Vice president defends Islam textbooks

Criticism of Islam textbooks from a Western perspective is “inappropriate for the education system of a 100 percent Muslim nation,” Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed said yesterday.

Jameel declared that Islamic sharia and history will be taught in Maldivian schools.

The vice president’s remarks comes after human rights NGO Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) published a report saying textbooks used to teach Islam promote anti-Semitism and xenophobia, and glorify jihad or war.

The report said only the textbooks made for grade one, two and three, introduced this year, are free from xenophobic narratives.

Criticism of the Islam subject cannot be accepted as “sincere,” Jameel said.

The new school curriculum was formulated to ensure that the Maldives remains an Islamic country, he said, and special focus was given to the Islam subject.

The new Islam syllabus and textbooks will help overcome “challenges” posed by changes the Maldivian society is experiencing, he said.

Punishments prescribed in the Quran must be taught in an Islamic country, Jameel continued, and all Muslims must take pride in Islamic history.

Muslims were the “main architects” of civilisation since the time of Caliph Umar, he said.

Jameel said it is obligatory upon a Muslim people to teach children about the successes of the Islamic civilisation, the challenges it overcame, and wars waged by Muslims in self-defence.

Human rights, freedom of expression, and other fundamental rights guaranteed in the constitution must be exercised within boundaries set by Islam.

The constitution states that Sunni Islam is the state religion and that no law contrary to Islam shall be enacted in the Maldives.

The vice president made the remarks in a meeting with heads of private colleges in the Maldives.

He urged the educators to “work together to maintain the Maldives’ Islamic identity.”

The MDN had said that from fourth grade onwards, “the xenophobic material gradually increases to the point where the radical outweighs the moderate.”

Two whole pages of the eleventh grade textbook were dedicated to “fruits” of jihad, claiming that the ultimate fruit of jihad is martyrdom, for which the reward in Islam is an eternity in heaven, the report read.

The textbooks describe the Ahmadiyya sect as a “plot by the British to destroy Islamic unity,” and says Muslims educated in the West, or Muslims who speak for secularism are considered co-conspirators with the West to undermine Islam.

“Due to the prevalence of these radical ideas, the text books fail to primarily instil a positive interpretation of Islam that is manifested in the [2008] Maldivian Constitution,” the report concluded.


Maldivians fighting wars abroad a concern, says Police Commissioner

Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed says that it is a cause of concern that Maldivians nationals are leaving the country to fight in wars abroad.

It is necessary for all police officers to work together in order stop Maldivians joining wars abroad, he told fellow officers at a police function held yesterday (February 2).

If police receive any information regarding such a case, he added, it should be investigated by the intelligence department and adequate preventative measures should be taken immediately.

The commissioner’s remarks closely follow reports that a former mosque employee at Malé’s Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital and his wife had travelled to Syria for Jihad, entering ISIS-held territory after travelling to Turkey via Dubai.

The exact number of Maldivians abroad for Jihad remains unclear, with Haveeru reporting a group of six having departed last week, as well as a dozen more said to have gone to Syria at the start of January.

Waheed has previously estimated that around 50 Maldivians are working with foreign rebel groups, dwarfing figures suggested by Home Minister Umar Naseer in December.

Commissioner Waheed has said that police are working with the Islamic ministry and relevant government departments to prevent radicalisation, though he said the variety of people travelling for jihad made it hard to target the most vulnerable groups.

Despite assurances that the activities of radicals are being monitored, the group said to have left in early January included a number of individuals known to police.

The group included Azlif Rauf – a suspect in the murder of MP Dr Afrasheem Ali, and an individual arrested over the disappearance of Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan. A private investigation into Rilwan’s case implicated radicalised gangs in what is believed to have been the 29-years-old’s abduction.

Last month, four would-be jihadis were apprehended in Malaysia, with media reporting that they were brought back to the Maldives and released after the authorities seized their passports. A similar group were returned from Sri Lanka in November.

In November, a jihadist group called Bilad Al Sham Media (BASM) – which describes itself as ‘Maldivians in Syria’ – revealed that a fifth Maldivian had died in Syria.

Defending the government’s stance on extremism and ISIS, Islamic minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed told the Majlis late last year that “Maldives will not allow Maldivians to go and fight in foreign wars”.

