Maldives fighters in Syria warns government & leaders

by Azra Naseem

Bilad Al Sham, the media section of Maldivians fighting in Syria, has released a YouTube video describing the country’s leaders as Taghut – unjust tyrants, opponents of the Prophet, or evil powers—they are at war with. Makers of the video describe it as ‘a small warning.’

The video is accompanied by a nasheed – a piece of music sung a cappella, popular among fighters in Syria and Iraq. The words are said to have been written by Abu Nuh, a young Maldivian who died in Syria in 2014.


The video shows clips of all recent Maldivian presidents—Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (1978-2008), Mohamed Nasheed (2008-2012), Mohamed Waheed (2012-2013), and Abdulla Yameen (2013-present). In one clip Gayoom is shown in front of a group of school children who appear to be bowing to him.

Another clip is of Nasheed giving a speech in which he says, “people do not want amputations, executions, or stoning in the Maldives”. Superimposed onto this is a picture of the Maldivian constitution to time with the singer’s words speaking of their [the fighters’] refusal to obey earthly laws. “We will not approve, even if beaten, we will not approve, even if killed, we will not approve,” he sings.

The number of Maldivians who want Maldives to be governed strictly according to the Shari’a and Shari’a alone has been steadily increasing in the last decade or so.

The clips of Nasheed are followed by a picture of Yameen with the Maldives constitution in hand, at the ceremony in which he was sworn in as President. “We will not obey a human who disobeys the Creator”, says the song. Accompanying this is a video clip of Gayoom welcoming former US President Bill Clinton to a local airport, followed by a video of the Maldives parliament, in a session presided over by Waheed. Video effects show a slow fire spreading across the screen.

“Oh, Allah, Allah, I distance myself from this land of oppression, from this cruelty”, says the singer, accompanied by videos of the violent confrontation between Maldives police and a group of men who laid siege to a mosque on the island of Himandhoo in September 2007. It was the first incident to draw the world’s attention to changing religious practices in what was then considered to be a wholly ‘moderate Muslim country’.

These clips are followed by a video of Waheed and then speaker of parliament Abdulla Shahid during an honour guard. In this video, too, a fire slowly rises to consume the figures on screen. The video then shows pictures and clips of Maldivian fighters in Syria, before cutting back to a celebratory crowd in Male’ who seem to be moving in unison to music. “I distance myself from this infidelity”, says the singer. The video then cuts back to Maldivians in Syria.

“O Taghuts, weak humans, this is a small warning, a war we are waging. O unbelievers, the mobs of Satan; what we want, however much you disapprove, is to free slaves from the slaves”. This part of the song is again accompanied by video clips of the violence between police and the men who laid siege to the mosque in Himandhoo.

The video begins and ends with a man shooting live bullets from a machine gun at a makeshift target, a thin frame holding pictures of three men: former presidents Gayoom, Nasheed and Yameen. The bullets tear through the men, causing the pictures to fall to the ground.

In the last frame, the shooter tramples on them with his boots.

Controversial numbers

The issue of Maldivian fighters in Syria has become a political hot potato with the government accusing the opposition of inflating figures to suit its own agenda, and the opposition accusing the government of deliberately underrating them.

Leader of the opposition, former president Mohamed Nasheed, convicted of terrorism charges in a trial the UN and other international organisations condemned as a travesty of justice, has spoken on various international fora of the large number of Maldivians leaving to fight in the wars in Syria and Iraq. Nasheed has consistently put the number of Maldivian fighters in Syria at over 200.

Yesterday, speaking in London at the launch of a new United Opposition in exile, he put the number at 250, saying Maldives has the world’s highest per capita foreign fighters in the region. On one occasion his international lawyers warned of the likelihood of a Tunisia-like attack on the Maldives’ tourism industry.

The government has, in turn, moved to downplay the issue, variously putting the number of Maldivian fighters at well below hundred, 50, or even 30.

Such low figures are hard to accept given the regular flow of Maldivians leaving for Syria since 2014, sometimes in large groups and quite often as entire families. The government has imposed a policy of blanket silence on the issue, refusing to divulge any information to journalists. Prior to the implementation of this unannounced policy, the country’s largest newspaper Haveeru (now closed down under court orders) and Maldives Independent, along with other news outlets, used to bring regular coverage of Maldivian fighters leaving for Syria and Iraq. This has now come to a virtual standstill.

The government’s policy of denial has made it hard to understand the true extent of the spread of ‘Jihadist ideology’ in the Maldives. Efforts to research, analyse and understand the phenomenon are also hindered by the government’s refusal to publicly share any steps it is taking to address the issue, and what kind of programmes, if any, it has initiated to stem the flow of fighters leaving for Syria.

Nor have the authorities revealed who is behind the undoubtedly highly successful recruitment drives within the Maldives encouraging locals to leave their home ‘country of sin’ to be ‘true Muslims’ waging war in the name of God.

