Opposition suggests inconsistent policies, while Islamic ministry lecture slams tourism promotion show

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Chairperson Ali Waheed has suggested that the government’s contradictory religious policies are damaging the nation.

“While the Maldives is celebrating its adherence to Islam, the religious structure of the government is as such – from the right, shows being organised,” said Waheed. “From the left, religious lectures are being convened.”

Waheed’s comments – referring to the New Year’s ‘Tourist Arrival Countdown’ music shows and the Islamic ministry’s ‘The Message’ lecture series – came at the conclusion of a party rally in the capital Malé yesterday.

Later in the day, in the first of ‘The Message’ lectures, Sheikh Adam Shameem condemned the tourism promotion concerts, which were organised and promoted by tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb.

Drugs, sex, and rock and roll will destroy the nation, argued Shameem, suggesting that the government’s role was to lead the youth away from shameful deeds, but that such sinful activities were irresistible when handed down to them “on a platter”.

“What will happen when [they organize] sinful activities and invite the youth? Then, youth cannot be stopped,” he told approximately 1,500 attendees at the Alimas Carnival area in Malé.

The original New Year’s concert was set to feature dancehall singer Sean Paul until an online death threat prompted the artist to cancel the day before the show.

While the government later denounced the threat as a “hoax” designed to create an atmosphere of fear, religious groups united in condemnation of the event.

Islamic NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf called on the government cancel the concert, while Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed described the invitation of foreign performers for such shows as “unnacceptable”.

Minister for tourism Adeeb later explained that the Islamic minister’s words were his own personal opinion, and that the concert had been discussed at cabinet level.

The Islamic minister’s own Adhaalath Party subsequently expressed concern at what it described as “horrifying acts that defy Islamic teachings and social convention” taking place in the country.

After Sean Paul’s cancellation, Indian duo Salim and Sulaiman Merchant appeared on December 31, before a second concert was arranged featuring US R&B singer Akon on January 8. Akon himself had previously cancelled a 2010 show in the Maldives after opposition from religious groups.

Sheikh Shameem yesterday described Akon – a practising Muslim – as an “infidel negro”, expressing disappointment than more young persons had attended the music shows rather than attending Ishaa prayers.

Sheikh Shameem first came to public attention following his ‘mega-lecture’ ‘Andalus‘, during the 2013 presidential elections.

Live broadcasts of this lecture were interrupted by authorities for violating state broadcaster’s guideline, while the MDP condemned the lecture accusing Shameem of inciting hatred in order to sway the electorate. More recently, he was invited to speak to police during the celebration of Martyr’s Day last year.

Yesterday’s sermon was titled ‘Our Responsibilities towards the Nation’. The lecture series will also feature Dutch convert Arnoud Van Doorn on February 20.

President Abdulla Yameen – who last night attended to opening of the Maldives’ first fully solar powered resort, Club Med Finolhu Villa – marked the celebration of the country’s conversion to Islam by telling citizens to be wary of outside influences that could weaken the Islamic faith, reported Sun Online.

At the opening of the new resort, Yameen said that it was a combination of tourism and Islam that had taught Maldivians to co-exist with different cultures.

During yesterday’s MDP rally, both Ali Waheed and former President Mohamed Nasheed vowed to change Yameen’s government, with the latter suggesting the country’s troubles’ were partly caused by divisions between Yameen and former President and Progressive Party of Maldives leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

When calling for all-party talks last week, Nasheed made special mention of the former thirty-year ruler.

“I urge President Yameen to hold discussions with President Maumoon, Honourable Gasim, even us and leaders of Adhaalath Party. Also to move away from actions that will push Maldives into chaos,” said Nasheed on Thursday (January 22).

Yesterday’s ‘Maldivians stand to defend the Constitution’ rally saw over more than 1000 people march around the southern half of the capital to protest a series of decisions by the government and the Supreme Court which have been questioned on constitutional grounds.

*The original version of this article incorrectly translated Sheikh Shameem as describing Akon as an “infidel nigger”.

Minivan News would like to apologise for this error and will endeavour to make sure this type of error is not repeated.

