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Obstructing sermons “a great war to destroy religion”: Adhaalath

Obstructing sermons “a great war to destroy religion”: Adhaalath thumbnail

Obstruction of religious sermons across the country by supporters of the ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) amounts to “a great war to destroy religion”, the religiously conservative Adhaalath Party has claimed.

In a strongly-worded statement released on Sunday, the Adhaalath Party condemned MDP-led protests against visiting Sheikhs in several islands as “lowly and secular acts” allegedly intended to “sow discord in society” and “lead the people astray from Allah’s path.”

In recent weeks, city and island councils controlled by the former ruling party have refused to authorise sermons in mosques by prominent religious scholars of Adhaalath Party, on the grounds that it could “disrupt the peace and create unrest”.

Under the landmark Decentralisation Act enacted in 2010, permission to preach in mosques and other public places must be sought from local councils.

“Obstruction”

In the past month, attempts by Sheikh Ilyas Hussein, head of the Adhaalath Party’s scholar’s council, to preach in Addu City, Male’ City, Baa Atoll Thulhaadhoo and Haa Dhaal Vaikaradhoo were met with refusals by MDP-dominated local councils and angry protests by the party’s supporters.

On May 18, police arrested five people from a group of MDP supporters protesting outside al-Furqan mosque in Male’ during a sermon by Sheikh Ilyas, which saw clashes between rival supporters outside the mosque.

Prior to the unrest, Male’ City Council had asked police to stop the sermon from proceeding. The disturbance in the capital followed a similar dispute between the Adhaalath Party and the MDP-controlled Addu City Council, which had also refused to authorise Sheikh Ilyas to preach.

Local media reported violent clashes between MDP and Adhaalath Party supporters in the southernmost atoll following the Addu City Council’s decision.

Vaikaradhoo Island Council Chair Ahmed Waheed told Minivan News last Thursday that the council denied permission to the Sheikh because “we are certain that we could not control any unrest that might be created if Sheikh Ilyas is allowed to preach here.”

A number of MDP supporters meanwhile protested at the Vaikaradhoo jetty with chants of “traitor” when the Adhaalath delegation arrived, forcing the party leaders to disembark under police protection.

“An effort to eradicate Islam”

“What [the protesters] are saying is that they do not want to listen to religious counsel from scholars sent by the present government,” reads the Adhaalath statement.

“But they have no problem accepting salaries and services provided to citizens by the current government, such as healthcare, electricity, water and other services. Therefore, it is certain that their action is a great war to destroy religion in the guise of political activity.”

As the Maldives is “a 100 percent Muslim country,” the statement continued, religious scholars should not face any obstacle to preach and raise religious awareness among the public.

The Adhaalath Party called on the government to impose “harsh measures” against persons who obstruct religious sermons.

Meanwhile on its official twitter account, the party contended that “the ongoing harassment of scholars is nothing but an effort to eradicate Islam here in Maldives and open up the country to other religions.”

Islamic Minister Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed – who represents the Adhaalath Party in President Mohamed Waheed’s cabinet along with Housing Minister Mohamed Muizz – told Sun Online today that obstruction of religious sermons was carried out to show the outside world that there were Maldivians “opposed to Islam.”

Councils that refuse to permit religious sermons should be dissolved, the Islamic Minister said, adding however that some MDP-controlled councils had welcomed religious scholars and were cooperating with the ministry.

“Coup-Sheikhs”

In September 2011, following frequent clashes with President Mohamed Nasheed’s administration over various issues— selling alcohol on inhabited islands, making Islam an optional rather than a compulsory subject in secondary school and introduction of ‘religious unity regulations’ – the Adhaalath Party voted to sever its coalition agreement with the former ruling party.

In late 2011, Adhaalath Party teamed up with a coalition of eight political parties and religious NGOs to stage a ‘mega-protest’ on December 23 to ‘Defend Islam’ from an alleged “securalisation agenda” pursued by the deposed president.

Responding to the religious conservative party’s charges today, MDP Spokesperson and Maafanu North MP Imthiyaz Fahmy argued that “the coup itself is the war to destroy the religion, civilisation and democracy in the Maldives.”

“The coup-sheikhs and their partners in crime are the real culprits to blame and no one else,” MP Imthiyaz said. “People of those islands or the vast majority of citizens of the Maldives do not consider them Sheikhs anymore but rebels and traitors. So certainly people will protest against such rebels and coup-sheikhs wherever they go.”

