The following is an English translation of the minority opposition Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP)’s pamphlet, which this week triggered successive attempts by the government to arrest two senior members of the party and sparked a debate on freedom of expression and hate speech in the Maldives. The original can be downloaded here (Dhivehi).
President Nasheed’s devious plot to destroy the Islamic faith of Maldivians
This book was prepared by the Dhivehi Qaumee Party in consideration of the devious plans of this government to erase the age-old holy religion of Islam from the hearts of Maldivians, provide opportunities for religions other than Islam and demolish the religious unity and faith of Maldivians. The book sheds light on the government’s actions against Islam so far.
The high honour accorded to Islam
It is certain that the religion we have followed without wavering for over 800 is the true religion and the last religion revealed by God Almighty. In verse five of the al-Maida Surah of the Holy Quran, God reveals, “[…] and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. ” [The book erroneously states verse five when the correct verse is three].
And in verse 19 of the al-Imran Surah, God reveals, “The only religion approved by God is Submission [Islam].”
Constitutional role of Islam in the Maldives
The Maldives is a nation based on Islamic principles. Islam is the state religion. Islam is the main basis of Maldivian law. No law contrary to Islam can be enacted in the Maldives. Only Muslims can be citizens of the Maldives.
Even the fundamental rights guaranteed in the constitution can be protected in a manner that is not contrary to any tenet of Islam. No one has the right to commit any act that is forbidden under Islamic Shariah. Freedom of expression is provided to citizens as long as it is not used in a manner contrary to any tenet of Islam.
Submitting to Islam, obeying and inducing love for it is encouraged in the education system.
The constitution does not stop at according with fluent phrases a high status for Islam. Article 67(g) of the constitution obliges all citizens to preserve and protect Islam. This constitutional responsibility is entrusted the most to the head of state as the nation’s ruler.
Degree of Islamic faith in the Maldives when Nasheed took office
Religious matters had not been handled ideally when Nasheed took office. We had to spend over 19 years without a Dhivehi translation of our most sacred book, the Holy Quran. Permission to give sermons and counsel was granted to those who shared the government’s thought and philosophy.
People were locked up and punished over issues like Qunooth [invocation in times of adversity] where scholars of different sects disagree. Beards of religious scholars were shaved with chilli sauce.
Although the head of state was an al-Azhar University-educated scholar he was saying openly that penalties clearly stated in Islamic Shariah were unsuited for the times. In addition to saying that matters like wearing the veil were not compulsory, he showed it to the people in deed through his wife and children.
Nasheed’s golden opportunity and how he used it
Nasheed became the ruler of this Islamic state on November 11, 2008 through the hard work and prayer of many political, religious and social organisations as well as many sincere citizens. Who among us has forgotten Sheikh Ilyas [Hussein’s] emotional prayer in the pouring rain on the last night of the second round of the presidential campaign?
Nasheed had a golden opportunity to take all of those individuals and groups along, change the way religion was treated before, strengthen Maldivians’ Islamic faith and spread the bright light of Islam all across the country. However he missed this golden opportunity. Instead of strengthening the Islamic faith of Maldivians, he tried to weaken it. Instead of preserving the Islamic identity of Maldivians, he worked in ways that would allow other religions on this Maldivian soil. Instead of aiding Muslims and the Islamic ummah (community), he tried to please adversaries of Islam and aid them. As a result, the state of affairs has deteriorated to the point where we question whether our over 800 year-old Islamic nation would remain an Islamic nation. Today, visitors to our country have been encouraged to challenge our religion, Shariah and constitution in the most high places of this Islamic state.
Nasheed’s big project to wipe out Maldivians’ religious identity
Since assuming office Nasheed has been working ceaselessly to weaken the Islamic faith of Maldivians, allow space for other religions, and make irreligious and sinful behaviour common. And to show that necessary characteristics a ruler and senior officials of an Islamic state must possess are not important, to reduce ties and relations with Muslims and Islamic nations and foster relations with adversaries of Islamic nations.
