Spray-painting “irreligious” on people’s homes risks sparking hate crimes: former police intelligence chief

Former Police Intelligence Chief Mohamed Hameed has expressed concern that a recent outbreak of graffiti, in which dozens of homes and public buildings have been spray-painted ‘laadheenee’ (‘irreligious’), could trigger hate crimes in the capital.

Hameed said the “highly provocative act”  required precautionary action from the police.

“The ‘laadheenee’ graffiti on many walls in Male’ is a serious issue, possibly leading to hate crimes. This has come up at a time when politicians are often speaking of religion, and [former President] Gayoom has himself just recently said that there are two ideologies in the country: religious and anti-religious,” Hameed stated, referring to a recent speech by the autocratic leader of 30 years.

“The graffiti came up shortly after that, and is mostly in yellow paint. It can be said it is targeting a specific group of people. This can lead to retaliatory acts from the target groups,” Hameed contended.

“With the looming elections, this might be an act deliberately orchestrated by a particular group of people to attempt to create chaos and delay elections, saying the country does not have a conducive environment in which a free and fair election can be carried out,” he said.

“It seems like the graffiti was put up late at night. Now, since there are no shops or cafe’s open 24/7, there are only a minimal amount of people out late. The police are out patrolling the streets at all hours so it should not be too much of a task for them to find out who is responsible for this. I think they probably already have an idea. I believe it’s very important the police investigate this matter and take precautionary measures,” Hameed stated.

The graffiti has since been altered to form a variety of other phrases ranging from “MullahDheen” (‘Mullah religion’) to “BinLaadheenTha?” (‘Is it Bin Laden?’).

“Political activism doesn’t strip me of religion”

Minivan News spoke to people living in some of the houses who woke up to see the label “Laadheenee” scrawled over their walls.

“We are not a high profile family, and usually just stay to ourselves, so I was very surprised to see this derogatory word on our wall. Perhaps it is because one of my sisters is very active in the anti-coup protests,” said the eldest son of one such house.

“None of us, even my sister, is intimidated by this. Why can’t people with opposing political views be like us? That’s what my Dad said too. We don’t run around vandalising the property of those sheikhs who preach hate, or their followers.”

A small street in Maafannu ward had the graffiti on a quarter of the houses along it.

“This street definitely has a lot of people living on it who support the MDP, but that doesn’t make us anti-religious in any sense,” said one resident, a 53 year-old housewife. “Political activism doesn’t strip me of my religion. This just displays their lack of maturity and political ineptitude.”

Another resident, a 24 year-old man, called the act ‘childish’, adding, “Seeing the graffiti, it was mostly anger I felt. This is obviously politically motivated. What right do they have to go around damaging the property of people they do not know at all?”

A 38 year-old man who lives alone in a house in Henveiru said he felt the graffiti was the start of something “larger and more menacing.”

“It’s like they have marked down the houses of people they mean to attack. The saddest thing is, although the word refers to religion, I doubt their intentions are anything but political. I hope the police look into this and ensure that none of us come to physical harm.”

“‘Laadheeneee’ is an old song, no one’s interested”: MDP MP

MDP Spokesperson Imthiyaz Fahmy described the painting of the graffiti as “a desperate political move” and “an old song that  people simply are no longer interested in listening to.”

“All this talk of religion and being anti-religious is a politically-motivated ploy used by a handful of politicians who have nothing else to come to the public with. They have no pledges, no manifesto, no policies: and because they have nothing to speak of, they resort to labelling those who do with derogatory terms,” Fahmy said.

“This particular instance is a crime according to both international law and the local law; I refer to the ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) and the Religious Unity Act respectively. Because of the state our law enforcement system is in at the moment, we see no action being taken against crimes like this,” Fahmy said.

“It is this failure to act that led to the February 7 coup d’etat. The sad thing is that both the law enforcement forces and the judiciary are not working to deal with serious matters like this,” he continued.

“Religion does not belong to any man. It is between God and oneself. There is no justification for abusing religion in the competitiveness of politics,” he said.

Police Media Official Chief Inspector Hassan Haneef was not responding to calls at time of press.

Religion and politics

During an address given in Denmark, former President and MDP presidential candidate Mohamed Nasheed stated that the Maldivian people had largely rejected Islamic extremism, and, in a veiled reference to the Adhaalath Party – the only local political party which claims to be based on a religious ideology – noted that “the Islamists were never a credible electoral threat.”

“The Islamic extremists also didn’t like the Maldives’ new democracy because they were unpopular. They failed to win the presidential elections in 2008, they failed to win local government elections – in 2011 they won less than four percent of the vote. But now, after the coup, extremists have been rewarded with three cabinet positions in government, and in many ways set the tone of the government communications. They are busy trying to indoctrinate people with a misguided version of Islam,” Nasheed said.

