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Page added on June 9, 2014

Vigilante mobs abduct young men in push to identify online secular activists

Vigilante mobs abduct young men in push to identify online secular activists thumbnail

Vigilante mobs have abducted and interrogated several young men in Malé City in a push to identify online activists advocating secularism or professing atheism, Minivan News has learned.

Eyewitnesses told Minivan News the young men were taken to isolated locations in Malé City in separate incidents in recent days.

A vigilante mob interrogated them on the identities of administrators of Facebook groups advocating secularism and atheism in the Maldives.

Minivan News understands the abductions are also related to the hijacking of a Facebook group called ‘Colorless’ on Sunday.

The group has 4,865 members and was set up with in the wake of February 2012’s transfer of power with the aim of bringing a “divided nation to a common ground as a platform to advocate peace, love and harmonic co-existence.”

The group’s administrators were expelled on Sunday and new administrators have changed the group’s banner to a black flag with the Shahadha or the Islamic creed declaring the oneness of Allah and the acceptance of Mohamed as Allah’s prophet.

Meanwhile, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) issued a statement condemning the abductions and said the hostages were threatened with death. The party has called on the government to take immediate action.

The Maldives Police Service said it is looking into whether these incidents have been reported. The President’s Office was not responding at the time of press.

Abductions

The vigilante mob – estimated at 40 men – accused the young men of homosexuality and atheism, eyewitnesses said. The mob consisted of religious extremists and prominent Malé City gang members, sources said.

Eyewitnesses said the young men were interrogated on their religious beliefs and asked to recite the Shahadha as a test of their belief in Islam. They were also tested on prayer verses and passages from the Quran.

The young men were threatened and forced to hand over the passwords to their Facebook accounts.

They were also asked to identify the administrators behind the ‘Secular Democratic Maldives Movement’ and ‘Maldivian Atheists’ on Facebook.

The ‘Secular Democratic Maldives Movement’ page was founded in December 2012 to advocate for a secular democracy in the Maldives. It has 2,463 followers.

The ‘Dhivehi Atheists/ Maldivian Atheists’ page has 575 followers and advocates for the rights of atheists in the Maldives. It was set up in June 2013.

All abductees were eventually released, sources said.

The MDP believes religious extremists were behind the abductions.

“The Maldivian Democratic Party has received information that some religious extremists have kidnapped young people claiming they had committed irreligious acts. The extremists blindfolded the young people, took them to remote locations against their will, threatened them with sharp weapons, threatened them with death, issued sentences in a vigilante trial and are now implementing these sentences,” the party’s statement said.

The kidnappers then told the hostages they would be killed if any news of the abduction were shared, the MDP said.

The party said it believed “these dangerous acts of terrorism” are against the Maldives constitution, laws and Islamic Sharia and committed by individuals for a certain gain.

Hijacked

Jennifer Latheef, a human rights activist and former administrator of ‘Colorless’, said the four administrators of the group had received several warnings from Facebook users over recent months to remove offensive comments posted by members allegedly mocking Islam.

However, the administrators opted to allow free speech and appealed to all members to be responsible and refrain from attacking and insulting the other’s religious beliefs.

Pictures identifying the group’s administrators were then posted and circulated online by a separate Facebook group called ‘Shariah4Maldives’.

The group alleged ‘Colorless’ administrators had allowed “the mocking of the Prophet Sallalaahu Alaihi Wassalam and outright lies about Islam on their group, and when we warned them about this issue, they refused to remove such posts mocking Islam.”

On Sunday, infiltrators expelled and removed Jennifer and the group’s original administrators without warning.

Jennifer, who currently lives abroad, said death threats have been issued against the group’s administrators.

“I am scared for Maldives. I am scared for the people who are there,” she said.

Analysts have raised concerns over the growing threat of extremism in the Maldives. A recent report by the US State Department expressed concern over radicalization of youth groups and said funds are being raised in the Maldives to support terrorism abroad.

