VIDEO: Islamic extremists threaten, attack participants at Yoga Day event in Maldives’ capital Male
Tuesday, 21 June 2022 (16:49 IST)
Male/New Delhi: An International Yoga Day event in the Maldives capital on Tuesday that was being participated by the Indian High Commissioner and other senior officials was disrupted by Islamist elements, who ran into the stadium shouting and threatening participants. Maldives President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih has ordered a probe into the incident even as six people have been arrested.
The International Yoga Day event was being held at the Galolhu stadium in Male, and being hosted by the Maldives Youth Ministry in collaboration with the Indian Cultural Centre.
Ambassador of India Munu Mahawar, diplomats and senior officials from the Maldivian government alongside members of the general public were doing yoga at Galolhu National Stadium when the premise was stormed.
The group which stormed the stadium were carrying flags containing verses from the Islamic Shahada. They threatened, attacked the participants and vandalized the property.
#Maldives protesters disrupt International Yoga Day celebrations in Male, saying yoga is not-Islamic. Reports of assault and vandalism. Diplomats and top government officials were attending. pic.twitter.com/5trHf1Jb8J
When the extremists stormed the stadium only a few police officers were maintaining security on the premise. They used pepper spray to try and tackle the group.
A Police Spokesperson said that six individuals have been arrest over the incident – which is being investigated as a serious matter.
Maldives President Solih said those behind the disruption would be swiftly brought before the law.
President Solih said that Maldives Police Service has launched an investigation into the incident at Galolhu National Stadium, which is being treated as a matter of serious concern.
“An investigation has been launched by @PoliceMv into the incident that happened this morning at Galolhu stadium.
“This is being treated as a matter of serious concern and those responsible will be swiftly brought before the law,” he said in a tweet.
Islamist religious organization ‘Ilmuveringe Gulhun’ comprising of religious scholars had sent a letter to the Islamic Ministry on Monday expressing their concerns regarding the celebration of International Yoga Day in the Maldives, which they said is a “practice closely associated with Hindu religion”.
The letter read that “yoga was a threat to Islam and the Maldivian constitution in the name of exercise”. It was also requested the Ministry to stop the event.
The ‘International Yoga Day’ event was initially to be held at Rasfannu area. However, the Male’ City Council decided to cancel the permit issued to hold the event at Rasfannu following complaints from the public.
Expressing concern over the incident – Maldivian Youth Minister Ahmed Mahloof said that the event was “obstructed for political reasons”.
Minister Mahloof said that ‘Yoga Day’ has been celebrated in the Maldives since 2014 – with major public events being held to mark the day during the earlier dispensation under President Abdulla Yameen as well. He added that there is no reason for something that was not considered ‘haram’ back then to become ‘haram’ now. He also stressed that yoga was not a religious activity.
The Ilmuveringe Gulhun organisation, in their letter to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs on Monday, expressed concern about the celebration of World Yoga Day. They stated that the spread of something associated with the Hindu religion in Maldives was concerning.
“We believe that yoga is a dangerous thing against Islam and the Maldivian Constitution under the name of exercise. This is concerning.” The letter also said that the ministry needs to initiate advocating and creating awareness about the religious implications of yoga. (UNI)