On Sunday morning, Maldivians woke up to the shocking news of the brutal killing of the 29-year-old prominent blogger, Yameen Rasheed.
Over four years ago, in October 2012, Maldivians were similarly shocked by the brutal murder of a prominent reformist religious scholar and member of parliament, Afrasheem Ali. Both Rasheed and Ali died after multiple stabbings, under the staircase of the respective buildings they lived in the Maldives’ capital, Male.
Since August 2014, Rasheed’s best friend, and another prominent blogger and journalist, Ahmed Rilwan, has been missing and is believed to be abducted.
We don’t know who the perpetrators of the killings of Rasheed and Ali or the abduction of Rilwan are, as the authorities have so far failed to find them.
But regardless of the motives, these murders and abduction represent a new type of violence in the Maldives that follow a new type of violent discourses.
These discourses are related to the country’s political context, and thrive on the failure of its non-religious politics, as well as its fragmented religious landscape.
Rasheed, Rilwan and Ali were all very vocal on religious issues.
Ali was, of course, a mature religious scholar. He was a reformist in his views about religion, supported greater gender equality and celebrated popular culture, including the Maldivian music tradition.
Bloggers Rasheed and Rilwan, on the other hand, represented a variety of new ideological trends that have affected the younger generations of Maldivians.
Today, some young people in the Maldives prefer Muslim rationalist Mu’tazilites and the Sufism of Rumi. They cherish the Maldives’ deep Buddhist history and Islamic heritage, culture, literature, and poetry. Overall, they are influenced by scientific rationalism and humanist philosophies.
However, some of them are also influenced by the scientism of New Atheism and secularist ideas. They, therefore, sometimes advocate relegating religion to the private sphere. But they do not come in ideological straightjackets. Being very young, quite naturally, they do not have fixed positions on these perennial questions.
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Source URL: Google News