Maldivian president assures actions against religious extremism, rules out imposing emergency

Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih has ruled out imposing a state of emergency, saying “this is not the time” for such actions, and assured that the government would take actions against religious extremists

Aug 12, 2021
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Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih

Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih has ruled out imposing a state of emergency, saying “this is not the time” for such actions, and assured that the government would take actions against religious extremists. The remark is the first public comment by him after the tussle between him and his powerful colleague, Speaker Mohammed Nasheed, broke out a few months back. 

Former President Nasheed, who escaped an assassination bid on 6 May in capital Male, has long been demanding imposing the state of emergency in the archipelago for what he claimed to tackle religious extremists who targeted him. The differences between the duo widened after Nasheed publicly accused the government of going soft on religious extremists and went on to distance himself “politically” from Solih. 

On Wednesday, Solih, speaking on the matter for the first time, said that he was not going to impose an emergency, and those behind religious extremism would be found and punished. 

Both Solih and Nasheed are childhood friends and come from the same ruling party, the Maldives Democratic Party (MDP). The comment came weeks after the MDP led by Nasheed passed a resolution, seeking imposition of emergency. 

The inquiry into the case involving the assassination attempt on Nasheed submitted its report a few weeks earlier. However, Nasheed remained unsatisfied with the findings, claiming those who planned and financed the attack were still at large. 

The threat of religious extremism is one of the top national security challenges which was also acknowledged by President Solih last year. Meanwhile, the ruling party is also exploring introducing a program at the government level to raise awareness about extremism in society. However, officials acknowledged budget constraints to conduct these programs. 

The program is proposed to be conducted by the country’s Islamic Ministry, which will be tasked to spread the true teachings of Islam. Other proposal likes separating detained extremists from other detainees in prison are also under consideration. 

(SAM)