Related to this story

Nasheed urges President Yameen to convene all-party talks

Adhaalath Party concerned that concerts are defying Islamic teachings

Jamiyyathul Salaf calls on government to cancel “sinful” Sean Paul concert


Translation: Jamiyyathu Salaf’s ‘Al-Andhalus’ sermon

Religious NGO Jamiyyathu Salaf held a sermon titled ‘Al Andhalus’ on Tuesday, in which they described the current status of the Maldives and offered a prediction of the fate of the country “if people back an irreligious man”.

The sermon  was broadcast live on Radio Atoll and on four TV channels, including state broadcaster, TVM. While the sermon was interrupted on TVM for violating the state broadcaster’s guidelines, it was shown in full on the other channels, including VTV and DhiTV.

The following is an abridged translation of the sermon “Al Andhalus” delivered by Sheikh Adam Shameem. A link to the televised coverage can be found here.

“Upon hearing the news that I am to come here, my beloved mother asked of me, due to the current time and situation, not to speak of politics. However, I hope my mother, family firstly, and the rest of you do not misinterpret the meaning of this topic, as well as the meaning of speaking about politics. This is because politics and religion are concepts that people are often confused about. What we, our scholars, have always asserted is that politics and religion are not two separate religions or concepts. Politics is the sturdiest, most important component of Islam.”

“Love the pious, despise the unbelievers”

“In a Friday sermon I gave last year on the topic of ‘Al Walaa Al Bar’aa’, I spoke of how we must, for the sake of Allah, love those pious and faithful to Allah, and despise those who are unbelievers or those who hate Allah or his religion. Even among believers, there must be a difference between the love we have for the righteous and pious, and those who are led astray.”

“When we think of Andalus, we see history repeating itself. If we repeat the mistakes made in history, we will face the same fate. If we learn from them, and refrain from those mistakes, Allah will save us from that fate. If we are negligent and allow the reasons for those countries’ misfortune to occur in our country, then there is no doubt that we will have to face sorrowful times.”

“I have come here today to give you the frightening warning that this beloved Muslim nation may have to face similar misfortune.”

“Spain, or Andalus, which had an 800 year old Islamic state, an Islamic Caliphate, had Islam wiped out of it in under just 300 years. The Islamic power there allowed Jews to live there with freedom, Christians also lived in happiness and freedom under this power. And yet, even the name of Islam was wiped out of it in under 300 years, and even today Spain is the country with the least number of Muslims” – [here Shameem concluded with a statement alleging that Islam had been wiped out of Andalus after the Muslims built relations with non-Muslims].

‘Multiparty systems are against Islam’

“Prophet Muhammad married Aesha when she was 9 years of age, we do not deny this. However, this was the norm among Arabs in those times, and because it is not inhumane, Allah made it ‘halal’. However, this is not something that the Prophet preached as religion to the masses. People who describe Islam as such are enemies of Islam. They spread such lies to create hatred towards Islam. I mean, it is the truth that they speak, but they speak it so as to spread confusion and to make people hate Islam.”

“The death penalty is there. But it is Allah’s justice. However, in order to spread fear they say Islam is a dangerous religion where we amputate hands and behead people. So unless we all strive to protect our faith and religion, Islam will be wiped out of here too.”

“Our current state right now is that due to business or political relations, some of us love kafirs. They joke around with them, ride behind them on motorcycles, do everything with them. Yet they have envy and hatred burning in their hearts for their Muslim brothers. Beloved Muslim brothers, this is why Andalus fell. They started loving non-Muslims, and hating Muslims. Due to politics, Muslim brothers fell apart into different groups and parties and started competing against each other. As a result, to topple an Islamic power of one’s Muslim brother, they built relations with Jews and Christians.”

“Tomorrow, what will happen if this Maldives splits into different powers? How can we say it won’t happen when one group wants Islamic governance, another wants European governance, another wants a secular governance where state and religion are kept separate? Breaking up into parties is the basis of weakening and destruction of a people. Therefore Allah has prohibited this. However, modern, secular democracy comes and says that this shouldn’t be so, that we need multi-party politics, where each party has a different ideology, religion, ‘fiqh’ and discipline.”

