Comment: Maldivian government endorses Deobandi Islam, the religion of the Taliban

The Religious Unity Regulations have provided the clearest indication yet of the official direction religion in the Maldives is taking: towards Deobandi Islam, the religion of the Taliban.

Among 36 institutions of Islamic learning approved by the regulations is the ultra-orthodox Jamia Darul Uloom in Deoband, India and at least six affiliated madrassas.

Established in 1867 to bring together Muslims who were hostile to British rule, the Deoband madrassa, created the so-called ‘Deobandi Tradition’ committed to a literal and austere interpretation of Islam. For the last 200 years, the Deobandi Tradition has argued that the reason Islamic societies have fallen behind the West on all spheres of endeavour is because they have been seduced by the amoral West, and have deviated from the original teachings of Prophet Mohammed.

It is the fundamentalist Deobad Da-ul-Uloom brand of Islam that inspired the Taliban movement. Many of the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan and in Pakistan are graduates of the Deobandi-influenced seminaries in Pakistan. Mullah Omar, for example, attended the Deobandi Darul Uloom Haqqania madrassa in Peshawar.

The Kabul Centre for Strategic Studies has reported that so many of the Taliban leaders were educated at the school that its head cleric, Maulana Sami ul-Haq is regarded the father of the Taliban. The Deobandi Tradition is highly critical of Islam as practised in modern societies, feeling that the established religious order had made too many compromises with its foreign environment.

The mission of the Deoband is to cleanse Islam of all Western influences, and to propagate their teachings with missionary zeal. Increasingly, the Deobandi movement has been funded by the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia, leading to the former being co-opted by the latter.

Without a clear indication – such as ‘Darul Uloom’ appearing in the name of the institution – it cannot be said with certainty how many of the total of 10 listed Pakistani institutions in the regulations  are categorically Deobandi.

Available facts suggest, however, that more than just the two Darul Ulooms listed in the Regulations are Deobandi. It is the Deobandi that has the largest number of religious seminaries in Pakistan – of 20,000 registered seminaries in Pakistan, 12,000 are run by Deobandi scholars; and 6,000 by the Barlevi, with whom the Deobandi have many disputes.

Among the 10 Pakistani institutions approved by the regulations is also Jamia Salafia, a seminary whose alumni include several leaders in Al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba, the organisation behind the Mumbai terror attacks in which a Maldivian is alleged to have participated. It is also the leading supplier of Salafi neo-conservatism in the Maldives.

Even when the approved list of institutions in the regulations’ list goes beyond South Asian borders, it gravitates towards the Deobandi movement. The list includes, for example, the Dhaarul Uloom Zakariya in South Africa. The only institute in Britain the regulations approve of is the Islamic Da’wa Academy, a place which produces the Muslim equivalent of a missionary. Why is there such an acute need to proselytise in a country where the population already believes in Islam except to propagate a particular view?

The Deoband HQ has recently sought to distance itself from violent extremism. For the powers that be in the War on Terror, what matters is the graduation from extremism to violence. But, for societies such as the Maldives, and for the people who have to live under its precincts, what matters more is the oppression that extremism imposes on daily life. This is the reality that a Maldivian people living under the Religious Unity Regulations will have to face.

The application of the Deobandi school of thought on Maldivian women is a frightening prospect that is not too far in the distant future. The Taliban’s stance on women is a clear indication of the scale of the potential problem. An example of the Deobandi’s take on women is the 24 April 2010 Fatwa by the seminary in Deoband that declared it ‘haraam’ and illegal according to Sharia for a family to accept a women’s earnings.

‘It is unlawful for Muslim women to do job in government or private institutions where men and women work together and women have to talk with men frankly and without veil.’

Embarrassed by the angry reaction in the Indian media and among women’s groups, the Deoband madrassa denied it banned women from the work place and only insisted that working women be ‘properly covered’. As analysts have pointed out, however, what the Fatwa suggests is that women can only work in such places where they can fully veil themselves and where they cannot ‘frankly’ talk to men, whatever that means. The Fatwa effectively banned Muslim women from the workplace in India.

