Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Islamic Autocracy, Fundamentalism and Refugees

Perhaps some kind soul (preferably Muslim, as that will be more likely to be authoritative) will explain to me why autocrats, specially from Muslim cultures, like to sponsor fundamentalist Islam?

We have seen the phenomenon in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other countries in the past. Now we are seeing the phenomenon in Malaysia where Hindus seem to be losing their rights.

And I see today that the Constitutional Assembly in the Maldives has just passed an amendment stating that “none except Muslims can be Maldivian citizens”. If implemented, this amendment to the constitution will mean that a number of Maldivians will lose their citizenship and become stateless. President Gayoom's autocratic regime has been promoting militant Islamism in the Maldives, so that it is now common to punish any person who follows, preaches or simply reads texts of other religions until he or she turns to Islam. The President did promise to take measures to combat Islamic extremism after a bomb explosion earlier this year, attributed to an Islamic militant group, injured a number of tourists. However, President Gayoom has done nothing to implement that promise (as far as I am aware) , and the amendment referred to above will be like more meat to the fundamentalist beast.

Meanwhile, there is one other consideration: if the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is right, the Maldives will be one of the countries which will completely drown in the foreseeable future as the sea-level rises.

That means that all the 300,000 inhabitants (or whatever the total population then is) will have to become refugees in other countries.

It will certainly be far easier for them to be accepted as refugees in other parts of the world if measures are taken to create a more liberal and tolerant society in Maldives.

Since Islamic societies become steadily poorer than they need to be, it is not surprising that their record for absorbing refugees is not exactly outstanding. Sphere: Related Content

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