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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Open Letter to President of Maldives Dr Mohamed Muizzu: The seeds of Islamic radicalisation sown has grown into terrorism

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No matter your denial to the people of Maldives during the elections last year about your connections with the Islamic radical organization – Jamiyyath Salaf – the truth is that you are related to the President of Jamiyyath Salaf, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohamed. He is the brother of Sajidha Mohamed, the first lady of Maldives and your wife.

To me, the matter of policy or lack of a policy of a foreign nation towards terrorism and Islamic radicalism is a concern of the government of that foreign nation and its people. On humanitarian grounds, I might care about the plight of the people in that country facing the evil strains of Islamic radicalization and even empathize in rare cases with the families of those young women and men who become foreign fighters but I do find it hard to comprehend the failure in families to stop their children from being indoctrinated by radical strains of religion and more so a government that silently watches as its nation deteriorates because of Islamic radicalism.

Islamic radical organizations such as Jamiyyath Salaf indoctrinate young minds to become terrorists, deluding them into believing that they are doing the work of Allah. Unfortunately, they are not, they are only the pawns to further the interests of Islamic terror organizations such as ISIS, Al-Qaida, and ISIS-K, who are the rooks in a larger global geopolitical game of chess.

Right now as I pen these words in an open letter to you, Dr. Muizzu, you know and I know that your government is struggling to bring back 243 Maldivian ISIS-trained terrorists currently in jail in Afghanistan. They were arrested from the Eastern Nangarhar province in November 2019. Sadly, 107 are children, 63 are women and the rest 71 are men. 67 weapons were handed over to the Afghan authorities when they were arrested. Most of the ISIS-linked Maldivians have been sentenced to 21 years of incarceration in Afghanistan. I can understand the pain of the grieving families back home in the Maldives. I once interviewed, the mother of a girl from my country who has been in jail in Kabul since 2019. Nimisha Fathima’s husband was killed in a US airstrike on an ISIS base and Nimisha and her four-year-old daughter when she along with 400 ISIS-linked terrorists surrendered to the Afghan forces. There is no prosthetic to heal the amputated soul of a parent who is forced to helplessly watch the plight of their loved ones. But I believe we do not need to be in any way sympathetic to people who indulge in acts of terrorism, whether they are men or women, even if they are our citizens. ISIS operatives need to be in jail, men and women, it is only the children I feel sad about and must be rescued. Each case will have a story.

Reform is difficult after religious indoctrination with a terrorism mindset. Right now I am aware that the Maldivian government has booked a chartered flight out of Turkey to transport around 36 Maldivians in Syria to Male, they will reach Male tomorrow. You and I both know that they were linked to ISIS in Syria.

That Islamic radicalism creates Islamic terrorists is a stark reality few accept and Maldives since 2009, when organizations like Jamiyyath Salaf got aggressive, has been slowly descending into the abyss of Islamic extremism from which it might not return to normalcy. This will only spell doom for the people of Maldives. No matter the sheep clothing that Islamic radicals in the Jamiyyath Salaf must put on to the people of Maldives and the world, the harsh truth is that they are wolves in sheep’s clothing and they are your relatives.

In September last year, Indian authorities in our national capital Delhi arrested a mining engineer turned ISIS operative, Mohammed Shahnawaz. Earlier this week, investigations revealed that the handler of Shahnawaz was a woman from Maldives. According to the investigative authorities, Shahnawaz had come in touch with the woman from Maldives through the Telegram channel ‘Caged Parrot’. The Maldivian woman told Shahnawaz that she was campaigning to raise funds for the women in the Al-Hawal (ISIS refugee detention center) refugee camp on the Syria-Iraq border. While the initial conversation with the woman revolved around raising funds for the refugee camp and Shahnawaz donated Rs 1.40 lakh through Google Pay using an accomplice teacher from Kerala, it later turned into a discussion about the expansion of ISIS in India and the role Shahnawaz and friends Arshad Warsi and Mohammad Rizwan Ashraf, who reportedly were also engineers. Such was the indoctrination by the Maldivian woman, her brother another Maldivian, and their associates that Shahnawaz connected with other ISIS operatives out of India and planned with his friends to orchestrate multi-cities terror blasts in India. They had done a recce in Ayodhya, Delhi, Mumbai and Gujarat.

The case of Mohammed Shahnawaz being indoctrinated by a woman handler from Maldives opens a can of worms leaving many like me who track Islamic radicals and terrorists globally thinking about the extent of the penetration of ISIS operatives from Maldives amongst the young Muslims in India and their presence of ISIS-operatives in my country. Mohammed Shahnawaz was indoctrinated to orchestrate multiple bomb blasts across multiple cities in India by ISIS-linked operatives from Maldives and that is a serious concern for every Indian.

