The President’s Office has said that the online death threat against Jamaican dancehall artist Sean Paul was a “local hoax” aimed at damaging the country’s reputation.
“The investigation has revealed that the threat is designed to dissuade visitors, create an atmosphere of fear and disappoint the many thousand fans of Mr. Sean Paul who eagerly await the landmark concert in the capital, Male’.”
“The threat is also aimed at tarnishing the longstanding reputation of the Maldives as a destination of peace, security, and tranquility,” continued a statement released today (December 28).
The video (since removed) promised that “the world will see your burnt and blood drenched dead body,” should the artist perform in the Maldives.
Representatives of the singer are reported to be undecided about whether the performance is to go ahead.
Although the logo of the Bilad Al Sham Media (BASM) group appeared in the Youtube video, the Syrian-based jihadi group immediately distanced itself from the threat, also suggesting a hoax designed to defame the country’s reputation.
Though it condemned the concert itself as an “ideological attack” on the youth, BASM accused the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party of being behind the threat.
Despite assurances from tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb that the concert would continue, Islamic minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed has criticised the decision to hold the event.
Similarly, Adhaalath Party MP Anara Naeem and religious NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf have since spoken out against the concert.
The President’s Office today noted that the Maldives was famous for its peaceful people and its safety as a destination for over one million tourists a year.
“However, local authorities will take every possible measure to ensure the safety of Mr. Sean Paul and all his adoring fans in the Maldives, to ensure that the concert is a resounding success.”
Police have corroborated the President’s Office statement, saying that their investigations into the incident had revealed the threat to have been a hoax.
Message from artist
Meanwhile, Sean Paul has thanked the people of the Maldives for inviting him to perform, noting that he was aware of the concerns raised by some ahead of the concert.
“I have felt the love and support from many Maldivian citizens looking forward to the concert,” read a message posted on the singer’s official Facebook page.
“I have also heard the concerns of some citizens regarding the concert and the concerns of my fellow Jamaicans.”
“During this very holy season for people of all faiths, I pray for peace.”
Jamaican media yesterday reported that a final decision on whether Paul would perform was yet to be made, following the threat posted on Youtube on December 25.
“It is because I have the utmost respect for various religions and cultures that I have sought to travel the world to learn and to share,” read the status update on Paul’s page today.
“I support freedom of expression within whichever context best suits you and do not judge others based on their religious beliefs.”
Sean Paul’s publicist has been quoted in the Jamaican Observer as saying that the discussions with event organisers were ongoing.
“We are aware of the developing situation. We are currently in contact with all related parties concerning the concert to address the matter. No further details are available at this time,” Carlette DeLeon told the paper.
The ‘Tourist Arrival Countdown Show’ has been organised by event management company Chopart after tourism minister Adeeb invited the grammy award winning singer to perform in a free concert as part of the government’s tourism promotion efforts.
Although the event’s posters feature the ‘Sunny side of life’ logo of the Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation, when contacted by Minivan News today, the corporation said that it was not involved in arranging the event.
When contacted for further comment today, Islamic minister Shaheem stated only that the concert was not being arranged by his ministry before declining to comment further.
Tourism minister Adeeb was not responding to calls at the time of publication.
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