On the role of local councils denying permission to preach “politicised” sermons, Imthiyaz said the party’s councils would “act in conformity with laws and regulations.”

“MDP is an advocate and promoter of a decentralised system of governance,” he continued. “But this coup government has been trying to destroy the system. [Plans to bring] mosques directly under the [Islamic] ministry is such an attempt, thus back to the old days.”

Imthiyaz further argued that the MDP government “freed Sheikhs from jails and allowed them to freely delver speeches and sermons.” Under the 30-year rule of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, a number of religious scholars were reportedly detained and tortured. A number of scholars claimed they had their beards shaven with chili sauce.

“We are the only party which does not use religion as a political tool or exploit religion for that purpose,” Imthiyaz said, adding that the party accorded “the highest degree of respect to religion.”

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29 Comments on "Obstructing sermons “a great war to destroy religion”: Adhaalath"

  1. yaamyn on Tue, 29th May 2012 12:01 AM 

    If there is an enemy of Islam in the Maldives islands, it is the Adhaalath Party and their greedy preudo-religious mullahs like Sheikh Illiyaas, Imran and co.

    They bring great disrepute to the religion every time their open their mouths, and use Islam as a cheap shortcut to further their political careers.

    The Adhaalath party, and the likes of Imran know only one trick – to constantly scream about some imagine “attack on Islam” and then, to appoint themselves as God’s deputies to come and speak in his name. (But only when politically convenient!)

    These men should be ashamed of themselves, and beg for much repentance and – as a proponent of strictly secular politics – I demand that such people not be given a political platform at all. They cause divisions, hatred, strife and most unfortunately of all – they invite contempt towards Islam itself from those who think these morons represent the faith.

    People who abuse religion in this manner should ideally be behind prison in a constitutionally Muslim state like the Maldives.

  2. yaamyn on Tue, 29th May 2012 12:03 AM 

    Islam will be safe in the Maldives the day the politicians of the Adhaalath Party who prostitute religion to fatten their purses, are banned by law.

  3. Abdulla on Tue, 29th May 2012 12:34 AM 

    Shaheem and his cronies should be put behind bars, better still banish them to the villages in Saudhi Arabia or where ever it is they learned all the posion they are spreading against Islam.

    It is the Adhalah Party which is bringing disrepute to Islam. There is no one out therewaging war against Islam. It is Shaheem’s cronies who are waging war against our muslim brothers and sisters.

    Have you noticed, not once did we hear them speak up againt the sexual deviant Judge Abdulla when he was freeing rapists, murderers, sexual offenders, paedophiles, gangsters, thieves, corrupt politicans and business men.
    Adhalath party? What adhalath? What justice have they stood for?

    Men of Islam? Rubbish. If they had an ounce of fear of Allah, they would not be behaving the way they do. These people are terrorists, terrorising our people to bend to their will by putting fear into our hearts.

    Lock them up. One thing Gayoom did that was right. Lock up these dangerous people. They are a menace to our society.

  4. Beyond the Grave on Tue, 29th May 2012 12:57 AM 

    These so called Sheiks are hate preachers on public payroll

  5. Michael Fahmy on Tue, 29th May 2012 1:08 AM 

    I am so glad that I am not under any compulsion to follow the teachings of Adhaalath Party of Maldives. They are false prophets. I will not listen to them.

    Yaamyn, thank you very much.

  6. And on Tue, 29th May 2012 1:26 AM 

    First of all, these people are not presenting Islam the way it is,
    its far more repressive and horrific.
    Islam is a beautiful religion, not something oppressive

    But blocking these guys would be against freedom of expression as well,

  7. Ahmed bin Addu bin Suvadheeb on Tue, 29th May 2012 3:15 AM 

    I don’t want to say, “I told you so”, but I will. It didn’t take them long to come up with the classic defense of all those who use religion as a political weapon. In one fell swoop, attending Adhaalath sponsored lectures have become a calling from God! Those who obstruct them have become the enemies of Islam.

    What a load of hogwash! Adhaalath has been in the doldrum since their inception. They see this regime as a golden opportunity to further their political ambition. This new found love to preach religion is not because of their love of Islam. It’s a political campaign to garner support for their party and it’s evil ideology.

    Gone are the days when the common man and woman believed in the Sheikhs and their snake oil. We all have access to knowledge today and we can all smell hogwash from a million miles. Adhaalath, get lost!

