Rise of ISIS in Maldives. 3
Definition of Islam.. 3
Tolerance in Islam.. 3
Maldives- A brief history. 4
Rise in Radicalism in today’s time. 5
Present Government and its policies: 14
Rise of ISIS in Maldives
Is Islam intolerant?
A wide spread notion is
prevailing that Islam is a war mongering, intolerant which was spread by the
might of sword and guns and which asks its devotees to wage unnecessary war
against the non-followers of Islam known as kafir in Arabic though this word is
the most controversial and perilous word in Islam. Islam prohibits all freedom
of religion and resorts to violence, an allegation put forward by its critics.
The word Islam is derived
from Arabic root “Salema”: peace, purity and obedience. In general sense it
stands for complete submission to one God “Allah” and complete adherence to His
law. Islam is one of the three Abrahamic religion, the other two being Judaism
and Christianity. Islam dates back to the creation of world and its first
Prophet Adam(pbuh) and has been conveyed to mankind by the successive Prophets
Noah, Abraham, Solomon, Moses, Jesus and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the last and
greatest of all the Prophet.
Tolerance in Islam
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
was described as being merciful, compassionate, righteous and kind in Quran due
to the message he brought for mankind: Allah Pak says, “We sent thee not, but
as a mercy for all creatures.” In order to validate the claim mentioned above
in the Quran, one can analyse the long history of non-Muslims living in Muslim
lands safely for centuries. “There is no compulsion in religion.” (Quran,
2:256), and “To you (the non-Muslims) your religion, and to me (the Prophet)
mine”. (Quran, 109:6). The Prophet was tolerant and benevolent towards Jews and
Christians. According to Islamic scholars, it is mentioned in Quran that,
“whoever believes in God and the Day of Judgement and does good” (Quran, 5:69).
Whether Muslims, Jews or Christians, these believers “shall have no fear,
neither shall they grieve” (Quran, 5:69).
After the victory of good
over evil in Medina, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) strictly warned against any
mistreatment and discrimination against non-Muslims. “Beware! Whoever is cruel
and hard on a non-Muslim minority, or curtails their rights or burden them with
more than they can bare, or takes anything from them against their free will; I
(Prophet Muhammad) will complain against the person on the Day of Judgement”.
(Hadith, Abu Dawud).
5 June 2017, Maldives, an
island nation in the Indian Ocean severed its diplomatic ties with Qatar, a
member of the OPEC and one of the most affluent countries of the world. In
doing so it joined the ranks of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait
and Egypt in severing the diplomatic ties with Qatar. In a press release the
Ministry of Maldives released a statement cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar
because Qatar has been accused of promoting and safeguarding terrorism,
radicalism and extremism. Peace, tranquillity and stability had always been the
policy pursued by Maldives in maintaining its ties with the Middle Eastern
countries. Diplomatic relation between Qatar and Maldives were established in
the year 1984.
Maldives followed Saudi
Arabia’s path and cut its diplomatic relationship with Iran. Due to increasing
closeness between Saudi Arabia and Maldives, Saudi Arabian Embassy was opened
in Male in 2015. Foreign policy is generally a development of social and
political within the country.
Maldives- A brief
Maldives constitutes of
close to 1150 coral islands and only 17 percent of them is accommodating its
meagre population of approximately 376,000 people. It is interesting to know
that Maldives had almost been a sovereign state since the Christian era and it
became a British protectorate in 1796. However in 1887, an agreement between
Sultan of Maldives and British Governor of Sri Lanka gave her free rights in
her internal and external matters.
is a Sunni Muslim dominated country and in 1997, a law was passed and amended
the constitution declaring Islam as the state religion. It had adverse effect
on non-Muslims as they were precluded from occupying Government offices and
becoming citizen of Maldives. The population percentage of Sunni Muslims is
almost 98% followed by Hindus at 0.60%, followed by Christians at 0.50% and Buddhists
at 0.50%. Maldives has a rich history and culture and as per records in 1153
AD, King Dovemi Kalaminja embraced Islam and made his subjects convert too. A
written history of the sultanate was found and
first compiled in 1725 AD which was backed by Ibn Batuta, traveller of
African country who travelled there around 1330-1345 AD. In his book one comes
to know that some of the islands of Maldives had been ruled by queens.
In the year 1953 after
the Second World War was over, Mohammed Amin Didi took the charge of the
country and did major reforms most important one was to change the country from
monarchy to republic and became the President of Maldives but he was thrown out
of power and killed by his political rivals and monarchy was re-established. It
was after fifteen years in 1968, it became republic one more time and Ibrahim
Nasir became the President and started overall development and growth.
