Masked men break into school to cut down cursed ‘Jinn tree’

Last night group of masked men broke into Thakandhoo School in Haa Alif atoll after threatening the security guard with a knife in order to cut down what they claimed was a ‘Jinn Tree’ with evil spirits.

Thakandhoo Island Council Vice President Ibrahim Saeed said the incident happened around 3am this morning.

“Three masked men jumped over the school wall last night and one of them threatened the security guard with a knife. And while he held the security guard, the other two went in with a hand saw and cut down the tree,” he said.

The Maldives Police Service confirmed that the incident is currently under investigation and that a police team from Ihavandhoo arrived on the island within an hour of the incident.

Local media outlet CNM has reported that the tree is approximately 13 years old and was planted by the school staff.

“It was a beautiful tree planted to give a good look to the school compound. Sometimes students try to climb it, and last year three students were possessed by Jinns,” CNM was told by the school staff member.

“People say it is because of that tree, so we even brought five people to look into the matter. But even they didn’t recommend to cut down the tree.”

CNM also quoted the staff member as saying that the Jinns [of the tree] had already “stabilised” when it was cut down last night.

Fanditha politics

Speaking to Minivan News, a local who supported the cutting down of the tree said that many believed the tree was connected to the jinn possession of children last year.

“Thing went really bad last December,” explained the local man. “Many of those children have recovered now but there is a child who is still possessed. And there is young girl who loses consciousness whenever she walks past by this tree.”

“Even when things are like this, the island is so politically divided that these issues are politicised and an agreement is not reached as to how it should be dealt with.”

He said the rivalry between two group of islanders dates back to the pre-democracy era and that issues have further polarised with party politics.

“Fanditha practice is very common here. The island is divided into two rival groups even before party politics.”

“But now it [the divide] is [politically] colored, and represented by supporters of PPM [ruling Progressive Party of Maldives] aligned with the former island chief’s family and friends, and those supporting MDP [opposition Maldivian Democratic Party]. There are magicians on both sides,” he explained.

Last September a group of ‘Islamic exorcists’ uncovered ‘hexed clay tablets’ buried near the school compound following a series of ‘jinn possession’ incidents. A police team went to the island with a court warrant and searched all the houses for black magicians and traditional fanditha magic related objects.

The incident, which took place as the whole country was preparing for the second (cancelled) round of presidential election, left the island community in shock and fear.

MDP supporters from the island claimed it was a political plot to frame their members for practicing black magic as reports of black magic emerged across the country during the 2013 election period.

Practice of black magic is a criminal offense under Shariah Law, which it is punishable by death – a sentence still handed down for the offence in countries like Saudi Arabia.

In 1953 local black magician Hakim Didi was sentenced to death in the Maldives for practicing magic which eventually lead to the murder of an atoll chief by poisoning and use of black magic in a plot to kill President Mohamed Ameen Didi.

Along with a group of magicians and other co-conspirators, Hakeem Didi is said to have confessed to carrying out many disturbing black magic practices. These include the brewing of a magic poisonous fish potion, the extraction of liver oil from corpses of children, and eating them along with flour dough effigies of the president.

Didi was executed by a firing squad, after which there has been an unofficial moratorium on death penalty in the Maldives.

The permitted forms of white fanditha magic are also regulated by the government and can be legally practiced only with a written permission from the Ministry of Health according to the Traditional Medicine, Fanditha (Magic), Circumcision and Midwifery Services Act of 1978.

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Police investigating suspected black magic coconuts in mosque wells

‘Fanditha’ (‘magic’) coconuts were found yesterday (September 23) in the wells of three different mosques on Kudahuvadhoo Island in Dhaal Atoll.

Police are investigating the suspected black magic coconuts, which had Arabic script on the husks, according to local media.

Meanwhile, a fanditha ‘kurumba’ (‘young coconut’) with two figures drawn on the husk was thrown into the religious conservative Adhaalath Party (AP)’s meeting hall on Kulhudhoofushi Island in Haa Dhaal Atoll, reports local media.

The coconut was thrown into the premises after the security guard had fallen asleep, senior AP activist Mohamed Moosa told local media.

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Black magic coconut discovered at PPM MP’s home

A black magic coconut was discovered at the home of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Ahmed Mahloof, reports local media.

The ‘kurumba’ (young coconut) had a human figure drawn on it with a nail driven into the figure’s head and was discovered around 1:00pm Wednesday, according to local media.

The Maldives Police Service (MPS) is investigating the matter, but have not commented on the case, reported CNM.

