Dr. Shaheem announces decision to return to politics

Former Islamic Minister and former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom's running-mate in the 2018 presidential elections, Dr. Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed has stated that he will return to Maldives after completing his tenure at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to resume political work.

Dr Shaheem's tenure as an adviser to OIC's Secretary General will end this December.

Shaheem's announcement comes while the Parliament has made the decision to investigate if the statements he continues to make regarding the contentious MDN report are being made in an official capacity of OIC and on the organization's instructions.

A letter sent by main ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)'s Parliament Group leader Ali Azim to the Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed requested to investigate if Shaheem was passing criticism on the country's internal affairs on the instructions of OIC.

Before the starting of Monday's Parliament sitting, Speaker Nasheed stated that the letter has been forwarded to the National Security and Foreign Relations Committee. Committee Chair and Maradhoo MP Mohamed Shareef stated that they are currently investigating the matter.

Following the parliament's decision, Shaheem has stated that he would continue to condemn the report and would not shy away from speaking up against it despite threats.

Shaheem later published a lengthy post on social media platform Facebook, where he announced that he was employed at OIC for a period of one year and that his tenure would end in December. He revealed his intentions of returning back to Maldives in December to resume political work alongside former President Yameen and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

In his post, Shaheem said he has not interfered with any internal affairs of the country, and said his position at OIC does not restrict him from expressing his professional or scholarly opinion on a matter.

Shaheem said while he has served as the Islamic Minister and State Minister during under different administrations, and served as the Vice Chancellor and Chancellor of Maldives Islamic University, he believes he can give a professional and academic opinion on matters pertaining to the religion.

Shaheem further clarified that he spoke on the matter of MDN report on a personal capacity, and said he does not condone threatening and violence.

Titled '‘Preliminary Assessment on Radicalisation in the Maldives", the report issued by Maldivian Democratic Network (MDN) in 2016 challenged principles and teachings of Islam in the Holy Quran, and disrespected Prophet Mohamed (PBUH). The report outlined several verses from the Quran and 'Hadith' of Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) as examples of ideas that contribute to promulgation of radical worldviews.

The contents of the report have prompted harsh criticism, with citizens and scholars including Shaheem expressing their wish for the government to take action on the organization. While the organization has been temporarily suspended pending investigation, Maldives Police Service are summoning the authors of the report and other relevant individuals for investigation purposes.

While a large majority of the country is calling to ban MDN, religious scholars have urged the government to expedite the process to ban the organization. Shaheem has also voiced his opinion on the matter.