“We do not support their [ISIS] extremist policies. We have repeatedly appealed to our beloved youth to refrain from falling prey to these ideologies,” he said.

Related to this story

Hospital worker and wife latest to travel for Jihad

Over 50 Maldivian militants fighting in foreign wars, reveals Commissioner of Police

Maldives a “land of sin”, says jihadist after departing with family for ISIS territory

Islamic Minister advises Maldivians against participating in foreign wars


Charlie Hebdo massacre demonstrates “profound need to counter radicalism,” says President Yameen

In a message of sympathy towards the victims of the France attacks, President Abdulla Yameen has said the massacre of 12 cartoonists demonstrates “yet again the profound need to counter radicalism, and to promote tolerance and moderation, which are the true values of Islam”.

On January 9, two masked gunmen armed with AK-47 assault rifles forced themselves into the Paris offices of French publication Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 cartoonists including the editor before escaping by car.

The message addressed to the French President, H.E Mr. Francois Hollande, condemned the “massacre at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris, and other barbaric acts of terrorism unleashed on France in the last few days by a radical group of terrorists”.

Charlie Hebdo has a history of controversy due to its publication of satirical cartoons depicting Prophet Mohamed, which is strictly forbidden in Islam as it is believed to be akin to idolatry.

Audio from CCTV footage captured during the attack revealed that the attackers shouted: “We have avenged the Prophet Mohamed. We have killed Charlie Hebdo,” before departing from the scene.

Both the attackers were since killed at a later confrontation by French Security Forces, while a woman believed to be an accomplice to the attacks have been reported to have travelled to Syria.

In a tweet, Former President Mohamed Nasheed also strongly condemned the attack, while extending his co‎ndoleces to the families and friends of the victims.

Meanwhile, Bristish tabloid newspaper the Daily Mirror reported that a Maldivian born man – believed to be an Islamic State Jihadist fighter in Syria – hinted that France would suffer a tragedy the day before the attacks in a tweet. Minivan News has not been able to independently verify these reports.

Speaking to the media last week, Commissioner of Police Hussein Waheed revealed that there are over 50 Maldivians fighting in foreign wars.

“These people leave the country under normal procedures. So it is not easy to identify if they are traveling to go fight with foreign rebel groups,” Waheed told the press on Thursday.

In the last two weeks, two immigration officers and a suspect in the brutal murder of MP Dr Afrasheem Ali were reported to be among a group of twelve Maldivians to travel to Syria for Jihad via Turkey. The group also consists of two women and a one-year-old infant.

Maldivians are not barred from international travel, Waheed said, and so “it is not easy to figure out what motive they are traveling for”.

In November, Sri Lankan police detained three Maldivians who were allegedly preparing to travel to Syria through Turkey.

The incident followed reports of a couple from Fuvahmulah and a family of four from Meedhoo in Raa Atoll travelling to militant organisation Islamic State-held (IS) territories.

In November, a jihadist group called Bilad Al Sham Media (BASM) – which describes itself as ‘Maldivians in Syria’ – revealed that a fifth Maldivian had died in Syria.

protest march took place in the capital, Malé, in September, with around 200 participants bearing the IS flag and calling for the implementation of Islamic Shariah in the Maldives.

In late August, Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon issued a press statementcondemning “the crimes committed against innocent civilians by the organisation which identifies itself as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.”

Related to this story

Two immigration officers and Afrasheem murder suspect among group of twelve jihadis

Police detain Maldivian jihadis caught in Sri Lanka

More than seven Maldivians fighting in foreign civil wars, reveals home minister

Six Maldivians reported as latest to travel for jihad, taking one-year-old infant


Fuvahmulah couple the latest to travel to ISIS territory for jihad

A couple from Fuvahmulah are reported to be the latest Maldivians to have left the country in order to wage jihad in Syria.

Local media has reported that Ahmed Munsih and his wife Suma Ali told family last night that they were already in Syria and that they would not be returning.

The news follows reports last week that four members of the same family, from Raa Atoll Meedhoo, had travelled to ISIS held territory –  currently comprising large swathes of Syria and Iraq.

Police Commissioner Hussain Waheed told Haveeru that efforts were underway to discourage those wishing to travel for jihad.