The Religious Unity Regulations stipulate that no one should propagate their particular ideology of Islam as the ‘right Islam’. This stipulation looks good in writing, and is perhaps what has allowed the government to spin the document as ‘a crack-down on extremism’.

It is true the regulations prohibit the promotion of a particular ideology of Islam as the ‘true Islam’. But by regulating what truth about Islam would be considered as legitimate in the first place, a pre-selected knowledge of the ‘right Islam’ – what looks like Deobandi Islam – is being imposed on the people that pre-empts the regulations themselves. It is clear from the staggering changes that have occurred in Maldivian faith in the last decade that the Deobandi movement has been a resounding success in the country. Now it has the chance to flourish further, with no conflicting opinions to be allowed in.

Clamping down on other forms of Islam is, in fact, a defining characteristic of the Deobandi Tradition. Although from a global perspective the Deobandis are only one of many religious expressions of Islam, from the Deobandi point of view, theirs is the only true Islam.

The Deobandi regard all other forms of Islam as heretical, leading to continued tension and long-term violence between the Deobandi and other Muslims. In Pakistan, where the Deobandi is known to have played a crucial role in establishing an Islamic state, the Deobandi Taliban have carried out many acts of violence against followers of the Berlevi tradition, which many Pakistan’s Muslims follow.

The Religious Unity Regulations have already created tensions among those who have claimed the mantle of ‘religious scholar’ in the Maldives. The Islamic Foundation of the Maldives is arguing against the Regulations on the basis that the requirement of a first degree as a prerequisite for the Preachers License is unconstitutional. It is also fighting for the religious right to describe Jews as ‘evil people and liars’.

The Adhaalath Party, meanwhile, has objected to the regulations because the President and his advisors apparently watered down the purity of their contributions to the draft Regulations by contaminating it with “provisions from English law…not suited to a 100 percent Muslim country”, echoing the founding principles of the Deobandi Tradition.

‘Compared to the first draft’, President’s advisor on the Regulations, Ibrahim ‘Ibra’ Ismail, said, “the regulations do not impinge on freedom of expression”.

What matters is not whether, comparatively speaking, the first draft is a veritable Magna Carta. What matters is the final draft that has been gazetted. And it severely restricts the freedom of the Maldivian people in the name of the ‘right Islam’ – Deobandi Islam. To spin the document as something that “will allow liberal-minded thinkers to convince people of the middle ground” is deliberately misleading if not an outright lie. This document does the exact opposite.

All comment pieces are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write an opinion piece, please send proposals to [email protected]


57 thoughts on “Comment: Maldivian government endorses Deobandi Islam, the religion of the Taliban”

  1. Would it help the case to strike off these ultra-orthodox factories of anti-intellectualism from the list of 'approved' institutions if we remind these folks that Darul-Uloom Deoband issued a fatwa against their beloved Zakir Naik, calling him - in nicer words - an idiot?

    I thought not.

  2. I as a Maldivian dream of the day we have the right to exercise our own chosen faith. Freedom of religion is what we need.

  3. Imagine there's no Heaven
    It's easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today

    Imagine there's no countries
    It isn't hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace

    You may say that I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world

    You may say that I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will live as one

  4. no matter how much you people bark we will never allow any religion other than islam in maldives.

  5. i guess there wont be anything else to publish in this website other than about the new religious unity regulation. it seems that we will be reading more anti-islam hate mongerings from crazies like azra naeem (whoever that maybe), yaameen rasheed and the usual islamophobic gang.

  6. Hitler also attended the Vienna School of Fine Arts. That does not mean it is that school that created the Hitler that went on to do the evils he did. Sameway, Mullah Umar attending the said school does not mean the school in itself is reponsible for any of the ideologies Mulla Umar practiced.

  7. since Azra Naseem knows about islam so well, why dont she share which universities teach her "correct version" of islam which she want to be included in the new religious unity regulation. Liberal Amsterdam University? San Fransisco University? University of Israel?

