Maldives, the Internet and Sharia

Dissidents use the Web to promote their cause

An American professor was working with the Maldives government to implement a criminal code based on the sharia. Daniel Pipes does not have too many kind things to say about that.

B Raman, ever the well-informed commentator, reports that the Maldives government is trying to clamp down on the dissidents’ use of the internet to highlight their calls for greater democracy. Cable & Wireless, a British-American company that operates telecommunications networks in Maldives, is in the unfortunate situation of being squeezed by the government, which wants greater censorship, and criticised by the opposition, which feels there already is enough.

Unlike Operation Cactus, India must be more careful managing this turn of events in the Maldives. More than Islamic fundamentalists could exploit political tensions and capture power, it may be President Gayoom’s own government that is likely to turn to radical Islam to retain its hold over power. India is yet to take a position on this one, but it would do well to act in the best interests of the people of Maldives. That may well involve crafting out a phased retirement plan for Gayoom and his colleagues.