In September, an online jihadist group Bilad Al Sham Media – believed to be based in Syria and the Maldives – claimed that a total of four Maldivian men had now been killed while fighting in the Syrian civil war.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has claimed that up to 200 Maldivians are on jihad, telling international media that ex-security servicemen were often among those travelling to fight abroad.

“Radical Islam is getting very, very strong in the Maldives. Their strength in the military and in the police is very significant,” the opposition leader told the UK’s Independent newspaper last month.

On September 5, a protest march took took place in Malé with participants bearing the Islamic State’s flag calling for the implementation of Islamic Shariah in the Maldives.

‘We want the laws of the Quran, not the green book [Maldivian constitution]‘, ‘Islam will eradicate secularism’, ‘No democracy, we want just Islam’, and ‘Shariah will dominate the world’, read some of the placards carried by protesters.

The UK government last week said it was aware of ISIS sympathisers in the Maldives, and that it will continue to “engage” with the government regarding religious moderation.

In late August, Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon condemned “the crimes committed against innocent civilians by the organisation which identifies itself as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.”

Dunya’s remarks followed Islamic Minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed’s declaration that the ISIS would not be allowed to operate in the Maldives.

“ISIS is an extremist group. No space will be given for their ideology and activities in the Maldives,” Shaheem tweeted on August 24.

Intelligence service provider ‘The Soufan Group’ has estimated that as many as 12,000 fighters from at least 81 countries have joined civil war in Syria


Maldives a “land of sin”, says jihadist after departing with family for ISIS territory

A Maldivian is believed to have travelled to ISIS held territory for jihad with his wife, mother, and 10-year-old sister after describing the Maldives as an apostate nation.

Local media reported a that 23-year-old Ahsan Ibrahim from Raa Atoll Meedhoo, who left for the capital Malé with his mother for healthcare is now believed to have flown to Turkey via Dubai.

While speaking to Haveeru, Ahsan’s father Ibrahim Ali said that he spent 18 days worried about the lack of communication from his family after they left for Malé. He then received a Viber message from his son saying they were abroad, and refused to allow Ibrahim speak to his wife.

“My son texted via Viber and said they were now under the care of IS [Islamic State], and that he wouldn’t return to this land of sin,” said Ibrahim.

Ibrahim said that he had requested Meedhoo Island Council’s assistance, and with their help found out that the family had flown to Turkey via Dubai.

Maldives Police Service (MPS) confirmed to Minivan News that a case involving a family leaving for jihad had been filed to the police, but refused to give further information regarding the case.

Ibrahim Ali said that his son loved religious rituals, but there had been no indications that Ahsan would leave the country with his family.

Jihad and Extremism

In September, an online jihadist group Bilad Al Sham Media – believed to be based in Syria and the Maldives – claimed that a total of four Maldivian men had been killed while fighitng in the Syrian civil war.

Speaking to press at the time, President Abdulla Yameen said that the government was unaware of Maldivians fighting abroad. He also said that if they were fighting abroad, it was not being done with the government’s consent.

Foreign minister Dunya Maumoon has publicly condemned atrocities carried out by ISIS, suggesting that the group was violating fundamental Islamic principles of peace and tolerance.

In early September two hundred people, including ten children, staged a protest march in the capital Malé calling for the implementation of full Islamic Sharia laws in the country. They carried placards expressing strong anti-democratic sentiment and black flags now synonymous with the Islamic State.

Police were unable to stop protestors from carrying the flag being and the march concluded with a communal prayer wishing success to the various holy warriors fighting in conflicts around the world.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has claimed that up to 200 Maldivians are on jihad, alleging that a vast majority of them are ex-military. The government has rejected the claim.

“Radical Islam is getting very very strong in the Maldives, their strength in the military and in the police is very significant. They have people in strategic positions within both,” said Nasheed in an interview with UK’s Independent newspaper.

An investigation report by UK based Athena Investigations suggested gangs motivated by religious extremism to the most likely explanations behind the disappearance of Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan 76 days ago.

The report suggested gang leaders had been exposed to radical Islam during incarceration in prison, saying that they openly supported the actions of the Islamic State in Iraq and had recruited jihadists for the war in Syria and Iraq.


