Male, October 28 (newsin.asia): Ruling Maldivian Democratic Party regime’s obsession with manipulating religious status quo in Maldives and belittling Islam will ignite visceral reaction and unrest, lead to popular uprising and inevitable consequences, the Opposition coalition has warned.
Reminding the incumbent ruling MDP regime of the spontaneous reaction to and resultant “disgraceful” fall of Nasheed’s regime in 2012, the opposition Progressive Congress Coalition has warned of the inevitable consequences of the MDP’s obsession with recalibrating the 800 year old norms and practices related to the Sunni Muslim faith of the Maldives.
Emphasising the people’s deep-seated devotion to the Islamic faith and their willingness to jealously guard their national identity, the opposition coalition of PPM and PNC cautioned the ruling party against misconstruing the country’s and her people’s true identity in the Western media, as a society of intolerace, hate and terror.
The excerpt of the oppostion statement reads as follows:
In their effort to woo Western admirers and financiers, the MDP continues to shortchange the country. The overwhelming majority of Maldivians believe, practice and advocate moderate Islam, and the country has been widely acclaimed as a model of peace, harmony and tolerance.
Our social norms are evident in our dedication to welcoming almost one and a half million visitors annually, from all corners of the globe and of all faiths and backgrounds.
Ruling party attempts to tarnish the country’s reputation by branding the Maldives as a “hub of terrorism”, “hotbed of extremism” and “recruitment centre for foreign Jihadist fighters” are shameful. If there are any “fundamentalists” in the country, they are the few within the ruling party elite and their immediate families who are obsessed with the imposition of an alien culture and forcing the population to adhere to their adopted ideals and opinionated interpretation of “free religious expression” hitherto unfamiliar to the country and outside international legal interpretation.
As for threats to national security, the biggest and most evident is Nasheed himself, with his doublespeak and congenital lies having, time and again, put the country in precarious diplomatic situations, attracted ill-informed travel warnings, eroded the country’s sovereignty and made a mockery of the country in the eyes of key development partners and stakeholders.
It is of added concern that they attempt to impose these belief and norms through fear, intimidation and coercion, layered by harsh laws steamrolled through parliament with the aid of their super majority in the house, and without broad consultation or the slightest inkling of relevance to the social and cultural norms of the country.”
The statement notes that the only highlights of the first year of the MDP government’s return to power have been nationwide frustration over the failing economy, accusations of rampant corruption and cronyism and mismanagement of the budget, as well as nepotism and internal power struggles both within the ruling coalition and the main ruling party itself.
The statement goes on to say:
“For over a month, the country has been rocked by peaceful yet vivid public displays of anger and frustration over the government’s insistence on condoning a report published by the Maldives Democracy Network (MDN), in which they insult the Holy Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and ridicule the Muslim faith and practices of the Maldivian people.
MDN has, since its inception as the Maldives Detainees Network and rebranding as Maldives Democracy Network, been a fund-raising vehicle and advocacy wing of the ruling MDP. Used successfully over the years to raise illegal campaign funds and to provide political and public relations “cover” and “face lifts” following atrocities by the Party’s top brass, MDN’s key membership include top government officials, as well as the President’s brother-in-law – the incumbent Police Commissioner, senior policymakers at the President’s Office and recently installed judges.
Efforts to condone MDN and gag peaceful protests against the organisation have included threats of arrest under recent terrorism laws.”
The opposition, in their statement, go on to state that:
“MDN’s reasoning maybe conventional wisdom in some other countries or societies, but the proud Islamic heritage and prevalent moderate Sunni identity is all that is comprehensible, orthodox and embraced as religious guidance since the time of our forefathers. Not only was the report deeply hurtful to the people, the subsequent brashful remarks by MDN’s officials, insulated by President Solih himself, have added insult to injury.
It would be foolhardy of the MDP regime to assume that their recent electoral victories, however comprehensive, give them a license to manipulate the country’s State religion, disregard the fundamental articles of the Constitution, challenge the faith norms of the people and bully the opposition into silence through draconian terrorism laws and foreign-funded smear campaigns. Nasheed, above all, should have learnt his lesson that disrespecting institutitons and norms come with bitter and abrupt consequences, and that the people will not tolerate attacks against Islam and the judiciary.
President Solih, albeit junior to Nasheed in the ruling party ranks, would also be ill-advised to turn a blind eye to MDN’s mischief and resultant angry public reaction. While many closest and most dear family members planted in key governmental and institutional portfolios feature among MDN’s who’s who, the fortunes of his remaining four year tenure of office are inextricably linked to his action or inaction on the ensuing controversy, the statement said.
(The featured image at the top shows President Ibrahim Solih and MDP leader Nasheed)