“There is idea of wanting to return to Hejaz as it was in the 7th century. This is Wahhabism in principle. And it is difficult and worrying,” he had said at the time.

The religion based political party condemned Nasheed’s comments, alleging that “Nasheed misled them about the party he fears and envies most: the Adhaalath Party.”

The next night, the National Movement – comprising of Adhaalath Party and a number of NGOs – organised a several hundred strong march around Male’ calling on authorities to penalise Nasheed, with some calling for him to be hanged. They alleged that Nasheed had mocked Islam, the Sunnah of the Prophet and verses of the Quran.

Meanwhile, the MDP has released a statement condemning the use of “irresponsible and misleading” political rhetoric against Nasheed over his remarks on Islamic radicalism.

The party said “misleading” statements were made in the media by political parties and “those wearing the hats of sheikhs to use religion as a weapon.”


12 thoughts on “Spray-painting “irreligious” on people’s homes risks sparking hate crimes: former police intelligence chief”

  1. Not surprising after the hate filled speeches from the mullahs. Of course it's a political trick but Dhivehistanis can't see through it, since they're blinded by the simplistic worldview fed to them by mullahs. In their eyes the world is divided into Dar ul Kufr and Dar ul Islam both of which are engaged in a perpetual war. This imaginary fantasy of medieval Arab mullahs like Shafiee and ibn Taymiyyah still shape their outlook - no wonder Dhiveshistan is still stuck in the Dark Ages.

  2. The way people have turned the graffiti around into something humorous is amazing.

    I sincerely think all political parties in the Maldives have a serious choice to make.

    A: Win election fairly by doing good for the people, with the aim of making life better for everyone. Societies problems generally improve and parties try to outdo each other on how they can make it even better on the next round. They discuss matter civilly and do not disagree in key issues simply because they are not from the same party. Country keeps improving after each consecutive election.
    B: Win election by painting everyone else as the enemy, against the nation, against Islam and against all that could be good and holy. Make vague statements about how getting rid of these people (everyone else) is going to solve all of societies problems. Make the election about revenge and personal strive instead of societies problems. By the next round, society has become even worse as none of the problems have been addressed and the election is once again reduced to naming and shaming. Every consecutive election (if there aren't more coups) the country gets worse, until power rests with those who are the most violent and has the ideology necessary to carry out that violence.

  3. .. National inadequacy- this is our problem. Even as we may advance through the 21st century we remain an unaccomplished people. We have hardly anything to show off to the outside world to prove otherwise, and our meager displacement as little people on even littler islands makes this even worse. We remain ill confidant in the bedroom, in government structures, in hospitals, on politics and even on the national stage (this is the most important aspect of it). May be then the elixir for our psychological-cum-inner deficiencies, which result from not having claim to anything (whether it be technology, national policies or our lack of general originality or creativity), is to realize that each nation is afforded unequally if ever, and we just need to learn to be content with whatever means, values or setup we have.
    Sure we can always make better, but just how much is possible, is the question perhaps. And to compensate for all this we just seem to make a lot of noise. Like me for example, from behind an anonymous internet connection. You know it doesn't really matter who we vote for, this country will remain dredged in the South Asian gutter- till an until the East rises, basically. .!

  4. It is a wakeup call that how an ignorant society can be misguided by blind faith. This show how dangerous Mullas can be when mystified with religious orgy. No one bothers when Mullas are enjoying their mystic life as long as they don’t bother with others and limit their activities within the mosque or in the mountain caves communicating with their imaginary boss. Why on earth they expect every human being to be stupid like them. I don’t think anyone has any issue in Maldives with Mullahs practicing their religion as long as they keep it as their personal matter. There are Hindus, Buddhists and many others who have same kind of faiths but they don’t act like the way these Mullahs behave.
    There are people who don’t see the world the way the mullahs see it, even there are many educated Muslims who call them liberal Muslims and don’t agree with the Islam in its purest form and they are OK with moderation and it means they :
    Oppose to fight non Muslims
    Don’t get violent when their religion and religious leader is mocked.
    Don’t have any problem with people who reject Islam.
    Don’t have any problem with women to go free as they wish
    Don’t have any problem with Israel
    Don’t want to implement Sharia with its barbaric form that violates human rights, and encourages anti free speech, child marriage, cut off hands, flogging women, inhuman punishments for crimes like murder, humiliate for committing extramarital sex by whipping in public.

  5. This can happen only in the '100% muslim' Maldives.....you cannot just be muslim but must be a religious one or else!!
    You dumb people never cease to amaze me.....it seems allah created you on one of his off days.

  6. why tyhe hell cant Minivan do something about this atrocious ass called 'MissIndia NewDelhi'?
    its really become such a bore to listen to the constant crap she/he keeps spinning, specifically comapring Maldives to india.