Weakening the Islamic faith of Maldivians
From the day Nasheed took office to the present day, he has undertaken many efforts to weaken the Islamic faith of Maldivians, especially the younger generation of Maldivians. Below are some of these efforts,
- Nasheed began the work of weakening Maldivians’ Islamic faith by targeting young children. When Nasheed’s government established diplomatic relations with the nation that is the biggest adversary of Muslims, it was agreed to teach young Maldivian children on the state’s expense good things about the Jews by including it in school curriculums.
- Along with that, Nasheed tried to make Dhivehi and Islam optional subjects for higher secondary students. And senior officials of Nasheed’s government tried to convince the public on national television that the decision was a good one. Nasheed’s government acted like this after turning a deaf ear to school heads who had repeatedly talked about the importance of the Dhivehi and Islam subjects at the symposium on revising the national curriculum. Nasheed’s purpose is to turn those who would play a leading role in running the country tomorrow into strangers to Islam and the mother tongue of Maldivians.
- While Nasheed’s government was trying to make Islam an optional subject it also tried to teach Maldivian students subjects of different religions.
- Nasheed’s government sent a letter to the relevant authorities seeking the opinion of Maldivian scholars on building temples in the country.
- While working on the one hand to reduce the importance of religious subjects in the national curriculum, on the other hand Nasheed’s government was trying to close down schools providing Islamic education. In this vein, the plot of Arabiya, which had been providing Islamic education to young Maldivian children, was taken and the building was demolished. The government did not make adequate temporary arrangements for its students either. And Nasheed’s government acted towards parents [of Arabiya students] who gathered outside the President’s Office to protest peacefully in a manner so brutal that not even serious criminals are subjected to.
- Mauhad [Islamic College] is an old institution that played one of the most important roles in strengthening Islamic faith among Maldivians. Nasheed’s government tore down its walls, placed insurmountable obstacles to its development and has been working ceaselessly to close it down.
Allowing other religions
Considering the actions of Nasheed’s government, the goal of this government from the start has been to allow religions other than Islam. Below are some of these efforts,
- Nasheed’s government made a lot of excuses not to broadcast live on national television the lecture by world famous religious scholar Dr Zakir Naik in his visit to the Maldives in May 2010. Moreover, Nasheed’s government offered a lot of empty rationalisations and tried very hard not to give the stadium area to organise this same event.
- During the public question and answer session following Dr Zakir Naik’s lecture, a Maldivian born of a Maldivian mother and father named Nazim found the daring to proudly proclaim that he does not believe Islam as a consequence of this government’s ceaseless efforts to weaken the Islamic faith of Maldivians.
- This Nazim who declared his apostasy before all Maldivians actively participated in the demonstration on 10 December, 2011 calling for religious freedom. This demonstration was held as a result of President Nasheed speaking in a way that suggested he supported UN human rights representative Pillay after she called for omitting the article in the constitution that requires all Maldivians to be Muslims, allowing space for non-Muslims and omitting punishments clearly stated in Islamic Shariah during a visit in November this year.
- Long before Pillay visited the Maldives Nasheed had sent letters to the relevant authorities in the name of seeking the opinion of religious scholars on building temples or places of worship for other religions in the Maldives. Could there be any reason to do this if he did not want to build such places in this country? Certainly not.
- In an interview with a magazine named “Forbes Asia” in December this year Nasheed had said “In the past there was a desire to segregate the Maldives from certain influences, but it also kept us from ideas and knowledge. Maldivians are Muslims but modern. The time has come to end the segregation from the outside world.”
- Among the channels in the service provided by India’s Airtel in the Maldives there is one named ‘God’ channel. It specialises in spreading Christianity. Although the service is available in many Maldivian households, the government has not done anything to stop it.
- The pictures and drawings released as a theme for the recently concluded SAARC summit most prominently and openly depicted Christianity. This drawing was prepared by Nasheed’s government through a Maldivian with the consent and approval of cabinet. Even based on proportion, Christianity is not among either the first, second or third religion of SAARC nations.
- The true purpose of putting up these drawings in Male’ and elsewhere across the country is to familiarize, acquaint and slowly bend Maldivians to the portraits, drawings and monuments of other religions.