Maldivians are alleged to have died in suicide attacks in Syria, and  online jihadist groups last week insulted and taunted the Maldives Police Services after they said they were investigating the deaths.

Maldivian media have also said they feel threatened by religious extremists and gangs.

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40 Comments on "Vigilante mobs abduct young men in push to identify online secular activists"

  1. DMF on Mon, 9th Jun 2014 10:32 PM 

    People need to make a stand and stop this nonsense.

    A true Muslim would not force Islam on anybody.

    It’s about time the whole nation stopped and took a realistic view of itself. No country can honestly claim to be followers of just one religion. To claim otherwise is just stupidity in the face of fact.

  2. Maldivian on Mon, 9th Jun 2014 11:49 PM 

    Boko Haraam must’ve gotten lost and ended up here.

  3. nineteen on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 1:09 AM 

    funny thing though is that it’s not only the religious extremists behind the act. bodybuilders, surfers and other groups recently warned the government about these fb groups. perhaps these bodybuilders & surfers who are heavily supported by the current youth ministry are probably trying these to make a quick-savaab for all those years of guilt for doing what they do.

    acts like this gives more reasons to colourless people like jenifer latheef who hates maldivians to blame us more.

  4. MissIndia NewDelhi on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 1:38 AM 

    Apart from Islam, Islam, Islam, Islam and Islam, there is no other newsworthy subject in the Maldives it seems.
    So glad I don’t live there…..I would have lost the will to live by now.

  5. Saladins on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 2:13 AM 

    And now, the latest line of defense for Islam… paateys.

    If this isn’t an insult to Islam, I don’t know what is.

  6. Raya on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 4:45 AM 

    “Dhivehi Atheists/ Maldivian Atheists group advocates for the rights of atheists in the Maldives” is that supposed to be a joke or were you just trying to paint a rosy image of this half-witted moron sharing links depicts the absurdity of Muhammad, Islam and Muslims?

    If that is advocating the rights of atheists, sure!

  7. Secret info on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 5:52 AM 

    The following file details the planning of the takeover, some of the attackers’ motives and what the actual target was.

    Enjoy.

    http://pastebin.com/8jP5MzuW

  8. Xavier Romero-Frias on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 6:26 AM 

    There is nothing wrong with secularism. Late President Ibrahim Nasir implemented a pragmatic secular policy in order to modernize the Maldives in the 1970s.
    The last forty years, however, have seen an excessive intervention of religion in political affairs and in the education system of which the violent religious militants are only one of the symptoms. These excesses cannot be reversed and the Maldives cannot return to a normal state without a healthy dose of secularism.

  9. Naushada on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 7:53 AM 

    Jennifer a Human Rights Activist? May be once a upon time. Not anymore. She even refuse to exercise her right to vote and discouraged others from voting.

  10. Nado on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 8:14 AM 

    Have you seen what these atheists have done on Facebook? They have insulted Allah and the Prophet (PBUH) to an extent that no one can ever imagine. They have to be stopped. No matter how, they have to be stopped!

  11. Hero on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 9:16 AM 

    Its time you stop cursing on Maldives and you start to straiten-up your backyard.

    No matter how hard you try to meddle with our country, you will never be able to bring back GMR to Maldives.

    We do not want corrupt companies like GMR to this country.

    This comment has been edited in accordance with Article 4 of our comment guidelines.

  12. Ekaloas buddy on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 9:40 AM 

    No Nado, not no matter what. If they have committed crimes, file a complaint with the authorities. Creating a lawless society is always worse, and always goes in against core values of Islam and Sharia (which exists to protect religion, life, lineage, property and intellect).

    In many Muslim societies the punishment for kidnapping is the death penalty. Infraction if sharia law have to be proved and judged according to sharia law. These mobs are ordinary kidnappers under sharia law.

  13. Maldivian on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 10:11 AM 

    @Ekaloas buddy: Won’t work. Shari’a law by its very nature is designed to have different standards for people.

