A Maldivian is believed to have travelled to ISIS held territory for jihad with his wife, mother, and 10-year-old sister after describing the Maldives as an apostate nation.
Local media reported a that 23-year-old Ahsan Ibrahim from Raa Atoll Meedhoo, who left for the capital Malé with his mother for healthcare is now believed to have flown to Turkey via Dubai.
While speaking to Haveeru, Ahsan’s father Ibrahim Ali said that he spent 18 days worried about the lack of communication from his family after they left for Malé. He then received a Viber message from his son saying they were abroad, and refused to allow Ibrahim speak to his wife.
“My son texted via Viber and said they were now under the care of IS [Islamic State], and that he wouldn’t return to this land of sin,” said Ibrahim.
Ibrahim said that he had requested Meedhoo Island Council’s assistance, and with their help found out that the family had flown to Turkey via Dubai.
Maldives Police Service (MPS) confirmed to Minivan News that a case involving a family leaving for jihad had been filed to the police, but refused to give further information regarding the case.
Ibrahim Ali said that his son loved religious rituals, but there had been no indications that Ahsan would leave the country with his family.
Jihad and Extremism
In September, an online jihadist group Bilad Al Sham Media – believed to be based in Syria and the Maldives – claimed that a total of four Maldivian men had been killed while fighitng in the Syrian civil war.
Speaking to press at the time, President Abdulla Yameen said that the government was unaware of Maldivians fighting abroad. He also said that if they were fighting abroad, it was not being done with the government’s consent.
Foreign minister Dunya Maumoon has publicly condemned atrocities carried out by ISIS, suggesting that the group was violating fundamental Islamic principles of peace and tolerance.
In early September two hundred people, including ten children, staged a protest march in the capital Malé calling for the implementation of full Islamic Sharia laws in the country. They carried placards expressing strong anti-democratic sentiment and black flags now synonymous with the Islamic State.
Police were unable to stop protestors from carrying the flag being and the march concluded with a communal prayer wishing success to the various holy warriors fighting in conflicts around the world.
Former President Mohamed Nasheed has claimed that up to 200 Maldivians are on jihad, alleging that a vast majority of them are ex-military. The government has rejected the claim.
“Radical Islam is getting very very strong in the Maldives, their strength in the military and in the police is very significant. They have people in strategic positions within both,” said Nasheed in an interview with UK’s Independent newspaper.
An investigation report by UK based Athena Investigations suggested gangs motivated by religious extremism to the most likely explanations behind the disappearance of Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan 76 days ago.
The report suggested gang leaders had been exposed to radical Islam during incarceration in prison, saying that they openly supported the actions of the Islamic State in Iraq and had recruited jihadists for the war in Syria and Iraq.