  8. SHLO NAIVE KIDH on Tue, 29th May 2012 6:12 AM 

    In one African society, they iron breasts of young girls so that men will not be attracted to them. In another culture the entire body is draped in black cloth. The intent is the same. Men need not take responsibility for their actions!

  9. Moosa rasheed on Tue, 29th May 2012 6:47 AM 

    if someone were to compile a list of real enemies of islam Yamyn would be on top.
    followed by Hillath and the rest of the gang who appear as fellow bloggers in their websites. Yamyn does it for ideology, Hillath does it to get fame and recognition. There is another guy called Simon who is equally hysterically islamophobic. Then there are the ‘foul mouthed ones’ like arab guiter, completely deranged people who insult muslims with every blogpost. I think government or somebody has to come after these guys to stop their hatred preaching. because hate crime is likely to cause more damage than any other crime.

  10. Marie on Tue, 29th May 2012 7:05 AM 

    We don’t need these extremists in our country. Please abolish Adhaalath Party and tell those who want to be extremists to go live in a an uninhabited island away from the rest of us. We know what Islam is and we don’t need such selfish preachers with ulterior motives to change it into something that will serve their purpose. Maldives doesn’t need you Adhaalath, so please just get lost.

  11. Mohm Shiraz - uninhabited on Tue, 29th May 2012 8:01 AM 

    Sheikhs and mullahs, so called scholars from Adaalathi … what they preach is NOT MY relegion but hatred for brothers …
    The sheikhs defend and excuse the coup at any cost, including the cost of people’s poverty, no drinking water while millions for sheikhs and coup leaders

    They defend and approve and incite brutalities and violence against their own people.
    The sheikhs, mullahs and scholars are traitors, of religion, of people, of a whole nation.
    No preaching in OUR mosques !

  12. hassan ahmed on Tue, 29th May 2012 8:17 AM 

    I believe that those Mullahs are trying to visit Island to get eleven girls to marry and to get political support by misleading the public. I think we know enough Islam as Muslims. We don’t need the traitor Mullahs. To hell with those adulterators.

  13. Let the people decide on Tue, 29th May 2012 8:37 AM 

    I think Adhalath and their affliated members have a right to express their opinions or propogate their form of Islam. If they talk rubbish, let the the people decide. And let there be others to refute the Adhalath rubbish and enlighten people. If the Adhalath members or any other breaks the law then their case should be referred to the relevant courts and made accountable. If we are to advocate democracy and civil liberties, we cannot pick and choose to which group these apply to. We cannot deny any group their rights, however much we may hate or disagree with them. Adhalath or anti-Adhalath, religious or anti-religious or areligious, all have the right to their opinions, express themselves and propogate. Let the people decide what is worthy or not worthy.

  14. Nady on Tue, 29th May 2012 8:55 AM 

    Blaming Adalath is like blaming wife for sleeping with others. When people find their wife is sleeping with others most of the people either go mad with wife or her secret lover, if your wife is so cheap why can’t you just get out yourself from her life and let her live her life. If you don’t listen to Adaltha they will simply vanish in the thin air. Those who like them are misfortunate people no one can do anything about them, they are psychologically disturbed people who love death to go a fantasy world with all human entertainment , virgins, wine and food

  15. ali hassan on Tue, 29th May 2012 9:45 AM 

    Countries like India and Pakistan are seemingly existential threats to Maldives. If you closely take a look at those who has played a leading role in the coup you will notice that they had some sort of religious studies in those countries and, what they are doing now with their iron hands is to introduce here the mixed cultures of these countries who were born out of hate, jealousy and wars.
    It is now time to stop sending our students to those countries for that.

  16. MM on Tue, 29th May 2012 9:45 AM 

    These sheikhs lost their credibility in December 2011. The people who follow them and listen to then now have other agendas.

  17. ali hassan on Tue, 29th May 2012 9:53 AM 

    Self-claimed Islamic preachers are directly responsible for the emergence of people like Hilath and Yamin. Adaalat party is destroying the Religion of God.

    The result of the coup on religion is that many a man, woman will have their burugas thrown away and men will have their beards shaved and just a few people will attend the mosques regularly.

  18. Wives and Concubines on Tue, 29th May 2012 10:24 AM 

    Actually, I want Adhaalath to keep on doing what they are doing. Soon enough, they will become powerful enough that the small terrorist cells in the country start to voice their opinions openly rather than on random websites.

