Jamiyyathul Salaf, one of the Maldives’ largest and most active religious NGOs, has called on the government to withdraw a decision made by the cabinet to sent Maldives soldiers to UN conflict zones and take part in UN peacekeeping operations.
The Cabinet during last Tuesday’s meeting decided to finalise the participation of Maldivian soldiers in United Nations peacekeeping operations, noting that it was be” important for the Maldives to contribute to the efforts of these international agencies and institutions to ensure every country, every society and every individual had the opportunity to live in peace and security.”
However, “Taking part in the UN peacekeeping operations will force Maldivian forces to fight against Muslims which is unacceptable,” said Salaf in a statement. ”Everyone understands that the most of the wars against Muslims have been started without reasonable grounds, just because they are Muslims.”
Salaf claimed that biological weapons were used in these wars despite UN prohibitions concerning their use or manufacture.
“The history of such wars proves that non-believers have gathered and committed inhumane activities against Muslim women and children,” Salaf argued. ”The war in Iraq and Afghanistan are examples of places where such activities were practiced.”
Salaf noted that the Maldives had a very high crime rate and that civil defence was a higher priority than contributing to overseas peacekeeping operations.
”Disregarding our own society and getting involved in these matters for the sake of earing respect from powerful countries shows how much the future of this nation is being disregarded,” Salaf said. ”It will invite dangerous attacks on the country, from outside and within.”
Jamiyyathul Salaf furthermore claimed that any Muslim who assisted non-Muslims in a war against Muslims would themselves be branded infidels.
”Muslims will be obliged to treat him as a non-Muslim in all ways, such as if dead, burying without enshrouding the body, burying the body with other non-believer, and when dealing with inheritance matters the terms and condition that applies to a non-believer who dies in a war against Muslims will be applied to him,” the NGO said.
Referring to the incident where Prophet Mohamed’s (PBUH) uncle Abbas Bin Abdul Muthalib secretly embraced Islam and was forced to fight against Muslims in a battle where he lost his life, Salaf said the Prophet applied the same procedure as to what would be applied to non-believer if he died in a battle against Muslims.
During last week’s meeting, Cabinet agreed that participating in UN peacekeeping operations would enhance the country’s security capability through an improved understanding of the international security environment and integration with the international security architecture, according to the President’s Office.
”The Maldives’ participation in peacekeeping operations would also consolidate the country’s credibility on the international stage,” the President’s Office said.
UN peacekeepers include 98,863 uniformed personnel from 114 countries. The organisation’s limited terms of engagement led to widespread criticism of its inaction during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in which 800,000 people died.
Since then UN peacekeepers have been more proactive in troubled countries, such as its current siege and helicopter strikes on the palace belonging to Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to step down and launched a campaign of ethnic cleansing after losing the country’s 2010 Presidential Election.
Correction: An earlier version of this story translated the Dhivehi term used in Jamiyyathul Salaf’s statement, ‘Kaafarun’, as ‘Christians’. A more accurate translation is ‘non-believers’.