British billionaire restores Maldive ancestral pride?

 

Editorial

18 March 2007

If allegations were to be believed, it has probably taken a British billionaire knight to restore the ancient ancestral heritage of the Maldives. These Indian Ocean islands are fast becoming a colonial appendage of Islam and its mullahs based in the Middle East, Pakistan and Malaysia. Thanks to the British knight, this may be about to change.

After a lapse of many centuries, once again, a giant image of the Buddha adorns in full public glory in a tiny Maldive island, with the apparent goodwill of the otherwise Islamic Maldive authorities. The islands were a Buddhist kingdom until AD 1153 when the king was persuaded to convert to Islam. Our own Divehi Buddhist monks were slaughtered en masse in true Islamic tradition of jihad. An attempt to restore the creed of Gautama Sakyamuni known as Buddha about a century later was brutally suppressed by the mullahs.

It is therefore commendable that an Egyptian indoctrinated mullah, the president of the republic Mr Maumoon Gayoom is instrumental in consenting to the construction of what appears to many as the first fully functional Buddhist temple in the Maldives in 850 years. Up until now, the remnants of our ancestral Buddhist heritage unearthed from time to time have been smashed up into smithereens in much the same way as the Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas.

It is also alleged that the British billionaire staged topless dancing in the same island. Maldive women wore topless attire in public at least until the 15th century and in some cases until as late as the 1950s. Again the billionaire knight appears to be reviving this Maldive ancestral custom with the full backing of the authorities.

Recently a Maldive deep sea diver contacted this web site after he discovered several giant Buddhas serenely lying deep in a Maldive lagoon. According to him the Buddhas looked as if they were deliberately hidden there at sometime in the past, very likely to keep them safe from barbaric mullahs. He asked for our advice as to what to do with the find. We suggested that it was still safer to leave them there. At some stage in the near future, it is hoped that these Buddhas could be salvaged and restored to their former ancestral glory, perhaps with the backing of philanthropic Western tycoons and the Maldive authorities who seem to be rapidly joining the civilised world.

There is evidence too, of a Christian heritage in the Maldives around the time the Roman Empire converted to Christianity. According to Vatican sources, there was a Christian monk by the name of Theophilus who was a native of the Maldives. He practiced as a medical doctor in the Roman Empire in the 4th century of the Christian era. In the 16th century the Maldive king Hassan IX made an attempt to restore that heritage by embracing Christianity. This was met with stiff resistance from the mullahs of the time.

Christianity reached South Asia only a few years after the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Christ. The Christian community established in South India by Christ's disciple Thomas exists to this day and is older than any Christian community in the West. It is still unclear if the same movement reached across the Malabar Sea to the Maldives. It is very likely that it did. Our Buddhist kings were known for their tolerence.

Recently the Maldives acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Optional Protocol to that Covenant. The Maldive mullahs and some political parties maintain that "religion is a taboo subject in the Maldives and that preaching faiths other than Islam is constitutionally prohibited" in the Maldives.

On examination of the Maldive constitution we do not find any such provision. The only constitutional provision close to this subject is that Islam is the "official religion" in the Maldives. So what?

In England and Wales, for example, the official religion is the Church of England. That does not stop Muslims practicing and preaching their faith and building mosques all over England and Wales and the rest of the United Kingdom. Maldivians who live in the United Kingdom regard it as their Mohamed-given right to be able to kowtow to Allah in British-based mosques. Like the Maldives, the United Kingdom is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Maldivians living in the UK are able to enjoy freedom of religion precisely because of this Covenant. What is good for Maldivians in the United Kingdom is good for English billionaire knights in the Maldives.

The Maldives has a legal obligation to align its domestic laws to international treaties that it has acceded to. The Maldives cannot have it both ways. If it has acceded to an international treaty and continues to insist that it is unconstitutional to apply the provisions of that treaty then it is in breach of international law. Maldive politicians who insist that the Maldives is exempt from discharging its treaty obligations are also in contempt of international law.

The Maldive opposition MDP, like the ruling Maldivian People's Party (DRP) has a written commitment to breaching Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that relates to freedom of religion.