  8. Some thing that is extremely worrying is the Article 3(b) which stipulates that foreigners shall not criticise the internal policies and legislations of the Maldives. This is a clear violation of the right to free speech which is granted to all people in the Maldives irrespective of their nationality. The terms used are internal policies and legislations (dhaahilee siyaasathu thakaai gaanoonu thakah faadukiyaigen nuvaane kan). Policies are only meant to be criticised, and also there is nothing wrong in criticising a legislation or saying a given law is not right or good or such things. I wonder on what grounds did the Attorney General and President's Legal Advisors gave consent to Gazzette this Regulation.

  9. Who cares about the “Deobandi Tradition” and murderers like the Taliban’s. Maldivians will only be Muslims by inheritance. Only people frail in head can be influenced by Mullahs.

  10. Fathun,

    "no matter how much you people bark we will never allow any religion other than islam in maldives."

    If you pause to take a deep breath, you mind find time to realize that this article never comes close to mentioning anything about demanding other religions...

    But I must ask why. What do you have against God and the Qur'an - that you won't give non-Muslims the rights guaranteed to them by Allah?

  11. @ Yaameen, It seems that Fathun is repeating what her ma thought her when she was a kid.

  12. Yameen, let them oppress others - to the point they lose sight of what islam really is. And when the hand of mankind strikes them down, they will plead to their god for mercy - but no mercy will be forthcoming to them.

    After all, it's not really 'islamophobia' if they're trying to kill you.

  13. mandhoof,

    Why not Amsterdam and San Francisco?

    There are perfectly qualified Muslim scholars and institutions elsewhere in the world too.

  14. the fact that extremists like yameen rasheed can express themselves freely and most importantly freely move alone in Male' without been stab is testiment that we maldivians are tolerant and peace loving group of people

  15. @Fathun,
    You allow it or not... I am following the religion of our ancestors. Maldivians are peace loving Buddhists, until Ranna Maari came and spoilt it all.


  16. Where do you get these incompetents.? "As someone who devotes much energy to battling Islamophobia, it is important equally to oppose false cries of Islamophobia whenever any Muslim group is thwarted. Otherwise “Islamophobic” will become a meaningless pejorative just as “Anti-semitic” is thrown at any rational critic of Israel".. Craig murray 2002-2004 British Ambassador, Uzbekistan

  17. This country is headed in an extremely (pun intended) worrying direction. What an oxymoron of a regulation furthering the hypocrisy that exits here. The sadly hilarious thing is Maldivians cannot for one second realise that they are entirely disconnected from these old feuds between Arabs and the West/Israel. However whether its the ego-dystonic average Maldivian, or the born-again Muslim they still would like align themselves with backward Arab ideology. There is also a huge spectrum of Maldivian society that chooses to live overseas and never return precisely due to the overwhelming radicalisation the country has witnessed since 2001.

    Azra you have demonstrated fully well why there is just no hope of any form of liberalism to be invoked even from Islam itself, better yet from any secularist school of thought. The generations of subservient people and tactless hypocritical politicians have laid the foundations for the end of this country.

  18. @hassan ahmed,
    Well we should bring back our ancestors religion... Buddhism... Peace loving

  19. hussain,

    I do not threaten anyone with harm or violence if they don't adopt secular thinking.

    I do not demand anyone to be stripped of their rights if they refuse to adopt the sciences. I do not demand anyone to be considered lesser humans or sub-humans.

    I do not go around with a megaphone yelling racist slogans. I do not speak from the pulpits preaching hatred towards entire races of people to young children. I do not call up people I disagree with and harass them.

    No. Those are all tactics of people I speak out against.

    You call me an "extremist" only because I consistently exercise my constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights, and the fact that I haven't stopped despite some intimidation, death threats and other forms of harassment and threats of violence.

    What do you have to say about groups like IFM - who are currently wailing because they can no longer legally spread anti-Semitic hatred?

    What about other "Sheikhs" who engage in child rape? And demean women from inside holy mosques?

    They aren't extremist? But I am? Seriously?

  20. Globalization has its pitfalls Azra et. al.

    We have influences from across the geopolitical spectrum operating on our shores.

    How do we balance these conflicting forces? Hard to say. I for one will vote for someone who gives us a better alternative than the current pandering to the West.

