Islamic Ministry proposes extremist rehabilitation centre

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs has renewed its proposal for an ‘extremist rehabilitation centre’ to curb fundamentalism in the country.

The idea was first raised in a letter from the Islamic Ministry to the Home Affairs Ministry and the President’s Office in April 2009. According to the President’s Office Spokesman Mohamed Zuhair, joint consultations were held yesterday about how to best take the concept forward.

State Minister for Home Affairs Ahmed Adil explained that six prisoners involved in the Himandhoo case had been transferred to Dhoonidhoo prison for “rehabilitation by the Islamic Ministry.”

The Himandhoo islanders, who had been worshipping in their own mosque without the approval of the state, armed themselves and fought with police and military personnel in October 2007. The then-government claimed it was searching for evidence relating the Sultan Park bombing, which injured 12 tourists.

“The reintegration has been very successful, especially in the Himandhoo case,” Adil said. “It was a very big issue and there were a lot of problems at the time. Now the whole of Himandhoo has been cleaned.”

Himandhoo, explained State Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, was “a very beautiful example” of the Ministry’s successful rehabilitation programme.

“The former government fought with [the extremists] and put them in jail,” Shaheem said. “Now we don’t fight. We deliver the right information [about Islam] through dialogue. We have a lot of programmes on television, radio, the Hukru Khuthuba (Friday sermon), and we send scholars to the islands.

“We tried our best to control [fundamentalism] in Himandhoo and now there is no problem [there]. All the people are praying in the [official] mosque, when just two years ago the government was fighting with them. Now the island is very good.”

The Islamic Ministry now wants to institutionalise the rehabilitation process as part of its work tackling extremism, he explained.

“We have suggested that the government establish a centre for special studies as a rehabilitation centre to fight [fundamentalists] ideologically,” Shaheem said. “This is an ideological problem, and we can solve this problem by having scholars give them the right information on Islam.”

The Ministry was especially concerned about several groups praying separately at mosques in Male’, Shaheem said, explaining that some had been delivering their own fatwas (religious edicts). However radicalisation in the country was in overall decline, he noted.

“At the moment I don’t believe there are people like Al-Queda [operating] in the county. But there a few groups who support their ideas. We can solve this by giving them the right ideas.”

Spokesman for the President’s Office Mohamed Zuhair agreed with Shaheem that the growth of radical groups had declined across the globe, “a trend I believe has affected the Maldives through better inclusion in society, increased security and a lack of persecution.”

Shaheem also noted that the Ministry’s Religious Unity Act, “which was sent to brother Attorney General Husnu Suood three months ago” and is due to be returned in 1-2 weeks, contained regulations governing the issuing of fatwas and scholars coming from outside the country to deliver sermons.

Most important, Shaheem said, was ensuring that the issuing of fatwas remained the duty of formal national bodies, such as the Fiqh academy and the Islamic Ministry.

“In my opinion, NGOs cannot give fatwas – this is very dangerous,” he said. “In the Islamic world you do not see any NGO’s giving fatwas, it is the duty of national formal body, such as a scholar’s council. [Moreover] one scholar cannot give fatwas for many things – he must share and discuss it with others.”

Minister of Home Affairs Mohamed Shihab observed that religious rehabilitation centres, such as the kind proposed by the Islamic Ministry, “are found in countries like Singapore, Malaysia and the UK as well.”

“There is a detailed programme,” he noted. “Rehabilitation through regilious education is done by the Islamic Ministry. Rehabilitation of drug users is handled by the Health Ministry, while the Home Ministry conducts a [criminal] rehabilitation programme through the DPRS.”

The government’s respect for the diversity of beliefs acceptable within the Islamic faith went as far as the Constitution, Shihab explained: “Extremist beliefs affect the rights of others as afforded by the Constitution. Then the State has to intervene and protect its citizens.”


49 thoughts on “Islamic Ministry proposes extremist rehabilitation centre”

  1. If such an institution is established does this mean that the whole of Islamic Ministry will be checking in, too?

  2. Is Mr Shaheem going to send "The Salafi's" to be "re Rehabilitated". Mark my words this is going to turn out to be either at best a complete failure or a disaster that actually breed more fundamentalism.

