Presidential candidate and Islamic Democratic Party (IDP) leader Umar Naseer have said that secularism is "not something for Maldives" and that it is bad for the country.
“Secularism is not something for Maldives. Secularism is a pill. It is a medicine, very good for countries with multi-race, multi-religion, multi-culture. But if this pill is given to a wrong patient, like Maldives, where we have a single religion for the past 400 years, then this pill can cause irritation in your stomach. So this secularism is not good for Maldives." Umar was quoted as saying.
Speaking to MinivanNews Umar said that being a 100% Muslim country, Maldives needs a "special version of democracy" where things like secularism, pluralism, homosexuality, abortion and alcohol are excluded. He said that IDP's policy is that of one religion, one race, and one language.
“I am sure all the political parties would agree with me on these points, but the question is how committed are people when you have to really defend that" said Umar, who describes himself as a "moderate" Muslim. He warned that religious extremism will become a serious problem for the Maldives and that if he wins the election, he would not be soft on fundamentalists.