Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Maldivians say no to Adhaalath

If there's anything good to say about the outcome of the parliamentary elections it's the clear rejection of the religious conservative Adhaalath Party by the Maldivian populace. Candidates on that party's ticket failed to secure a single seat in the next parliament, according to provisional results by the Elections Commission.

By rejecting Adhaalath Party, Maldivians are showing that they are more moderate and secular-minded than politicians and commentators seem to think. The MDP and the Republican Party have been humouring the Adhaalath Party in the mistaken belief that the religious conservatives command widespread support in this country. As a result, members of that party have enjoyed unlimited access to the media, including the Friday sermon, through which they've launched unchallenged diatribes against women, music, and democracy, in the name of Islam.

With the support of the MDP and RP president Gasim Ibrahim's money, Adhaalath had some success last year in undermining  more liberal Islamic scholars like Afrasheem Ali and Gubaad Abu Bakr. But in public debates and the ill-advised court action against Gayoom, in which they tried unsuccessfully to prove the former dictator was not Muslim, Adhaalath scholars were no match for these two.

To add insult to Adhaalath's defeat in the parliamentary elections , Afraasheem Ali appears to have won a seat in the parliament on a DRP ticket.

The Adhaalath Party is a politically insignificant entity with outmoded views that have no place in a progressive, liberal democracy and it remains to be seen how the MDP and RP, Adhaalath's main patrons, respond to this obvious fact.