    We will become an extremist country and the whole world will see it. The economy will gradually start failing and young boys will be sent to pakistan on jihad. Only then will the Maldivian people realize the big mistake they had made in trusting the adhaalath and bowing down to the wahhabi ideology.

  19. Hussain Manik on Tue, 29th May 2012 10:48 AM 

    Adaalath party sheiks are prostitutes. They sell their knowledge to highest bidder to become rich and powerful. Anni should learn why Maumoon locked them up and never allowed them to raise their ugly heads and destroy the peaceful and moderate minds of the citizens. My verdict is the public should stone those prostituting sheiks to death.

  20. yaamyn on Tue, 29th May 2012 10:57 AM 

    “ali hassan on Tue, 29th May 2012 9:53 AM
    Self-claimed Islamic preachers are directly responsible for the emergence of people like Hilath and Yamin”

    Thanks. That is absolutely correct.

    If these religion-peddling hate mongers didn’t exist, I would have very little reason to advocate for the things I do.

    You have correctly identified the problem, however I also propose a solution. I also strongly believe the solution is a liberal, secular state where mullahs remain within the confines of their Mosques, instead of destroying society for a chance at power.

    Just look at the Adhaalath party’s track record of “issues” – Israel, Jews, Zionists, Women, Alcohol, Music, Christians, Crosses.. It is clear they have nothing to contribute to society except petty fear mongering meant to enrage citizens (and then conveniently recommending themselves as the balm by invoking their alleged ties with God)

    Fear mongering, anti-Semitism, misogyny and emotive politics have no role in a liberal democracy.

  21. mode on Tue, 29th May 2012 12:56 PM 

    When Adaalth party was engaged in politics bring down the Dictator Gayyoom was by MDP . But when Adaaltah party was engaged in bringing down dictator Anni was not right .

    Why people have to have double standards ? Why everything need to be in favor of MDP ? Why everyone need to prey the Anni ?

    These are things that we need to give a serious thought before accepting the Anni ” afthuwa”.

  22. tsk tsk on Tue, 29th May 2012 1:34 PM 

    Adalat piggy-backed on the Nasheed-regime’s lack of credibility in the face of public demand for Maldivian governments to regulate religion in the country.

    Nasheed’s weakness was at its most pronounced when Adalat plants took over the curriculum department of the Education Ministry as well as flooding the Faculty of Education and Teaching at the Maldivian National University.

    Now the current administration is also at an impasse where they are forced to accept Adalat as a coalition partner as well. Once more Adalat’s main focus is on influencing education policy. Moral policing of the type that is practiced in some countries is not possible in the Maldives yet.

    However the truth of it is a growing sector of the youth buys into Adalat’s agenda. This fact is most pronounced when we take into consideration that any major political party such as the MDP has to house their own group of Wahhabi scholars who were once members of Adalat.

    Please people don’t lash out at me for saying this. MDP currently houses former Adalat head Dr. Abdul Majeed Abdul Baaree, Fayyaz Ali Manik and Zaneen who play a crucial role in furthering the Wahhabi agenda. Their political disagreements with their competitors aside they all have one goal in mind and public opinion seems to be driving political parties to help these individuals realize their dreams.

  23. aa on Tue, 29th May 2012 1:47 PM 

    adaalath party is a menace to our society. enough said.

  24. Ben Plewright on Tue, 29th May 2012 2:21 PM 

    It will be interesting to observe the outcome of this tension over the role of religion. if any may arise at all?

    It was a similar tension over religion in Maldives which shaped the very early policies of Maumoon’s Government.

    In the book, A Man for All Islands, by Royston Ellis, an interesting scenario is presented.

    In the seventies, a tension exists.

    On one hand, there are the strict Muslims, who at one extreme would have fought tooth and nail for an end to the development of tourism in the Maldives alltogether if they felt they could have won. Tourism is blamed for introducing moral corruption into the Maldives, indeed, Maumoon himself condemned the resorts because ‘Selling alcohol was as Haraam as Drinking it…”

    The Islamic Religion was the vehicle used to express dissatisfaction towards Nasir, seems this is what happens when other democratic forums for expressing anger are repressed. Maumoon no doubt capitalised on this much easier than what he could today due to the lack of information available about Islam, both for and against, as no internet was available.