Nasheed accuses Adhaalath leaders of radicalising youth

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has accused leaders of the religious conservative Adhaalath Party of radicalising and indoctrinating youth to carry out vigilante action in the name of Islam.

“Don’t do this to our youth. Don’t make them do all these vile deeds after picking them out individually and leading them astray,” the opposition leader appealed at a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) rally in Malé last night.

Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla is believed to have been abducted by a radicalised youth, Nasheed claimed.

“What he did was a crime, a very serious crime. But the person who convinced him to abduct Rilwan committed an even more serious crime,” he added.

A young person would not have been motivated to abduct Rilwan without indoctrination, the MDP president suggested.

“What I have to say to Sheikh Imran [Abdulla] and Sheikh [Mohamed] Shaheem is don’t play the role of satan in the guise of sheikhs,” Nasheed said, referring to the Adhaalath party president and Islamic minister, respectively.

The Islamic minister was not responding to calls at the time of press.

A private investigation commissioned by human rights NGO Maldivian Democracy Network has implicated radicalised gangs in Rilwan’s disappearance.

The findings of the investigation – conducted by Glasgow-based Athena Intelligence and Security – made public yesterday suggested that Rilwan was most likely to have been abducted.

Citing the abduction of several young men in June by a vigilante group in a push to identify online activists advocating secularism or professing atheism, the investigation report found gang activity in Rilwan’s abduction to be a “strong possibility.”

The abductions in June followed local media reports of a meeting between Islamic Minister Shaheem and youth groups who expressed concern over the harassment of Islam and the promotion of homosexuality.

Minivan News learned that individuals photographed in the meeting – and in a separate meeting with Home Minister Umar Naseer – formed part of the vigilante group that carried out the abductions.


Nasheed meanwhile warned of the rise of Islamic extremism in the Maldives.

“It’s difficult to say ‘extreme’ Islamic principles. They are not Islamic principles. Islamic principles are not hard or soft. They are moderate. Islam is always moderate,” he said.

Islam was being misused for “undue advantage and political gain,” he continued, and youth were being made to commit “many vile deeds.”

“Harming people in the name of Islam, abducting people in the name of Islam, and killing people, I know for certain that – and you don’t have to be a religious scholar –  that is not how it is in Islam, that we all know Islam is not a violent religion,” he said.

Earlier this month, Nasheed told the Independent newspaper in the UK that the vast majority of Maldivians fighting in Syria and Iraq were ex-military.

“Radical Islam is getting very, very strong in the Maldives. Their strength in the military and in the police is very significant. They have people in strategic positions within both,” he alleged.

Following the MDP’s claim in May that extremist ideologies were prevalent in the security services, the defence ministry dismissed the allegations at the time as both “baseless and untrue” and intended to “discredit and disparage” the military.

The Maldives Police Service (MPS) meanwhile issued a press release on Thursday (September 18) condemning Nasheed’s allegations.

While police estimated that about 24 persons with links to militant jihadist organisations might be active in the Maldives, MPS insisted that none of them were police officers.

“And the police leadership has always been working to ensure that such people are not formed within the police,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, the MDP asked yesterday for police to investigate death threats made against its MPs and senior members, who the party said were also being followed.

MDP MP Eva Abdulla received a text message last night threatening a suicide attack during the next MDP gathering. The message threatened to “kill off” MDP members and to fight “to the last drop of blood.”

MDP MP Imthiyaz Fahmy told Minivan News earlier this week that death threats have become too commonplace to publicise each incident.


MDP questions sincerity of Islamic minister’s stance on ISIS

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has questioned the sincerity of Islamic Minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed’s declaration that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) would not be allowed to operate in the Maldives.

“ISIS is an extremist group. No space will be given for their ideology and activities in the Maldives,” Shaheem tweeted on Sunday night (August 24).

The main opposition party contended in a press release yesterday that Shaheem’s statement was “duplicitous” and “insincere” as it was not backed up with concrete action by the government.

“We note with concern that neither the Islamic minister nor the government has taken any action while activities related to terrorism in different forms as well as extremism are carried out in the Maldives, religious strife and hatred is incited widely, and death threats are being made against various people over religious matters,” the statement read.

The party noted that the ISIS flag was used in recent protests in Malé calling for a boycott of Israeli tourists. While the protesters had gathered outside the residence of the Islamic minister in violation of freedom of assembly laws, the MDP noted that the government had not taken any action.