    Unless and otherwise the "Scholar and self appointed Fiqh academy actually stand up and speak against the extremist and their ideologies as much as they opposed the alcohol legislation, this is more empty words.

  3. This is a great step forward.

    This shows that the Islamic Ministry recognises the dangers of fundamentalism and extremism. This also shows that we do not deny there are fundamentalists and extremists amongst us.

    Now the critical balance will remain on what is preached by the Islamic Ministry.

    We have been a 100 percent Muslim country all these years. But we have not had the issue of extremisim until recently. Probably as Shaheem said, the extremists' actions were not seen because they were jailed.

    But we know that jailing the extremists is not the ultimate solution. It will provide a temporary halt to their actions but a bigger threat once their jail term is over.

    So, rehabilitating the extremists would be a worthwhile step to take.

    But, isn't it sad that a great percentage of our youth, who should be in the labour force of the country contributing to the prosperity of the nation, is in one or the other rehab?

  4. First spend state money and resources to turn Maldivians into Mullas in Arab countries and Pakistan,

    Next use state money to create a Ministry for the returning Mullas,

    Then spend millions of Rufiyaa to set a rehab for the Mullas.

    Instead of wasting all these money, why spent it on vaccines and healthcare..

  5. This is a CHEAP marketing ploy by the by Islamic Ministry who are themselves extremists.

    Would Shaheem be willing to turn himself in rehabilitate himself?

  6. The first batch who should undergo therapy must be the crazy lot in the Islamic Ministry.
    If anyone else is send there Islamic Ministry will brain wash them, turn them into Salafi or Wahabi.
    Government of Nasheed must be very careful and watchful where this Islamic Ministry is taking the Maldives. They have destroyed the tolerance society. They also have ulterior motives behind all these rhetoric they are making. They want to turn Maldives into a “Khalifa” style government where so called religious “Scholars” will govern.
    President Nasheed, can you do a favour to all Maldivians. Dismantle the Islamic Ministry, it has created more problems than solutions and we don’t need an Islamic Ministry to create a Parallel State with in a State. Millions of Ruffiya you spent on salaries of the staff at Islamic Ministry can be better spent to provide basic facilities to the country.

  7. What Shaheem wants is clear. He want Jamiyyathu Al Salaf not to give any fatawas. Thats all he wants, thats why he is saying NGOs ey. Its very clear.

  8. This can be productive if done carefully. But how easy would it be to play goodboy until they are released. These are not edictions that are hard to hide. They will simply get back with their old sheiks as soon as they are released.

  9. I mean really!!!!! Fundamentalists do not have a chemical imbalance, a rehab is a place where you make your body regain a balance in body chemistry. Why don't the Islamic ministry take less numbers of women beaten or confined to the house as their new goal. As far as I am concerned, the Islamic Ministry has so far catered only to elevate male chauvinism in the country.

  10. Shaheem et al. are wolves in sheep's clothing. This is like sending the mafia to rehabilitate the petty thief. Get real.

  11. great proposal by mr.shaheem. the islamic ministry is progressing day by day in promoting religious morals in the maldives.

  12. Finally the Islamic Ministry addressing a real issue like any responsible government body should. What are their programmes on addressing issues like child marriage outside of the courts and refusal of immunisation for babies and children. Issues of two specific groups of people, women and children, that really need islamic Ministrys attention in relation to fundamentalism has to be addressed as well.

  13. Now, fundamentalists are proposing to rehabilitate fundamentalists ? Now there's a soultion to the spread of extremism in the country !!

  14. I believe that a largely part of the extremist values are taken out of the non sahih hadith books. Ruling and fatwas derived from these as a reference.

    Bukhari/Muslim are the safest in terms of authenticity.

    It would be wise for the MIA and the Fiqh academy would address this issue and create a compendium of texts which could be used as reference.

  15. yeah of course. The whole ministry would also need to check-in to the rehab.