    @MissIndia NewDelhi: I mean seriously,everycountry grapples with such situations. theres always 'right' and 'wrong' everywhere. and who decides this? social norms define the right and wrong. yes, we are a country where everything has become politicised, including religion, thanks to the over zealous-so called- sheikhs. a large section of maldives want to be just left alone to decide how they want to follow religion - moderate or extreme. no one denies that they are muslims. moderatism is what we all have always grown up with, while extrimism is what the sheikhs and a small section of the country wants. to each their own. its my faith, and i chose to follow what i want.
    with this being the background, i suggest you involve yourselves in the matters of your country. Is india really the 'perfect' country? and especially New delhi? where rape of women and children is everyday business. where kidnapping and stabbing and shooting is a way of life. where bribery and burglery is part of your breathing. c'mon. Give us a break.
    You wanna do something? then stop spreading hatred by commenting as the way you do. Do something concrete. actively involve yourseld in minimizing these social evil. educate.create awarenes..empower the youth.eradicate corruption and poverty. step up dude. Be responsible! and be proactive!
    do the asme Maldivians!

  7. this @Missindia is not indian it is a masked guy simply blamming india we as a indian dont have a problem with your country youn can do what you want but now adays ther are more islamist fundamentalist who go to pakistan , afghanistan , saudi who study wahabi which is dangerous not only to maldives but to entire countries of indian ocean it is up to you people to select the righjt party or to become a country like pakistan , afghanistan somalia , yemen, saudi wake up you people

  8. Nicely said nix.

    MissIndia, I'm in Mumbai right now and I can tell you, it's far from perfect.

  9. @The sith

    Actually, if you think about it, the common religious Maldivian is very frustrated. Frustrated with the lives they lead, the money they earn, the social aspect, the slums where they live in and the sight of the rest of the planet and the Male' land owners living lives much better than them.

    But that thought of their imaginary friend giving them great gifts in the afterlife, where they would be treated like kings with wine and virgin women is what keeps them going. It really is like a drug. So if they go 'extreme', it's nothing to be surprised about. After all, despite how horrible their lives are, if they work more to please their imaginary friend, they get more palaces and virgins. The incentive is just too great, and this is why extremism prevails.

  10. @W&C

    Interesting perspective my young apprentice. Interesting indeed. Very much Islamophobic, part of an ongoing and sustained rhetoric being maintained by a Christian America and Europe. Europe less so these days because of its secretive continuing engagement with China (and therefore its allies which include Iran). That is of course a different topic and however. Extremism is a two way street, militant or fundamentalist and abolitionist Atheism or Anti-Islamism in general and in particular, has been ever intolerant, hate-based and just as divisive, and therefore as dangerous as the Wahhabism emanating from the House of Saud. The idea cannot be to ridicule people from a 'glass house' either.

    That would be a long topic- you see the white-man has been ever confounded by our gross silence in the face of their unilateral and universal plunder of planet Earth, culturally or otherwise. And yet this has an agenda, one which only White-power and not your kind will ever benefit from by the way. The aim is to undermine, weaken internally and discourage, discourage again any manifest resolution or increments for a lesser civilization. The scientific methodology which Muhammed instigated alongside Hindu scientology or arts is in fact the modern bicameral system of measurement and analysis which spawned a technological industrialization for its own sake (among other things). Therefore acknowledgement or any recognition of steal and borrowed artifacts can also never come.

    However I do agree with you- on so many, many levels. Personally I would go for Spiritual Naturalism with a dash of Neo-Islamism, if there could ever be such a thing. Our success may perhaps lie if we are able to further -develop- an Islam. This is also the counter-intent behind all attempts to 'stop' it mind you- to prevent its development and thus galvanise antagonism towards its dark sister- or 'Islamic extremism' in fact. To ensure just that this exactly and never happens; that it never 'develops', in fact what do you mean 'develop', the very notion is absurd- lets all sing to that they would say. It rests at the heart of the Aryan Christian White Race, not to sound dogmatic though- to stop Islam based on its sole negative attributes in relation in particular to a renaissance Europe or a post-modern 21st century (keke). I do agree nonetheless that 'pruning' Islam might have mutual benefits for the rest of us as well, or even a Moslem Greater Nation. The very notion sends chills down the spine people like Mark Steyn I know (perhaps you as well). I would advise you to strike the right balance between hatred of Islam and your ineffable natural cum anti-heathen roots.

  11. @Wives & Concubines

    I disagree with you. And this is because nothing could please you more. ... This is well understood, that you are a trouble maker, a rascal, a snake, a joker- eagerly awaiting a single righteous kill against you (that could claim your skull).... Oh but I do presume,I do.. The day of the dog today, but tomorrow who knows. It is also wh(y) we tolerate you, call it love even.. Adalat and something far worse sends ye regards.

  12. Ah, how I love how the fundies who scream about 'islamophobia' once their lies are exposed.


Comments are closed.