The Islamic ministry has also provided a meeting hall of the Islamic centre for a religious sermon which was advertised with the ISIS logo, the MDP claimed.

The party claimed to have learned that police and army officers were involved in putting up the banners across the capital.

Dr Afrasheem

The MDP also accused the government of not attempting to find the “real killers” of murdered MP Dr Afrasheem Ali, noting that the moderate religious scholar had faced harassment over his liberal views.

Referring to his last television appearance, the party said Dr Afrasheem’s remarks suggested he was “forced” to support radical religious ideology.

Appearing on a live talk show on state broadcaster Television Maldives, Dr Afrasheem had said he was deeply saddened and asked for forgiveness if he had created a misconception due to his inability to express himself in the right manner.

Islamic Minister Shahaeem was quoted in local media at the time as saying that his ministry had not forced Dr Afrasheem to offer a public apology in his last television appearance.

Dr Afrasheem’s moderate positions on subjects such as music had drawn stringent criticism from more conservative religious elements, who dubbed him “Dr Ibilees” (“Dr Satan”).

In 2008, the scholar was kicked and chased outside a mosque after Friday prayers, while in May 2012, the religious Adhaalath Party released a statement condemning Afrasheem for allegedly “mocking the Sunnah”.

NGO Salaf had meanwhile released at least a dozen statements against the late Dr Afrasheem at the time of his death. In a three-page press release (Dhivehi) on July 10, 2008, Salaf listed Dr Afrasheem’s alleged transgressions and advised him to “fear Allah, stop talking any way you please of things you do not know of in the name of religion and [stop] twisting [Islamic] judgments to suit your personal wishes”.

The NGO also called on the public not to listen to “any religious fatwa or any religious talk” from the scholar.

Extremist ideology

The MDP statement meanwhile noted that the US State Department’s 2013 country report on terrorism had stated that “Maldivian authorities believe that funds are currently being raised in Maldives to support terrorism abroad”.

While the report observed that “the Maldivian Central Bank believes that criminal proceeds mainly come from domestic sources, as a large percentage of Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) are related to Maldivians,” the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) denied it had any knowledge of such activities.

“The MMA has neither received nor communicated any information regarding confirmed operation of terrorist financing activities,” the central bank insisted in a statement.

The MDP said it believes such activities were aided and abetted by both foreign groups and Maldivians, adding that the activities were “well organised” and carried out with “funding and training”.

“There has been particular concern that young Maldivians, including those within the penal system, may be at risk of becoming radicalised and joining violent Islamist extremist groups. Links have been made between Maldivians and violent extremists throughout the world,” the US report stated.

The party also argued that extremism in the Maldives was encouraged by the mass gathering held on December 23, 2011 to “defend Islam” against the allegedly secularist policies of former President Mohamed Nasheed as well as a pamphlet issued by the party of current Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed.

Dr Jameel’s Dhivehi Qaumee Party had issued a pamphlet titled “President Nasheed’s devious plot to destroy the Islamic faith of Maldivians.”

Both the December 23 demonstration and the pamphlet were intended to sow discord and strife for political purposes, the party contended, and reiterated its claim that extremist ideologies were prevalent in the security services.

The party also referred to President Abdulla Yameen’s response when asked about Maldivians leaving to fight in the Syrian civil war following the death of a Maldivian militant in a suicide attack.

President Yameen’s remarks about the government not being involved in sending Maldivians to join militant organisations were “extremely irresponsible,” the MDP said.


Tourists blissfully unaware of Islamist tide in Maldives: Irish Times

“On arrival in the Maldives, holidaymakers bound for the exclusive resort of Gili Lankanfushi are whisked from the airport to a speedboat, given a freshly prepared coconut to sip and a cloth bag bearing a slogan: ‘No News, no Shoes.’ The idea is to place your shoes in the bag during the 20-minute boat journey and forget them, along with distressing world events, for the duration of your stay at the tropical island paradise,” writes the Irish Times.

“Avoiding the headlines may be no bad thing while watching sea turtles swim under your luxurious water villa, or while walking barefoot along the sparkling lagoon’s palm-shaded white beaches. It is certainly no bad thing for the Maldivian tourism industry, because the news is not good from this resort archipelago of some 1,200 low-lying coral islands in the Indian Ocean.