  21. tsk tsk,

    You keep mentioning "pandering to the West". And everyone you disagree with is either funded by the West, or some such.

    Could you elaborate on this more? What exactly would you want a future government to do? Have a look East policy? Assert a non-existent independence of a resource-starved nation from a globalized world?

    We are a constitutional democracy. Why should we not have close ties with other democracies?

    You are against globalization, against privatization, against "pandering to the West", against fundamentalism, against liberalism..

    Is there anything, really, that you DO stand for? What is this 'alternative' you're talking about?

  22. Azra,

    I agree the new regulation does not go as far as we would like in restricting the spread of violent and intolerant ideologies. But I think it's important to remember the political reality of today before complaining the government isn't doing enough.

    I think the regulation demonstrates the present government's commitment to move towards a more tolerant and progressive society while making compromises that are necessary for now.

    The regulation is a beautifully crafted piece of work - congratulations to those involved in fine tuning it.

    Azra you are a courageous and inspirational person. Its just wonderful there are more and more amazing and strong women like yourself who are making themselves heard - through protest, with art, words, song and many many more ways.

    Thank you to all those who dared to dream a better life for all of us and for those who continue the work.

    God loves us all.

  23. It's no surprise to see the usual suspects here such as the likes of Yaamyn et al, "exercising" their "democratic" rights!

    We will see more and more of these pieces on outlets such as Minivan. It's part of a softening exercise on "religious freedom". The more it gets bandied about, the more people may become accustomed to it; so the theory goes.

    If it's not so bloody laughable, I'd even argue for this so-called "freedom of religion". Show me one country in the world that practices this so-called "freedom of religion". Uh oh, for sure, there are plenty of examples, right? How about the United States, countries of Western Europe etc? What about that model of democracy, France? After all, that's all about Liberté, égalité, fraternité and er... secularism eh?

    Bloody fools! Have you ever lived in these countries and experienced their "freedom"? Ask the Muslims or other non-Catholics in egalitarian France about how "free" they are. Why isn't the Rosh Hashanah or Eid-Al-Fitr a public holiday in the land of fraternité? Why do the holidays fall on such august days like Good Friday, Assumption Day
    (Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary), Pentecost Monday (seven weeks after Easter Monday). Oh yeah, I forgot, of course; someone was trying to educate me here about secularism. Don't make me laugh harder than I'm already!

    And they'll protest further! Look, there are mosques, temples and gurdwaras in these nations; they'll point out. But of course! However, those mosques shall strictly keep their silence, lest it disturb the piece of their neighbourhood. No bloody loud minarets! No way! Hmm, what about those funny clothes they wear eh? Well, we'll ban them, for starters! But we don't have anything against their religion, really, truly. They are "free" to exercise their religion WITHIN OUR LIMITS!

  24. i think these islamophobic is unemployed or something. otherwise how can they be on minivan all the time? they have an opinion on every issue and their conclusion always goes the same direction... that islam is this and islam is that, that adhaalath is this and adhaalath did that..
    bla bla bla

    kaafaru loosers

  25. Ahmed Suvadheeb,

    If I come across a more pathetic attempt to deny one's own moral cowardice, I'll definitely let you know.

    Your argument is now that there is NO such thing as a constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion,and this is because there isn't a holiday for rosh hashanah in a country where less than 2% are Jewish?

    Secularism has nothing to do with declaring religious holidays for all involved.

    Do any of these countries have their publicly policy legally dictated by the Church instead of by elected representatives?

    I have lived in India - and was perfectly free to practice Islam. There are vibrant Islamic communities, and Jains and Baha'ais and Christians.

    Some of these countries - say UK and India - even allow parallel legal religious institutions for arbitrating civil disputes. They can lay claim to their religious inheritance, have religious schools, organize religious festivals and celebrations, marry
    according to their religious customs - and none of this is considered the business of the state.

    None of the minorities in these countries would agree with your skewed reasoning that because there's no government declared public holiday for adherents of every religion, there might as well be no freedom at all.

    That's just really poor reasoning.

