Innamaadhoo island council asks Islamic Ministry to take action against Sheikh Shameem

Innamaadhoo island council, in Raa Atoll, has filed a complaint with the Islamic Ministry against Sheikh Ibrahim Shameem Adam after he allegedly preached inside the island’s Friday Mosque without first obtaining permission.

Speaking to Minivan News today Council President Ibrahim Fayaz said that Sheikh Shameem went to the island last Saturday and requested the council’s permission.

Before receiving a response from authorities, however, Shameem held a sermon on the island, said Fayaz.

“They announced that there will be a sermon that night on the topic of sports and entertainment and held the sermon without our permission and we did not do anything about it because then they say Innamaadhoo council had obstructed religious activities and that we are anti-Islamic,’’ he said.

He said that the first 50 minutes of the speech was very good before beginning to resemble a political campaign meeting.

“He started talking about politics and the upcoming parliament elections and people inside the mosque came out, only a few were waiting inside,’’ Fayaz said.

“More than 200 people gathered outside the mosque in protest to the speech he was giving because it was supposed to be a religious sermon and not a political rally.’’

Fayaz said that islanders came and complained to the council, warning that if the council was not able to stop him the islanders might have to do it.

“So I then went inside and turned the loudspeaker and microphone off, but he did not stop,’’ he said.

“I asked him who gave him the permission to conduct a sermon inside the mosque and he replied by saying that the ‘Higher Authorities’ gave him permission. I do not know who higher authorities were.’’

Political sermons

Fayaz said that Shameem indirectly criticised both Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the Progressive Party of Maldives’ parliamentary candidates.

“He criticised them in a way that everyone knew who he was talking about, but did not mention the names,’’ he said. “We even called the police that night because there might have been unrest on the island – and five councilors will not be able to stop the islanders.’’

He said that police asked the council to take a statement from Sheikh Shameem, but that Shameem refused to come to answer questions.

Furthermore, Fayaz alleged that the Islamic Ministry would not take any action against him because he was sent by the Adhaalath Party.

Islamic Minister Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed today told Minivan News that he had not received any information of the incident.

In December last year Omadhoo island council stopped Sheikh Shameem from delivering a religious lecture at the local mosque, fearing it might “disrupt the stability and social harmony of the island”.

At the time, 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.

In May 2013 Sheikh Imran Abdulla and Sheikh Ilyas Hussein were obstructed from preaching in Vaikaradhoo, in Haa Dhaalu atoll, whilst Kamadhoo island council in Baa atoll prevented Sheikh Nasrulla Ali from preaching.

In Vaikaradhoo the sheikhs continued with police protection in the presence of local opposition activists.

In September 2013, Maldives Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Chairman Ibrahim Umar Manik told a parliamentary sub-committee that the commission had stopped religious sermon ‘Andhalus’ conducted by Sheikh Shameem for violating the state broadcaster’s guidelines.

The MBC chairman,along with members of the commission, were summoned before the independent institutions committee following complaints by MDP MPs that the sermon by Sheikh Shameem infringed the rights of the party’s presidential candidate.

“We definitely do not consider [televising the sermon] as anti-campaigning against a particular candidate using religion. [But] around 11:35pm, because his talk was changing a little, we stopped the live [broadcasting],” Manik told the parliament committee at the time.

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


Two expats arrested on Innamaadhoo for showing pornography to nine year olds

Two expatriates working on the island of Innamaadhoo in Raa Atoll have been arrested on charges of sexually abusing two young girls.

Deptuty Chair of the Island Council Abdulla Shafeeq told Minivan News today that both expatriates were Bangladeshi nationals and that they have been living on the island for almost a year.

“The two expats showed pornographic materials to the girls – the girls would be only nine years of age,” Shafeeq said. “One man is 24 and the other is 30 years-old.”

Shafeeq said the abuse had been going on for some time, and the first incident occurred about a month ago.

“But yesterday at school, the girls told their classmate about this and then the parents found out,” he said.

Shafeeq said the two men were then summoned to the Council Office.

“Four islanders went to their place to get them and they refused and attacked the four,” Shafeeq said, adding that later a confrontation between the islanders and the two men also occurred while they were inside the council office.

He said that the two men were later taken away by police.

“The police arrested them and we received no further information,” Shafeeq said.

He said that the two expats have been working on the island in the construction industry.

Local media cited an islander as stating that the two girls were threatened using a knife, however Shafeeq could not confirm the allegations.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said police are currently investigating the case.


Five men arrested on Innamadhoo for alleged rape of 16 year-old girl

Police have arrested five men on the island of Innamaadhoo in Raa Atoll for allegedly raping a 16 year-old girl.

Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed that five men were arrested but declined to provide further information as the investigation was ongoing.

Minivan News contacted the island office and spoke to an Innamaadhoo councillor, who insisted that the five men “would have had sex with her consent.”

“I cannot believe that one would have to rape her, because she is a very wanton girl,” the councillor told Minivan News. “I think her brother somehow found out about it and reported it to police.”

The councillor further added that the 16 year-old girl was not from Innamaadhoo and was a “very bad girl.”

“It’s all allegations, according to Maldivian law the police arrest anyone that the girl points her finger at without even having any evidence that the accused has been really involved in it and will keep them a several days in custody to determine the truth of the allegations,” he complained.

“In the statement given to police, the girl said she did not know who the men were apart from her boyfriend,” the councillor said.

“If she was raped by five men then there will be some external injuries that would be easy to identify, but I have seen the girl after that and she was in good condition and there was nothing unusual about her.”

An islander meanwhile told Minivan News that “some people” had followed the girl and her boyfriend as they saw the couple acting unusual.

“They saw them enter an abandoned house and saw everything that happened,” he said, going on to blame the island council’s deputy chair for attempting to “hide the truth of the story”.

”The council has been very irresponsible and doing no good for the people,” he said. ”Even in this incident the council has tried to hide the truth from the media.”

Minivan News contacted the head of the gender department, Lubna Mohamed, regarding the prevalence of sexual abuse and prevailing societal attitudes in the Maldives, but she did not respond at time of press.

A 2006 study by the then Ministry of Gender and Family found that one in three Maldivian women aged 15-49 have experienced physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lives, while one in five women in the same age group reported experiencing this from an intimate partner.

Moreover, one in six women in the capital Male’ and one in eight countrywide reported experiencing childhood sexual abuse under the age of 15 years.