It is commendable if the DRP Government may now be backing down from this indefensible position by consenting to what appears to many people as a Buddhist temple in the Maldives. The opposition MDP must immediately follow this lead and become civilised.

The Maldive authorities have gone into extreme defensive mode when news broke out of the Buddha image. They have claimed that the British billionaire knight was throwing a party to celebrate his birthday and the Buddha image and the temple were props for a cabaret act. In all likelihood this sounds like the truth but the Maldive opposition and its savage mullahs are seeing this as a huge opportunity to discredit the authorities.

Rather than regarding as an act of homage to the Buddha, Buddhists are likely to view the prop and the cabaret act as offensive and an insult to the Enlightened One. It is likely that if a similar cabaret act carried an Islamic theme then mullah-led savages the world over would go on the rampage, burning, killing, pillaging and looting as they did following the Danish cartoons that depicted Mohamed.

Feedback

Two emails

We received the following e-mail shortly after this page was uploaded, from someone who calls themselves the Free Pens Club maniku@gmail.com

Sir,

The Budda in our midst. Sir Green knows exactly what he's doing

I am utterly disgusted about knowledgeable Maldivians writing stuff and nonsense driven by a frenzy to make political mileage about the Budda in Sir Green's birthday.

Obviously he knows a thing or two about Maldives and the Budda. That little bit extra that's not too obvious to the uninitiated. That's probably why he's a billionaire.

It is historical fact that the Maldives before the 12th Century had no less than 166 Buddist temples, some of which are still buried under mounds of coral sand. The Maldives had 2000 years of Buddidt history and only 500 as Muslims. And how? With Islam as a religion embraced out of fear and utter defeat.

Inscribed on copper plates buried at some of these destroyed Buddist temples are accounts of how Arab missionaries beheaded 200 priests in just one day in Male', simply for refusing to renounce their religion. True to the non-violent nature of the Buddist religion, they did not organize an opposition. They did not fight back. They just calmly submitted to be beheaded like goats to the slaughter on Muslim holy days. And more importantly, they were Maldivians. The best and the brightest of them!

And once the killing sprees were over, the Arabs began chanting of their holy book, in the same melodies and tones as one would hear from the Buddist temples. The sorry masses left behind without their learned men, never even realized that with the transformation, the colonizers had taken over their peaceful religion.

What followed were centuries of rule by pseudo Arab mullahs, who later began changing the Buddist melodies of the Arabic verses to how they sing it in Arabia. And nowadays they might not physically behead Maldivians, opting just to kill their spirits.

Sir Green or anyone else would know the obvious truth; that Maldivians aren't Arabs. Maldivians who go to Mecca on pilgrimage know that the Arabs themselves treat them with racist disdain. And if present day Maldivians are so full of their 500 year connection to the middle-east, (never mind the bigoted contempt), to overlook another 2000 years of history, may God help Sir Green and all those sorry Maldivians who are jacking up the Muslim fervour to a fever pitch about the Budda in our midst.

Editor replies: Your spelling and your sums are overlooked because of the pertinence of your message!


We received the following feedback from a British-based Maldivian. The points made are excellent:

Just read your piece on the Buddha issue. Actually I even checked your site yesterday to see if you have written anything :-).

The Maldives was clearly a Buddhist country before so seeing Lord Buddha's statue from the distance is in a way a small glimpse into the mysterious (and deliberately hidden) past of the Maldives and how the islands would have looked then with their temples and statues. It is a pity though that it is actually there as part of a cabaret act.

However, it is also quite hypocritical that the current regime allows the giant Buddha statue but would not tolerate any mention of Christianity or Christian symbols. I wonder how President Gayoom would've reacted had Mr.Green asked for a giant crucifix instead of the Buddha? Now THAT would be interesting.

As for the opposition trying to make political capital, who can blame them for being so desperate, with an autocratic regime who accuses them of being funded by Christian missionaries and who clearly do not give a toss about what anyone else thinks - Gayoom has just appointed his daughter as the Deputy Foreign Minister without neither a background in International Politics nor any experience in the government. As such, anything to get the people to see his vile and hypocritical ways seems appropriate in desperate times.

The question is if and when democracy happens, will it be a true democracy or a "special democracy" as Gayoom currently calls it, with freedoms allowed only when it suits the government?

 

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