  26. Yaamyn, seems like "Fathun" are the type of "disoriented" personalities who seem to believe only in the cover of the Quran and not its real contents inside.

    Otherwise, why are characters like "Fathun" so pissed off with me when I point out the two verses "Lakum Deenukum Waliya Deen" and "There's no compulsion in religion" which I somehow accidentally spotted INSIDE the Quran's contents...

    Or are people like "Fathun" claiming that these two verses are "not real"?

    Isn't "she" then suggesting that these two verses are "satanic" and therefore has to be removed from the Quran?

    Now isn't that blaspheming? Doesn't that make "Fathun" MORE KAFIR than me? tsk tsk...

  27. Dear author, can u also write an article about Aleister Crowley. A guy who lived in last century and how his philosophy had influenced many of the rock musicians and how their lyrics has influenced many youth of today, including maldives. Look at their lyrics..what are they saying? what is their motive.

  28. "to be far, let’s outlaw islam in the West"

  29. whenever an academic and neutral article is seen it is taken as Islamophobic. The author has said nothing against Islam nor any other religion. She is only trying to prove the threats from a particular school of scholars who view their view of Islam is what everyone should follow. Islam also has sects and four different schools of thoughts. There is also room for informed judgments on various issues.

  30. @tsk tsk

    Are you a Quran Cover Believer too? You sound apologist to Nazi inspirations... I call upon you to repent and instead become a Quran Content Believer in order to become a real Muslim...

  31. Maldives is a 100% muslim country. and it will remain so. No matter what laws or regulations we make we will still be and continue to be the 100% muslims. our girls will wear jeans and T-shirts and shorts in public and bikini in privacy. The youth will be still engrossed in drugs ... social drinking of alcohol will be a normality ... non-marital sexula engagements will be and continue to be a normality and part of our culture. so why bother about a few new laws. Such laws are made in this country to uphold the dignity of our claim as 100% muslim coutry to both international community and the local politics. just dont bother ... accept the new laws as they are passed and do whatever you want to do and still we will be a 100% muslim country. Sheikh Fareed is a Muslim. And so is his wife. But then again Gayyoom is also a Muslim and so is Nasreena. Infact even Mr. Nazim is also a MUslim now. We are all muslims and we behave and do whatever we want and thats being a Maldivian besides being a Muslim.

  32. Dear Non-Muslim Foreigner:

    For people like me who do really believe in the CONTENTS of the Quran and not just its COVER, that kind of tactics won't work. You see, we believe we are right and you are wrong because Islam says it's an ABSOLUTE TRUTH. Therefore, we have a right to exist but not you. Get it?

    And may I also point out that we content believers are too dumb to recognize that other religions also claim the same ABSOLUTE TRUTH-NESS in order to hijack their "believers"? Tada.....

  33. The sad truth about extremism is demonstrated here in the comments. The uneducated morons think that only their views must be heard. If any opinion is expressed that is contrary to their belief system then that person is branded a heretic. The sad state of affairs is this conservatism that led to fall of Islamic empire. Infect the Islamic empire was at its height of prestige when they specifically allowed for foreign thought to be entertained and learned from.
    If morons like Fathun and Ahmed bin Addu bin Suvadheeb wants to stay in the dark ages and practice their "pure" form of Islam. Go back in live like its 14th century you have no right for modern medicine, tele communications, internet and other connivance. After all every one bit of conivenance you enjoy and use to spout your hate and bigotry was built by non muslims.
    I find it hilarious that these people of faith who preach peace are the first one to threat violence and prosecute others while claiming that others are prosecuting them. Bloody idiots that is the ruin of this country

  34. I do not see the logic is controlling the freedom of thought and still boasting we are democratic.

  35. This article seems to fall into the category of pseudo-intellectual alarmist propagandist literature which seeks to establish that Islamists are about to bring doom to the Maldives. It attempts to prove a foregone conclusion using selective evidence which, at times, is deliberately misinterpreted to fit in with this foregone conclusion. Even a casual reader cannot fail to see that it is fraught with factual errors, contradictions and lame attempts by the author to cover up these contradictions. It’s laughable that sometimes the author resorts to Muallah-ist methodology in reaching some of her conclusions - false analogy, far-fetched interpretations and sometimes pure mental acrobatics. Let’s briefly examine the article to see whether these allegations of mine can be substantiated.

    The author claims that the Deobandis and the Taliban both follow the same fundamentalist version of Islam. The fact is Deobandi version of Islam is totally different from that of Taliban. The Deobandis follow the hanafi school of Islamic Law which is largely reason-based and described as the most liberal school of Islamic Law. (Check their curriculum and prove this wrong!) The Taliban were formed in the context of the in-fighting among the Islamist of Afghanistan following the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989 in Saudi funded madrasas of Pakistan which followed the hanbali school of Islamic Law, based largely on authority and the literal interpretation of Islam’s foundation texts. Now look at the flow of her argument: Maldivian government has accepted the Deobandi version of Islam. Taliban are Deobandi inspired and both are fundamentalist. Therefore Maldivian government has endorsed Islamic fundamentalism. All good citizens, especially women, need to be concerned as their civil liberties would be severely restricted!

    In order to strengthen the link between the Deobandis and the Taliban she makes a general statement saying that many Deobandi graduates were among the Taliban leadership. For argument sake let’s accept this. She conveniently ignores that there were many Deobandi graduates who were also universally respected. Take the case of Abu al-Hasan al-Nadawi, a scholar and a man of letters, a recipient of the Faisal Award (1980) and also Chairman of the Islamic Centre at Oxford (1980). Does this render Oxford Islamic Centre a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism? If she were to apply her analogy consistently it should! Furthermore, in order to prove that the Mullah Umar, a Taliban leader, is a Deobandi she affliates Haqqaniah Madrasa, in which he is alleged to have studied, with Deobandi schools. This is on the basis that Darul Uloom appears in the name of both institutions. She seems to ignore the fact that Darul Uloom (House of Learning) is a common term used to describe places of learning in many Muslim societies. Does the mere sharing of a name is enough proof of affiliation? In this case Majeediyya School is also a Deobandi School and all Majeediyans are fundamentalists! Majeediyya School is also referred to as Darul Uloom and even now its hall is still referred to as such. In addition for her, any madrasa or school run by a Deobandi graduate in her reasoning is a fundamentalist Deobandi school. Here we have a quick recipe to cook a Harvard or an Oxford or a Cambridge university: create a tertiary institution and appoint a Harvard or Oxford or Cambridge graduate and, ta da, there is your university of choice! I think it is enough for now.

  36. @ The Mullah.

    The Deoband madrassa in India, which issued the Fatwa against women is not on the Maldivian government approved list - is that what you are saying?

    Or are you saying that because the Regulations are in Dhivehi, and the translation is only phonetic, then the list does not include the Deoband HQ?

    Well done for being able to name one Deobandi graduate in a Western institute of learning. Is that meant to prove that Deobandis are liberals, and remove all their connections to the Taliban?

    Isn't that conclusion arrived at by applying what you called the 'Mullah-ist methodology'?

    Even if not every Daarul Uloom is a Deobandi school, it cannot be denied that many madrassas that follow the Deobandi tradition call themselves Dhaarul Uloom, after the Darul Uloom Deoband in India - the mothership.

    And yes, when the Maldivian government issues a list which includes the Deoband HQ, the government IS endorsing Deoband Islam - the fundamentalist form of Islam which inspired the Taliban.

    What else is it doing? Turning a blind eye? Exposing its ignorance? Making a mistake?

  37. Nobody has the right to enforce their beliefs on me. These bloody Muslims think they're so special.

    We Atheists must fight their tyranny and oppression. Oppose Religion 24/7.

  38. @Miller
    I did not say that.
    As for mentioning one name it was enough to highlight my point. Here are some more notable Deobandi graduates:
    Ubaydullah Sindhi: He spent time in Soviet Russia in the 1920's at the invitation of the Soviet government.
    Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, Chief Minister of Kalantan State, Malaysia;
    Syed Ata' Allah poet and orator
    Anwar Shah Kashmiri, author who contributed to many disciplines including Islamic Law, metaphysics, zoology and politics
    Hussein Ahmad Madani who argued against the formation of Pakistan on the basis of religion
    and many others.

