LA CONDANNA DEL PRESIDENTE NASHEED.
“Kill me before you kill a fellow Maldivian,” President Mohamed Nasheed has said, after several slogans calling for the “slaughter of anyone against Islam” were published yesterday on a website calling for a religious protest on December 23.
The organisers of the protest yesterday removed the slogans calling for murder, attributing them to “a mistake on the technical teams’ side.”
The website, 23December.com, this morning appeared to have been targeted by hackers, replaced with green skulls and the statement “We’ll come out against you with machetes if you protest.”
The original site promoting the protest is now back up at the domain.
Speaking at a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) rally last night, President Nasheed promised that should the protests target Maldivians, “The government and MDP will come out in defence of the people. We’ll not come out on the streets with the defence forces but with bare hands. No one can confront us on these streets,” Nasheed was reported as saying.
His statements followed an attack on Saturday against a group of ‘silent protesters’ on the Artificial Beach calling for religious tolerance. Several people were injured in the skirmish, including controversial blogger Ismail ‘Khilath’ Rasheed who’s website was last month blocked on the order of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.
That evening, Nasheed gave an address at a function marking International Human Rights Day, in which he said that “Islam stands for the dignity, honour, and nobility of mankind, on which Islamic Sharia is based”, and contended that those who claimed Sharia conflicts with fundamental human rights “are clearly unable to comprehend or accept Sharia verdicts.”
The explosive reaction against UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, following her recent call for a moratorium and debate on the practice of flogging for extramarital sex, and an amendment to the “discriminatory” constitutional provision that all Maldivians be Muslim, was a lost opportunity to showcase Sharia’s compatability with human rights, he said.
“Our scholars lost the chance by reacting in a provocative and ‘Jihadi’ manner, even calling to harm the High Commissioner,” Nasheed said.
Religious figures were yesterday quick to publicly condemn the calls for violence.
Speaking to Minivan News, Former State Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed said that the slogan calling for murder was “not good”, adding that “Islam is a religion of peace, not of violence”.
ARRESTATO UN BLOGGER.
Controversial blogger Ismail ‘Hilath’ Rasheed was arrested this evening for his involvement in last Saturday’s ‘silent protest’ for religious tolerance, which turned ended in violent after several individuals attacked the group with stones. Hilath was taken to the hospital with head injuries.
According to the Sub Inspector Ahmed Shiyam, Hilath was arrested under a Criminal Court order issued today.
Rasheed’s arrest follows the blocking of his blog by the Communications Authority of the Maldives (CAM) on the order of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs. The Ministry made the request on the grounds that the site contained anti-Islamic material.
Police are currently interrogating some of the approximately 30 individuals who gathered at Artificial Beach on Saturday. Calls for an investigation of the protest were made by religious conservative Adhaalath party, NGO Jamiyyathu Salaf, and ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik.
While pursuing its investigation of the protest for religious tolerance, police have also summoned the developer of the website 23December.com, which this week published slogans calling for the murder of anti-Islamic activists in what organisers later described as a “technical mistake”.
Developer Ali Ahsan told Haveeru that police wanted to understand who was responsible for the website’s conception, development and published material.
“The police also questioned whether those inappropriate phrases or those slogans [calling for the killing of people] were present when the information was published on the website,” he said.
Ahsan, who also edits online publication DhiIslam, said police had confiscated the hard drive used for the development of 23December.com, Haveeru reports.
The investigation into the aggressive error began yesterday, when police questioned Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla and Civil Coalition official Abdulla Mohamed over the death threats.
Sheikh Imran and Mohamed did not speak directly to the press, however their lawyer, former State Minister of Islamic Ministry Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, confirmed that police asked them about the slogans published on the website.
Shaheem said that slogans calling for murder were not on the website when it was launched, adding that the “content were manipulated by some people spying on the website”.
Abdullah, who is the lead organiser of the the protest, also told Minivan News on Tuesday that the team had not seen the slogans calling for murder until the day after the launch. ”We corrected the mistake as soon as it was brought to our notice,” Abdullah said.
He said the slogans were earlier attributed as a “mistake on technical team’s side” after they identified some loop holes in the website security, adding that their “suspicions were confirmed” when the website was hacked on Tuesday morning.
President’s Office Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair today issued a statement blaming organisers of the 23 December demonstration for disrupting public order to achieve “hidden agendas”.
He said he not believe that removing the violent slogans from the promotional website was sufficient proof of non-violent intentions.
A police spokesperson said Ali Ahsan was arrested under a warrant in an ongoing investigation.
The police, however, declined to provide details of the investigation.
Police had launched an investigation into the death threats published on the promotional website.
Ahsan, who also serves as the editor of the online publication DhiIslam, was summoned to the police headquarters last evening to clarify who instructed him to develop the website and who published the information on it.
The police also confiscated the hard drive used by Ahsan for the website's development.
The slogans on the website included "the ruling of those who break the laws and challenge Islam is killing them by the public", "today's law is to kill anti-Islam activists… and those who support them" and "ready to kill anyone who challenge the religion of Islam without regarding his party".
The police yesterday summoned Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla and Civil Coalition official Abdulla Mohamed over the death threats.
Hackers infiltrated the website yesterday and threatened the organisers of the protest by putting a message on its homepage saying, "we'll come out against you with machetes if you protest."