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Police conduct witch hunt on Thakandhoo after children allegedly possessed by evil spirits

Additional reporting by Ahmed Nazeer

A police team have been searching for black magic practitioners on Thakandhoo Island in Haa Alif Atoll after some islanders “purposefully” contacted the Maldives Police Service (MPS) and claimed Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) supporters were responsible for the possession of four local children by evil spirits, according to an island council source.

The police arrived on the island around 10:00am yesterday morning and started inspecting houses. Their search is based on information police intelligence received, Thakandhoo Island Council Vice President Ibrahim Shaheed told local media.

The police team is inspecting individual houses under a court warrant, a police media official told Sun Online.

Four children from the same family began behaving strangely earlier this week, prompting islanders to call in ‘fanditha’ (magic) men who practice ‘ruqyah’ (Islamic exorcism) from the nearby island of Ihavandhoo, a Thakandhoo island council source told Minivan News today (September 12).

The MPS was called to investigate the black magic case after some of the islanders perceived the incident to be politically motivated, the island council source explained.

“Some of the islanders purposefully sent police officers to homes of MDP supporters on the island,” said the island council source. “The police came and gave them each documents that said their houses had to be searched regarding reports police intelligence received.”

“The documents also noted that police officers were unable to find anything related to the matter after searching their houses,’’ he added.

The Thakandhoo Island Council “wishes to get rid of this black magic issue forever and has asked the fanditha men to determine exactly who is responsible [for contacting the police],” the source noted.

Because the four children living in the same house on the island were believed to be possessed by evil spirits the islanders brought fanditha men to the island on Tuesday (September 10), and they immediately started reciting ‘maithiri’ (Quranic verses recited to end spiritual possession).

“When the recitation of maithiri started three days ago the kids situation got worse,’’ the island council source said. “But we were told by the fanditha men that it will be like that until the seventh day.”

The fanditha men also determined the general location of the buried black magic items and asked people to dig in the area.

They discovered the black magic objects buried in front of a gate located inside the Thakandhoo Island School, which leads to the playground outside school grounds.

‘’When we dug up the area we found these objects and now we have thrown them away,’’ said the island council source.

The black magic objects were reported to be clay tablets by local media.

Last night the island council met with the community to talk about this issue as people were feeling “scared and uncomfortable”, he added.

Police Spokesperson Chief Inspector Hassan Haneef was not responding to calls at time of press, however a police media official told Minivan News that the MPS was not revealing any information about the case as the investigation was ongoing.

Possessed children

“The police arrived yesterday and have been checking houses for black magic books, writing, or a witch – anything suspicious,” a Thakandhoo island resident told Minivan News.

“They checked three or four homes and are still here today, but are supposed to be leaving in the evening,” she added. “So far no one has been arrested, but they have taken some books into their possession.”

A 14 year-old girl, and boys aged 12,10, and nine – none of whom have had any previous behavioral problems – have been behaving very erratically and are difficult to control, the source explained.

“I’m not a believer [in black magic], I never have been, but it’s happening. And it’s so weird to see happening,” she said.

“It just started suddenly. The children began speaking and behaving in a very strange way. Their outbursts happen randomly – any time of day for the girl, but with the boys it happens mostly in the evenings,” she continued.

“The girl has been seeing black shadows, acting weird, complaining of ‘frozen’ hands and teeth, and saying strange things, ‘I’m going to kill you and somebody’s coming,’ and has fainted,” she explained. “She was admitted to the island’s health centre screaming uncontrollably not to remove the [clay] stones because it would kill her, and not to kill her.”

“[Additionally,] the 10 year-old boy has been continuously running super fast all over the island trying to get into the school and he also fainted,” she continued.

During the community meeting last night islanders had an opportunity to voice their concerns and were also instructed about how to be safe and what precautions to take against black magic, the island source noted.

“Everybody’s worried about the children and they’re concerned because there hasn’t been a black magic incident here for a long time, not since my grandmother was a child,” she said.

“We were advised to recite the Quran and for children not to go out after 6:00pm or go to isolated places unsupervised,” she added.

According to the source the island school has remained open, but some parents have not been sending their children to class for the past two days.

This prompted the school principal to tell parents attending the community meeting that “they should be sending their children to school because if we [islanders] don’t go out [of our homes] it will be more of a risk,” said the island source.

“People are not openly saying much about it because that will put them in danger as well,” she added.

