Maldives Minicoy Mahl Dhivehi
Islam, pluralism and party politics

 This page was first added on 17 June 2004 and updated on 5 June 2005

Those who feel that political pluralism is possible in Islamic societies are advised to consider the following passages from the Koran (the Islamic holy book) and the Sunnah (traditions of Mohamed the Islamic prophet and the early mullahs)

People who aspire for pluralistic change must address the root cause of the problem or be prepared to settle for life as Twiddle Dumb and Twiddle Dee.

Air freshener is not what is required to remove the stench of the rotting carcass in their living room.

"But they will not cease to disagree - except him on whom your lord has bestowed his mercy." Koran: Hood (11):118-119

Omar bin Abdil-Aziz (died AD 720), said regarding this Koranic passage: “He has created the people of his mercy, in order that they do not differ” (‘Ahkam el-Koran’ of Abu Bakr bin el-Arabi (3/1072))

Party System

The Maldives to the south of Minicoy Island with a similar cultural background to Minicoy but greater exposure to the outside world does not permit political parties.

The Maldives had a political party called the People's Progressive Party (Rayyithunge Muthagaddim Paatee) until 1953. In 2000 the political party system was outlawed when a group of people applied to form a political party.

The official Maldive government line is that a "party" is an occasion where food and tea are served and has little to do with governance.

Minicoy, with a population of just over 10,000 people, and smaller than a Maldive atoll seems to be coping with party politics without any strife.

multi-party small states

A Maldive parliamentary resolution passed on 2 June 2005 allowed political parties for the first time since 1953. There was no explicit legal provision against political parties until 2001, when parliament was required to ban any prospective parties by passing an unconstitutional resolution. Until then no one dared apply to register a party for fear of torture.

Likewise Abu Mohamed bin Hazm said: “So The most high, excluded those upon whom he bestowed his mercy from being from those who differ. And He has removed those under His mercy from being amongst the ones who differ” (‘Ahkam el-Koran’ 5/66)

And El-Shatibi stated: “This Koranic passage necessitates that the people of Iktilaf (differing and splitting) mentioned are distinct from the people upon whom is bestowed the mercy of Allah (the Islamic god)"

Ibn Wahb said: “I heard Malik (bin Anas) say with regard to this Koranic passage, “Those whom Allah shows mercy to, do not differ”." (‘Al-Ahkam’ (5/66))

So he informed us that the people upon whom Allah bestows his mercy do not differ. And they are those who follow the Prophets in speech and action. And they are the People of Koran and Hadith in this Commonwealth. And whoever differs from them in anything, the he leaves the mercy of Allah.” (Majmu el-Fatawaa (4/25))

Khalil Samir analyses the background to the growth of fundamentalism in Muslim countries

Mohamed's companion Abdullah ibn Masood, said: “Differing is evil”.

Abu Thalabah el-Khushani said: “When we used stop in a place (during a journey), we used to separate in into groups in the pathways and valleys. So the Messenger (Mohamed), said: “Indeed this splitting of yours in these paths and valleys verily is from the Devil” So thereafter would not settle in a place (on a journey) except that we would be close together.”(Abu Dawud (3/94 – No. 2628) Authenticated by Ibn Hibban, el-Hakim and El-Dzahabi)

Thompson and Thomson

Abu Ja’far El-Tahawi said: “And we see that the Community is true and correct and splitting is deviation and punishment”. (‘Matnut-Tahawiyyah’ with commentary (2/775))

Ibn Taymiyyah said: “Indeed the Community is mercy, and splitting is punishment.” (‘Majmu el-Fatawaa’ (3/421))

Laith Kubba, "Islam and Liberal Democracy: Recognizing Pluralism,"

riana Fallaci writes in her book The Rage and the Pride that "Because our cultural identity has been well defined for thousands of years we cannot bear a migratory wave of people who have nothing to do with us … who are not ready to become like us, to be absorbed by us….Who, on the contrary, aim to absorb us. To change our principles, our values, our identity, our way of life. And who in the meantime molest us with their retrograde ignorance, their retrograde bigotry, their retrograde religion. I am saying that in our culture there is no room for the muezzins, for the minarets, for the phony abstemious, for the humiliating chador, for the degrading burkah."

adame Bardot presents Muslims as barbaric and cruel invaders, responsible for terrorist acts and eager to dominate the French to the extent of wanting to exterminate them", a Paris court said of former actor Brigitte Bardot's book A Scream in the Silence in which she laments the "underground and dangerous infiltration of Islam".

reedom House (2001): "Of the world's 192 countries, 121 are electoral democracies. However, only 11 of the 47 nations (23 percent) with an Islamic majority have democratically elected governments. In the non-Islamic world, which comprises 145 states, 110 are electoral democracies (75 percent). Therefore, a non-Islamic state is over three times more likely to be democratic than an Islamic state. None of the 16 Arab states of the Middle East and North Africa is a democracy.

"In addition to a democracy divide, there is a dramatic freedom deficit between majority Islamic countries and the rest of the world. Of the states with an Islamic majority, only one, Mali, is rated Free. Eighteen are rated Partly Free, and 28 are considered Not Free. By contrast, in the non-Islamic world, 85 countries are Free, 40 are Partly Free, and 20 are Not Free.

"The gap in freedom has only widened over the last twenty years. While every other region of the world has registered significant gains for democracy and freedom, the countries of the Islamic world have experienced a significant increase in repression."

Maldives ignores rights covenants: We note with regret that, to date, no political movement in the Maldives, be it the government or any of the opposition factions, has made an explicit undertaking to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. As such, it is our opinion that there is no bona fide democratic reform movement either in the Maldives or amongst Maldivians living elsewhere. We are willing to amend this statement when we are satisfied that circumstances have changed. >>more