  16. All the high level officials of Islamic Ministry themsleves are extremists in need of rehab. The very first batch of patients should be those from the top management of Islamic Ministry. We should bring in doctors of other faiths to teach these people the values of Islam because Islamic Scholars haven't adopted universal Islamic values applicable all over the world.

  17. I wonder who gets to define 'extremist'.

    Outside of the Maldives, the whole Adhaalathu pantheon of scholars would be considered 'extremist'.

    However, even an actual religious conservative like Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom is called a 'liberal' in the Maldivian context.

    The country has shifted so far to the right, that it is worrisome.

    Anyone who has taken a look at the mentioned 'Religious Unity Bill' would be horrified at the power it vests in the Ministry of radical Islamists to define, judge and condemn the average Maldivian at will.

  18. i for once support fully to the idea of rehabilitation whether it was proposed by MoIA or other. The kids who are radicalized need help, BUT i wonder who gives the remedy? is it Islamic ministry with its entourage of scholars who talk about heaven with wine and women. then there is very less hope to bring them back. This is a psychological issue, rather than religious as far as im concerned... If state could afford professionals in the field (such as psychologist etc) to help with the youths, then it might make a difference.

  19. This is very good Shaheem, rehabilitate them and put them all into the Islamic resort.

  20. I think they are trying to establish a Jihadist institute.. A legitimate one... How can an extreme group rehabilitate the extreme.. Its like drug lords rehabilitating addicts... Amazing Government we have..

  21. I wonder how would you categorize people who need traetment from such an institute? This could be a good thing if managed properly, on the other hand can be one of the governments to get rid of people who they dont like!

  22. President Nasheed is father of freedom, Maumoon restrained these Mullah's, now they are given a free hand, (to rehabilitate) we are seeing good results Mr Shaheem, 80% of maldivian women in burga, same % of men ready to for Jihad, atleast to get some good smelly virgin from heaven (According to Sheikh Ilyas, they are smelly)

  23. I am happy that this issue is being addressed. However I am not sure that segregation is the way to go about this. Whatever needs not be done needs to be done keeping them in the mainstream.

  24. Who wants to bet the mentors will only be slightly better? This sounds like it'll be a summer camp where people will just be made worse. Call me skeptical, but extremists suggesting we make an extremist rehab? No one sees the problem in that?

    How's this for a conspiracy theory? This camp is just the beginnings of a rehab for moderates.

    Don't believe their exact ideology? Well off to the education centre for you!

  25. This is just plain crazy! So I guess now we need a rehab for everything??? How about establishing a rehab to cure corruption as well???! Surely it'll always have 100% occupancy no matter which party is in power!

  26. Shit the situation in Maldives is worse that I thought... Very strategic move by the Islamic Ministry to promote their ideology. Very wrong. This is very wrong.

  27. If eruption of different Islamic Cults can be stopped it would be a good thing!

    But it would be very much better if Adhaalath Party would restrain from being extremists!

  28. are you kidding me. Who goes there first? Shaheem and dr. Baaree. we need to stop spending money on extremists and sponsoring them as first step.

  29. ahmed on Fri, 19th Mar 2010 1:29 AM ".... Its like drug lords rehabilitating addicts… "

    hahahahahahaha. Precisely.

  30. Extremism is defined by someone who've been in India most of his life, who needs to learn much about how people live in this country to criticize them in the first place.

    Outside of the Maldives, heck, anyone standing outside any Indian slum village , would feel pity.

    Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom, who defies Islamic teachings, is a 'liberal' and someone safe to be put in power again.

    The country has shifted, in a platonic way, that it is worrisome.

  31. Islam is extremism.....
    there can be no such thing as rehabilitation ..........
    how can one change gods words...

    "Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not" (quran 2:216)

    Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (quran 9:29)

    try rehabilitating the quran

  32. al: "Extremism is defined by someone who’ve been in India most of his life, who needs to learn much about how people live in this country to criticize them in the first place.
    Outside of the Maldives, heck, anyone standing outside any Indian slum village , would feel pity."

