Island council feared sheikh’s sermon would disrupt social harmony

Omadhoo Island Council stopped controversial preacher Sheikh Adam Shameem from delivering a religious lecture at the local mosque Saturday evening, fearing it might “disrupt the stability and social harmony of the island” reports CNM.

Council member Mohamed Ibrahim was quoted as saying that the imam of the Friday Mosque Ahmed Ramzi had confronted a group of senior Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) members from the island, saying that the party’s Mohamed Nasheed is a laadheenee [irreligious] person and that it was because of that he lost the presidential elections.

“They said he is a disbeliever. So, a senior MDP member said, even if the council gives permission, that lecture cannot be held on this island. From that point things got bad,” continued Ibrahim.

Haveeru reported that when the council asked for a formal request for permission, the organisers sent a text message to the council president saying the lecture would go on with or without the council’s permission.

The lecture on ‘backbiting’ was later held on the street, accompanied by a heavy police presence.

In May 2013 Sheikh Imran Abdulla and Sheikh Ilyas Hussein were obstructed from preaching in Vaikaradhoo, in Haa Dhaalu Atoll, whilst Kamadhoo Island Council – Baa Atoll – prevented Sheikh Nasrulla Ali from preaching. In Vaikaradhoo the sheikhs continued with Police protection in the presence of local opposition activists.

Current laws and regulations require religious preachers to obtain permission from local councils in order to preach at mosques in their administrative areas.

The ministry of Islamic Affairs, particularly the current Islamic Minister Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, have been trying to bring all affairs of the mosques under the ministry.

Sheikh Shameem, 37, studied at Jamia Salafiyya in Pakistan, Medina Islamic University, and has a Masters degree in Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Heritage from International Islamic University in Malaysia.

The Sheikh has attracted much controversy following his “mega-lecture” ‘Andalus‘ during the recent presidential elections, the live broadcast of which was interrupted by the national television for violating state broadcaster’s guideline.

The lecture, seen as highly political, was condemned by the MDP as “incitement of hatred among the public with the intention of influencing the election”.