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Maldives: Dissident And Anti-Islamic Sites Blocked

Categories: Maldives

Several dissident and alleged anti-Islamic websites were filtered recently in Maldives. The Ministry of Islamic Affairs ordered the Telecommunication Authority of Maldives (TAM) to block access to those websites.

Maldives Dissent informs [1]:

A week after President Anni announced his intention of turning the Maldives into a sanctuary for oppressed writers, his government has blocked a dissident website. The telecommunications authority has blocked the raajjeislam.com website on the order of the Islamic ministry.

[..] The website was blocked a day after an audio clip [2] by Foakaidhoo Imam Mohamed Shakeeb alleged that the state minister of Islamic affairs Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed had threatened him.

In a followup post Maldives Dissent reports [3]:

The list of websites banned by Anni's government is growing, all of them on the orders of the Ministry of Islam. According to Haveeru [4], eight websites have been blocked so far for allegedly publishing anti-Islamic and pro-Christianity content in the Dhivehi, the Maldivian language.

One of the banned websites, randomreflexions.com, an English language one, was reportedly targeted because it evoked debates and discussions around Islam. And, at least one of the banned websites, raajjeislam.com, may have been targeted for political reasons since it exposed tyranny by a state minister at the Islamic ministry.

A few months ago reports [5] came out that The Ministry of Islamic Affairs is planning to block websites promoting Christianity aimed at Maldivians.

Jawish Hameed lists the blocked sites [6] and predicts the possible reasons for the ban:

Seedhaahithun.com, sidahitun.com and gospelgo.com were apparently blocked for “promoting Christianity”. [..] The feydhooschool.info site was apparently blocked upon request from a “senior person” at the Feydhoo School. I seriously doubt the MoIA has the authorization to block any website under such flimsy pretense.

The blogger also informs that a mass blocking was used as all the domains under the IP adress of the targeted sites were also blocked:

That means there would be a total 909 unintended victim sites that fell prey to the mindless blocking of just these few site IP addresses! This has been confirmed been both on Dhiraagu and ROL connections.

Many Maldives bloggers like Al Mode [7] condemned the ban. Breaking Tweets posts a roundup [8] of Tweeter users of Maldives noting protests from the Maldivians:

@sofwath [9] (Male, Maldives): You have not converted a man because you have silenced him

Ali Naafix indicates [10] that there are political motives behind the ban:

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, controlled by Adhaalath party [11] ( Opposition party- The Justice Party [12]) is doing whatever they will and whatever they want.

The MDP menifesto clearly states that there will be a free scholarly body consisting of Sunni-Muslim scholars. However, Adhaalath has once again plotted to invade this free body. Instead of forming a free scholarly body, we have seen the formation and inauguration of the Fiqh Academy, headed by Dr. Abdul Majeed Abdul Baaree and consisting of mostly Adhaalath members or its supporters.

I condemn the act of Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Anni for showing a blind eye to it. I wish I can continue blogging.

Maldives Dissent [1] has this message for the government:

Before the Maldives can become a safe haven for the dissidents of the world, it first needs to establish an environment for the freedom of expression of its own writers to flourish.