In breach of the Golden Rule



4 July 2006

8 July 2006

Yesterday was the first anniversary of the London Tube bombings.
It was interesting that Dhivehi Observer (DO), which operates out of the United Kingdom, failed to write anything in remembrance of those who were killed by Muslims in the London Tube bombings. DO is at the forefront of the propaganda war in Europe aimed at seeking support to topple the government of the Maldive president of the republic Maumoon Gayoom. While the British mourned, it was business as usual at DO. For these people and their readership, anything that may be seen as assigning culpability to co-religionists of killing infidels is anathema. This is yet another example of the breach of the Golden Rule.

Recently an outfit based in New Mexico, sent an invitation to this web site asking us to place a link to their new web site on the Maldives. The outfit is called the Bridge Academy Amnesty Group. The web site is operated by a certain Abu Munir Winkel and his wife Ely Winkel. It is hosted by the British-based online publication Dhivehi Observer, which is a close affiliate of the Maldives main opposition the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

Abu Munir and Ely Winkel claim to have secured “ring seats” in what they call "The Struggle for Freedom in the Maldives". In an email that remains unanswered, we asked the Winkels the question as to whether it is a struggle for genuine freedom or simply a struggle for a coup d’état.

As we see it, none of the factions in Maldive politics today are committed to working towards establishing internationally recognised norms of human rights or acceding to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In fact, it is only the Maldive president of the republic, Maumoon Gayoom's spin doctors who are so much as paying lip service to the latter commitment. Mr Gayoom's Maldivian People’s Party, DRP’s manifesto (written only in the Divehi language) says the following:

Born in Manhattan, Abu Munir Winkel lived in Geneva, Switzerland as a grade school pupil attending the International School. At Haverford, then Pennsylvania, then the University of South Carolina, he undertook eclectic studies, mostly religion at first, focusing on spiritual matters, then later including political science and numerous languages to enable study of religious and spiritual texts written in Sanskrit, Greek, Coptic, Tamil, Arabic, besides French and German. An Ibn Arabi scholar, Winkel taught at the Malaysian medrassa Universiti Islam Antarabangsa, Petaling Jaya and was a senior scholar in Islamabad, Pakistan. He has a young son, Munir, in Atlanta. Abu Munir Winkel now lives in New Mexico with his wife Ely, whom he married in the Maldives

"Whilst there is pulse in our bodies, we shall not permit a place to any religion other than Islam on this soil."

In their web site, the Winkels have published profiles of and interviews with well-known activists in the MDP. Section 3.3 (a) of the MDP constitution (again written only in Divehi) states that the party shall endeavour to protect and preserve the "esteemed religion of Islam" and that the party shall not permit any religion other than Islam.

Both the Maldive government and its main opposition are in agreement on this point which contravenes Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18.1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

It was reported by Abu Munir and Ely Winkel’s hosts Dhivehi Observer on 22 June that an MDP delegation headed by the latter’s Editor-in-chief Ahmed Moosa had accompanied a certain Ali Shafeeg to make representations to various British politicians and others. Mr Shafeeg was a member of the ruling DRP who defected to the opposition when he failed in his bid to defeat Mr Gayoom as leader of the DRP. Evidently Mr Shafeeg travelled to the UK to prove to the British that Mr Gayoom “will never be able to convert to a democrat.”

The Winkels and their students.
According to their web site, the woman wearing the jihadi costume is currently awaiting trial in the Maldives for allegedly attempting to recruit Islamic suicide bombers to be sent abroad for jihadi training. Without giving any evidence, the Winkels allege that this charge against the woman is fabricated by the Maldive authorities.

In a Divehi language letter published in Dhivehi Observer on April 18th, Mr Shafeeg promised his party’s membership to do all he could in order to preserve the exclusive status of Islam in the Maldives. Among Maldivians, this is usually a reference to doing the utmost to prevent the accession to Article 18.1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Maldivians are quite happy to accept aid, receive international tourism revenue and ask the West for assistance in preserving the elite's positions of privilege. When it comes to acceding to international norms of human rights, that is another story altogether.

One has to read the fine print in Divehi language documents to realise that no Maldive politician representing any political persuasion is interested in implementing either these norms of human rights or genuine democracy. To labour this point is a dangerous and lonely exercise and as far as we are aware, our site is currently the only publication that explicitly puts this point of view across in public.

While Abu Munir and Ely Winkel have invited us to link to their web site, we noticed that they have omitted to include our site in their recommended reading list. Their web hosts Dhivehi Observer, recently censored out a long standing link to our web site because of our continual highlighting of this point. Perhaps this is a sign of things to come after the coup d’état!

