelong ambition of Dr Waheed. Use Islam.

  28. It was the Maldivian Al Qaeda beardies who were at the forefront of bringing about the coup in maldives. I saw them personally pasting jihad banners, burning flags and spreading lies on 23 December 2011, lying demonstration on the pretext of protecting religion.
    We should have a law that prevents religious radicalism. The extremists take advantage of the democratic freedom to spread hate and violence. While they themselves do not believe in democracy, democracy should not be a tool for the extremists or an excuse to spread religious violence.

  29. To all who hate Islam and does not know one cent about the religion,

    you dorks are such fools to point out extremism and that it does not have anything to do with seyku anni and his illiterate gay supporting crowd, when he was the one who pardoned the terrorist(probably from the wahhabi island which the MDP has a lot of support from)who blew up some tourists at sultan park.

    Meaning, he had visualized and planned this extremist bullshit years ago. Why is he, the only one talking about this in the international media and why doesn't the international community give a damn about his claims?
    The whole world knows what a fool anni is now but sadly some MDPians like Hamid abdul gayfool is typically just a fool(no wonder he is such a fool as he was the one who claimed and challenged god that the death penalty will not work and does not work for humanity when the biggest democracies like America implements so and so)

    it's such a laugh when you people talk about your rights being violated by carrying out flogging, etc etc,when you, yourselves have sex with every other women, gives them some kind of disease and treats them like trash(might be married ones with children; the children gets scarred for life). why don't you people talk about the prostitution that goes around in every other country. why is it that Americans do not talk about the amount of single mothers they have there? why are women mentally frustrated about the increase in homosexuality? how many people die of drug over dose and alcohol consumption within the bars and pubs each year???

    When one talks about such things and advices others not to consume their selves in such acts then the person becomes an extremist who jumps on speed boats to find recruits for jihad????

  30. @Shimy: we might only know 1 % of Islam, we do against u know how a democracy looks like!

    you cannot just forbid terrorism as there will be always someone leaking, someone be against it.

    He is the only one who might give this country actually a chance AND who actually cares- show me one resort owner who wd go public (eg. speak to a the Independent) and say: i want to forbid this and that cause its not haram- not they are hiding somewhere behind bushes OR on their huge yachts in front of Male drinking themself or smoking pot. Reality.

    And WHY the international media isnt giving a damn about his claims- well, why arent they reporting everything whts going on in the maldives on front page? EASILY explained: cause they have their own things to explore AND believe it or not your country is very expensive for like 90% of the inhabitants of some countries- so why shd they shd give more attention to this is beyond me!
    The world knows now wht has happened in the Maldives and they have a closer look and all u hear in papers is that it gets worse and worse- i havent read any newspaper in eg. Iran or so, maybe there the Maldives become a hot destination but a lot of tourist become more and more annoyed by news not from Anni, but from the current political party!

    I dont agree with you either putting flogging etc on the same step as changing the sexual partner as many times, giving diseases etc- i havent seen in ANY other islamic country so many marriages go broken and its beyond me how this youth in the Maldives date or how long marriages exists-for 2 weeks? 3 months? 5 years? is that better then not being married and doing the same?

    And for the rest you have mentioned- all those things are talked about, but YOU shd read the RIGHT newspapers !! Sadly, and yes you are right, newspaper arent always reporting things like you have mentioned HOWEVER ppl these days are aware of all those things and we just can remind them- on the other hand, they just dont want to be reminded every day. and do you want to be reminded by how many sisters, aunts, maybe even your own mother have been molested by someone else? and i am sure you do know them, but you just dont want to listen either or see it!!


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