Taxi driver refused to take my guitar in the taxi

Yusuf Islam - Where do the children playYusuf Islam performing one of his Nasheed's while playing live guitar

Today, a taxi driver refused to put my guitar in to his dicky, apparently admitting it as ‘Haraam’ to take. However, he was ready to fit all of my luggages including a DISH and its Receiver in to his car dicky but not the guitar. I am confused and terribly worried of this. I wonder wouldn’t he give taxi services to certainly disbelievers like visiting tourists and foreign expatriates. Transport Ministry and Islamic Affairs Ministry has to do something about this. Alarmingly radicalism is spreading in the Maldives. May be one day such taxi drivers will leave their taxis to give camel service in Malé. Former superstar singer Ali Rameez is to be responsible for misleading some of us. World renowned Muslim advocator and scholar Yusuf Islam also plays guitar. If we use guitar to promote prohibited activities in Islam then it might get ‘Harram”…, what do you say ?


Bus service in Malé gaining momentum

This afternoon I was sitting on a bench near National Art Gallery located in the Sultan Park. In a while my attention was caught by roaring sound of a bus engine. Within next hour or so I went on to see several buses maneuvering to get in and out of the stop in front of Sultan Park. It was fairly packed. Some were sitting while few were standing on the small sized white-painted bus. Office workers, students and foreign expatriates were the most common type of passengers on the scene. The passengers on the bus were funny, and sometimes they go crazy over the engine sound, as you know most locals experiencing bus service for the first time.

After prolong delays this service commenced in Malé, the capital city of Maldives on Thursday, 23rd of June. But some are suspicious over this project. Still their argument is how feasible it would be to successfully operate public bus services on, sometimes heavily congested narrow streets of Malé.  It is an everyday seen to view lined-up cars, motorcycles and other types of vehicles mainly due to traffic jam.

Taxis are one of the most common modes of transportation in the densely populated capital of Malé. You can reach any point of this one square mile capital city by a taxi just for 20 Mrf, though you are going to a distance of merely 100 meters or over a kilometer.

At a special ceremony to begin bus service to Malé President Nasheed inaugurated the service. Along with his party officials, senior government officials and senior members of the MVK the service provider joined him and drove the bus starting from Alima Carnival to Maafannu No 1 café known as “Alibe Kada” for their morning breakfast. President Nasheed was reported to have taken a Disk-Mashuni (Maldivian traditional breakfast). The president, who came to power pledging establishment of a public transportation service across the country, fulfilled another segment of his endeavor.

It is being hailed as another milestone of his government. However, originally previous government planned this. They had lots of deliberations and planning’s but was short of implementing it.  That time around, I guess they faced pressure from well over 500 taxi drivers in the city. They believed apart from being traffic-jammed it would upset taxi drivers’ business. They felt before starting such service they had to plan the streets adding up extra piece of land to make bus stops and bus stands.

Originally I wrote this article on the 23 June 2011. Today, I see bus service is gaining momentum as more and more people are taking up the service. 

Another aspect of the guy recently sacked from mnbc over leaked photographs of Reeko Moosa

This is how I know Muaa. One of my close friend, a girl known as Shiza (not the real name) joined Youth-TV with lot of enthusiasm, creative knowledge and with a strong ambition of building a firm career in the field. At the time the young 18 year old girl was doing some screen testing before doing on-camera shooting for a major youth TV show. A day before the scheduled shooting, she met me in a coffee shop and told me her part of story or experience with Muaa. First she was interviewed by Muaa and let her in, after that he started inviting her for tea. Start if off with concepts of TV programmes and end up by proposing her. She told me that very often he used to send love text messages and offer her to go out with him. At the time she was seriously dating with another friend of mine working in an airline. Later she couldn’t withstand the mounting pressure from him and, as she rejected to hold his hands, she became the worst employee for him. At last she quit her job. According to her, many young girls joining Youth-TV had to face similar kind of behavior from him forcing them to quit ultimately. She went on explaining him as a psycho.

This is just another aspect of the guy recently sacked from MNBC over allegation of leaking the photos of MDP parliamentary leader Reeko Moosa Manik playing with the restricted video archive of MNBCONE (former TVM).

I have to disagree with most of the sympathizing comments posted on local online newspapers following the publication of the article about the dismissal of head of Youth-TV, Ibrahim Muaaz. This person has a history of being disloyal to his employers, always tries to get the big piece of cake.

