Tagged: extremism Maldives

Sharia and the death penalty: how Islamic is ‘marah maru’?


Government…can’t be trusted to control its own bureaucrats or collect taxes equitably or fill a pothole, much less decide which of its citizens to kill.

—  Helen Prejean, ‘Dead Man Walking’ 

by Azra Naseem

On July 1, a Maldivian lawyer was brutally murdered, his body stuffed into a dustbin. On June 4,  militant Islamists tried to murder Hilath Rasheed, the country’s only openly gay rights activist and a rare voice advocating secularism in the Maldives. On 30 May,  a 65-year-old man was killed on the island of Manafaru by robbers after his pension fund. On the same day, in Male’ a 16-year-old school boy was stabbed multiple times and left to bleed to death in a public park. On April 1, a 33-year-old man was stabbed to death in broad daylight by two men on a motorbike.  On February 19, a twenty-one-year-old life was taken in a case of ‘mistaken identity’.

Amidst the increasing violence and decreasing value of life, calls for restoration of the death penalty are growing. It is normal for a society experiencing unprecedented levels of crime to demand the death penalty as a solution. In the Maldives, however, the whole debate is framed within the precincts of religion, touted as a return to ‘Islamic justice.’

This is not to say other ways of looking at it are completely absent from the discourse.There’s Hawwa Lubna’s examination of the death penalty within a rule of law framework in Minivan, and Mohamed Visham’s somewhat confused and confusing analysis of its pros and cons in Haveeru, for example. Such discussions are, however, pushed to the fringes as the theme of ‘Islamic justice’ takes precedence.

My question is, how Islamic is this call for ‘Marah Maru’ [death for death]? Is revenge what underpins provisions for the death penalty in Sharia?

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Restoring democracy: Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!

Ghostbusters for democracy. Picture source: www.destructoid.com

by Azra Naseem

Maldivian Islamists have outed the truth behind the forced resignation of President Mohamed Nasheed: supernatural forces made him do it.

According to an ‘exposé’ in the Islamist Raajje Islam President Nasheed ‘saw dead people’ in Male’s military headquarters before he submitted his resignation on 7 February.

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Exploiting Palestinian plight for political gain

by Azra Naseem

The new Maldivian government welcomed Palestinian leader Dr Mahmood Abbas yesterday. It was the first time in 28 years an Arab leader visited the Maldives. The last such visit was by Yasser Arafat in 1984.

Maldivian people, like other Muslims across the world, have sympathised with the plight of Palestinians for decades. All Maldivians over thirty years of age will remember a long-running campaign on national television in the 1980s, with a picture of the golden dome of Masjid Al Aqsa. It was an appeal to Maldivians to make donations to what was called the ‘Qudus Fund’ to help the suffering Palestinians.

None of the rhetoric of the time relied on anti-Semitism to help gain public support for the Palestine cause. It was a campaign run on empathy with Palestinians and not hatred of Israel.

Fast forward some two decades, and it is an entirely different story–what drives our Palestinian policy now is not love of our ‘Muslim brothers and sisters’ but hatred of Israel and Jews; and political point scoring. Evidence of this was on full display during Dr Abbas’s visit today.

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