Islam and politics

“What we are seeing today are attempts to bring in western secular democracy to an Islamic country. A land where there is no chance of praying to any God except Allah. With God’s will, this country is so far in the hands of Muslims, an islamic governance. But now that is near to changing. There is just one single clause in our constitution which says no law can be ratified if it is against Islamic Principles. However, political parties have the right to say what they please. Once this clause is removed, we lose everything. In the struggle among political parties to come to power, we are seeing dangerous parallels with the real reasons why Andalus fell: seeking help from non-Muslim leaders, bringing in their power and companies to our country. It is not prohibited to have non-Muslim labourers, but if we let any non-Muslim entities exert their power, even in business, over Muslims in our land, that is the end of us.”

“If you see a non-Muslim, start keeping his company, fall in love with him and start admiring his way of life, where will you put your religion? It will slip away from your hands. We must strongly hold on to faith in ‘Al walaa al bar’aa’. How can Jews and Christians love each other when they have so much enmity between them? But, despite their internal hatred and differences, they become twin brothers in any circumstance where they want to rise against Muslims”

“Do not make those who mock your religion into your allies. We Muslims are obliged to love each other. If someone leaves their faith in Islam and mocks religion, then they are among the Jews and Christians. We must stick to this whether this person who mocks religion is from our families or close friends. It is Allah’s command.”

“Today many of our politicians and other Muslims seem to bow down to non-Muslim rich and powerful people. Even people who are seen as our leaders, when they are among kafirs, see it as normal to act like them and refer to themselves as one of them. A man who at least claims to be a Muslim, who shows some Islamic values when among Muslims, who – like many of our Muslims – attend Friday prayers, people like this are increasing among us today. When among kafirs, they eat what they eat, drink what they drink and the saddest thing is, they express more love for the kafir’s religion than the kafirs themselves. They point out the weak points of Islam, and advise the kafir on how to work against Islam or an Islamic state. They have stooped to this level today.”

‘Liberal means Ladhini’

“Listen, in our presidential candidates, or politicians, how many of them have clearly stated internationally and nationally that they want a secular democracy, and that we do not yet have a secular democracy in our country? Everyone is pleased when this word is used. This astounds me.”

“Now, in Arabic, ‘secular democracy’ or ‘secularism’ or ‘liberalism’ or liberal whatever, what does it mean? If it comes with the words ‘secular’ or ‘liberal’, it means something without religion. Regardless of what it is we speak of.”

“A liberal religion means ladhini [irreligious]. What does it mean when they say they want Islam, but not the 7th century? You can interpret it for yourselves.”

Criticism of politics and politicians

“In my recent travels to the islands, I went to some where ‘local tourism’ has been introduced. I am not saying that guesthouse businesses are haram, or that this will lead to only haram acts. But if we can’t hold tourism within Islamic standards, that will be what destroys us. We are selling pork and alcohol in our tourism field. We must control and stop this, or we will not get Allah’s blessings.”

“Thankfully, due to Allah’s mercy and the work of some politicians, alcohol and pork are today only sold in tourist resorts, which is a place in which Muslims don’t live. I am not saying it is halal, but it is good for us that this is done in places where we don’t live. Therefore, in these islands which have local tourism – which was introduced in the name of a political party – dear lord, the things that happen there. Yes, these islands may earn more dollars, but even today, alcohol is being consumed in these islands. Friends of mine from these islands have told me that as the island gets dollars from tourists, they hold ‘bodu beru’ shows for tourists, where they drink alcohol and dance while locals – Muslims – stand around and applaud them.”

“Some people tell us that despite supporting a certain politician, their faith cannot be changed, although they say they know [the politician] does not believe in Allah. I am very happy that there are people with such strong faith among us. It is indeed an extraordinary man who can hold onto his faith while being with a kafir, an infidel who commits sinful acts and uses intoxicating substances. However, he used to say there will be no way any other religion can be practised here, but his tune has changed. Today he says that despite churches being built, his faith will personally not change. That people of other religions should also be able to live here freely and be granted rights as Islam is a peaceful, just and caring religion. This is very true, but what he wants is a horrible result. He wants to challenge Allah about the justice in our religion.”

