A second Maldivian man has been killed in Syria in a gunfight with soldiers loyal to Bashar Al Assad, according to Bilad Al Sham Media (BASM), an online media group ostensibly run by Maldivians in Syria.
While the group revealed this week that a 44-year-old Maldivian man was killed in a suicide attack on Sunday (May 25), BASM claimed on social media that the second Maldivian militant – who had taken the name Abu Nuh – died during “regular combat” in the northwestern town of Ariha.
Local media has identified the deceased as Hassan Shifaz, of Galolhu New Moon in the capital Malé. The first Maldivian has also been identified as Ali Adam from the island of Feydhoo in Shaviyani atoll.
Both the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and the Maldives Police Service (MPS) have since launched investigations into the incident.
Bilad Al Sham Media meanwhile posted a message on Facebook today allegedly from Shifaz’s wife.
“I am proud of my husband. He was a loyal husband, a great father and a righteous son. His entire family is proud and happy for him for we cannot even imagine the provisions Allah swt will provide for him,” she wrote.
“Leaving us and all he had in this world was the toughest choice he made but still he sacrificed this worldly life for his aakhira [afterlife]. He was supportive all throughout his life, a guard always on duty looking out for his family.”
“He proved to us that he is not just a smart mouth who only had words to fight with, but he showed us with his actions that he meant everything he said,” read the post.
According to BASM, the first Maldivian – who took the name Abu Turab – entered Syria after a “long tiring journey” but remained fasting and spent months in the mountains before the attack.
BASM’s tweets were responded to by Sheikh Abu Sulayman al-Australi – an Australian preacher – who said that “Maldivians are some of the most courageous & well-mannered Mujahideen”.
Abu Sulayman is a member of the shariah council of Jabhat Al Nusra, Al-Qaeda affiliated fighters in Syria. Following BASM’s tweets about the second Maldivian, Sulayman replied, “He came to me a few days ago, RA asking to intercede for a martydom [sic] operation he signed for. He sought & shahadah came.”
Minivan News’ coverage
BASM has also posted a statement on Facebook objecting to Minivan News “characterising Bilad al-Sham Media as a group rather than being a media.”
“We stress that we are a media and we are located in Syria only. The Muslims who share and like our posts cannot be classed as members of this Media,” the statement read.
“This is no other than an attempt by the Minivan News to back the statement of a Sri Lankan group which claimed presence of ‘terror cells’ inside Maldives. And this is reflected in one of the News articles last paragraphs where they quoted the Sri Lankan group after designing the article in a way to guide the reader to understand that there are ‘terror cells’ in Maldives.”
BASM also contended that Minivan News misquoted Sheikh Abu Buran as saying that Abu Turab was no longer in need of prayers.
“This is a lie and the Sheikh did not say this. Rather we quoted the Sheikh and this is what we wrote: ‘He asked the Sheikh Abu Burhan al-Suri to make Du’a for him, then the Sheikh smiled and replied to the brother: “You are not in need from US to make Dua””
And you can see that we wrote the word “us” in capital letters and the reader can easily understand that the context being spoken is a context of humility from the Sheikh infront of Abu Turab. It is as if he was saying: ‘Who am I to make Dua for a great man like you?’ So the Sheikh was humbling himself infront of Abu Turab and nothing else.
But Minivan News distorted it and made the Sheikh look like as if he was a Sufi and distorted his words to make the reader understand as if the Sheikh is saying that Abu Turab has reached such a high status that he was no longer in need of a certain form of Duas. Subhaanallah.”
Moreover, BASM contended that Minivan News also misquoted from a video titled ‘The obligation of Jihad’ posted by the group in which a masked man holding a rifle preaches in Dhivehi, who stated: “the rulers of the Maldives are disbelievers and if they are disbelievers, they should be fought.”
“This is a lie as the speaker said ‘if they are disbelievers, then the RULING about DISBELIEVERS is that they be fought,'” BASM explained in the statement.
“And there is a huge difference between the two sentences. The speaker said the statement in his phrase to make it understood that it’s the Islamic ruling to fight disbelieving rulers, but at the same time, such rulings are dependent upon Siyasat al-Shar’iyya (Shar’i politics) and the speaker does not see it politically fit to wage war in the Maldives. Hence he stayed away from stating such.”