1,400 Indoctrinated by Extremist Ideology Says Maldives Police | Security Risks Asia Humane ClubMade with Humane Club

1,400 Indoctrinated by Extremist Ideology Says Maldives Police

Published Dec 20, 2019
Updated Feb 05, 2020

“There are close to 1,400 Maldivians with us today across the country who have fallen into extremist ideology to the point where they would not hesitate to take the life of the person next to them,” Commissioner of Police Mohamed Hameed said during a briefing at a conference for councillors as per the Maldives Independent.

In his concluding remarks at the conference on 16 December, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said there was no benefit from suppressing or keeping the information about extremism hidden from the public. “We have accepted that extremist ideology is present in the Maldives. We have to accept that people go to Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan to fight in the name of jihad. That is happening in the country and our government has accepted it. We are taking on a difficult challenge but the government’s policy is to face this and find a solution,” he said.

According to the police chief, 423 Maldivians attempted to join terrorist organisations in Syria and Iraq, of which 173 people managed to enter the war zones.

“Hundreds” of local extremists also travelled to Pakistan and Afghanistan before the Syrian civil war, some of whom have been spreading radical ideologies since returning to the Maldives, Hameed said.

The new number of jihadis is significantly higher than the figure of 69 offered by the previous administration, which downplayed the issue and dismissed claims of the Maldives being the highest foreign fighter contributor per capita to Syria and Iraq.

As many fighters were killed in battle, Hameed said the number of Maldivians left in Syria was 59, of which 91 percent were women and children.

Of the 173 Maldivians who went to Syria, nearly half were women and children, forty-eight percent had criminal records and 39 percent had known affiliations to criminal gangs.

A programme for rehabilitation and de-radicalisation of the returnees is planned at a centre under construction on Himmafushi island.

In his concluding remarks at the conference on 16 December, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said there was no benefit from suppressing or keeping the information about extremism hidden from the public. “We have accepted that extremist ideology is present in the Maldives. We have to accept that people go to Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan to fight in the name of jihad. That is happening in the country and our government has accepted it. We are taking on a difficult challenge but the government’s policy is to face this and find a solution,” he said.

Meanwhile the Islamic ministry has suspended preaching licenses of three scholars accused of encouraging terrorism as the police and military launched a special operation to raid homes of suspected extremists.

The licenses of Abdul Raheem Mohamed from Noonu atoll Lhohi island, JaufarFaiz from Addu City and Mohamed Hassan from GaafuDhaalu atoll Thinadhoo were suspended on 17 December. Abdul Raheem and Faizwere  “spreading hatred, encouraging inhumane and degrading acts and supporting civil wars in other countries,” the Islamic ministry said

A joint operation was also launched by the police and military to apprehend suspected extremists on Maduvvari island in Raa atoll. The operation targets a hardline separatist group that was depriving women and children of education, healthcare and vaccination, promoting radicalisation and violent extremism, and recruiting people for foreign terrorist organisations, police said in a statement.