“He means to say that Muslims, being from a just religion, should not harass or act against people praying to other religions in churches while in other countries, Muslims are being inhumanly slaughtered and stripped of their belongings. Andalus is a sufficient example of this. Therefore, Allah has commanded that we should not allow sinful acts in an islamic land of tawheed.”

“If we want to maintain peace in this country, we must never allow any other religion here. If we do, we will face the fate of Andalus tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow, it won’t take long.”

“The enemies of the state are also seeing this, and the Satan is getting depressed about this. As in, when a man who used to be a drugdealer or criminal comes to mosque today, wears a turban and raises his hands to Allah in prayer and repentance, the blood [of the enemies] will boil. They will lose hold of their senses and rain their envy on us.”

“A man who previously worked with them then repents and comes to us and says ‘Sheikh, I have done this against Islam, we have done this against Sheikhs, I have assisted these persons to work against Islam. How will I ever repent?’ This is why I, and some of my other scholar colleagues, never switch off our phones even in the middle of the night. I have always from long long away, always taken care to never switch off my phone as somebody might call and ask for advice at any time of the night. There is no one except the advice of Allah and his Prophet that can answer these queries. The People’s majlis can’t provide answers. UN won’t find answers for these questions. Denmark’s Christians and Jesuits cannot provide answers, they are a disabled people. Therefore the atheists of Europe who claim there is no religion or God, who formed secularism or irreligiousness in Europe are now on the losing end. When the christianity that existed there started contradicting with material development, they boycotted christianity. They pushed out religion from policies and said the state will not be based on any religion.”

“Many citizens are confused about the idea of separating religion from politics. The actual meaning of secular democracy is that there will be no religion in the state, that there will be no fiqh academy to criticize or give advice to the state on matters of religion. Scholars are to live like other common folk. They are to stay in their homes or churches or mosques and speak, but in a limited manner. They can advise someone to pray but they cannot say that something is haram, and should not be allowed.”

“This is Heaven, Heaven on Earth and they [kafirs] will want to rule over us, and spread their ways here.”

“Fear of Allah is one of the main things God commanded. This is because if someone does business without fear, plays sports without fear, has fun without fear or does anything without fear, he will become ruined and become a prey for Satan. How can we take any other meaning of this? In this country, without any gender segregation, people mix and play, hold music shows”

“What worries is not just that they say things against Islam and faith. What we should be more worried and scared of is sitting to listen as he speaks in public, in flowing dhivehi language, against Allah and His religion; of continuing to listen to a man as he openly ridicules the right path that the Prophet showed us. This is far more dangerous. There are people who have gone astray in any community. However, the reason that communities have to face the wrath of God is when they continue to listen to such a man, and fail to stand up against such men”

“Egypt’s Ihwanul Muslimin- Morsi – won in ‘one round’. Why did he succeed in winning in one round, instead of having to try in three or four rounds? Because he is from a religious organisation which wants to establish Islamic governance.”

Criticism of International Community

“When [in Maldives] they couldn’t win in one round, what did they then say? They said ‘Look. In a country which you say is 100% Muslim, nearly 50% of the people have voted for us – for a man who is a drug addict, a marijuana addict – so this means when we win we should make narcotics legal. This wasn’t said by religious extremists, or by scholars of Adhaalath Party. This was said by….you have heard his name”.

“He lives abroad in a neighbouring country now, and has claimed will come back and legalize homosexuality here. After the government changed, he was in the front row of protests with a placard on which red lips were drawn and the words, “I love A N N I” was written. He has openly mocked the Prophet. He protested in Male’ asking to allow other religions here.”

“The police turned a blind eye on it due to the negligence of the government then in power. We heard on the news that some youth struggled with them and chased them away. Then, he had hurt some little place on his head and a drop of blood fell, this group published photos of this on the internet. wrote ‘these are such violent people”, and used this to get the sympathy of the international community.

