The Maldives defence minister warned people not to condone terrorism, local media reported, after the 9/11 attacks on New York featured in an island’s Eid celebration.
Adam Shareef, who was speaking at the “Youth for Nation Talk Forum” organised by the Islamic Ministry, asked Maldivians to “stop and think” before doing things that condoned acts of terror.
The Eid ‘celebration’ that took place on Maafaru, Noonu Atoll, was criticised after photos of it appeared on Facebook.
The images show men armed with pretend rifles and a tower with a US flag on top of it. A plastic plane on a zip-line crashes into the tower, with smoke and fire billowing out. The Facebook post with the images was later removed.
“We have to think, even if what we do is done for entertainment, if it leads to terrorism or if it condones acts of terrorism, we have to stop and think. We have to also think about what we do might do to our relations with other countries,” Shareef was quoted as saying by SunOnline.
The Maldives flag brought out pride in its citizens and they would find it unbearable to see it being burnt even if it were done in another country, Shareef said, urging people to empathise.
“Imagine what people from other countries would feel if we burned the flags of their country.”
Even if such an act was done in isolation without much thought, Maldivians needed to think about the impact of their actions on others in a globalised world, Shareef said.
The island’s council said it had no part in the celebrations and that councillors would talk to organisers about what could be changed for next year.
The US embassy in the Maldives has not commented on the Eid event.