A BLOGGER who criticises Islamic extremism in the popular Brit honeymoon destination of the Maldives says he lives in ‘constant fear’ after receiving death threats.
Muju Naeem, 37, is in hiding in an undisclosed location after becoming a victim of violent messages from ISIS supporters for his “anti-Islamic” views, expressed on his blog.
Muju Naeem is on the run after receiving death threats for criticising radical Islam
It comes just weeks after his friend and fellow blogger Yameen Rasheed, 29 was found hacked to death in the stairway of his apartment in the Maldivian capital of Malé.
Speaking to The Sun Online, Muju said: “There is a fatwa [Islamic ruling] for my beheading, and with my friend Yameen being murdered so brutally – it’s no longer something that can be taken lightly.
“It’s not exactly easy being on the run. I’m constantly looking over my shoulder literally in a fight to stay alive. I’m spooked even by the slightest noise or something out of the ordinary.”
Thousands of British tourists – many of them newlyweds – flock to the Indian Ocean paradise every year
Social problems and gang crime are believed to have contributed to the radicalisation of youth in Maldives
The Maldives, which has nearly 1,200 islands in the Indian Ocean, is better known as a rich tourists’ destination than a hot-spot for radical Islamists.
There are fears of rising extremism in the Muslim country as 100,000 British tourists – many of them newlyweds – flock to the Indian Ocean paradise every year.
From a population of 400,000, as many as 200 young Maldivians are believed to have fled to the Middle East to fight for ISIS.
Those concerns were strong enough for the Foreign Office to warn of a “heightened threat” to Brits holidaying in the country.
A moment of lapse judgement or a wrong move would surely mean my death”
Screenshots of abusive messages obtained by The Sun Online show Muju’s social media accounts have been targeted by both known and anonymous jihadi profiles.
One of the messages reads: “If we get our hands on you, we will sever your head from your body. Hell is for dogs like you forever.”
Another says: “We are going to kill you and we’ll slaughter every murtadeen [a Muslim who rejects Islam] like you.”
Sheikh Mohamed Shafiu, who has 32,000 followers on Facebook, wrote: ‘Those who mock Allah and the Prophet shall be beheaded. That is the Islamic way. Muju Naeem’
‘If we get our hands on you, we will sever your head from your body. Hell is for dogs like you forever.’
Another abusive message reads: ‘We are gonna kill you and slaughter ever murtadeen [a Muslim who rejects Islam] like you’
‘If you want to live in this world, stop posting different things. I can’t breathe properly with you alive. You’ll be the next person to disappear from Malé soon.’
‘What can you do in hiding? Do not forget what happened to your brothers at CharlieHebdo. The kind of money they spent on security is not the kind of money you can get. It still didn’t benefit them. Do not forget Charlie Hebdo.’
One user told the blogger to stop his online activism if he “wanted to continue to live in this world”.
The user added: “I can’t breathe properly with you alive. You’ll be the next person to disappear from Male soon.”
Some of the violent messages also made references to the 2015 Charlie Hebdo massacre which killed 12 people.
One message read: “What can you do in hiding? Do not forget what happened to your brothers in Charlie Hebdo. Do not forget Charlie Hebdo.”Muju, who had complained repeatedly to police, said: “When you know these extremists actually mean to do you harm and will do whatever is necessary to kill you – it’s hardly a comforting thought at this point. Nothing is ideal except I’m alive.
“The security risk posed for anybody involved in the online secular movement like myself cannot be underestimated.
“A moment of lapse judgement or a wrong move would surely mean my death.”
Muju is seeking asylum after growing death threats in Maldives
Although the activist, who has been campaigning for 13 years, continues to receive threats, he said he will never stop speaking against the Maldives’ political and religious establishment.
Muju said: “You can kill one person but you can’t kill ideas.
“I may be vulnerable to an attack but the idea of freedom, human rights and secularism cannot be killed and it will go on.”
I may be vulnerable to an attack but the idea of freedom, human rights and secularism cannot be killed and it will go on”
Muju, while in hiding, is unable to work and is living off the generosity of friends and well-wishers.
He is currently waiting for a decision on his asylum application submitted last month with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
He hopes to resettle in a safe haven country as a refugee.
In an emotional appeal, Muju said: “I am seeking assistance in getting a sponsor in the potential host countries – US and Canada – to help with my asylum process, so that I’m able to get to safety quicker.
“Delayed asylum could very well mean the difference between life and death for me”
Maldivian blogger Yameen Rasheed, who was stabbed to death, was the third media figure to be targeted in the Maldives
CCTV footage of Maldivian blogger Yameen Rasheed’s murder suspects
Muju’s pal Yameen was the third media figure to be targeted in the Maldives in the past five years.
He was reportedly found dead with his throat slit, 16 stab wounds on his body and part of his skull missing.
Advice from the Foreign Office warns British visitors that there is a general threat from terrorism and attacks in the Maldives.
Full details are available from the link below:
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