He was 1st sacked from TVM back in Kutti Nasheed’s days for allegedly releasing inside informations of the organization on a website known as Kakkakaako. However, he won a court case against TVM and got the opportunity to regain his job but apparently avoid doing so and joined first ever privet TV channel, DhiTV. As a gift from then MD Khaleel he was let in to MNBC. And many producers knew him as a secret agent of the management. After some times, Khaleel launched YouthTV and gave it to him, creating a morality disaster among much capable TV producers of then TVM under MNBC.

On Many occasions he has been spotted as a vocal critic of opposition MPs and activists as what was told by some of his former colleagues. I believe at the verge of losing state media to MBC he played a game in the hope of getting an easy entry ticket to new company, in which apparently the lead role was given to Rekoo Mosaa Manik. Another possibility could be former MD Khaleel, who failed to make it to MBC board of directors in fact, told him to go and get the photos and leak it to local media who failed to make it to MBC board of directors. Everyone knows that what kind of links he has with former MD who is identified as one of the shareholders of Business magnate Champaa’s Radio outlet DhiFM which is a sister company of DhiTV who break the story of the leaked photographs of MP Mosaa Manik active in MNBC archive.

Anyway, don’t take it so seriously, this is just my imaginations. My thoughts might have some true aspects of the untold story which was never highlighted by the press. I believe this is just another publicity stunt. Muaa’s story was covered by almost every media outlet in the Maldives giving him enough publicity. In the past he showed immense loyalty to MNBC board members in particular former MD Khaleel, however, turnout to be the real hypocrite. Wherever he goes he would remain the same.

Along with political freedom women wearing Hijab increases in Maldives

After reading your ( article “Fashion Statements”, right away my fingertips scrolled on the keyboard to write an opinion on this topic. Occasionally I read your blog and this is the first time I am giving my thoughts in to one of your article.

local model in traditional dress

Well, in Maldives Hijab was not a common seen until beginning of 90s. I can remember during my school days, in 1980s women wearing Hijab is not that much like what today we see. I can say 90% of women at that time were not wearing Hijab or head scarf however, some of the prominent women’s of those days still can be found without head scarf, and they include former Women’s Affairs Ministers Aneesa Ahmed and Rashidha Yoosuf, Health Minister Aiminath Jameel, former Education Minister Zahiya Zareer and list goes on. Still quite a lot of women engaged in the four front of politics, social activities, rights groups are not wearing Hijab or Buruga.

The Maldivian society is in fact very liberal compare with that of many regional countries. In 1970s as tourism first introduced to the country many new things like fashion and music along side with modern education introduced to the country. At that time we had many things that you would not find in a conservative Islamic society. Then the population of Malé was less than 20,000 where as today the population of capital alone has risen over 100,000 making it world’s second most densely populated urban city.

However, in those days rest of the country was not aware of the developments in the capital mainly due to lack of communication and sea connectivity to faraway islands. But during the last five years of former president Ibrahim Nasir at least one restaurant with discothèque known as “Icege” were found in Malé while a casino ran in a 70s’ carnival known as Hakuraa Fair. However, both activities were since banned in Gayoom’s early days of presidency citing illegal in Islamic Shari-ah. Nevertheless, at the time these activities become very famous among many young Maldivians, especially with the generation that followed English medium which was introduced between late 60s and early 70s.

Maldives first all girls school in 1970s - none are wearing Buruga

Those days women tent to wear Hijab only after performing Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia and this would take place usually after a women grows old enough to become a granny. Even when seen young girls in Hijab or head scarf during those days, they had to face harassments in public. Some call them “Sathari Dhoni” means ‘boat covered with an awning’.

But as more and more Islamic scholars came back home after studies in Egypt or Saudi Arabia their preachings slowly took the society for the first time to think wisely about their faith — how to practice it and how to steadfast with Islamic way of life. Apart from religious sermons in the mosques, Television and Radio played an important role in creating awareness regarding Hijab and many other Islamic values to follow. And the change took place during former president Gayoom’s 30 year long regime.

Being an Islamic Scholar himself Gayoom maintained fairly liberal policies when it comes to religion and many fundamental scholars did very often pound criticism over this. And in fact during the later days Gayoom’s government, Islamic Party, Adhaalth and then opposition party MDP members used religion as a tool to oust him from power. Imprisoned scholar Sheikh Fareed’s release in 2005 was a major turning point. For the first time his followers marched across the city streets calling to strengthen Islamic Sharia and denouncing Gayoom for failing to give free preaching rights.