    Want proof? Those gangsters posted offensive comments and purposefully created the situation – but will never be prosecuted for offending Islam, and their buddies in the jihad gangs will quietly pretend they saw nothing.

  14. Hamahama Insaaf on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 10:27 AM 

    hehe don’t try us you minivan minivan! we are smarter than the politicians! if they mock islam & prophet (peace Be upon Him) we will go after them. you can say we are terrorists! WE DONT CARE.. YOU HEAR IT ..

  15. Hamahama Insaaf on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 10:36 AM 

    Mujahideen of islam have no worries, they don’t fear death!

  16. Anon on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 10:47 AM 

    As much as I condemn the attack and abduction of the said people, can’t help but notice how biased the article is. Proper human rights activists do not poke fun of other peoples beliefs. That is not freedom of speech. That is just called being a douchebag.

  17. MindCuffsongsRock on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 11:25 AM 

    Whats the big deal ? If these brave facebook page administrators are courageous enough to voice their frustrations or opposition to religion, they must not be afraid to be public about it.

    If they can go around yelling about stuff online behind a computer, but turn into a meek “I didnt say that, please dont tell my mom” geek when confronted in real life, then obviously the members of the group should know about it.

    Go public facebook administrators !, shout your opinions on the road ! And let the general public decide what they want to do with your opinions ! Dont be an atheist in hiding, be a atheist in public !

  18. Tholla on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 11:33 AM 

    Oh crap. This article is full of lies written by some extremist freedom lovers, who doesn’t find anything wrong or absurd in the unimaginable vulgarity expressed upon Islam, Almighty Allah and prophet Mohammad (pbuh) by the lunatics who call themselves Atheists.
    No Maldivian citizen, Political party should ever support such attacks on Islam,be it verbal, spoken or by any other means. I feel the government must first take severe action against all the elements behind the cultivation of these Anti-Islamic ideologies.

  19. Naushada on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 12:12 PM 

    If Yameen and Maumoon abdul Gayoom didn’t know then, they should know by now that MDP and Mohamed Nasheed are not the challenge. Rather the challenge lies in confronting extremism in Maldives. But they won’t do anything because all they want is power.

  20. Hero on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 12:12 PM 

    Minivan can write anything against Maldives but when a person makes a comments against Minivan, it can not be published as per Artice 4 ?

    @MissIndia. You better try to avoid rampant raping happening in your country before trying to make things better for this country .

  21. robo cop on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 1:41 PM 

    If someone insults Islam or any other religion, why it hurts people? Even in Islam Mohammed was an ordinary man and people have insulted him during his time. Those who lose sanity for insulting their religion are also not normal they are intolerant and ignorant people and no one can do anything to stop them, also people should not stop to spread reasons and science in order for progress of society. IN every religion they have stupid and unacceptable things for sane people, we had time when we were freighted to insult Maumoon and he had his gang of militia to threaten and torture us and probably there will be a time when people can talk bad about their own religion or people will not bother those who insult their religion. No one knows there is any God, if people know it in real then there will be no problem no one will have to fight to prove it. It is shameful in 21st century that some people go behind people and threaten them with death just because they don’t like you or your way of thinking. We were not Muslims for most of our history, Islam was imported by accident and we have to accept that fact and since we are Muslims now those who like it can follow it and those who see it absurd why can’t they criticize it the same way Muslims insult other religion. Those who believe in afterlife have no doubt about it and the same way those who don’t believe in such thing, also don’t have any doubt about it and no one have anything to prove them with evidence, so why you kill or hate your fellow countrymen for such absurdity. This is 21st century of science and reason; this is not the time people fight for religious dogma. It is time to learn to live peacefully, respecting our environment, and all living beings and do whatever we can do to give a peaceful world for coming generation. We are dhivehing whether we call us Muslims or anything else, you can’t change our DNA by changing the name or you remove Muslim from your name.

  22. riyaz19 on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 2:07 PM 

    funny thing though is that it’s not only the religious extremists behind the act. bodybuilders, surfers and other groups recently warned the government about these fb groups. perhaps these bodybuilders & surfers who are heavily supported by the current youth ministry are probably trying these to make a quick-savaab for all those years of guilt for doing what they do.

    acts like this gives more reasons to colourless people like jenifer latheef who hates maldivians to blame us more.

  23. Daniel Bosley on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 2:19 PM 

    @Hero The previous comment was edited as it was deemed offensive to Indian nationals – no mention was made of Minivan News in the comment.

  24. Ilyas on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 4:44 PM 

    Live and let live people! This country belongs to all of us. That includes the devout muslims, the liberal muslims, the extremist muslims, the intolerant muslims, the atheists, the homosexuals, heterosexuals, bi-sexuaals, the Maldivians of other faith, criminals, gangs, peaceful people and violent people etc. etc.

    These people are not going anywhere. They were born here and citizens of the Maldives. Accept this fact and try to tolerate the others even if you dont like it. You have no other choice!

  25. cabs on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 5:38 PM 

    Nobody has the right to force any beliefs religious,political or whatever on any individual, if extremists maldivians want to go and fight in Syria let them do so,but they should be prepared to face lawsuits by individuals, people who are suffering on account of the radicals,Sue the extremists to their underwears

  26. cabs on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 5:51 PM 

    Thollah what nonsense is Islam an individual to be defended by people,god is omnipresent and indestructible, no earthly meekling can hurt him in words or actions,nor does he command people to fight for him or murder in his name,for his greatness surpass the evils committed by humans

  27. kareem on Wed, 11th Jun 2014 1:22 AM 

    poor people

  28. Facts on Wed, 11th Jun 2014 4:29 AM 

    Heroin-peddling gangs defending ‘islam’.

    You know why this is an insult? Because by doing so, it directly states that Allah is so weak (asthagfirullah), that He needs protection provided by a bunch of paateys.

    Shame on these gangsters, bodybuilders and surfers for trying to cleanse their guilt by pandering to extremists. Shame on the ministry of Islamic Affairs for so tainting the Name of Islam worldwide.

  29. Mit on Wed, 11th Jun 2014 5:06 AM 

    @Thola. You should not talk on behalf of all Maldivians. If you are sick, you can easily go and see a doctor. Maldives is for all Maldivians, not only for gangsters, religious extremists. We have been living in this country peacefully for thousand years. So we don’t need failed people like Abdul Rasheed of Hinnavaru.

  30. Hero on Wed, 11th Jun 2014 11:57 AM 

    @Daniel. Thanks for highlighting it. But you have no standard in publishing article which are very offensive to Maldivian.

    Good job and have double stand

  31. Sam on Wed, 11th Jun 2014 12:17 PM 

    “Nado on Tue, 10th Jun 2014 8:14 AM

    Have you seen what these atheists have done on Facebook? They have insulted Allah and the Prophet (PBUH) to an extent that no one can ever imagine. They have to be stopped. No matter how, they have to be stopped!”

    And that’s exactly why a lot of people think Islam is a cancer on our world.

  32. gnome on Wed, 11th Jun 2014 12:43 PM 

    I for one dont like what the vigilantes are doing and is completely not acceptable.
    I also dont like homosexuals and sympathizers who says that they were born that way and all bull. Ok, they like men and they were born that way…what about people who have sex with kids? maybe they were born that way and their brains got wired so that they like kids? or people who like to have sex with animals? why not give them a chance to explain that they also was born with an extra animal dna which compels them to be attracted to animals?…now ill be called a sick pervert for saying all this. Why?

  33. Ekaloas buddy on Wed, 11th Jun 2014 3:27 PM 

    @gnome: mutual consent. Something a child or animals can’t give.