In addition to reciting verses from the Quran, blessed water can also be used to conduct an exorcism, Spiritual Healers of the Maldives President and Exorcist, Ajnaadh Ali, explained Minivan News today.

He noted that the minimum period of treatment for those afflicted by black magic is seven days, but it can take up to one or two months depending on the case.

Thakandhoo islanders contacted the Spiritual Healers of the Maldives to assist with healing the possessed children, however because they are currently “taking treatment themselves”, the organisation has decided to conduct workshops on the island at a later date, added Ali.

Politics and black magic

This is the third island in two weeks to have reported black magic incidents related to political party rivalries.

Police were summoned to investigate an alleged black magic doll after it was discovered at the Shaviyani Atoll School polling station on Kanditheemu Island during the presidential election vote counting.

Coconuts with black magic spells were allegedly being used to sway voters’ political party allegiance and incite confrontations between MDP supporters and police on Fuvahmulah, ahead of the Presidential Election’s first round held September 7.

Additionally, police summoned a white magic practitioner to evaluate a young coconut believed to have been cursed by a black magic spell, after it was found near the Guraidhoo Island presidential election polling station.

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Maldives’ police investigate suspected black magic doll at polling station

Police were summoned to investigate an alleged black magic doll after it was discovered at the Shaviyani Atoll School polling station during the presidential election vote counting.

The suspicious ‘fanditha’ (black magic) doll was first noticed on the school’s wall by an Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) election observer as well as polling station officials on Kanditheemu Island during the vote counting process Saturday (September 7). They contacted local police to investigate the suspicious doll.

“The police just checked whether the doll was real [fanditha],” MDP Kanditheemu Campaign Manager Mohamed ‘Mox’ Fahumee told Minivan News today (September 9). “They did not actually want to get involved in such [black magic related] things.”

After the police were called to the polling station they – and local islanders – asked community members, the Shaviyani Atoll School’s site supervisor, and Bangladeshi labourers working at the school to try and discover who made the doll and with what intention, explained Fahumee.

“One of the laborers told us he made it ‘just for fun’ to pass the time, since they do not have very much work to do,” said Fahumee. “He made the doll from wool, putty, and wall paint and then placed it on the wall to dry.”

The Maldives Police Service had not responded to enquiries at time of press.

Fanditha fear

“On this island [Kanditheemu] people always talk about black magic during elections. They claim that government aligned parties – the Political Party of the Maldives (PPM), Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), etc – practice fanditha to gain votes,” said Fahumee.

“When people talk about fanditha they become afraid,” noted Fahumee.

“Black magic might work, there are so many stories of people dying because of fanditha. During elections people talk about that and it spreads [around the island] very quickly, but they talk in secret,” he continued.

Swing voters who are not strongly in favor one candidate or political party versus another are particularly susceptible to fearing black magic will influence their vote, he explained.

“If they are finding it difficult to select a candidate and they are afraid [of black magic influence], they might vote for someone who does not represent their best interests,” he added.

Fahumee explained that while most island residents talk about possible incidents of fanditha, the discussions are conducted in secret, out of fear the island’s black magic practitioner will “come after” the person(s) talking about him.

Although not everyone believes in the power of fanditha, or “accepts those kinds of things”, it is still an issue – and precautions are taken – because it sows fear and uncertainty about the impartiality of the voting process, noted Fahumee.

More cursed coconuts

Concerns of black magic being used for election vote tampering have been raised on several islands in the Maldives.

MDP supporters on Guraidhoo Island in Kaafu Atoll reportedly began lining up to vote at 2:00pm Friday (September 6), after rumours began circulating of a black magic coconut buried at the front of the queue.

It is thought the candidate chosen by the first person in line standing over the coconut would then be the candidate picked by all remaining voters.

“We don’t believe in these things, but some MDP supporters waited just in case,” 25 year-old Guraidhoo resident Hussain Nadheef told Minivan News. “We will never let PPM [use black magic].”

Last week, police summoned a white magic practitioner to evaluate a young coconut believed to have been cursed by a black magic spell, after it was found near the Guraidhoo Island presidential election polling station.

Coconuts with black magic spells were allegedly being used to sway voters’ political party allegiance and incite confrontations between MDP supporters and police on Fuvahmulah, ahead of Saturday’s Presidential Election.

Given the widespread reporting of black magic election tampering and the cursed coconut issues on Guraidhoo and Fuvahmulah, Minivan News asked Elections Commission Vice Chair Ahmed Fayaz whether the issue was raised by any election observers.

