Liberal blogger stabbed in the Maldives: Police

By AFP
Published: June 5, 2012

Maldivian telecommunications authorities had blocked his blog last year claiming it contained anti-Islamic material. PHOTO: AFP

COLOMBO: An outspoken Maldivian blogger known for his liberal views on religion was in intensive care on Tuesday after being stabbed by an attacker outside his home in the capital Male, police said.

Ismail Rasheed, who is better known as “Hilath”, had his blog blocked late last year by the Maldivian telecommunications authorities who claimed it contained anti-Islamic material.

The 37-year-old, who has received death threats in the past, was later arrested following a rally he organised in December in support of religious tolerance and spent nearly a month behind bars.

“We don’t know who attacked him. His condition is said to be stable now,” police spokesman Hassan Haneef told AFP by telephone, adding that they were trying to track down the assailant behind Monday evening’s attack.

The Maldivian government condemned the stabbing, but said Hilath should have sought protection.

“We condemn this attack. Hilath must have known that he had become a target of a few extremists,” Human Resources and Youth Minister Mohamed Shareef told AFP.

“We are not a secular country. When you talk about religion there will always be a few people who do not agree,” he said, adding that the government rejected the use of violence.

Hilath has received support in the past from rights group Amnesty International and the Maldives Journalist Association over the blocking of his blog and threats to his life.

Under the 2008 constitution in the Maldives, a holiday paradise gripped by political unrest, Islam is the only religion its people can legally practise.

Hilath practises Sufi Islam, a moderate mystical form of the religion, and claimed his persecution was by Sunni hardliners who have been gaining in strength in the Indian Ocean archipelago.

Reader Comments (6)

  • Mj
    Jun 5, 2012 - 5:32PM

    Another country getting destroyed by extremism.

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  • donku
    Jun 5, 2012 - 6:51PM

    @Mj

    yeah rite, liberals should stop imposing their views on majority.

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  • annata
    Jun 5, 2012 - 9:42PM

    @donku

    How dare liberals wanting to express their opinion without getting stabbedRecommend

  • donkey
    Jun 5, 2012 - 9:44PM

    @donku,
    yeah rite, liberals should stop imposing their views on majority.
    imposing ones views on others is not liberalism.its a distinctive feature of hardliner fundamentalists,whose poster boys are gentlemen like Mumtaz qadri.only those people resort to violence and intimidation,whose conviction and self belief are in doldrums.this incident also shows the power of pen(keyboard in this case),which is giving a hard time to religious bigots,and exposing their real face.

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  • Mj
    Jun 5, 2012 - 9:54PM

    @donku:
    Writing opinions on a blog or a book now counts as imposing your views? No wonder regressive elements resort to violence as they cannot reply using non-violent means and arguments.

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  • Fanatic Muslim
    Jun 6, 2012 - 7:54PM

    Maldives culture is similar to India where people enjoy boduberu and dance which you can see in many part of India. Here before 10 years women were roaming without burga/veil afterwards some Islamic scholars started study Islam in Saudi Arabia and Malysia and other factories of fanatics and isolating the people with their narrow minded thoughts which they studied. Such fanatics want to forcefully impose their thoughts on liberals otherwise they have to suffer like this journalist. This is the bredding seeds like Afghanistan and Pakistan. Though the majority of the Maldivian are liberal by nature and they are not fanatics but political use of religion also has started recently by some people.

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