    As an incredibly knowledgable Alim, who speaks with a hypnotic, serenading and eloquent voice, the Saviour COMES! Maumoon is the one to unify Maldives, creating balance by curbing the extremes of both sides of this religious divide, between the new rich who wanted to make money at any cost (if having naked tourists running around on resorts is profitable, then what the HELL!) and the strict Muslims!

    Gotta go will make my point later sorry!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. True Opinion on Tue, 29th May 2012 3:02 PM 

    These people in fact, are a peculiar bunch! They do not seem to be true to Islam!

    When it comes to their need, Words of Allah and His Prophet are bent towards their needs!

    They are fully aware, what they did was unfair and unjust.

    They have robbed people’s rights by twisting their forked tongues!

    What they are trying now is to hood wink people, and try justifying the injustice they have done!

    Everyone, be it MDP, DRP, PPM or whoever, cannot have the capacity to tolerate the injustice these people have done!

    They should be happy, only to be humiliated.

    If it were the days of “Jahaalath”, or the “Old West”; these people surely would have been lynched!

  26. Ben Plewright on Tue, 29th May 2012 3:17 PM 

    The seeming need to impose unity through a liberal Islam (which seems the only ideological force capable of creating peace, moderation and humanity) MAY eventuate in an institutional Ranumari which crushes MANY. Not only does such an institution crush the extremist Muslims and the extremist liberals, but those resort owners, power brokers and their families who are not favoured by the liberal authority (in return for economic support) will feel alienated, economically repressed and unjustly treated, and will rebel. They will need to be crushed also. To gain the money and support to crush them, evil people must be patronised in return for desparately needed money, the bribable must be bribed, these things lied about. Religious authority will appear tyrannical, (seems the religious authority must act in that name to convince those who will only obey Allah’s Will to obey) making Allah’s Will look tyrannical, and, will damage people’s faith, creating a culture of cynicism, amorality, and a belief in the acceptability of defeat

    Instead of using some ultimate, centralised liberal religious authority, strive, bottom up, to create change and unity!

    Bottom up development of morality is the ONLY WAY. The religious have to step away from imposing fear, and inspire ppl in moral ways to reverse the inhumanity. They have to STOP speaking about religion, they should be neutral, and GENUINE.

    There is nothing I have said which you guys had not already above me said, but, I just love to feel a part of the conversation…

  27. Ben Plewright on Tue, 29th May 2012 3:20 PM 

    correction: acceptability of deceipt, not defeat, was what I was meant to say… but defeat is there also…

  28. Ilyas Ahmed on Tue, 29th May 2012 5:17 PM 

    Those who obstruct Religious scholars from giving sermons are MDP supporters who are angry with them for their role in criticizing Former Prez Nasheed before and after he was ousted.

    Religious scholars every where take up moral issues and will condemn government atrocities eg: as in the case of Archbishop Desmund Tutu’s severe criticism of apartheid policies in South Africa which helped to turn world opinion against the Regime.

    Islam is “a way of life” and there is no room for separation of religion and politics in Islam. Former Prez Nasheed and his supporters are hell bent on changing this which adds up to the clash between the Islamic scholars and Nasheed’s supporters.

    Targeting Islamic teachings and scholars in various ways, Anni has (rightfully or wrongly) been labelled as an Anti-Islamic man. His followers are now being seen in a similar light for continuing the same policies of confrontation with the Islamic scholars.

    Whether Nasheed likes it or not, this is by and large a very conservative muslim society with pockets of extremely liberal thought (amongst the younger generation). Confrontation with the Religious groups will be a loosing battle and a guaranteed way to loose in local politics.

  29. Ben Plewright on Wed, 30th May 2012 1:17 PM 

    correction above, I meant, they (Religious scholars) should stop speaking about politics… not they should stop speaking about religion…

    It is inevitable that religion and politics are related, the word separation is the wrong word to describe the scenario i am envisaging.

    There is a difference between religious speaking against corruption, guiding the ideals of politicians and citizens, influencing policies so that they uphold values of true religion which is the ontological foundation of Justice, Compassion for the poor,

    but that is different too having complete absolute power over the state to the point ppl are prosecuted for being against religion or not Muslim…even if otherwise they are basically kind, just ppl…

    religion has an extremely important role in a state, my comments have been dramatically misinterpreted…it is not , why do people imagine either hedonistic anarchy and madness or religious absolutism as the ONLY solution …


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