Fayaz noted that he had not discussed the issue with any of the observers, and had first read about the story on the UK’s Guardian website.

Asked if he felt that the additional international media spotlight on the election triggered by the coconut may have had a positive impact on the election process, Fayaz laughed and said “maybe”.

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Cursed coconuts on Fuvahmulah allegedly used to disrupt elections

Additional reporting by Ahmed Nazeer

Coconuts with black magic spells are allegedly being used to sway voters’ political party allegiance and incite confrontations between Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) supporters and police on Fuvahmulah, ahead of Saturday’s Presidential Election.

A ‘kurumba’ (young coconut) suspected to have a ‘fanditha’ (black magic) curse, with Arabic writing and suspicious symbols burned into the husk, was found in the garden of a home located in Fuvahmulah’s Dhiguvaadu ward yesterday (September 4), a source from Dhiguvaadu ward told Minivan News today.

The woman who found the suspicious coconut in the early hours of the morning intended to inform the police, however the homeowners – “hard core” Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) supporters – told her not to do anything until an expert investigated the coconut first, said the source.

“Neighbors supporting President Mohamed Waheed’s Gaumee Ihthihad Party (GIP) live in the area, so they heard about the fanditha coconut and wanted to create problems, so they contacted the police,” the source continued.

“MDP and PPM have been running strong campaigns and have many supporters in the area, however GIP only has about 15 members,” the source noted.

“Since GIP has very few supporters, they are trying to redirect attention away from the other political parties to gain votes,” alleged the source. “GIP has told PPM that MDP planted the fanditha coconut, however they are telling MDP that PPM is responsible.”

“Neighbors a few houses away were awake around 3:00am that night and did not notice any suspicious activity,” said the source.

The source believes that GIP, PPM and Jumhoree Party (JP) supporters are trying incite unrest among MDP activists on Fuvahmulah – especially GIP by involving the police in the fanditha coconut incident.

MDP supporters on Fuvahmulah remain very upset about the violent police crackdown that happened after the controversial transition of power in February 2012, according to the source.

“When MDP activists see local police they are not good with them, they do not keep calm, there is always a huge scene, shouting, etc.,” the source explained.

“[However,] these days MDP [Island] Councilors are trying to the max to keep supporters calm,” the source continued.

“And the situation is very calm right now. It [the fanditha coconut incident] was nothing huge, just a very simple thing,” the source said. “There won’t be any impact on voting.”

Fuvahmulah police did not want to get involved in the black magic incident, instead they preferred to allow the family to take action independently, a police source told Minivan News today.

“If we get involved, it will turn into a big thing,” said the police source, in reference to inciting unrest among MDP supporters.

However, local media reported that police took possession of the black magic coconut.

The Maldives Police Service was not responding to calls at time of press.

Black magic sabotage

A black magic practitioner from Fuvahmulah allegedly cast spells on five yellow young coconuts – kurumba can also be green or orange – and gave them to another man to deliver to a specific key location, a Fuvahmulah island council source told Minivan News today.

The island council source alleged a person named *Easa cast a spell on five coconuts and gave them to *Moosa to deliver. However, Moosa left the coconuts on his bed covered with a sheet before going to work.

“Moosa’s wife was not told about the cursed coconuts, so she was shocked to find coconuts on their bed and called the police immediately,” said the island council source. “The police went over to the house and took the coconuts.”

“She thought MDP had cast the black magic spells because the coconuts were yellow,’’ the island council source explained. “Once Moosa found out what his wife had done, he told her it was very bad that she had reported it to police.’’

Moosa and his wife then went to get the cursed coconuts back from the police, but police refused to return them, according to the island council source.

The island council source noted that Easa made a typographical error when cursing the coconuts. The coconut curse says to “get rid of [PPM presidential candidate Abdulla] Yameen”, but was supposed to read “get benefits from Yameen”.

Furthermore, during the 2008 presidential election Easa also started practicing black magic a month before the election day, noted the island council source.

“Every day after dawn prayer he went to the beach and did black magic stuff. He also went near the polling station and threw cursed objects at people,’’ said the island council source. “[But] Easa’s spells did not work the last time.”

“This hasn’t been taken too seriously by the islanders, but the MDP supporters are very concerned,’’ the island council source said.

No arrests have been made in connection with the case, the source added.

Earlier this week, police summoned a white magic practitioner to evaluate a young coconut believed to have been cursed by a black magic spell, after it was found near the Guraidhoo Island presidential election polling station in Kaafu Atoll.

*Names have been changed

Spiritual healing

This is the second cursed coconut incident reported in as many days, related to the presidential election. To better understand this “very common practice”, Minivan News spoke with Spiritual Healers of the Maldives President and Exorcist, Ajnaadh Ali.

“During elections black magic is used to gain votes and make people ill,” explained Ali.

Ali suspects a spell was read over the Fuvahmulah fanditha coconut instead of inscribed, because the coconut reads “May Allah protect us from Abdulla Yameen”.

The black magic spell cast to influence voting “is a spell of separation. It’s the same idea as a love spell. It can either bring people together or split them apart,” Ali noted. “The black magic will attack them mentally, by demanding the individual think a certain way even if they would normally know something is bad. It makes them blind in the mind.”

“While any object can be used, because coconuts represent a life structure (like eggs) they use those objects to make the spell powerful, with the advice of the devil,” noted Ali.

“There is a long history of the practice in the Maldives, but it is still very common nowadays on every island,” he continued. “There is a lack of knowledge regarding the religion. Some people who do black magic think it’s right because the Quran is used.”

“In Dhivehi, fanditha means magic – black or white – but the way it is practiced is what makes it good or bad. Black magic is when people worship or invoke jins or devils to cause harm to others,” Ali explained.

“Black magic is practiced by misusing the Quran, chanting or writing verses and the names of devils or jins (spirits) to summon their help. It cannot be done unless someone has some disbelief of Allah,” he continued. “It it also disrespectful of the Quran.”

The best protection against black magic is reading Quranic verses, particularly the last two chapters of the Quran, said Ali. ‘Ruqyah’ is a form of white magic, specifically an Islamic exorcism where Quranic verses are read and prayers recited to heal.”

“Ruqyah will neutralise black magic to rid of the evil eye or any other spiritual matter, like jin possessions or mental illness,” he explained.

It can also be conducted for the benefit of worshipping Allah, he added.

“Any Muslim can practice ruqyah by themselves, however its more effective if they have knowledge of jins and the Quran. Also, they must be following the religion,” he noted.

The five pillars of Islam are prayer, fasting, alms for the poor, pilgrimage to Mecca, and declaring belief in one God, Allah.

A 1979 law requires persons wishing to practice fanditha to “write and seek approval from the Ministry of Health.”

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Police summon white magic practitioner to investigate possible cursed coconut

Police summoned a white magic practitioner to evaluate a young coconut believed to have been cursed by a black magic spell, after it was found near the Guraidhoo Island presidential election polling station in Kaafu Atoll.

Police told local media they took the coconut into their possession around 7:05am yesterday (September 3) after receiving a report that the suspicious ‘kihah’ (immature coconut) was located near the Guraidhoo Island School – the island’s polling station for the September 7 presidential election.

The coconut was discovered near the school where the polling station is to be set up, Island Council Vice President Abdul Latheef Ahmed confirmed to local media.

“The police brought a ‘ruqyah’ practitioner (white magician) to examine the coconut, who said it was a fake,” a police source told Minivan News today. “Because it’s a fake the police are not worried,” the source added.

No arrests have been made in the case, according to CNM.

“The four-inch coconut had a Sura [Qur’anic verse] written in Arabic and was lying on the ground near the school, easy for the public to see,” said a source from Guraidhoo with knowledge of the incident.

“When school students saw the coconut they called the principal, who then contacted the police,” he continued.

“It was not really ‘fanditha’ (black magic) on the coconut. If it was fanditha, there would have been Arabic letters and numbers written, not a Sura,” he explained.

“It seems like it was a joke, just a prank, so that people will become aware, learn the moral, and not do it again,” he noted, suggesting the coconut was a lesson for islanders not to practice black magic in an attempt to influence voting, and that the polling area would be closely monitored to prevent such activities from occurring.

“Now the police and school officials are more aware and police are patrolling the school at night, so magicians can’t practice real black magic at the school,” said the Guraidhoo source.

Currently nine police are stationed on Guraidhoo for the upcoming election. Normally only five officers are present.

Election fanditha

Using black magic to either prevent people from voting or influence them to vote for a particular party or candidate is common practice on Guraidhoo.

“Here for most of the elections people use  black magic to win [elections],” said a source from Guraidhoo on condition of anonymity.

He recalled an incident where a black magic practitioner predicted a man would die because of the election.

“Then on the election day the 45 year-old man died and people said it was because of black magic,” said the source.

In July, parents at Guraidhoo Island School refused to allow a polling station in the school for the upcoming presidential elections, due to concerns over black magic practiced by a local witch.

The parents alleged there was a witch on the island who, during previous elections, had cast spells to influence the outcome in favour of the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) which had affected children after targeting the school premises.

“Girls in the school were getting headaches and having been fainting school for years,” the island source explained.

The Elections Commission ultimately decided to place the ballot box inside Guraidhoo School despite parents’ concerns, reported CNM.

Elections Commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek reassured the parents that the commission would take full responsibility if any black magic incidents occurred.

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School calls in spiritual healer after 10 female students “possessed by spirits”

A school on the island of Ukulhas in North Ari Atoll has been closed down after a class of 10 female eighth grade students collectively fainted at 10:30am this morning and were hospitalised.

Ukulhas Island Council Vice President Abdulla Firaq told Minivan News the girls were behaving as if “possessed by spirits”.

“They are hurting themselves, making faces and doing all sorts of things that people do when people are possessed by spirits,’’ he said.

“The female students have been experiencing difficulties such as headaches, stomachaches and dizziness inside the school since last week,” Firaq said.

The school brought in a spiritual healer to investigate the mysterious symptoms, Firaq said.

“Two days ago a spiritual healer was brought to the school to see what was going on and today all the female students in the eighth grade fainted at the same time.”

Firaq said some other students in the school were “mentally affected” and also fainted after seeing the eighth grade students do the same, but added that these students had been admitted to the island hospital and were now back to normal.

Firaq told Minivan News that the spirits talked to the spiritual healer through the possessed students, telling the healer that the  students were damaging the oleander trees inside the school grounds which were their homes.

“The spirits told the healer that they were forced to live inside the school grounds because of a spell cast on the school by a sorcerer four years ago,” Firaq said.

Police Spokesperson Chief Inspector Hassan Haneef confirmed that 10 students on the island of Ukulhas in Alif Alif Atoll had all been hospitalised after fainting this morning.

Haneef added that police were currently investigating the matter. Asked about the nature of these investigations, the police service would not confirm whether the case involved sorcery, known locally as ‘fandita’.

“It’s something like that,” Haneef said.

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Eid ul-Fitr celebrated in the Maldives

The Maldives celebrated Eid ul-Fitr this week with prayer by day and parties by night. After a month of fasting for Ramadan, residents appear to be enjoying the capital island’s festive, social atmosphere.

The Islamic Ministry announced that Tuesday, August 30 was Eid ul-Fitr this year, and Male’ residents woke early on Tuesday morning to the sounds of heavy metal playing near the tsunami memorial. By late morning, the music had stopped and people were moving among houses and shops and a relaxed holiday atmosphere settled over the usually bustling city.

As ordered by the government, all private vehicles were parked and quiet between 3:30pm and 10:30pm. The traffic ordinance made it possible for residents to walk comfortably in the streets on a day when most of Male’ comes out for a stroll or to see the festivities.

The Islamic Ministry extended prayer space from the Islamic Center to Jetty 1 on Male’s northern side. Women could pray in extended space between the Dhiraagu head office to the Friday Mosque Minaret. Men were allowed to occupy all other areas.

Many Male residents traveled to home islands for Eid this year. But those who stayed enjoyed a range of sports, music and cultural activities.

Lagoons Sports Club organised “Maali Neshun” and “Bodumas Beynun”, Maldivian sporting events, on Boduthakurufaanu Magu and Ameenee Magu on Tuesday afternoon.

In “Maali Neshun”, masked participants dressed in ash and palm leaves walked Male’s roads and frightened parade onlookers in jest.

Two fishermen in “Bodumas Beynun” used magic, or fanditha, to catch a large woven fish.

In the evening, Male’s youth and married couples were to be found in hoards at the live music show in the Raalhugandu area, which was sponsored by local telecommunications company Dhiraagu.

Local bands such as 1knightstand, Harubee, and MNDF Cops Band took the stage alongside solo artists like Unoosha and Easa. The concert, which featured a range of musical tastes from soft rock to metal, rap and ska, began around 10 pm and continued past 2 in the morning.

Just around the corner near Bodufungandu Magu, palm tree road blocks protected a street rave featuring drums and traditional dancers. Young people and families were seen, and heard, celebrating into the late hours of the night.

The five-day period of Eid continues through Sunday. Although business is expected to return to its normal, pre-Ramadan state on Monday, Maldivians are looking forward to a second, longer Eid celebration before the end of the year.

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