Male: The new Maldivian government has
brushed aside claims that Islamic harliners` influence was
rising in politics, saying Maldives was not a country of
"We are not fundamentalists," said a close aide of
President Mohamed Waheed Hassan today when asked about claims
that Maldives` political scene had witnessed a rise in
"The fundamentalists are those who strap bombs to their
bodies and blow away," Masood Imad, a friend and Press
Secretary to the new President said.
He said a person with a beard cannot be considered as a
"It is sunnah... Don`t judge the book by its cover. Read
it and understand it," he said.
Over the past few months, certain quarters have expressed
concern over the rising influence of the hardline elements in
The Wall Street Journal in a report had said that "hard-
line Islam is an increasing part of the political scene and
played a role in overthrowing the democratically elected
Incidentally, the country`s new Home Minister Mohamed
Jameel Ahmed infamously published a controversial pamphlet
accusing ousted President Mohamad Nasheed of working with
"Jews and Christians" and against Islamic ideals.
Hassan`s new cabinet also has elements of the erstwhile
Maumoon Abdul Gayoom era that lasted for 30 years.
Maldives is an atoll nation of around four lakh people,
with Sunni Islam the only religion followed in the country and
adherence to it is required under the Constitution.