Taliban-style mullahs officiate at MDP meeting

Mr Gayoom did not commence his censorship until after he gained power. The key players in what the Winkels have called "The Struggle for Freedom in the Maldives" appear to have already begun censorship in earnest.

British and European politicians from all sides appear to be entertaining a continual stream of deputations from the Maldive government, the opposition and disaffected exiles. The Maldivians hope that currying favour with the Western powers would bring about transition or preserve the status quo in the Maldives in their favour.

Do any of the Europeans query the Maldive delegations on their commitment to democracy as we know that concept here in the West? Do they realise that a bunch of Indian Ocean islanders are out to pull wool over their faces in order (a) to wrestle power, in the case of the opposition and (b) to hold on to power in the case of the government? These islanders who come knocking on Western doors are already entrenched in immensely privileged circumstances in comparison to the vast majority of their compatriots or the majority of Western taxpayers.

From what the Maldive opposition and the government have committed in writing (in their native tongue, lest the West becomes aware of the deceit), it looks as though either party’s least interest lies in implementing universal norms of human rights.

There will be no democracy without respect for the rights of those who hold minority views and beliefs; a dictatorship of the majority is not democracy at all.

Maldive politicians do not seem to acknowledge that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. While living in or visiting the West as members of an ethnic and religious minority, Maldivians expect the full guarantees provided for in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. At the same time they make written commitments to withhold the freedoms in the Maldives, that they demand for themselves when living in the West as a minority. To this end, they appear not to have any qualms over using what they see as gullibility of Western politicians to help them grab or hold on to power.

“Do to others as you would have them do to you”. Does not this Golden Rule mean anything to these people?

Regent's Park Mosque, London


After reading this editorial, one of our regular site-visitors in Malaysia, Zainal Abidin bin Haji Ibrahim sent us the following link to an article that appeared in a Malaysian online publication called HarakahDaily.Net in February. Mr Ibrahim wanted to find out if a similar situation existed in the Maldives. Click here for the original Malay language article. A translation of part of the article is given below. This web site cannot guarantee the accuracy of the translation but it looks accurate enough:

Tue | Feb 14, 06 | 06:15:44 PM
Oleh Ekmal Yusof IPOH, 14 Feb (Hrkh)

Chief Mufti of the State of Perak Mufti Dato' Seri Haji Harussani Haji Zakaria announced that there are close to 250,000 Muslim apostates in the country.

This figure includes about 100,000 Malay Muslims who have declared themselves Christians.

This announcement was made on a TV Forum entitled "Pekerti Islam" in the State of Kedah recently which was aired by RTM at 2 pm this evening.

Another 100,000 Muslims are in the process of filing for apostasy while the rest are filing to have their Muslim name changed to "other religion name"

"This figure does not include individuals who don't do solat, don't fast and break all the tenets of Islam" he said.

Breach of the Golden Rule in the UK

"While those who convert to Islam, such as Cat Stevens, Jemima Khan, and the sons of the Frank Dobson, the former Health Secretary, and Lord Birt, the former BBC Director-General, can publicly celebrate their new religion, those whose faith goes in the other direction face persecution. Mr Hussein, a 39-year-old hospital nurse in Bradford, is one of a growing number of former Muslims in Britain who face not just being shunned by family and community, but attacked, kidnapped, and in some cases killed. There is even a secret underground network to support and protect those who leave Islam. One estimate suggests that as many as 15 per cent of Muslims in Western societies have lost their faith, which would mean that in Britain there are about 200,000 apostates." >>Read full article on Times Online (5 February 2005)

Feedback from a Maldivian

The following is extracted from an email from a highly educated Muslim Maldivian, who contacts the site editor from time to time. This is someone whose self description is “proud to be Muslim”. The person's identity is withheld to save them from being victimised, harassed and ostracised.

"Interesting Article. You have brought out real valid points that seem to be escaping debate all the time.

" For me personally I don’t see a reason why Maldives should remain a 100% Muslim nation in name. I think they should let people chose what they want. You can't force a belief on anyone. But then again, it’s only my opinion.

" For some reason, this article is different than most, maybe because for once we agree on something!"

"Muslims who don't hate America sin..... As long as there is no [American] intention to fight us and Islam continues to grow there can be peace. This is the doctrine of Islam. Islam can't be ruled by others. Allah's law must stand above human law. There is no [example] of Islam and infidels, the right and the wrong, living together in peace."

- Abu Bakar Bashir