“In April, following a 60-year moratorium, the Muslim country’s government reactivated the death penalty. Facilities are being built at a prison on Maafushi Island to have murder convicts executed by lethal injection. The age of criminal responsibility in the Maldives is 10, but children as young as seven – who may be found guilty of certain crimes under Islamic sharia – could now potentially face a death sentence.”

Read more


Police defiant in the face of taunts from jihadi group

The Maldives Police Service is investigating remarks made by Bilad Al Sham Media (BASM) in response to its investigation into the jihadist group.

“Whether threats are issued from within the Maldives or from outside, the police will remain confident in fulfilling our legal obligations,” police told CNM.

Responding to police attempts to locate the group, which recently reported the deaths of two Maldivians in Syria, a post on BASM’s Facebook page said they could be found at the Jabhat al-Nusra base in Idlib, northwestern Syria.

“Now lets see whether they can bring us back,” read the post.

“We will throw out the map and you shall go step by step just the way we want until you land in that pit of doom which you are headed to right now.”

Meanwhile, a former senior police officer questioned both the capacity and the desire or authorities to prosecute such activities.

The former officer pointed to the lack of comprehensive anti-terror laws in the country, as well as questioning the decision to have controversial Sheikh Adam Shameem speak at the police’s recent master parade.

“For the police to invite these people validates the accusations made by some that police and the security services are quite supportive of extremist elements and extremism in general,” said the former officer.

The jihadist BASM group’s members have claimed to be fighting with Jabhat al-Nusra – the Al Qaeda-affiliated group designated as a terrorist organisation by the UN and a number of leading western countries since its creation in 2012.

Investigations into the two men reported by BASM as having been killed – identified as Hassan Shifaz and Ali Adam from Malé and Shaviyani Feydhoo, respectively – also brought criticism from the group.

“When the Maldivian Police heard of the Maldivians being martyred in Syria, those half female creatures made sure they go enter upon their houses and question their women,” said BASM.

“If the Maldivian Police are investigating about us, then let them know that we too are investigating.”

“We cannot have another Sultan Park”

The former senior police officer, who spoke with Minivan News on condition of anonymity, suggested that current events represented the mismanagement of several governments.

“This situation has been getting bigger and bigger everyday since the incidents in Sultan Park and Himandhoo island.”

Twelve tourists were among those injured in the September 2007 blast, which was followed by violent confrontations between authorities and a radical congregation on the island of Himandhoo during the police investigation.

In addition to “fast tracked” legislation, the source called for more serious efforts to analyse the root causes for the radicalisation of Maldivians – a problem he argues can no longer be denied.

“Our terrorism act  – the legislation we have on terrorism, is from 1990 I think – is really irrelevant to the new age of violent extremist acts.”

“I think just mere investigation into something that has already happened will not do any good. There has to be some serious efforts to analyse this problem – what actually causes this problem.”

“In 2012 the government denied that Maldivians were involved in any level in violent extremism. Now the very people involved in it are very openly admitting to it,” he explained.

Identifying those involved in the financing, recruitment, and transportation of Maldivian extremists is relatively simple, he explained, while the preventive aspect is more difficult.

The officer believed that the neglect of the problem could perhaps be explained by preoccupation with the country’s turbulent domestic politics – suggesting that Sheikh Shameem’s “provocative” invitation to the Martyr’s Day parade may have been another symptom of this.

“The police have become very politicised, they make everything political,” the source told Minivan News today.

“Because someone whom they do not support – someone whom they hate – had openly claimed that Maldives is faced with this problem with violent extremism, people don’t like it.”

Sheikh Shameem told officers they should always possess the will to be martyred when defending the people and the nation. He also recently prayed for the acceptance of the martyrdom of Maldivians killed in Syria.

Shameem first came to public attention following his ‘mega-lecture’ ‘Andalus‘ last year, which was interrupted by authorities for violating state broadcaster’s guideline.

Last month, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) suggested that extremist ideologies were prevalent within the security services – accusations described as “baseless and untrue” by the MNDF.

The MDP also condemned Shameem’s ‘Andalus’ lecture last year, accusing him of inciting hatred in order to sway the electorate.