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Campaign trail: scholars and teachers

Daily roundup of news from the campaign trail.



daily roundup of headlines made by the candidates, running mates and their surrogates on the campaign trail.

September 12

  • Plots will be awarded from Maafushi today: president (Mihaaru)
  • People of Badidhoo give warm welcome to Dr Shaheem (PSM)
  • There will be fear if opposition comes to power: Saeed (Mihaaru)
  • Many people join PPM from Meemu Madduvari (PSM)
  • “Opposition coalition is a coalition of adversaries, they can’t succeed” (Avas)
  • “Those saying they’re working to free president Maumoon don’t wish him well” (PSM)
  • The public doesn’t want the interim government the opposition is trying to bring: Dr Shaheem (PSM)
  • There is no obstacle to the invitation to Islam: Dr Shaheem (Mihaaru)
  • Photo of scholars who support President Yameen draws attention (PSM)
  • Controversy gets heated after list was released with photos of scholars who do not support Yameen (VFP)
  • The post using photos of scholars to show support for President Yameen was a fake! (Raajje)
  • When controversy got heated, list of scholars claimed to support Yameen is taken down (VFP)
  • Cannot join those who have lost trust in protecting religion: Sheikh Abdulla (PSM)

Islam was at the forefront of the ruling party’s campaign. At a rally on Kudahuvadhoo island, the president’s running mate Dr Mohamed Shaheem recalled the lack of freedom for religious scholars during former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s 30-year reign. They are now free to preach without consequences, he said.

“How many scholars were jailed and tortured because of religious reasons? There was a time when women wearing a burqa were prohibited from going on TV. There was a time when the youth who wore face veil were picked up on the street and jailed. We experienced the time when our religious books were confiscated at the airport when we returned from studies.”

During former president Mohamed Nasheed’s three-year administration, he tried to allow the sale of alcohol on inhabited islands and branded prominent clerics as “terrorists,” Shaheem continued. In contrast, President Abdulla Yameen introduced Arabic language and Quran as new subjects and reviewed the curriculum to strengthen Islamic faith, he said.

He alleged that the opposition coalition was allied with “powers adversarial to Islam.”

State media reported a social media post with the photos of 66 scholars who support the president, noting that the majority of them had called on former president Mohamed Nasheed to repent for his alleged secularism and insults to Islam.

“But people who love religion are noting on social media that some of those who called for president Nasheed to repent are now supporting the opposition despite Nasheed not repenting for what he previously said,” the state-funded PSM claimed.

Shortly after the ruling party parliamentary leader posted the list on Twitter and Facebook – claiming that 98 percent of scholars favour the incumbent – several clerics objected to their inclusion on it, including Hussain Mauroof, Sheikh Ahmed Nazih, Sheikh Nimal Mohamed, Sheikh Mohamed Shammoon and Sheikh Mohamed Thoyyib. A scholar told VFP anonymously that some clerics who hold government posts were included without their consent.

MP Ahmed Nihan deleted the post after several scholars demanded the removal of their photos.

  • Don’t try to intimidate, I won’t back down: Ibu (Vnews)
  • I won’t back down: Ibu (Raajje)
  • “Bridge is important, basic services are more important” (Avas)
  • 170,000 votes certain for Ibu: Mariya (Raajje)
  • We will begin development projects with basic services: Ibu (Vnews)
  • This election will go down in history, all citizens should join in the change: Ibu (Raajje)
  • Ibu pledges to build an airport near Komandoo (Vnews)
  • Our opponents will try to rig the vote and create unrest, don’t give them the opportunity: Ibu (Raajje)
  • I see a hopeful picture on all islands: Ibu (Avas)
  • I can see the picture very clearly, God willing we will win with big support: Ibu (Raajje)
  • Laboratory services will be available in health centres: Ibu (Vnews)
  • We’re getting complaints about obstruction of foreign media: Ibu (Mihaaru)
  • Ibu calls on government to stop restrictions for foreign journalists (Avas)
  • Many teachers of Rehendi School support Ibu (Raajje)
  • The support of many teachers and employees from the Hulhumalé Rehendi School to Ibu (Mihaaru)
  • Those who fire employees will be brought to justice: Ibu (Raajje)

Joint opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ‘Ibu’ returned to Malé after visiting most inhabited islands of Noonu and Shaviyani atolls. He shot back at the police threat of investigation, condemning the “intimidation” as well as the sacking of supporters from the civil service and government companies.

In recent weeks, several people have been sacked or transferred to other islands after greeting Ibu or attending opposition rallies.

Back in the capital, the lawmaker met with staff of Rehendi school. The teachers and staff endorsed Ibu because “they want to solve the problems and challenges facing the education sector,” according to the Maldivian Democratic Party.

Earlier this month, 20 teachers from the Iskandhar School in Malé also met with Ibu and declared their support. A pay rise for teachers is among the coalition’s education policy, which also includes a pledge for tuition-free college for undergraduates in the Maldives.

Earlier in the day, Ibu called on the government to allow foreign journalists to report from the Maldives. “Receiving worrying reports that President Yameen’s Government is blocking foreign journalists from freely covering the September 23rd election. I call upon all authorities to reverse restrictive measures against international journalists,” he tweeted.