The Sri Lanka terror attacks is one incident and not a pattern, says parliament speaker Mohamed Nasheed.
Speaking at a press conference in Sri Lanka on Saturday, the former President said that terrorism is now the biggest issue organized states face, especially in South Asia.
Nasheed said a Maldivian delegation, led by Vice President Faisal Naseem, is in Sri Lanka to assure that Maldives will stand alongside its neighbour.
Also speaking at the press conference, Vice President Faisal highlighted the two countries’ age-old bond and assured that Sri Lanka is still safe to visit.
The Vice President said that many Maldivians live and study in Sri Lanka and that Maldives has many Sri Lankan doctors and teachers working in the country and that due to these reasons Maldives will always appreciate its neighbor.
“We have had many teachers and doctors and technical people who have been working in the Maldives. We have learned a lot from Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan people. We appreciate that and we call the whole world to visit Sri Lanka and we will continue our relationship and make sure that we always stand by Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan people,”
~ Vice President Faisal Naseem
Responding to a question regarding the threat of terrorism in Maldives, Nasheed said he has full confidence of the national security forces and that Maldives will be able to maintain peace in the country.
“We are aware of the threats, and we are vigilant. We have to be vigilant, and we are certain that we will be able to maintain the peace in the Maldives. IS or other terrorist organizations wanting a foothold in nation states, and at times wanting to override nation states is an issue, and we are mindful of that, and the Maldives is very safe,”
Nasheed said that the Maldives government is working with international agencies and is aware of the whereabouts of the radicalized Maldivians who fled the country and that they will know if any of them return.
Regarding freedom of expression and hate speech, he said that the Maldives government does not allow sermons without the approval of the Islamic ministry.
“We do not allow sermons without the consent of the Islamic ministry. The Islamic ministry also has a council and this council can deliberate on religious issues… There is a council in the Islamic ministry that can pronounce on what is prescribed,”
Acknowledging that there are people propagating extremist ideology in Maldives, Nasheed said that such issues are faced everywhere in the world and that the new administration of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is reaching out to local religious groups to solve this issue in the country.