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#Maldives Crisis: Who is the real terrorist? Nasheed or his alleged Maldivian "Islamist terrorist"?

Male', Maldives.
A week after Mohamed Nasheed resigned as President of Maldives, Maldivians are being victimized and their livelihoods put at jeopardy by the countless allegations aired in international press by Nasheed and his supporters. Daily, international press continue to report about various "terrorists" who allegedly pushed Nasheed out of office and even now threaten his life. The first allegations were against the biggest "baddie" of all, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled for 30 years. Next came, Maldivian "Islamist terrorists". Then, it was rich tourist resort owners who didn't want to pay taxes. Today, we are back to "radical" Islam.

Terrorism has no single definition worldwide. According to US Law, the term “terrorism” means "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents". Others define terrorism as the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion.

Two key points about terrorism are that, 1) it is politically motivated; and 2) it involves the indiscriminate use of violence against noncombatants (ie. civilians) for the purpose of gaining publicity for a group, cause, or individual.

Using this definition, it is difficult to identify any Maldivian "Islamist" terrorist in the current Maldivian crisis. Maldives has only one party with a stated Islamic ideology, the Adhaalath Party. The Adhaalath Party, while its members participated in three weeks of peaceful protests against Nasheed's unconstitutional arrest of a senior Judge, has not undertaken any violent activities against anyone, let alone "noncombatants". They have not even threatened such violence. Nasheed has repeatedly arrested and kept in illegal detention various leaders of Adhaalath Party on alleged charges infringing upon their freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Yet, Adhaalath took the legal route to free its leaders, without violence.

International media keep reporting that hardline 'Islamists" have been appointed to his cabinet by President Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Maniku. However, to date no member of the Adhaalath Party has been given a cabinet post. Other foreign reports point to Home Minister Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, as a radical 'Islamist". Dr. Jameel, who was hailed by the same press as a "democracy advocate" in 2008 when he campaigned against Gayoom, is a respected lawyer who got his doctorate at SOAS, University of London, UK. He specialized in banking law with a Master of Comparative Law.(Islamic and common law) at the International Islamic University, Malaysia.

Dr. Jameel was arrested no less than three times in the span of a week by Nasheed for his criticism of Nasheed's unconstitutional actions. Dr Jameel was one of the harshest critics of Nasheed's administration, perhaps his qualifications for being named an "Islamist" terrorist by foreign media.

In contrast, the very accusers of Adhaalath Party and others as "terrorists", Nasheed and his supporters, within a few hours of protest against President Waheed, ransacked and torched over 19 police stations, 8 courthouses, police training facilities and accommodation houses, numerous police vehicles and over 20 private houses and business establishments. They injured several police officers and threatened members of the public who were felt to be non-supporters of Nasheed. Schools, and several shops and businesses have been closed on the islands of Nasheed strongholds from the day of the Nasheed protest, February 8th. Schools in Male' are closed and citizens fear to be out on the streets.

These acts are clearly 1) politically motivated (the demand is political, reinstatement of Nasheed as Pressident); and 2) shows indiscriminate use of violence against noncombatants (the public in Male' and on the small island communities where Nasheed supporters acrried out their atrocities), for the purpose of gaining publicity for a group, cause, or individual (Nasheed).

The most depressing fact for Maldives is that the objectives of the terror campaign led by Nasheed were achieved, widespread international exposure for Nasheed and his allegations. While these allegations are oft repeated few have asked why Nasheed does not follow due legal process and submit his claims to the Supreme Court, as provided for very clearly in the Constitution of the Maldives.

International media reports on Nasheed's allegations have pushed out even Syria from headlines, sparking cancellation in tourist bookings. Tourism is the backbone of the Maldivian economy, accounting for over 60% of receipts annually.

Tourist resorts say new bookings have hit an all time low, with even some cancellation by visitors who have made pre-paid bookings. Investor confidence is also reportedly hit, with Maldivian and foreign investors appealing to foreign media to tone down on the rhetoric. Nasheed's new allegations of local tourist owners financing the military for a coup will undoubtedly affect their business dealings, and in turn the ordinary Maldivian who relies on tourist related income.

Taking a look at the key players involved in the current Maldivian crisis, and events preceding Nasheed's resignation and after it, it is very clear where charges of terrorism can be placed, if at all.

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