President Nasir was replaced by President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and remained
president till four decades. President Mohammed Nasheed was democratically
elected and he was forced to quit under the severe protest by opposition
parties and military men. He was replaced by Mohammed Waheed Hasan who was
followed by Abdulla Yameen, the current president in 2013.
As we can see there some
kind of instability present in the country over the time frame after monarchy
was desolved and replaced by republic.
Rise in Radicalism
in today’s time
Over the last five to
eight years, Maldives have turned into a breeding ground for militants and
extremists in which Islamic State (IS) mujahidin. In a press interview
President Nasheed more than 200 people joined ISIS in 2015 and the same
statistical figure in validated by a research conducted by Soufan Group in
2015. IS sympathisers put up banners of IS leaders and vocally supported IS and
their pseudo Shariah Law.
From the above tables and
correlation charts one can see that there is a strong surge in the growth of
ISIS in Maldives.
However, Tourism industry
is least affected as it provides revenue for Government and revenue, man power
and money laundering channel for the indigenous Islamists.
and its policies:
President Abdulla Yameen
has been asked to resign because of widespread corruption scandals, rise in
extremism and his incompetency to deal with it. As per reports the independent
institutions and courts are politicised and under democracy is in deep crisis.
From Judges to lower level police officers are biased and corrupt as per the
citizens of Maldives. By the misuse of Government bodies, current Government
charged many opposition leaders including former President Nasheed and he is in
exile and granted asylum in Britain whereas thirteen years jail sentence awaits
him at home. It has become impossible and a state crime to object to Wahabism
and Salafism, the two prominent sects of Islam in Saudi Arabia which have
started consolidating their roots in liberal Maldivian society.
An increasing bilateral
tie between President Yameen and Saudi Arabia led to growth in infrastructure
and energy and transport. Saudi Government donated for the construction of many
Masjid, a staggering $1.2 million. Around 6-7% of Maldivian are pursuing
academics outside their country. In early 1990’s many aspirant went to
countries like Pakistan but due to increase in instability they prefer their
own homeland for education. During their education some of the students got
interested in militant activities and some of them join it after having firsthand
experience of the operational activities of Lashkar-e-Toiba.
September 2007, ISIS carried out their first ever terror strike at Sultan Park,
Male killing dozens of people and injuring many. Three people were arrested in
connection with this gruesome attack. Their arrest unearthed an unholy nexus
between Lashkar-e- Toiba and Jamah-tul-Muslemeen, Maldives home-grown terror
faction and ISIS. One more recent time significant incident was killing of
blogger Yameen Rasheed for openly sharing and promoting his liberal views in an
orthodox country on 22 April 2017.
Maldivian society is
facing a steep change in its culture as its started adopting the Islamist and
Wahabism ideals and way of life which is contrary to their liberal way of
living prior to Saudi Arabia’s King and Maldives President newly discovered
friendship. Some of the natives have started wearing traditional Arabian dress
and started rearing goats and lamb and gave up their old profession which use
to be fishing. Health and women rights have started getting compromised in a
nation where as per history queen ruled some of the islands. The hardliners are
vehement against anything that they find is little different than their
conservative thought and term it has haram or illegal. Celebration of year 2000
was stopped and a Santa Claus mannequin was lit on fire to protest against any
form of liberalism. Some of the leaders adopted to vote bank politics and were
heavily supported by common people to be their elected representatives. In a
push to promote Wahabism and Slafism, Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik was
invited to deliver a guest lecture on the issues of Sufism and importance of
Wahabism in day to day life.
ideologies and profound support in Maldives poses a credible threat not just to
Maldives but to other places as well like India, China, Singapore, Sri Lanka
and Indonesia. India’s national security will get affected if ISIS and local
terror groups of Sri Lanka joins hands to attack India.
Continuous supply of
brain washed youth to fight their unholy battle by quoting a specific surah
(phrase) to motivate them to fight against western powers and south Asian
To solve this situation
Maldives needs a strong Government and support from its allies like India to
weed out extremism and drive out extremists from their land. Its leaders needs
to realise that communal cards will hamper the prosperity of their motherland
in the long run and use development and liberal views as their tool to carve
out a niche for themselves in Maldivian politics. It depends on time and the
choice which people of Maldives and their leaders make to overcome this adverse
and unhealthy situation or fall prey to it.
World Published on June 05, 2017
Seattle Times Published on June 5, 2017
on The Hindu 24th November 2017
on The Washington Institute on 9th April 2015
on The Commonwealth
on The Soufan Group 28th April 2016
on The Independent 13th September 2014
on The Guardian
by Observer Research Foundation on 14th June 2017
by The Economic Times on 5th June 2015
by Morocco World News on 10th December 2014
by Deccan Chronicle on 21st Jan 2018
the Indian Express 20th June 2015
by The Atlantic on 9th June 2015