- Nasheed’s government erected numerous idols in Addu atoll for the SAARC summit. These things were brought from various SAARC countries and placed upon request of Nasheed’s government the way they asked for. First, unlike the other monuments, the idols were put up at the last minute; in the early hours of the morning so that people would not see. They were concealed with cloth.
- When the people of Addu, realising they were idols, started raising their voices [the monuments] were protected with the might of the military on the orders of Nasheed in his capacity as commander-in-chief.
- Moreover, numerous youth who protested and spoke out against the idol were arrested and are being investigated.
- After importing idols into the country, protecting [the idols], and locking up those who spoke out against them, and when opposition parties started raising their voices saying it was a serious crime legally and under Shariah, Nasheed said he only heard of the idols after it was destroyed. Everyone, young and old, would know that he lied. Below is a photograph taken while [Nasheed] is watching with the Sri Lankan President the inauguration of one of these idols.
- The Prophet’s Hadith illustrates Nasheed’s words and actions. [He has] denied everything he said. [He has] broken all his promises. [He has] betrayed his responsibility and trust.
- The idols imported to the Maldives in the name of the SAARC summit are not children’s toys or items in tourist shops. The idols are representations of god or objects used for worship.
- God reveals in the Holy Quran that idols are unclean.
- Under article 4 of the Contraband Act, importing idols to the country is not at all permitted. Such a thing cannot be authorised regardless of whether it is the government. And those who commit this offence or are involved in it can be sentenced to jail for a period of 3 to 8 years.
Making alcohol common
The Prophet says in a Hadith that alcohol is the mother of all evils. And God reveals in verse 90 of al-Maidha surah: “O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, Al-Ansab , and Al-Azlam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaitan‘s (Satan) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful.”
[Consuming] alcohol is even a crime with a punishment prescribed in Islamic Shariah. Those who commit this crime would not fulfil the requirements for head of state, minister, MP or senior post of the state. And if such a crime was committed as an official such a person must be removed from the post.
Nasheed and senior officials of his government show in words and deeds that alcohol is good and that it is something Maldivians should accept. Below are some of these matters thus noted,
- During the first official visit to India after assuming office the newspaper Business Standard wrote and published that he gave an interview while drinking a kind of alcohol called SulaSharaz. Despite this being a crime with a punishment prescribed in Islamic Shariah and the kind of thing that could get him impeached, he remains silent about it. And politicians are saying openly that that was what really happened.
- When Nasheed was accused of committing acts forbidden in religion during his visit to Italy on 17 February 2009 and the relevant parliamentary committee summoned ministers who travelled with him to find out truth of it MDP MPs opposed it, caused havoc in the committee and prevented the investigation from proceeding.
- [Nasheed’s government] has tried repeatedly to sell alcohol in inhabited islands of the country. The regulations needed for this were formulated and published in the government gazette. They were forced to stop it due to the sincere efforts of Maldivian people who love religion.
- When the Maldivian people came out and defeated the efforts to sell alcohol in inhabited islands, Nasheed did not stop. To make alcohol available in inhabited islands in any case, what Nasheed’s government is doing now is declaring places or areas where they want to sell alcohol as uninhabited islands. Different areas of Addu atoll and Fuvahmulah have been declared uninhabited islands to sell alcohol. Under this principle, the way is now open to sell alcohol anywhere in the country.
- In many different functions and ceremonies [Nasheed] has spoken in ways that suggested using alcohol and drugs is not a problem. He has said you do not have to stay sober for 24 hours and a person could “for a moment” become intoxicated.
- Empty bottles of alcohol have been found in places of ministers in Nasheed’s government.
- A large amount of alcohol was found in the car of Nasheed’s party MDP’s parliamentary group leader Reeko Moosa Manik.
- In addition to alcohol, persons sentenced by trial for drug use are kept as senior officials of Nasheed’s government and as close allies and are paid high salaries with the people’s money. Nasheed’s spokesperson Zuhair was sentenced by trial for the crime of drug use.
- Similarly Fahala Saeed who Nasheed keeps in the President’s Office with a high salary from the people’s money is a person who, along with all his family members, was sentenced for drug use.
