Islamic affairs minister calls for the preservation of independence on National Day

Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr Mohamed Shaheem has urged all citizens to refrain from actions which might threaten the independence of the country.

While addressing the nation on the occasion of National Day, Shaheem said that a nation will develop only if there is unity and peace within the country.

National Day is observed on the first of Rabee ul Awwal – the third month of the Hijri (Islamic) calendar – celebrating the victory of Mohamed Thakurufaanu over the Portuguese occupation in the year 1573.

“There is peace and calm within the Maldivian people. We have maintained Islamic unity and are strengthening ties with the Islamic Ummah (community),” said Shaheem this morning.

Shaheem’s Adhaalath Party is also reported to have called upon Muslims not to become involved in Christmas celebrations.

“The only festivals that Muslims should partake in are Eid-al-fitr and Eid-al-adha,” Haveeru reported the party as saying. “Partaking in another religion’s festival or celebration is akin to adhering to another religion”.

The paper has also reported that customs have seized a number of items imported as Christmas decorations for a resort in Noonu Atoll. Religious materials deemed offensive to Islam and idols for worship are prohibited in the country.

A special National Day flag-raising ceremony was held this morning at Republican Square, with Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer attending as the chief guest alongside high ranking officials from the Maldives National Defense Force.

The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) leader and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom tweeted his greetings on the occasion to all Maldivians.

Also tweeting was former President Mohamed Nasheed who called upon the Maldives to take the example of Mohamed Thakurufaanu, who “fought against the colonial power of the Indian Ocean at the time for the freedom of Maldives”.

Folklore holds that Thakurufaanu – from Haa Alif Utheemu in the North of the country – set sail to the capital Malé alongside his two brothers and companions in order to bring an end to the 15 year Portuguese rule in the Maldives.

Using the cover of the night and their famed vessel – known as ‘Kalhuohfummi’ – the  brothers are said to have landed on different islands every night, fighting the Portuguese and outmaneuvering the their vessels by using their knowledge of the Maldivian oceans.

The brothers landed in the capital in 1573 where they fought against the Portuguese soldiers garrisoned in the capital. Mohamed Thakurufaanu is sais to have shot dead the infamous ‘Andhiri Andhirin’ using a musket, thus ending the 15 year oppressive Portuguese rule.

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