Jamiyyat Salaf has been at the forefront of the indoctrination of the people of Maldives, now those indoctrinated ISIS and Al-Qaida terror operatives from Maldives men and women have set their sights on India. Mohammed Shahnawaz is not a flash in the pan, my experience in this field indicates that there will be more such sleeper cells linked to the Maldives in India and most will be either indoctrinated by the teachings of people like your brother-in-law Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohamed and other clerics from Jamiyyath Salaf or Al-Asr.

In 2018, Adam Shameem, an Islamic cleric linked to Jamiyyath Salaf and Al-Asr was detained at the Thiruvananthapuram airport in India for over 30 hours by the Indian authorities. You and I both know that Sheikh Adam Shameem is an Islamic preacher who preaches a radical strain of Islam. On May 30, 2012, JS leader Adam Shameen openly encouraged Muslim youths to go to Syria to wage Jihad. He stated on social media: Praying for Syrian Muslims is not the only thing you can do. There are Muslims doing other things too. Jihad is also being done in Syria. If you are able you also go – don’t wait. Different people have different excuses and Allah almighty shall judge according to each person’s situation. On May 24, 2014, Adam Shameen stated on social media: May Allah accept the martyrdom of all the Muslims and the Maldivian brothers who died at the hands of the enemies in Shaam (a region in Syria) and elsewhere. May the victory be given to Jihadists.

It would be interesting to point out that Sheikh Adam Shameem and the controversial Islamic preacher Dr. Zakir Naik are known to have an extremely close relationship. Dr Zakir Naik is known to share a cordial friendship and brotherhood with several office bearers of the Jamiyyath Salaf and Al-Asr. Sources in the intelligence have informed that at one point in time the origin of the URL for Dr. Zakir Naik’s work and that of the work Al-Asr headed by Adam Shameem had the same contact number and address based in Thiruvananthapuram. That trace has been erased now since most messages are being shared on social media platforms and various messaging apps.

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohamed also called Abdullah Bin Janab, your brother-in-law, who is the President of Jamiyyath Salaf stated on March 26, 2012, JS President on a social media platform: Muslims will revenge for the recompense of the oppressed women and children and the injured Muslims due to the oppression of disbelievers in Syria. Further on May 22, 2012, JS President, Abdullah Bin Janab stated on a social media post: The bearing of oppression by Syrian Muslims is a radiant of Islamic Jihad. Oppressive tyrants could be ceased upon Jihad.

On January 8, 2015, Abdullah Bin Janab, your brother-in-law stated: If the attack done to the news which mocked Prophet Mohammad we are assured to be Muslims, it is evident that the conscience of the Muslims is not yet dead. Furthermore, on January 9, 2015, JS President, Abdullah Bin Janab, stated: In reaching the aims, we can get encouragement from the act of planning the attackers of the news which mocked the Prophet Mohammad. These were his views on the terror attack on Charlie Hebdo in France.

Last year before your ascent to the role of the President of Maldives, Ali Rameez who is known to be the operations manager of Jamiyyath Salaf took out a campaign to strip Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the honor ‘The Most Honourable Order of the Distinguished Rule of Nishan Izzuddeen’. The Most Honourable Order of the Distinguished Rule of Nishan Izzuddeen’ is the highest civilian award in the Maldives and was conferred to Modi in 2019 by President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih.

Dr. Muizzu, you are not a friend of India and that is a known fact but I am fine with that choice because we live in a world where we are the results of the choices we make, I cannot expect you to like our exotic Indian delicacies when you have suddenly acquired a taste, hunger, and greed for Chinese noodles and yen. You ran the ‘India Out’ campaign to gain popularity among the Salafi followers in Maldives who have an aversion to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India and you also wanted to take forward the policies of Yameen Abdul Gayoom which were turning the relationship with India sour, so that it would strengthen his government’s relation with China. You too see China as your principal ally and India as an ally.

Geopolitical decisions or partisan relationships with other nations do not bother me because they change depending on the different tides of the ocean. A Tsunami pushed the Maldives into the hands of Islamic radicalization and that’s the brutal truth. It is this Islamic radicalization that is a concern to an Indian citizen like me because ISIS operatives from Maldives indoctrinated a few Muslims in India like Mohammed Shahnawaz to unleash terror in my country and that I cannot accept. Successive governments in Maldives allowed for Islamic radicalism and terrorism to grow over the years and now it has shown its Maldivian face in India. And now with you attempting to bring back Maldivians who became ISIS operatives back to Maldives, it is of grave concern to India, this affinity to ISIS terrorists from the Maldivian government.

In the end, I would like to state that I felt ‘India Out’ was a childish campaign but it got you the victory because of the Salafi support. If you want to make a difference dare to run a campaign ‘Ban Jamiyyath Salaf’ or ‘ Islamic Extremism Out’. Fight terrorism and its real face which is Islamic terrorism growing in your country.

Jai Hind!

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