- When the son of Sarangu Adam Manik, a senior official of Nasheed’s government elected to the Male’ City Council on an MDP ticket who served as mayor and is still a council member, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in Sri Lanka after being caught trying to smuggle a large amount of drugs, he was brought back to Male’, freed and given a high post close to Nasheed. No President of any country in the world, especially the ruler of an Islamic nation, would dare do such a thing. Even if it was done, the people of that country would not accept it. And adequate efforts have not been undertaken to bring back Maldivians in foreign jails for smaller crimes. The Prophet said exempting rulers from the law while enforcing it against the poor will be the ruin of a nation.
Helping the Jews instead of aiding the poor people of Palestinian
From the days when Israel came into being in 1948 to the present day they have been brutalising the Palestinian people and, aside from committing massacres and war crimes, they are enslaving the people. Since 2006 Gaza where many millions live has been blocked from land, air and sea and all its inhabitants enslaved and locked up. Nevertheless after coming to power Nasheed’s main priority was fostering ties with Jews. To this day Nasheed’s government has done a lot of work to form close ties with Israel. Among these include those listed below,
- Nasheed’s government first decided to establish relations with Israel less than 10 days after the UN representative decided they had committed war crimes against the poor people of Palestine. At the time the whole world was speaking out against Israel and condemning Israel’s actions. The way Nasheed’s government acted told Maldivians and the world that this 100 percent [Muslim] Maldivian state approves of Israel’s war crimes.
- When Nasheed’s government disregarded the war crimes and established diplomatic ties with that nation, on the initiative of Adhaalath party the Maldivian people were collecting donations to help the innocent Palestinian people and families who were subjected to Israel’s atrocities!
- When the act of attacking on 31 May 2010 a vessel travelling to Palestine to assist the poor people of Palestine enslaved by the Jews, which martyed 15 people and injured many others, was loudly condemned by the Christian nations of Europe, Hindu nations like India and nations of the idol religion, Nasheed’s government did not say anything in an official capacity. And when it became the target of criticism from opposition parties, [Nasheed] said something at the Haruge [headquarters] made to entertain MDP activists where foreign parties would not hear and ended it with that.
- One of the things agreed upon during Nasheed’s government establishing ties with Israel was to insert stories of Israel, Jews and their history into Maldivian culture and the education system and tell Maldivians of their virtue. These are things even non-Muslim nations are hesitant to do with Isreal.
- To familiarise Maldivians with Jews and Israel, show their virtue and induce love and empathy in Maldivian hearts, Nasheed’s government has brought in teams under different names such as doctors and agriculturists and begun the actual work of acquainting Maldivians with Jews.
- Nasheed’s government has also authorised Israeli flights to land in Maldives. As the people of Israel do not visit the country as tourists there is no reason for flights from that country to come to the Maldives. Moreover, it is likely that with the commencement of flights from Israel the country will face unimaginable security risks, great dangers and devastation of the country’s tourism. However Nasheed’s government pays no heed even to such a danger.
- Nasheed’s government has decided to give numerous plots and uninhabited islands to Israel.
- Some family members of Nasheed and some senior members of Nasheed’s government have business ties with Jews.
- And Nasheed’s current Foreign Minister ‘Kerafa’ Naseem is a person who voted on behalf of the Maldives at the UN to [recognise] Israel as an independent nation. Naseem’s action was contrary to both the order and view of the government at the time.
- There is no doubt that there are hidden secrets behind why they are trying so hard to establish relations with people who have been so antagonistic towards Muslims.
- That Israel has always made proposals in various ways and run after small nations to show the Muslim world and other countries that Israel’s inhumane actions are good is not a novel claim in the international area. It is certain that a country like Israel would not find it hard to discover that the Maldives today has come out begging with the economic coconut bowl and has a leader eying various international awards. Allah reveals in the Quran: “Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you (O Muhammad Peace be upon him) till you follow their religion.”
