The following is a speech given by President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan at the pro-goverment ‘National Symposium” at the artificial beach on February 24.
In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate and the Most Merciful… Assalaam Alaikum.
All praise and thanks are due only to one: Allah Subahanahoo Wata-aalaa.
All praise and thanks be to Him for brining the Light of Islam to the Maldives and for sustaining the Maldives as an Islamic nation. All praise and thanks be to Allah for protecting till now the Maldivian nationhood, customs and Maldivianness.
Why are you all here today, coming from various places? You have come here because you love the nation; in order to maintain Islam in the Maldives; in order to maintain its nationhood and customs; and to overcome strife in the nation.
We can’t allow strife in the Maldives. Anyone who loves the Maldives will not incite strife in the Maldives. Anyone who loves this nation will not torch public places and destroy them. There is no place for such people in this nation. There is no place in this land for those who cause strife.
We are steadfast… to defend the nation and to protect Islam and nationhood. Till the last drop of our blood, we will defend this nation. We are not afraid. We are not afraid to die as martyrs. We are not afraid of the enemies we face.
We must be sad that the enemies and traitors of the Maldives are spreading lies in various places of the world to tarnish the country’s image. They are the real conspirators. Those who defame the Maldives to destroy its industries and tourism are enemies of this country. Such people have no place in the Maldives.
You all be courageous. This is no longer the age of colonialism. Today no foreign country can influence the Maldives. Today we will maintain our sovereignty with bravery.
Be courageous. 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.
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.
Today’s government will be kind to the people and love the people. It will bring justice to the people. This government will do everything possible to ensure that the people would enjoy all rights enshrined in the Constitution. It is the duty of every government to provide housing, healthcare and education. We will also do that.
Be courageous. Never be frightened. Never be swayed. We are fulfilled. We are brave. We are steadfast. Two or three people who want to cause strife in the Maldives can’t sway us. When [they] see all of you who are gathered here, [they] will feel nervous. With your help and God’s will this nation will advance forward. [Gasim Ibrahim: “Be careful…”]
Our government will be a lawful government. We are upholding the Constitution and obeying the laws. We are ready to maintain justice. We will be steadfast in continuing the journey of democracy that we started.
Never step back. Be brave. We are with you. If you remain determined, we will be too.
My prayer is for the Light of Islam to shine in the Maldives forever, and for all Maldivians to have good health and well-being. I pray there be sense of brotherhood in the hearts of all Maldivians and there be the spirit of unity and oneness. I pray the Maldives be a prosperous, peaceful and harmonious place. May Allah bless all Maldivians. Wasallaamalaikum…
Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) response:
In response to Dr Waheed’s speech, the MDP issued statement expressing “alarm at the use of extremist Islamic rhetoric at the heart of the governing regime, including on the part of Mohamed Dr Waheed who appears increasingly beholden to religious groups and known extremists.”
“There is now a clear pattern whereby supporters of the former autocratic president, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, are using claims of internal and external threats against Islam as a means of reasserting political control. There is now a very real threat of the democratic gains of the last few years being rolled back,” the party stated.
“Sheikh Imran, President of the religious Adhaalath Party and a man who has in the past called for a jihad against the MDP Government and its supporters and for “the slaughter of anyone against Islam”, said: ‘They are [now] on their knees in front of their constitution as a result of their attempt to get rid of Islam from the Maldives’; while Gasim Ibrahim, a leading financial backer of the new regime, called MDP supporters ‘mentally disabled’, and said ‘we are ready to sacrifice everything for Dr Waheed’,” the MDP claimed.
Other figures addressing the crowd on February 24 included the leader of the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) Dr Hassan Saeed, Attorney-General under former President Gayoom and now Nasheed’s political advisor, and Deputy Leader of DQP, Dr Mohamed Jameel, former Justice Minister under former President’s Gayoom’s administration and now Home Minister.
Saeed, Jameel and their DQP party were the authors of a political pamphlet entitled “President Nasheed’s devious plot to destroy the Islamic faith of Maldivians”, in which they invoked perceived attacks against Islam in the Maldives, especially by “Christians and Jews”.
“Never has the dividing line been clearer between those who believe in democracy and tolerance, and those who believe in power through force and religious dogma,” said MDP’s spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor.