Defending Rasheed


Ismail ‘Hilath’ Rasheed, a Maldivian blogger, journalist and free speech advocate, has been brutally attacked near his home on 4 June 2012. His throat was slit through the trachea and he survived only because a vital artery was missed by millimetres. He is recovering. Whilst police are still investigating, it is believed to be the work of Islamists.

Rasheed had previously been attacked and received a number of death threats. On 10 December 2011, his skull was fractured when he attended a rally for religious tolerance, which was attacked by Islamists. On 14 December, he was arrested and held for three weeks after members of the Adhaalath Party accused him of blasphemy. Rasheed reported that he faced mistreatment and degradation whilst in custody. Before his release, his detention was extended twice on the request of investigating officers in order that the Islamic Ministry might provide him with counselling to “bring him back to Islam”.

The Government of the Maldives has made no effort to arrest Rasheed’s attackers despite credible photographic evidence of the attack. Moreover, the Government has blocked his website on the order of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs on the grounds that the site contained anti-Islamic material. Rasheed has said he was being censored for expressing his version of Islam, and called for more freedom of interpretation within the faith.

Following the blocking of his blog and his attack in December, Rasheed became less outspoken on the subject of religion. On May 12 he tweeted his intention to stop blogging altogether, and stated that he had “repented and am now a Muslim. But a very tolerant one at that.”

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain condemns the attacks on Rasheed and demands that the Government of Maldives take measures to prosecute his attackers, guarantee his safety and ensure that freedom of expression and belief are respected. The CEMB calls on individuals and organisations to condemn the attacks and defend Rasheed’s life, security and freedom of expression and belief.

You can send your appeals to:

President
Mohammed Waheed Hassan
The President’s Office,  Boduthakurufaanu Magu,  Male’ 20113,  Republic of Maldives
Fax: +96 0332 5500
Email

Speaker of Parliament
Abdulla Shahid
People’s Majlis House, Medhuziyaaraiy Magu Henveyru, Male’ 20080, Republic of Maldives
Fax: +96 0332 4104
Email: admin@majlis.gov.mv

Chief Justice
Ahmed Faiz
Supreme Court, M. Theemuge Orchid Magu, Male’ 20208, Republic of Maldives
Fax: +96 0300 8554
Email: info@supremecourt.gov.mv

(Information via email)

Comments

  1. Rafiq Mahmood says

    Well, they are getting more and more desperate to stop the unstoppable. We could all of us be the victim of these cowardly attacks, no matter where. I am sorry to say it, but it is going to happen again and again and with increasing frequency. They have no other weapons, no other argument except the cage and the knife.

    If this happens to me I want to put it clearly on public record, while I am free and in full possession of my wits, that I will never willingly surrender. I know that the Islamic shahadat, or profession of faith, is an impossible lie, requiring those who pronounce it to witness what no one can possibly witness. I know what it means and repudiate it utterly. It is impossible to be free and to submit at the same time. Of course, sooner or later I will die or become the victim of illness or accident but that requires no willing surrender of my liberty of thought or word. That I will never give up. I also cherish life because I know it is the only one I am ever likely to have.

    So if anyone says that I have become a Muslim again or that I have taken my own life know that it is not true. I shall never surrender.

    As the list of the name of the victims of cowardly brutality grows longer the hour of freedom grows nearer.

    • Ex Patriot says

      I am sorry to have to say this as I am really opposed to violence, but if you can carry a gun and take out a couple of them before they get to you. It is a shame it has come to this, but it has. I am a athiest and have been for many years and there are still people that don’t like me

  2. Upright Ape says

    Nice, the so called paradise of Maldives, falling into the hands of islamists. In a few years they will shoot themselves in the foot by scaring off all the tourists.

    • Rafiq Mahmood says

      The days when there were “tourist friendly” moderate and tolerant Muslim states are over. The mask has fallen. The only tourism that matters now is the Hajj and Umra. The lights have gone out over the world.

  3. says

    Religion advocates violence. What could be more dangerous than a still evolving species that must have had to be incredibly violent to survive this long being told that their way to heaven is paved with the murder and torture of anyone not believing in the same things?

    Having been unfortunately curious enough in trying to learn about the world, and the bizarre Hollywood perception that killing is entertainment, I have seen more than enough violence to know I would never advocate it or perpetuate it personally, except in situations of absolute necessity to protect myself or another innocent individual under attack. I never want to know what goes on in the mind of someone that thinks they’re doing some horrific deity’s work as a good thing, especially a deity that cannot exist (the contradictions and confusion of any of the Abrahamic texts should make that obvious).

    How many others, like Rasheed, have grown aware that religion steals humanity rather than promotes it? He was so courageous to speak out. To risk life for the sake of promoting reality and clarity should be all the evidence anyone needs that the real humanity comes from seeking these things, rather than the hatred hidden in a religion disingenuously saying it brings peace, according to the patriarchal zealots that sell it to furnish their own comfort.

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