Carrying out activities against Muslim nations
While on the one hand establishing closer ties with the biggest adversary of Muslims, Nasheed’s government was turning hostile towards Muslim nations. Below are some of Nasheed’s government’s actions in this vein,
- While on one side establishing closer ties with Israel, on the other side, at a time when Israel was very openly announcing it would attack Iran’s nuclear plants, Nasheed’s government accepted the responsibility of observing and reporting on human rights in Iran. Nasheed’s government gave the responsibility to his former Foreign Minister and current Foreign Affairs Advisor Dr Ahmed Shaheed. With the consent of the government, on 17 June 2011 the UN human rights council made the decision. There is no reason to give such an honour to a small and poor country like the Maldives. While the government is one that has arrested politicians without a court order, hijacked state media in violation of the constitution and law, defied orders from Majlis [parliament] and the courts and intimidated and continues to intimidate judges, instead of giving the chance for this government to pass judgment on the human rights of others, Nasheed’s government’s atrocities should be looked into and investigated first. Therefore, there is no doubt that this is a gift for Nasheed’s government’s ceaseless efforts to establish ties with Israel and please Jews. The plans and philosophy of the Jews are based on dividing Islamic nations. And they further want one Islamic nation to weaken another.
- In addition, while European nations and America were recognising Gaddafi during the civil unrest in Libya that began earlier this year, Nasheed’s government announced in April 2011 that it did not recognise the Libyan government at the time.
- Compared to the visits of Nasheed and senior officials of Nasheed’s government to other countries, visits to Islamic nations is disproportionately low. This reveals how small the importance of Muslims and Islamic nations is in the government’s view.
Making sinful behaviour common
Considering the form of Nasheed’s government’s actions, it appears that the standard for raising the government’s stature and becoming familiar with the post is shamelessness, increasing sinful behaviour and shaping your lifestyle any way you please. Below are some of matters to be noted in this vein,
- State Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Nasheed’s government and other close allies of Nasheed carried out many sinful acts naked on the internet. None of the people who committed such sinful behaviour were removed from their posts. And no response has been made to date to a letter sent by this party on 23 February 2011 requesting that they be temporarily fired until the investigation was completed.
- Instead of investigating the case of senior officials of Nasheed’s government who committed such sinful acts, giving them fair punishments and firing them from their jobs, Nasheed gave such people financial promotions. When Nasheed’s government’s first cabinet secretary Abdulla Saeed committed such an act, he was sent to Singapore after arranging for him to be paid about Rf100,000 a month from the people’s money. This is a much higher salary than his previous one.
- Instead of investigating the sinful acts committed by senior officials of Nasheed’s government, it took action against those who brought the sinful act to the public!
- Some people among Nasheed’s ministers and close associates have served sentences for engaging in sexual relations, recording the images and making it public.
The Prophet has said that if you lack shame, you would do anything you pleased.
Becoming modern and ashamed of being Islamic
Nasheed and senior officials of his government endeavours to try and show Maldivians and make them believe that the way of Maldivians and Muslims is outdated. Nasheed and senior officials of his government are working ceaselessly towards this end. Below are some of the matters thus noted,
- Part of the 2011 France’s beauty queen [pageant] was held in a Male’ atoll resort. As it turned out the event was planned for the night of the holy Hajj day. However instead of worshipping Nasheed and senior officials of his government spent that holy day in mixed sex, dancing and singing. He did not recall that the holiness of the day and that he was the head of state of a 100 percent Islamic nation.
- And Nasheed is someone who commonly dances at events other than just the aforementioned one. The purpose is to make Maldivians believe that these are the type of “modern” things that even the ruler of this Islamic state must do.
- On 11 November 2008 after assumed office, MDP’s then-chairperson and current Manchangoalhi North MP Mariya Ahmed Didi came to the function in a skirt. None of the representatives of foreign nations at the function wore a skirt. [They] wanted to show even on the first day how “modern” they were.
- In Nasheed’s visit to France on October 12 this year, when he met the country’s Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing Minister, she was wearing clothes that covered her face, arms and legs. [This was done] in respect because she was meeting a ruler of an Islamic nation. But Dr Farahanaz Faisal who took part in President Nasheed’s visit arrived wearing a skirt! To show how modern Nasheed’s government is.
- One of the first events held under Nasheed’s rule was a disco dancing show at Dharubaaruge [convention centre]. Despite the Minister of Islamic Affairs repeatedly asking them not to do it, Nasheed’s government defied him and did it anyway.
