One of the five members of the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) have said that music is haraam or completely forbidden and a sin. He was among the 22 Islamist Mullahs who was seen declaring music haraam in a special video presentation at a Jamiyyath-uh-Salaf (a local Islamist NGO) meeting. Disapproval of music and arts is a common feature of Islamist groups around the world, with some of them going to the extent of banning and burning musical instruments and cassette players. In the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, it was a crime with severe punishments. Today, many fear that Maldives is headed in the same direction.
Sheikh Kareem, according to the official profile on HRCM website, got his secondary and tertiary education at Jamaia Daarul Salaam, Umar Abad in South India. And like the majority of Islamist/Salafi mullahs in Maldives, he obtained his First Degree from the Islamic University of al-Madinah al-Munawarah in Saudi Arabia.
|Sheikh Ahmed Abdul Kareem preaching in a mosque|
Sheikh Kareem, since his return to Maldives have been promoting Saudi-endorsed Islamist ideas in Maldives. An Imam and preacher in local mosques, Sheikh Kareem also appears on national TV and Radio to spread the message. His articles appear regularly on some local newspapers (mainly for papers owned by president Gayoom's friends and family members; Miadhu and Aafathis dailies), in which he discuss religious and social matters along with international politics from an Islamist perspective. Articles on international politics will usually have him praising terrorists as martyrs of Islam at times and bashing western nations.
He is among many other mullahs that used the education system to spread the Islamist ideology with President Gayoom's blessing. He was a lecturer at Kuliyyathul Dhiraasath Al Islamaiyya and Faculty of Education (Maldives College of Higher Education) and wrote several books on "Islamic Education" for primary and secondary level teachers and students. He is also the external examiner for Islamic Studies at the Department of Public Examinations since 2002, responsible for setting and marking Islamic Studies Examination for secondary and higher secondary school leavers.
[The jamiyyathusalaf video presentation]
Several State employed Mullahs, including senior members of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs and the Centre for the Holy Qur’an can also be seen in this video. Influential political figures like the President of Islamist Adhaalath Party, Dr.Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari and Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) religious council member Sheikh Adam Naseem also appeared declaring music haraam.
Islamism which was rejected by the Maldivian society for a long time is now going mainstream with more mullahs are in positions of great power and influence. They are becoming more and more organised in Maldives while any opposition or any voice to counter their ideology are suppressed whether it is Islamic (Dr.Afrasheem) or rational (Aaniyaa).
Dr. Afrasheem Ali who completed his doctorate studies (in Islamic Fiqh and Usul al Fiqh) at the Islamic University of Malaysia was denied the license to preach publicly by the the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs. He have been accused of blasphemy and humiliating Islam by several Mullahs and was even attacked by an angry mob after a Friday prayer he lead in a Islamist dominated mosque in Male'.
The Information Minister Mohamed Nasheed (Kutti) who supports moderate Islamic views have been endorsing Dr.Afrasheem for a while now, even defying the Islamic Council by allowing him to preach on national Radio and Television. However, the Sheikh is much hated and criticized by Islamists and even the local media. Several articles critical of Mr. Nasheed and his 'Sufi' Sheikh (who says music NOT haraam in Islam) have appeared on Jazeera, Haveeru and other local dailies.