    I surrender. Defeated and dishonored. 🙂

  33. Jamiyatussalaf cant give fatwas? and MoIA can? how come? coz they are part of the cabinet? this cant be more clear....religion is a friggin tool for politicians to control and manipulate the masses. if and when DRP comes to power; afrasheem will convert everyone to maumoonee islam. again, some others will come and reconvert them. with every change of government there will be more rehabilitation of 'extremists'. extreme thoughts is like...thought crime? extreme actions can be punished by LAW! make some real laws and try to implement these.

  34. Dear stranger,
    You have to write the following verses as well to get the real meaning.You are trying to deceive others using Holy Quran as a tool .ALLAH (SWA) will protect the quran till the last day215 They ask thee what they should spend (in charity). Say: Whatever ye spend that is good, is for parents and kindred and orphans and those in want and for wayfarers. And whatever ye do that is good, -God knoweth it well.

    002.216 Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But God knoweth, and ye know not.

    002.217 They ask thee concerning fighting in the Prohibited Month. Say: "Fighting therein is a grave (offence); but graver is it in the sight of God to prevent access to the path of God, to deny Him, to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and drive out its members." Tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter. Nor will they cease fighting you until they turn you back from your faith if they can. And if any of you turn back from their faith and die in unbelief, their works will bear no fruit in this life and in the Hereafter; they will be Companions of the Fire and will abide therein. .Any one could take out a verse and display it against Islam and misinterpret the Holy Quran.

  35. Dear Stranger,
    009.029 Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
    This verse was sent down by ALLAH(SWA) when the Jews who had an agreement with the Muslims broke their agreement and tried to attack the Muslims from inside Madinah.At that time Muhammad (SAW) and the Muslims were engaged in a fierce battle with a huge coalition which consisted Jews and pagans surrounding Madinah and Mecca. ALLAH (SWA) knows the best.I think you need to rehabilitate your MIND before you say something about Quran.
    ALLAH (SWA) in Quran says if what you speak against ALLAH(SWA) and his Messenger(SAW)is true than produce a single verse like QURAN.

  36. Rilwan, nobody asks you to give up your religion. After all, the world needs people like you who still believe humans were made out of clay... Read Shakespeare, or - read Catullus if you know Latin - there are so many verses in this world nicer than in any of the Holy Books. You might find useful ones in the Quran, but not everyone does, just accept it.

  37. Dear Rilwan,

    Good one mate!!. Its extremists like this "stranger" who interpret the koran in their own words and take bits and pieces and start killing innocent men,women,children and elderly in the name of jihad.

  38. Marina,
    Thank you for your comment.Iam not an idiot who embraced Islam just because my mother and father told me that it is the religion you should follow.I have read books from Shakespeare and more and i like them too.You might think that the people who follow the fundamentals of Islam are uneducated and uncivilized.
    Marina for our ears there nothing more healing and more beautiful than the recitation of Quran.Plus i challenge you that there is no grater book or verse better than Quran.Yes,for someone who is deaf,dumb and blind you wont see the beauty of the verses of Quran.Plus ALLAH(SWA) will guide whom he chooses and who have the light of faith in their heart.IF YOU ARE SPEAKING THE TRUTH JUST STOP TALKING AND CREATE A SINGLE VERSE LIKE QURAN THAN SHOW US.THAN WE WILL GIVE UP OUR OUR CLAIM AND WE WILL FOLLOW YOU.

  39. @rilwan @egon is authentic Islamic scripture......

    Narrated Abu Huraira: I heard Allah's
    Apostle saying, "The example of a Mujahid in Allah's Cause-- and Allah knows better who really strives in His Cause----is like a person who fasts and prays continuously. Allah guarantees that He will admit the Mujahid in His Cause into Paradise if he is killed, otherwise He will return him to his home safely with rewards and war booty."-Sahih Bukhari 4:52:46

    Narrated Abu Huraira: A man came to Allah's Apostle and said, "Instruct me as to such a deed as equals Jihad (in reward)." He replied, "I do not find such a deed." Then he added, "Can you, while the Muslim fighter is in the battle-field, enter your mosque to perform prayers without cease and fast and never break your fast?" The man said, "But who can do that?" Abu- Huraira added, "The Mujahid (i.e. Muslim fighter) is rewarded even for the footsteps of his horse while it wanders bout (for grazing) tied in a long rope."
    Sahih Bukhari 4:52:44