- One of the most sacred relations in Islam is that of marriage. Marriage and the marriage ceremony in Islam is organised and carried out very much centered on advice and religious counsel. However when military weddings and other types of marriage [ceremonies] under various names are introduced it shows that we appear to be ashamed of the noble principles of our religion of Islam.
Christian priests as Nasheed’s consuls
- Among those who help Nasheed make decisions on important matters include persons who work to promote different religions. The most notable of these is an English priest named David Hardingham. He is one of those who helped Nasheed the most when was an activist. Hardingham and his friends were acting then under the name of “Friends of Maldives.”
- After Nasheed came to power, on 9 July 2010 he established an office for said Hardingham in Salisbury, England. As a result, upon the wishes of the ruler of this Islamic nation, the money of Maldivian citizens is being spent on a Christian priest.
Opposing the punishments of Islam
Nasheed has created doubt in people’s hearts about clearly stated punishments in Islamic Shariah and opposed such punishments. Below are some of the matters noted thus,
- [Nasheed] said in his 19th radio address that he does not believe that capital punishment and amputation for thieves that are clearly stated in Islamic Shariah should be included in the punishments specified in the penal code.
- When UN human rights representative Pillay who visited in November this year said she does not accept Shariah punishments like flogging fornicators, instead of condemning it as head of state [Nasheed] supported her statement.
- Pillay further said President Nasheed assured her of national level conferences in the country next year over whether or not we should have divinely revealed punishments like flogging in the Maldives. She said this during a press conference at the UN building in the Maldives. Nasheed has not refuted her remarks.
Bringing scholars into disrepute
Nasheed and Nasheed’s government has characterised the Maldives as a nest of terrorists and Maldivian scholars as terrorists. Below are points noted thus,
- Nasheed’s government has characterised people like Sheikh Fareed and Sheikh Ilyas as extremists and terrorists.
- In an interview with al-Jazeera [Nasheed] said, while over a thousand students are being educated at [Arabic-medium schools] run by the government, those places teach children to become extremists and that he would put a stop to it.
The state of the country at the end of Nasheed’s big project
Considering the direction of Nasheed and his government and the speed of travel, if this government’s direction and speed is not defeated, there is no doubt that Maldivians would have to face the bitter consequences noted below,
- Maldives will not remain a 100 percent Muslim nation.
- The faith of Maldives, especially today’s children and tomorrow’s young generation, will be extremely weakened.
- Sinful and unacceptable behaviour will become common.
- Noble principles of Islam and the right path will be characterised as shameful.
- Followers of other religions and their places of worship will become established in the country.
- [We will] become estranged from Islamic nations and adversaries of Islam and Muslims will become friends of Maldivians.
What should be done to be freed from Nasheed’s plotting
- A lot of work has to be done to save ourselves from Nasheed and his government’s dangerous actions. Every citizen should resolve to do everything possible with tongue and pen, financially and otherwise, within the confines of Islamic Shariah and the law.
- Not supporting or voting for Nasheed and those who give precedence to the philosophy of his government or anyone among their allies and friends and urging those who might vote for them not to do it and explaining the consequences of their doing so. And especially to not support or vote [for Nasheed] in 2013.
- To not give any financial assistance to Nasheed or his ruling party and urging those who might provide such an assistance to not do it and explaining the consequences of their doing so.
- Do everything possible to strengthen the faith of our children without relying on this government, its institutions and the current education system.
- During each Umra, each Hajj, after each prayer and act of worship, pray to God to protect our nation and religion and keep our beloved nation always as a 100 percent nation.
- Call senior officials of the government, send SMS and use modern facilities like Facebook and Twitter to raise your voices against such things.
- Since the most important constitutional responsibility for holding the government is laid upon members of the People’s Majlis, every citizen should call his MP and urge them to stop this government’s irreligious activities and increase calls for holding the government accountable. And do not vote for MPs who do not comply in the future.
Under divine law, God Almighty has given us the opportunity to change our condition. Allah reveals in the Holy Quran, “Verily! Allah will not change the good condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of goodness themselves.”
Let us resolve in the right way to change our condition.