And it worked, the whole world believed them. Even UN took is an issue, but in Myanmar the Muslims are beings slaughtered, same in Syria and Eqypt. Where is the UN then? Where are these allies of idolatry who call for peace? Nothing. Not a word from them. If a religion of idolatry gets accepted here, and they get legal rights to live here, then we are done for, there will be much more unrest and discord here. And on top of that, even if they have only about ten of them here, if walking past one of them a bearded man trips and falls, the UN will come there. The UN will come and arrest the bearded man. It will then take photos of anyone who resembles the man, and arrest them too. They will then use their force and power to provide full freedom to these ten or so idolaters, and weaken us. They will separate islands and put up crosses there and claim it to be a separate nation. This is how they operate.”

“Scholars have highest responsibility to protect Islam”

“The biggest failure of Andalus is that the majority of Islamic scholars failed to stand up against what was happening there, be it to do with economy or entertainment or whatever. The mandate of a scholar is to stand up united if things happen against islamic principles, whether it be to do with economy, discipline or politics.”

“You have been given the opportunity to read the Quran and sunnah and learn from it. You have been chosen from among many humans and have been made heirs of the Prophet. Your responsibility is far more than that of any other. On the day of judgement, God will ask of you about the people, about the citizens. Whether you spoke the truth. You will be asked if you stood up and spoke the truth as the people were being given wrongful advice and led astray. We must be ready to answer these questions. At the least, we must be people who protested against this. Muslims must be able to live as in the Quran and sunnah without fear. This is what we must do without fear.”

“I must say that I do not preach with complete freedom now. I do not want to fear anyone but Allah. I do not want to be afraid that some other human might get displeased, or throw things at me. It is not without fear that I preach, or even go to the mosque. Why? Such a tragedy as has never happened in the country’s history happened recently. Dr. Afrasheem was murdered. Who did this? What brutal tyrants? Do such a people have the right to speak of guaranteeing freedoms? Do such a people have the right to speak of making this place more of a paradise? No, they cannot. This country had a lot of hope in Afrasheem. He and I had some differences in relation to religious principles, but as Muslims we respected and were civil to each other.”

“Previously we have heard many people say this country was ruined by a 30 year regime. Yet, they have shown they are liars today. They sing another song now. Ask them today who ruined this country, they will say it is religious scholars. Beloved Muslims, no country will ever be ruined by religious scholars. There might be a few such people among scholars, but they cannot generally say that against the scholars. We must all say the same thing and stand up against this.”

Army and police

“Allah will protect this religion if we say the words that with Allah and the Prophet, we are ready to come out to jihad and sacrifice our lives to protect our religion. If people give up ‘jihad’ for religion, that is another reason for the fall of an islamic country. Not ‘jihad’ in the way the Westerns interpret it. To sacrifice as much as we each can. The rich can donate their wealth. The young and strong can serve to defend us by forming Islamic armies. Or standing up against Islam. By coming out to war if that is needed to save the country and religion from irreligious, brutal people.”

“Women should be taught modesty. No one is saying to not educate them. They should be disciplined to be patient, courageous, strong mothers. They are the ones who produce men. They are the madrasas responsible for upbringing of men. That is the high importance of women.”

“The role of youth is to protect Islam. In this way, Allah’s love and praise for ‘mujahiddeen’ is best deserved by the army and police of the Maldives for protecting the country and religion. They are sacrificing their lives for our nation, religion and the Islamic community”

“May Allah ensure the security forces are pious and courageous people who do not allow any religion except Islam into the Maldives, and protect the nation and Islam.”

“It is a very wrongful act to defame the security forces when people speak at political podiums, streets or through media. This is an act that will destroy the nation. It is a wrong, evil and hurtful act done by some among us to openly allege that all police officers, soldiers and political opponents are evil and wrong people.”

“This country will have a dark future if we allow the police and army to be exposed to the training sessions given by non-Muslims, outright kafirs, in the guise of professional development. The kafirs will then have an opportunity to make the police and army hate Islam”