  39. @Miller
    My remarks were related to the author's uses or abuses of evidence to reach a forgone conclusion.

    If you want to find the Maldivian government's intent for that ask them. I do not work for or represent them.

    I cannot respond to your reference to 'fundamentalist' Islam without having a clear idea about what you mean by that.

  40. A few Maldivian with secularist mentality would not help steer Maldives to modern tolerant pluralist society. All extremism, devotion to religions, hatred and intolerance comes from poverty. Average Maldivian lives below poverty line. That means about 90% of Maldivian have no access to healthy food, clean water, proper housing and modern education. You can’t change any situation without addressing the real problem. The change should start from zero and that is building an economy to nurture a new generation with new thinking. Today If you go to average Maldivian and tell him that you don’t believe in Allah, he will cut your head off if it is in his power, His immediate reaction will be fear and anger, fear because he will have no doubt the calamity of Allah is imminent now and anger because you have put his life in danger. This is the normal psyche of majority of Maldives. The bottom line is we have lost a precious 30 years under a crazy man who had best opportunity to achieve such a milestone if he has used his dictatorship aiming for a better future instead of trying to protect Bedouin culture

  41. @The Mullah

    You cite "Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, Chief Minister of Kalantan State, Malaysia"

    If you were Malaysian or lived in Malaysia you would know that there is no state in Malaysia called KAlantan, there is a state called Kelantan which is the most fundamental and radicalised state where the Islamist PAS (Parti Islam Se-Malaysia) has most seats. Pedophellia and incest is common practise there and it is the most backward state in the entire country, with rampant xenophobia.

    I am a Malay Muslim and I despise Kelantan and the fundamentalist Islamism that spews there. All Muslim majority countries are subject to this because Islam has political legitimacy.

    There is a reason why countries that have gone through historical processes have opted for Secularism, because religion cannot be used as a political tool. I am just glad that unlike the Maldives, Malaysia has non-Muslim populations which will keep this in check.

  42. Okay @The Mullah you have awkwardly enough proved Azra's point with how ill-versed you are with the information which you spout. I took sometime to research this Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat. He seems to be your average misogynistic and sensationalist muppet.

    Everyone I give you:

    Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat

    "Nik Aziz has drawn occasional criticism for his hardline Islamic views. His advocacy of Islamic shariah law to all Malay Muslims has however drawn criticism, as did his suggestion that WOMEN WOULD BE AT LOWER RISK OF RAPE IF THEY ABANDONED THEIR LIPSTICK AND PERFUME, and for a 15-year BAN ON THE GAME OF SNOOKER.[8][9]"



  43. @.Mohammed
    You have a point there. It's accepted and thanks for that.
    He was cited as ONE among SIX Deobandi notables. Even with his views for which, I believe, he is entitled to, he remains a notable - provincial governor. And, you also seem to have unwittingly proved one of my original allegations about the article: selective use of evidence. Your research should also have led you to find that Mr Mat, with all his ultra orthoprax views, also fought against racism and advocated inclusivsm in Malaysian politics.
    By the way, my comments re article was never personal, or intented to defend or offend the author or the Maldivian government or Deoband or Taliban . It was directed at the use and abuse of evidence.

  44. @yaamyn:

    "say UK and India – ... marry according to their religious customs – and none of this is considered the business of the state."

    You clearly have no idea about what you're on about, have you? That's the biggest load of bull shit I've ever heard! Now, I know what you really know: not much!

    Next time, do some proper research before publishing rubbish like this and stay within the boundaries of your knowledge and experience.

  45. @ Naeembe
    Do you know why the people who live in what you so called poverty line see the islam as the TRUTH. It is because they are in a status that they have to use their intelligence to think what is the reality. They are not proud of them self. They do not have anything to be proud. This is the main reason. This makes them to seek the truth. To study islam.
    Do you know Yameen, rich makes people proud of themselves. So this so called PROUD is a huge wall against truth.


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