In December 2011, a national movement against President Mohamed Nasheed broke out at the capital Male’ City. More than 10,000 people gathered at a public square.
The protesters only demand was to remove the idols erected at Addu City in the guise of monuments of SAARC countries.
This movement against idolatry and defence of Islam ultimately led to wave after wave of resistance which led to Nasheed’s unforseen resignation.
Last Thursday, Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN), caused the Maldives to unite behind their religion when Islamophobic contents the NGO published were exposed to the public.
The report, titled “Preliminary Assessment on Radicalization in the Maldives”, erroneously suggests that Islam and radicalization goes hand in hand.
As if to agitate the public further the report goes as far as to deny the divinity of the spoken words of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
It is fair to say that MDN was inconsiderate of the Maldives’s culture and religion. The whole country has come out with calls to ban MDN.
Former President Abdulla Yameen, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and a string of lawmakers across the political spectrum condemned the NGO. The country has once again united in a mysterious way it sometimes do in moments of crisis and triumph.
The one man who is not in this nationalistic moment of embrace is President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
It will not be difficult for Solih to ban MDN. Legislation already allows the minister to ban NGOs which spread anti-Islamic rhetoric. But he has not done it.
Solih has not even condemned or spoken about the MDN crisis. There are many reasons Solih would protect MDN.
One reason maybe because his sister in law is married to a former board member of MDN Mohamed Hameed, the current Chief of Police.
Or maybe because Fayyaz Ismail, Solih’s Economic Minister, who has so much sway in the administration is the brother of Shahinda Ismail the Director of MDN. Or because Aishath Sujoon, Solih’s nominee for the Supreme Court was a founder of MDN.
Whatever the reason that made Solih incline towards MDN are irrelevant to the people of the Maldives who believe in a purely Muslim nation. If the people come out in force, as it did during Nasheed’s regime it would mean the end for Solih’s government, surely.
Will Solih finally unite with his people or will he abandon them for a few measly Islamophobic minority? Only time will tell. But it may be too late too little to save Solih.