Related links:

Leaving ‘Paradise’ for Jihad: Maldivian Fighters in Syria, and the Internet 

From Paradise Now to Paradise Hereafter

Maldives students are taught that democracy attracts Allah’s wrath

Politics of radicalisation: how the Maldives is failing to stem violent extremism

The Long Road from Islam to Islamism: A Short History

Bilad Al Sham Media


    1. Maldivian

      Here is my answer to the alleged ‘Maldivian fighters in Syria’.

      You takaatakaas invaded our land, assaulted our elected officials, and handed over our country to the kaaminees in your blind lust for power, hoping that the Maumoon gang would give you an enclave to engage in your depraved, ‘cultural habits’. Instead, after Yaagundaa used you to kill our people, to silence those who spoke the honest truth, he had you cast aside, like a used tissue paper.

      Some of you have escaped to Syria. Other are still busy licking the boots of the Yaameen regime in exchange for clemency. You are not mujahideen – you are traitors who have the blood of our countrymen on your hands. Desperate to escape the inevitable retribution, you have fled like cowards to attack a defenseless people, driving them from their homes as you sought to do so here in Maldives.

      Bereft of the power they promised you, now again you seek to spread your vile, imperialist rule unto us by force. We know that once Yaameen is toppled by a popular revolutionary movement, your kind will return to prop him to power, backed by saudi military forces.

      We are expecting you, cowardly filth. Come, and burn in the fire of war. Burn with your backward culture that is the only one in the world that buried female infants alive to ‘save money and family honor’.

    2. Hussain

      I will recite here the history of the “takaatakaa” movement so that all may bear witness to their evil.

      In 2004, when the People began their struggle to free themselves from the imperialist Maumoon tyranny, those salafs and takaatakaas were there, labeling us ‘soldiers of foreigners’ and ‘kaafaru influenced people’. When the tsunami came, the takaatakaas blamed the newly formed MDP for the catastrophe.

      We were not deterred – 4 years of conflict later, Maumoon was unable to stop the tide of dissent, so abandoning the takaatakaas to their fate, he quickly agreed to elections – the same elections and democracy that he had his paid mullas haraunge and call ‘another religion’.

      So fell the takaatakaas’ state sponsor, and without top-level government support, their criminal activities were exposed as people began to investigate their crimes. From child brides, to heroin distribution – to indentured servitude and forced prostitution – the so-called religious mullahs were quickly being exposed as frauds, thieves, liars and criminals.

      So, they attempted to influence Nasheed to legalize child abuse and hush up the continued abuse of the so-called clergy of the takaatakaas. Nasheed, being a Man of the People, refused and had one of their corrupt judges investigated by the MNDF. The army, discovering just how deep the criminal network was, had him arrested pending further investigation. Nasheed had wisely chosen not to whitewash the takaatakaas – a crime that they would never forgive him for.

      Without the sale of human flesh, without the sale of hard narcotics, the caliphate of sin was on the edge of collapse – and Maumoon knew that a proper investigation into the judges’ activities would expose him as one of the collaborators with the criminals.

      So came the coup. The takaatakaas called Nasheed laadheenee, and even ‘leader of the kaafaru’ and they invaded our land with a contingent of traitor police and army. They looted our nation, and when Yaagundaa decided that their usefulness was at an end as he got cosy with the Chinese, the takaatakaas fled to Syria – knowing that they had been used by Maumoon, rejected by Nasheed, and again used by Yaagundaa.

      So they hate us as well, because we dared to reject their colonialist policies. We dared to speak out against Saudi imperialism. We dared to live as humans when all they wanted for us was to be slaves to fight their dirty wars and proxy conflicts.

      We relish their hate, and return it ten thousand-fold. Can the arrogant thug with the machine gun shoot when his lungs are frothing and melting? Can that gun fire when its components start to melt?

      The answer is no.

    3. Xia

      Maumoon GE munjey foakey nukiyaa, Anni GE foakey kiyaabala….. Golhaa kamunugosgen varah ragalhu vaane kamah vote lee rundi eh thi Anni thee , NAGOOBALHU verikan libuneema hedhevi faraai handhaan nethi amayey kiyamun dhuvee….yahoodhee aalaathun beynun vaa gothakah vaahaka badal kuree …. When ever he goes abroad he talks against Islam n the prophet Mohamed (PBUH) dhen kon Maumoon eh waheed eh yaagundaa kiyaakah ….

      • Ali

        Your god is money, your clergy is crime.

        Your Maumoon is not a god. Your false religion that glorifies wicked politicians and sinful mullahs. Your mullas are not prophets. We will not bow to your false idols and your false hadith and your backward culture that once buried baby girls alive. Whenever Nasheed goes abroad, he speaks against your wicked clergy. It is the truth, that is why you filth are afraid.

        Your Maumoon also pretended to be a god. And yet he was cast down.

        You thought you could spread your false religion and sell us to the slavery under the saudis. Wrong. These islands will be your caliphate’s grave.

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