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Maldives Civic Protest: Successfully buried by Adhaalath Party?

Male', Maldives.
In events unfolding this week, Adhaalath Party, one of the key leaders of the massive civic protest against President Nasheed on December 23, 2011 appears to have helped the Civic Coalition to a quiet unnatural death.

Participating in President Nasheed's Conference of Islamic Intellectuals, Adhaalath Party was party to selling out three of the five demands of the civic protestors.

The only two demands endorsed by the conference were the call to remove the anti-Islamic statues of the SAARC summit debacle in Addu, and to halt Israel flights to Maldives. The other three demands, closing down places of prostitution in the country, sale of alcohol on inhabited islands and apology from President Nasheed for for his invited guest UNHRC Pillay's blasphemy against Islam, were quietly buried and painted over.

So, where does this leave the over 20,000 civilians who joined the civic protest? Quite frankly, it leaves the Maldivian citizen absolutely nowhere. They get a big fat zero, not even as much as GMR after a defeat. The big winners are MDP, MDP financiers and Adhaalath Party. An incipient opposition coalition crashes to its roots as opposition leaders revel in their favorite game of blaming each other. Adhaalath Party emerges falsely looking moderate and sane.

In terms of the country's political landscape, it is clear that MDP continues to play a very skilful and planned game. The the would-be opposition is looking like an under-18 team, made up of players who have not even reached the age of political maturity.

The early goal by the Civic Coalition in the opening match counts for nothing as the points are all detracted as its demands are withdrawn.

The Civic Protest clearly showed that the issue of religion can be a coalescing interest platform which can form the central platform to tip the balance for contenders in the Presidency 2013.

What is equally clear is that, given the above reason, the religious platform cannot be left as the sole prerogative of the Adhaalath Party. Adhaalath Party has up to now touted far left extremist views of Islam, a matter of concern in a centre left nation such as Maldives. Adhaalath also has neither the political experience nor the economic platform that the Maldives presently requires to drag itself out of the economic quagmire of MDP governance.

So, what can be the solution? The solution was tried unsuccessfully by MDP on December 23, 2011: to present an Islamic platform that does not go to extremism or fundamentalism.

MDP's failure was due to two prime reasons. Firstly, MDP does not have the Islamic scholars required to develop, present and propagate a followership for such a platform. Secondly, MDP at its philosophical core does not accept Islam as its core value base. MDP's intellectual and philosophical base is western style democracy, a philosophy built on atheism.

MDP's failure does not meant that the strategy is a failure. The strategy can be successfully implemented through Islamic scholars with the intellectual and rhetorical strength to challenge Adhaalath's leading orators such as Shaikh Ilyas Hussain.

Amongst the opposing parties, PPM, DRP and DQP boast such intellectuals. Unfortunately for Maldivians, these parties however are unlikely to align themselves, leaving Adhaalath the uncontested voice of Islam in the political landscape.

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