  34. Tholla on Wed, 11th Jun 2014 5:48 PM 

    @mit: what was that? Its sad that you feel that my say was in support of gangsters or extremists if you label them as such. The minority could only try to create an identity for themselves in the Maldives, but Insha Allah that will never happen. And who?

  35. Sam on Wed, 11th Jun 2014 5:59 PM 

    @gnome on Wed, 11th Jun 2014 12:43 PM

    Let me explain that to you then.
    Homosexuality is definitely something you were born with, that’s been proven by now.
    Same goes for pedophelia and bestiality.

    However, both children and animals cannot consent to sex. They’re not capable to make that choice.

    On the contrary two adult homosexuals, man or female, can decide just fine who they want to have sex with.

    It’s not about who is born like what, it’s about informed consent.

    And finally, would you like to be discriminated against for something you were born with?

    Or exactly what this article is about: something you believe in, but cannot prove/disprove?
    I mean, if any god had been proven to exist, wouldn’t everyone follow that faith?

  36. cabs on Wed, 11th Jun 2014 7:45 PM 

    Buzz of Tholla,islamist scum like you should be treated like how you want minorities and those who don’t agree with your supremacist interpretation of religion, (discriminated,assaulted,and hounded)then only you will appreciate humanism

  37. Willy Rasta on Wed, 11th Jun 2014 10:11 PM 

    Sorry to say but you can now see the shadows of much larger problems in the Maldives. Same unrests you now see in the whole area of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, as well as many areas in Africa. Using religion as their right to kill and harass others. Tugs with the call from holly mighty to use their pietism and holly curse as their rights to kill rape and abuse others. It’s the way they have been educated. They used to have witch burning in Europa, but that is hundreds of years ago. Glade I am not borne ore have to live there.

  38. Willy Rasta on Wed, 11th Jun 2014 10:25 PM 

    I have to say it’s a problem in the Maldives. Same unrests you now see in the Arabian as well as many African countries. Using religion as their right to kill and harass others. Tugs with holly and religious pretence’s use their pietism and curse as their rights to kill rape and abuse others. It’s the way they have been educated. They used to have witch burning in Europa hundreds of years ago. They call it the dark ages, Question is, are Maldives heeding towards the dark ages. Glade I am not borne ore have to live there.

  39. peasant on Sun, 15th Jun 2014 11:56 AM 

    When the consensual sex between adults elicits more outrage from the pious than the rape of a child; when the first instinct of the pious is violence toward dissent or perceived dissent; when the pious choose the harshest prescribed punishment rather than the forgiveness; then the pious no longer represent the religion of peace, love or tolerance.

  40. Xavier Romero-Frias on Mon, 7th Jul 2014 6:15 AM 

    The vigilante mobs need to be stopped. Otherwise these religious extremist groups will keep growing and eventually threaten the tourist industry and tarnish the image of Maldives worldwide. The government should take these matters very seriously and get these groups arrested. They seem to have the run of the place because of the ineptitude and indecision of the authorities.


  • waste of time: I think Saudi Arabia would be a good place for Maldivians to relocate, especially Hero.
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  • Hero: i don’t know when this guy became a ” Environmentalist ” and has become an expert just over night. This was same tactics that gayyoom uses and...
  • foul play: ‘Distruptive brilliance’ LOL.. This is by far the worst speech from Nasheed, some concepts taken totally out of conext..
  • foul play: If Maldives is such a dire place, why is Nasheed trying to be the President of Maldives. Surely, its better for Mr. nasheed to migrate to Liverpool and...
  • shaine: AND What the what MDP! Your people were in charge when Luthfee escaped (or was let escape?)! Please comment on what a failure that was. He is still out there,...
  • shaine: Thank god no shots were fired! Unless the escapee was thought to be armed with guns and bombs, or connected to violent untouchable gangs, or other more...
  • kiikuraneedo: And what could possibly you do?? hmmm “nothing” feel the heat opposite side.. beat it

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