Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed has warned that Christians and Freemasons are working to “create doubts” on Islam within the hearts of young Maldivians.
Local media reported the Islamic Minister as claiming there is a “strong psychological war” conducted by “various Christian organisations” to “wipe out” Islam from the Maldives.
Shaheem further claimed that the Freemasons – a secretive society originating from Europe – was carrying out activities “in secret” within the Maldives.
Shaheem was speaking at a ceremony to mark the 886th anniversary of the Maldives’ conversion to Islam from Buddhism, in accordance to the legend taught in Maldivian schools.
“Various Christian organisations and missionaries are strongly involved and active in our society. They are working within us and outside, trying to create doubts on Islam within the hearts of young people,” Shaheem declared.
“We have got a lot to do to strengthen Islamic faith through the national curriculum. We have to clarify the doubts being cast in the hearts of young generation. We can only overcome this through unified collaboration,” the Minister added.
President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik meanwhile expressed similar sentiment to the Islamic Minister, asking the public to be cautious of activities being carried out to allow other faiths into the country.
Waheed said the Maldives had remained an independent and sovereign nation because it was a “100 percent Islamic state”, and that the “unity and brotherly bond” between people was the result of Islam.
“It saddens me to say that despite the existence of such a bond, today we’re seeing a little weakening of that bond. We need to seriously think about this, especially when the introduction of multi-party politics has resulted in deterioration of familial bonds and social well being,” he said, in his address.
Waheed said it was important for people create love towards Islam and strengthening Islamic faith, as the country celebrates the day the Maldives embraced Islam.
President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad meanwhile told Minivan News that the government had not been made aware that undercover Freemason organisations or Christian missionaries were operating in the country in an attempt to undermine Islam.
Massod added that the matter would be better forwarded to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs for clarification.
“We try to keep out of these matters,” he said.
Sheikh Shaheem and leader of the government aligned Adhaalath Party, Sheikh Imran Abdulla, were not responding to calls at time of press.
The story of how Maldives embraced Islam
The legend of how the nation converted to Islam is one that is still taught to children studying in Maldivian schools.
According to the story, an evil demon named ‘Rannamaari’ appeared from the sea on the first of every month, and would only leave the islanders alone after the sacrifice of a virgin girl.
Every month the islanders selected a girl to be sacrificed for the demon, only to discover her body on the beach the following morning.
This continued until one day a Muslim traveller named Abul Barakathul Yousuful Baru Bary arrived in Male’ and happened to stay in the house of the next virgin girl selected for sacrifice.
As he saw the whole family weeping in sorrow he asked what was going on, and learnt about the procedure..
He then decided to disguise himself as the virgin girl and go to the temple instead. The following morning the islanders found him alive and reciting the verses of the Quran.
The King and his people were impressed that the demon never appeared after that incident, and decided to embrace Islam from that day onwards.
The story itself is now dismissed by the young generation as a myth, with many people believing instead that it was the King himself allegedly raping and murdering the virgin girls every month.