The Maldivian government has suspended an event featuring Islamic scholar Dr. Bilal Philips, after concerns over his views.
While Youth Minister Ahmed Mahloof revealed that the Canadian Jamaican scholar had accepted an invitation to visit Maldives and promote “tolerance, peace and harmony to the youth” on Tuesday morning, he had to announce the suspension of the event that night.
“For your information, Sheikh Dr. Bilal Philips’ event has been halted due to questions and concerns raised, to seek the counsel of some institutions”
~ Ahmed Mahloof (translation of tweet)
Social media users were quick to note the various allegations against Philips including of extremism and promoting suicide bombings as well as terror links, shortly after Mahloof’s first announcement.
The religious preacher has been banned from various nations, including Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, as well as Philippines where he was arrested in 2014 for “inciting and recruiting people to conduct terrorist activities.”
One of the more prominent individuals to raise concern over the government’s decision was Speaker and former President, Mohamed Nasheed.
Noting that Philips is not accepted by most Islamic societies, Nasheed said he does not think that he should be invited to the country.
The scholar says that claims that he is an extremist are baseless, and describes himself as a moderate.