    Narrated Anas bin Malik: The Prophet said, "Nobody who dies and finds good from Allah (in the Hereafter) would wish to come back to this world even if he were given the whole world and whatever is in it, except the martyr who, on seeing the superiority of martyrdom, would like to come back to the world and get killed again (in Allah's Cause)."
    Narrated Anas: The Prophet said, "A single endeavor (of fighting) in Allah's Cause in the afternoon or in the forenoon is better than all the world and whatever is in it. A place in Paradise as small as the bow or lash of one of you is better than all the world and whatever is in it. And if a houri from Paradise appeared to the people of the earth, she would fill the space between Heaven and the Earth with light and pleasant scent and her head cover is better than the world and whatever is in it."
    Sahih Bukhari 4:52:53

    this is the what Islam promotes, not me....and whats worse is most of you want to forcefully impose this on everyone...............

  40. Rilwan (son of Adam created from clay), this is just for you:

    One day, after a near eternity in the Garden of Eden, Eve calls out to God, "Lord, I have a problem." -
    "What's the problem, Eve?" God replies.
    "Lord, I know you created me and have provided for me and surrounded me with this beautiful garden and all of these wonderful animals, but I'm just not happy." -
    "Why is that, Eve?" comes the reply from the heavens.
    "Lord, I know you created this place for me, with all this lovely food, but I can’t see apples anymore, and I am lonely!“
    "Well Eve, in that case I have the perfect solution. I shall create a 'man' for you."
    “What is a 'man', Lord?“
    “This 'man' will be a failure of creation, with many mistakes and bad habits. He will lie, he will cheat on you and he will be vain and big-headed. Overall he will make life miserable for you. But he will be taller, faster and stronger than you and he will love to hunt and kill things. As you complained, I will make sure that he will satisfy your physical needs. He will be witless and will love things like fighting and kicking balls around. He’ll also have brains, so that he will need your advice in order to think reasonable.”
    “Sounds great!”, Eve says, raising her eyebrow ironically, “Where’s the snag in it?”
    “Well... you can have him on one condition only”, God says.
    “Which is that, Lord?”
    “As I told you, he will be proud and arrogant, and he will always admire himself most... You just have to make him believe that I created him first. But remember… that’s our secret... You know... from woman to woman.”

  41. Dear Stranger and Marina,
    Stranger don't quote about the Hadeeths which only speaks about fighting.You should quote about Hadheeths in Buhari that tells us that serving your mother and praying five times a day is better than Jihad.You should also quote about the Hadeeths that tells us during the war not kill women,children,priests,monks and rabbis.Also about the Hadeeths that tell us not destroy farms,houses,temples and churches.Plus Hadeeths that tell us to treat prioners well and if the anyone surrenders to escort them to safety.
    Read the biography of our Messenger Muhammad (SAW) and you will find how our beloved messenger treated the people of Mecca when he took over Mecca.How he used the war captives from Badr to teach small children to read and write.
    And do write the words of ALLAH (SWA) from Quran that advised our messenger Muhammad (SAW) when he(SAW) promised to avenge the 70 Muslims killed and mutilated during the battle of Uhud.ALLAH (SWA) advised not to avenge for the loss of Muslim warriors.Among the martyrs there was his(SAW)unlce too.
    Then read the biography of the Khalid bin Walid (RA) and Umar bin Khattab (RA)who showed mercy and kindness during the capture of Jerusalem and wars they fought.Read about Salahuddin Ayyubi who showed kindness when taking over the Jerusalem that rocked the kingdom of Richard the Lion Heart and the catholic churches.SO PLEASE READ CAREFULLY AND GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT AND WRITE THE BOTH SIDE OF THE STORY.

  42. Dear Marina ,
    I know that you got a brain of an ape.That is the reason why you acting like one.So don't have to tell me.


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