Maldives facing a ‘time bomb’

389-09The drug epidemic is the most serious problem we are facing today. It has evaded the hope of a bright future for this nation. This “deadly poison” was ignored in all consecutive governments. Some claim that the poison was released to “suppress” the youths of this nation in order to distract their minds from politics.

We can’t blame this problem on a single individual or a government. I blame all the governments, politicians, MPs, judiciary and the relevant authorities for this disaster we are facing today. This is a matter of implementing law and order, overcoming corruption.

All the politicians claimed that they were capable to rule the country. But all deluded to implement Shari`ah and poisoned the society with heroin.

Claiming to be the champion of Islam and democracy, politicians demonized the entire population. Islam views the use of intoxicants as the ‘mother of all evils’ and hence categorically prohibits their use. Not only their use, but also their production, buying and selling, all is forbidden. But the governments never imposed strict laws to curb this evil. Instead governments viciously destroyed the youths by let loosing drug dealers and heavy addicts into open streets.

Harsh punishments are executed on drug offenders and other serious crimes in non-Moslem countries. This is one reason why people say lack of Islamic principles and unacceptable living conditions magnified the drug problem in Maldives. Punishment has always played an integral part in the concept of justice. We all know or at least expect that if we do something wrong we are subject to punishment in some way or another.

Islam considers crime an act of injustice towards society, a sin against oneself and a transgression against Allah. Punishment is not atonement nor does it erase the sin. A sin is only forgiven through repentance. However, crime is an act of inflicting harm upon society that cannot be forgiven by repentance alone.

The objective of all penal systems is to punish the offender and protect society from re-occurrence of the crime. Punishment serves as an educational purpose, as well as a form of crime deterrent and prevention and the system used must achieve this aim. In Islamic law, punishment is based upon divine revelation. There is no leeway for sentiment or possibility of change. These laws were established by the Creator who is Infinitely Wise and Merciful, Who knows the true affairs of the world better than humankind.

Perhaps politicians believed Shari`ah, in view of the changing world, is an outdated system of laws in need of amendment, replacement or abolishment. Views of this sort express rejection of divine guidance and even worse, rejection of the wisdom of our Creator who has put us on this earth with a purpose in life and a set of rules to live by and achieve that purpose. These rules are the ultimate criterion of justice and mercy and cannot nor need not be changed or measured against the changes and desires of society. To imply such is to imply imperfection in Allah as Lord and Master of the Universe.

medium_23297Our politicians, who hold three smart phones in one hand, have done great harm to our faith of Islam. Islam is the backbone that united us in the past. Total disregard of Islam, drug addiction, gang violence and corruption were the basic characteristics of the Maldivian society. Some people blame parents or the society for these evils. It is true that parents and even the society have to take responsibilities. But a nation is a hierarchy wherein the government is at the top of this.

A corrupt, secular, and incapable governments will create disarray in this order; hence people’s responsibilities would also be limited. For this reason people say our leaders are evils and a corrupt who systemically tried to erase Islam from this land. And many claim that our politicians use “own laws” upon people and branded them as moslem leaders. But all the politicians and scholars portray “secular belief.”

One cannot just brandish Islamic penal codes as being too harsh or inhumane while neglecting the fact that the source of those penal codes is the guidance of Allah. Everything with Him has been measured with absolute perfection. This perfection is reflected in the strict procedures laid down before a person can be convicted and punished.

Actually, all forms of punishment stipulated by Shari`ah are more reforming and more successful in preventing recurrent crime than the man-made legal systems whose futility is proved and confirmed by daily incessant crimes, with prisons becoming homes to homosexuality and schools for harboring criminal behavior.

Maldives is a 100 percent Moslem nation. But according to some reports there are more than 1,000 dealers in Male’ alone. We see periodic criminals hanging around the streets. People are above the law. Some “elements” or people run underground “Mafia networks”, which run the drug business and orchestrated politically motivated activities to thwart democratic activities.

In addition to this notorious stories, people are living in agonizing conditions. Two third of population was forced to migrate to Male’. Two or three families manage in a one single room in Male’. To survive one has to spend the whole income for rent alone. In addition to this, to feed the children and to fulfill other basic needs made them bear more pain. This agony disrupted family hood and the youngsters. And this disarray recruited new criminal recruits.

According to the former attorney General Dr. Hassan Saeed a former government deliberately avoiding tackling the country’s drugs epidemic because of connections with the narcotics trade.

“There are ministers whose assets are worth twenty times more than a minister’s salary,” he added, “but there is no accountability.” He said as attorney general he repeatedly saw police and the courts evaded taking action in drug dealing cases. The drugs epidemic has also been allowed to develop for “political reasons,” former Vice President Dr.Mohamed Jameel argued.

According to official figure, more than a 1000 people were prosecuted for various crimes, in this small country of just 300,000 people. How far have we come since, about 25 years ago, the Guinness Book of World Records described the Maldives as the most peaceful country on earth! If we do get another Guinness record in this category, it could very well be for the fastest slide-down in law and order. All the politicians must take full responsibility for this abysmal failure.

According to experts, the crime and drug problems are a direct result of failed social development. Economic mismanagement has led to severe unemployment among the youth. With no legal means of earning enough to meet basic needs, more and more youngsters are taking to crime. All the government’s colossal failure in this crucial sphere has led the Maldives to the very edge of a social crisis. According to UNDP about 40 % of Maldivians live on less than US$ 1 a day, which is the international poverty line. It is the deep sense of privation among the under-privileged that tail spun the Maldives into a death spiral of crime, violence and drugs.

The cruel irony is that this catastrophe occurred in the face of a booming tourist industry powered ahead by the private sector. There was no shortage of money in the country as a whole. The problem was a total failure on the part of the government to produce a trickle effect, to implement effective policies and programmes for generating jobs, alleviating poverty and uplifting the masses. In the absence of any coherent socio-economic strategies, the disparity between the haves and the have-nots has widened rapidly, with per capita GDP 11 times higher in the capital Male’ than in the rest of the islands.

Here is a quotation from an interview former President Maumoon gave to Time Magazine in 2003.

‘Drug abuse is a very serious problem in Maldives now. The increasing number of unemployed young people is one reason for the drug problem which has surfaced in the last few years. Maldives never had unemployment in the past,’ the president said during the interview.’Family life is not same as it was in the past in Maldives. Parents do not have control over the children, and some young people have been left to do whatever they want. It is the responsibility of the guardians to provide food, clothing and all such things to the children, and young people never become serious about their lives. However, these people are not the majority, and we are doing everything we can to solve this problem,’ the president told Time.

Just imagine the grave consequences of this system that had literary destroyed a generation and would have tremendous impact on the population in the future of this nation. I would say that this is a systematic practice to destroy our society. If the drug epidemic continues with this trend we will face indescribable consequences- every single family being wrecked by heroin, society paralyzed with this evil consecutively affecting the economy.

The devastating effect is rather gradual but dangerous. In my view the drug epidemic would be the most serious challenge all governments will face. If we fail to implement “extraordinary measures” to deal with this grave problem, our country will be ruined. We are on the verge of a misfortune that could result in unimaginable destruction.


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