Islamic Ministry expresses concern over Akon’s SuperFest

State Minister for Islamic Affairs Sheikh Ahmed Shaheem Ali Saeed has said the ministry has received “many complaints” from people concerned about the upcoming Akon concert, which is to be held in the Maldives on 23 April.

”We have received many phone calls and complaints from people asking why we are doing nothing when a person who sings explicit lyrics is about to perform in the country,” Shaheem said.

”Our opinion is that we do not like explicit singers to perform in the country.”

He explained that scholars agreed that singing was allowed under the tenets of Islam, ”but with a good level of discipline.”

Akon is no stranger to religious controversy, after he was denied a visa to Sri Lanka by the country’s authorities because of a video clip in which he dances around a Buddha statue with scantily-clad women.

Press Secretary for the President Mohamed Zuhair said the government had no valid reason to reject Akon from performing in the Maldives.

Zuhair said if the Islamic ministry had any issues against it, “they can either send a letter or speak about it in the cabinet meeting.”

”It would be very unfair to say that Akon might do this or that before he actually does it,” Zuhair said.

He said a private company had spent a large amount of money investing in the performance in the Maldives, and that many Maldivian companies were also involved in the event.

Zuhair has previously stated that President Mohamed Nasheed is keen to attend the concert, which the government hopes will lead to further performances in the Maldives.

Event Manager in the Maldives for Akon concert Fathmath Raufa said the organisers were “fully confident” that nothing against the tenets of Islam would take place during the event.

”Our main purpose is to promote our country and to introduce entertainment tourism to the Maldives,” she said. ”This is like any other show held in Male’.”

She said there was no reason to stop this event, and noted that Akon and both his parents were Muslim.

Islamic NGO Jamiyathul Salaf did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.

From Akon’s song ‘Senegal’:

‘So what you know about how God comes first in our lives, everything that we do is for Allah

So what you know about that Holy place called Touba where Prophets were born

So what you know about comin’ here, gettin money and investing it back home.”

From Akon’s song ‘Bartender’:

” Don’t smoke, don’t drink, that’s why I don’t be by the bar, baby

Just lookin’ at you from a distance, lookin’ like a goddamn star, baby

So my girl don’t see me, T-Pain, can I get those keys to the car?

‘Bout to go and bang bang boogie with my cutie and I’ll see you tomar’.”


Baa Atoll ‘running out of water’, say residents

A prolonged dry spell has led to critical shortages of fresh water on several islands in Baa Atoll.

The islands of Kendhu, Kihadhu and Kamadhu in Baa Atoll are among the islands afraid that they might completely run out of rain water if the government does not provide aid.

Island councilor of Kendhu Adbul Rahman said the water stored in the tanks was running low as it had not rained for a long time.

”We use rain water for cooking, cleaning and drinking, and it would be very difficult for us if the tanks run out,” Rahman said.

Rahman said water tanks on some of the island’s had run dry, forcing the occupants to now sharing water with neighbours.

”It is possible all the tanks with be empty if does not rain soon,” he said, explaining that the islanders were doing a survey “and after that if we think we should ask for help from the government, we will.”

He said this happened every year during at same time, and noted that the government helped only last year.

Island chief for Kihadhu Adnan Ibrahim said that six 5000 litre tanks on the island were now empty.

”We just sent the message to the Atoll office,” Adnan said. “People are now sharing water from those neighbour whose water tanks are not empty.”

Adnan said there were water tanks on every house,  but many of them were now empty.

”The government has provided us a 10000 litre water tank but it is too big and not usable,” he said. ”It’s too long and its very difficult to clean.”

He said the islanders relied on only rainwater for everything.

Island councilor of Kamadhu Ahmed Shafeeq also said their water tanks would be empty very soon if it did not rain.

Shafeeq said the government had helped them only last year when their water tanks ran out.

”if the government did not provide aid we might run out of water,” he said.

Press secretary for the president’s office Mohamed Zuhair, State minister for Home Affairs Ahmed Adil and Atoll Councilor Mohamed Habib did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.


Attacker may have been released on rehabilitation program

One of the men charged with attacking the manager of Habib Bank, Mohamed Anjul Jameel, was previously imprisoned but may have recently been transferred to house arrest under the rehabilitation programme, according to reports today.

The 56 year-old was stabbed when four men broke into his apartment on the sixth floor of Machangolhi Uraha in Male’. On his release from hospital, Jameel said he was leaving the Maldives, and vowed never to return.

Daily newspaper Haveeru cited an official from the Department for Penitentiary and Rehabilitaion Service (DPRS) as claiming that 20 year-old Abdulla Aseel, of Galolhu Coralsea, had been released on the 27th of February.

The newspaper reported that Aseel had been sentenced for possession of three grams of drugs, while a person in authority familiar with the matter confirmed to Minivan News that Aseel had been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

However State Minister for Home Affairs Ahmed Adil said the claims made in Haveeru were yet to be confirmed.

Mohamed Zuhair, Press Secretary for the President’s Office, also said the government had yet to verify the claims.

Managing Director of the DPRS, Mohamed Rasheed, responded to enquiries from Minivan News but said he would only answer questions during office hours.

Zuhair acknowledged that the government had transferred many prisoners to house arrest.

”In the first round we transferred 200 inmates, and in the second round 119 inmates,” he said, explaining that ”it would be unfair for the people to think that everyone transferred to house arrest will be engaging in crimes.”

He explained that ”if a woman commits a crime, that doesn’t mean you can think that women will commit crimes.”

Another of the three men arrested for the stabbing of the bank manager, Ali Shuaib, was also arrested last year in connection with a murder case last year. Shuaib was investigated over the killing of a Bangladeshi man by hitting him with a three-foot long log, but he was acquitted.