Online Jihadist group Bilad Al Sham Media (BASM) have claimed two more Maldivians have been killed in the Syrian civil war.
“Martyred brothers in the yesterdays operation include Abu Dujana Maldifi, Abu Ibrahim Maldifi and Abu Ukasha Indonesi,” read a post on the BASM facebook page today.
While the group claims that Abu Dujana was the founder and editor of the BASM page, the group has not provided any information regarding his real identity, stating that this omission was at the request of his mother.
Local media has, however, identified Abu Dujana as Yameen Naeem of Georgia in the Maafannu ward of the capital Malé. It is reported that the man, in his early twenties, travelled to Syria after studying in Egypt.
BASM – which Minivan News has learned has members situated in both Syria and the Maldives – has previously claimed that its members arrive in Syria from numerous points of destinations, and that many were students.
The group has previously criticised incumbent President Abdulla Yameen, describing his presidential win as “a victory for Jahiliyya [ignorance] over Jahiliyya” and has condemned the Maldives National Defence Force as “fighters in the devil’s path”.
While other senior figures in the government refused to take a definitive stance on the issue of Jihad, Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed in July urged Maldivians to refrain from participating in foreign wars.
“Islamic jihad is that waged with sincerity, in the name of Allah, in defense of religion and nation, behind a designated Muslim leader, and against enemies of Islam and nation,” Shaheem said, adding that fighting between two Muslim groups cannot be described as jihad.
Shaheem said Maldivian militants who go abroad must not be punished, but be rehabilitated and informed of religious teachings.
Admitting to growing radicalisation in the Maldives, Shaheem said the media and scholars must help the government in its effort to educate the public.
Radicalisation begins with praying in separate communities, refusing to register marriages at court, and declaring other Muslims infidels, Shaheem said.
The rise of religious radicals within the Maldives has been noted by numerous group both locally and internationally.
While the Maldivian Democratic Party has recently accused security services of fostering radical elements – a claim rejected by authorities, the then acting prosecutor general Hussein Shameem called for the state to take the issue more seriously.
The US State Department’s 2013 country report on terrorism noted that local laws “severely limit” the prosecution of cases associated with violent extremism. Then acting prosecutor general Hussein Shameem in March called for the state to take the issue more seriously.
The US expressed growing concern since 2010 “about the activities of a small number of local violent extremists involved with transnational terrorist groups”.
“There has been particular concern that young Maldivians, including those within the penal system, may be at risk of becoming radicalized and joining violent Islamist extremist groups. Links have been made between Maldivians and violent extremists throughout the world,” the report stated.