Gayoom is credited for paying a lot of attention to Islam by opening first ever Islamic Higher Study’s Institution in Malé where he brought moderate religious scholars from Egypt. Most of them were based on teachings of Azhar University in Egypt. He developed country’s economy from scratch to a robust economy while ensuring so called moderate Islam in the country.

fully veiled woman seen on an island street

Things started changing as more and more scholars coming home after attaining their higher studies in Islam in abroad.  Most of them took their studies from fundamental foundations of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and most scholars were self funded. As democratic reform movement began in the country in 2005 yet many scholars who disagreed with Gayoom’s moderate policy on religion took it as tool to tackle him down in 2008 so as MDP. Many radical scholars gave public speeches on many political podiums. With all these developments in the political landscape has brought in deed some sought of  religious freedom at least to those who were demanding for free preaching of various sects and belief of Islam.

Briefly I can say, Gayoom’s regime tried to maintained a moderate ideology of Islam across the country while President Nasheed and members in his inner-circle shows more secular behavior even though he is powerless in controlling hard-liners in Adhaalath party as they were a coalition partner.

fashion buruga - now many young girls wear these colorful dresses with buruga

What so ever, Hijab has become a prominent character  among many Maldivian women and regular harassment that took place earlier has faded away. As I said before, in 80s we see few people wearing it but during the 90s the number increases and after democratic reform movement even more women has started covering up their head or entire face with Hijab or scarf, many are covering their whole body with black Hijab. Now as you said head scarf is wide spread in the Maldives and it not less becoming  a fashionable feature. They come in many colors, many styles and unlike in different occasions.  Even I notice Maldivian women are more beautiful when seen wearing Hijab, head scarf or Buruga. The focus stop at their gorgeous faces, their stunning eyes and sparkling lips as we gaze at them. It has become fashionable thing to wear.

In the department I work there are three female secretaries out of which 2/3 are wearing Hijab or head scarf. Measuring with this ratio I can say in every 2 out of 3 women in Maldives are are wearing Hijab however, fully veiled or face covered women are still relatively few.

Government media attempts to connect recent protests with Uchchu.

Propaganda news are being spread by the government control TV channels concerning the recent week-long protests held in Malé over high commodity and consumer prices. Such misinformation is carried by government control MNBC and Malé TV a privet channel partly owned by State Minister for Housing and Environment Mr. Akram Kamaaluddin.

I was able to obtain a copy of the actual news item and it is seen as a very irresponsible piece of work, in which the whole news was written in such a way that at one point I thought I was reading stuff from gossip magazine. First thing, they put the facts wrong; secondly didn’t adhere to editorial standards of professional journalism. And they failed to bring comments from both sides after their assertions which of course liable for defamation Charges.

Based on gossips and tales that are not yet being proofed – MNBC connected its story about recent protests with famous local businessman Chmpa Mohamed Moosa or more commonly known as Uchchu who also owns privet channels DhiTV and DhiFm respectively. Actually the story was first carried by Malé TV and later MNBC followed it.

Quoting some of the unnamed youth organizers of the protests MNBC reported Uchchu as the prime person behind the protests and alleged that he contributed funds to those who organized it. They also stated his intention was to silent the internal strife within main opposition DRP and spin the public focus towards the protests.  Uchchu was said to have given half a million ruffiya to protest organizers, a claim he denied later.  The news report also claimed, every night after rapping up the protests some of the organizers go to the building where DhiTV operates and discus it with Uchchu. Government owned media blams that Uchchu is leaned towards former president Gayoom’s ‘Z’ faction and is enthusiastic to see Z-DRP to win the election in 2013.

What so ever, we can say, at a time of deep division within main opposition DRP leadership, demonstrations helped bringing together DRP’s rival leaders to one platform, at least during the protests.

Later his television station, DhiTV telecast a statement from Champa-Brothers denying all the chargers put forward by government control media saying, Chammpa Mohamed Moosa or Uchchu has nothing to do with the protesters and the half a million ruffiya they are talking about was actually an aid support given to Iskandhar School to mark their golden jubilee.

See how immaturely they put this news item to propagate false perspective of the protests which was in fact organized by the Youths in support of opposition political parties.

This shows how state media is being controlled by the government. They are reluctant to let go state media in the hands of Maldives Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) which was formed by parliament act ensuring to turn state media to an independent public service.

Click to view the actual news item: